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Natural protection from the sun with VEGETABLE OILS

Were you aware that there is a natural alternative to all sun products filled with components harmful to your health? Discover all the ESSENTIAL OILS and VEGETABLE OILS you could use in your homemade cosmetics that will protect you from the sun…


Sun protection and SPF

A few reminders before getting in the thick of the subject:

UVs are produced by sun rays and they cause damage at the level of the epidermis. As a result, a prolonged exposure of the skin will result in serious health risks: premature ageing, burns and skin problems…


lotion illustration

The “Sun Protection Factor” SPF is a measure made in a laboratory (1), it represents a relationship between the time when you become sunburnt with or without sunscreen. For example, an SPF=30 printed on a product, means that you would need 30 times more UV radiation exposure using this product before getting sunburnt (1). It concerns mostly anti-UVB protection whereas UVA are just as responsible for redness, burns or skin ageing.

But, we all know it, to preserve as long as possible our solar capital, you should not sun bake for hours under a leaden sun, during the hottest time of day and rather choose to sit in the shade and wear a T-shirt as much as possible…


precautionsList of toxic ingredients in sunscreens:

Synthetic filtering products issued from petrochemicals (they will end up on coral reefs and are toxic to marine life that ingests them).

  • Ethyl-hexyl-methoxycinnamate
  • Benzophenone (BP-1, BP-2, BP-3 or BZ-3, Escalol 567, Uvinul M40, Uvasorb Met)
  • 4-methyl-benzyl-idenetoxics camphor (4-MBC)

The nutrients (contributing to the proliferation of algae and destabilising the marine ecosystem)

  • phosphates
  • ammonium


Natural filtering agent:

dioxide of titanium (TiO2)

carcinogenic et noxious to coral and phytoplankton


Endocrine disruptors

  • Oxybenzone (BP3 or BZ-3)
  • Butyl 4-hydroxybenzoate or butylparaben (BP)
  • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4-MBC)
  • Octyl-methoxycinnamate (OMC)


Vegetable Oils that protect you from UVs

Oils and butters can be an alternative to protective creams (sunscreens) as long as it is for a short exposure to direct sun rays (less than an hour and if choosing the advised hours for exposure – avoiding the hours between 11 am and 4 pm, remembering that daylight-saving time has to be considered too) and for exposure in non-direct sunshine (these are not advised for long exposure on the beach or by the poolside).

In all other situations, use a specific product with an SPF index adapted to your needs and purchase it in a pharmacy or a specialised provider.

protection INDEXES

Vegetable oils have a protection index that can vary between 0 and around 35.

2 50% to get through that can result in redness and burns
15 93% that can result in redness and burns
20 95% that can result in redness and burns
30 97% therefore, it allows 3% to get through
50 98% therefore, it allows 2% to get through

SOME VOs and their protection index

carrier oil


These oils can be used pure or in association (or several in a mixture) in the morning to protect your skin from UVs and at night for hydration, soothing and nourishment. Of course, these are not on their own sufficient for an intensive exposure to the sun! You would need to add in this case one or two sunscreens such as zinc cream or titanium dioxide (without nanoparticles).


Raspberry pip oil beats all records and provides a protection index between 28 and 50 according to Anthony O’Lenick author of the book: “Oils of Nature”.

Wheat germ oil: very rich in vitamin E, but also in many other vitamins such as A, C and B, this oil protects the skin’s cells very effectively and is suitable to all types of skin.

Avocado oil: light protection against UVs with a sun protection index of 15, it will help avoid sunburn if only staying in the sun for a short time. It is also suitable for all skin types: dry, sensitive or normal.

Virtues of anti-UVs vegetable oils

The usage of VOs is especially recommended if you would like a beautiful, healthy skin while at the same time protecting the epidermis against UVs and sunburn because they are:

  • very rich in antioxidants,
  • very rich in omega and vitamins,
  • extremely nourishing,
  • preserve the freshness and softness of the skin when the temperature is high and sunburn is likely,
  • favour skin wellness
Please note :

The oil needs to be saturated OR mono-unsaturated, since UVs oxidise very quickly oils that are poly-unsaturated. It is therefore paramount to avoid oils such as sunflower, rapeseed, hemp, linen, sesame, and in general any oil having a reasonable amount of poly-unsaturated oil in its components.


Essential Oils

If your skin tans easily, if you have an olive skin complexion or if you have already been in the sun a bit, these oils will be a good addition to your Vos. For fair skins, be careful and renew application regularly.

A few Essential Oils and their PROTECTION index

lavender EO possesses also anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties. It doesn’t provide a high SPF but it will soothe an inflammation at its beginning.

Peppermint EO will add a little freshness to the vegetable oil which is a bonus in very hot weather.

Furthermore, if you have never used EOs or VOs, you will need to test them before using them on your entire body. EOs and  VOs may provoke an allergic reaction and it is, therefore, preferable to test a drop on a discreet part of the body (such as the inner side of the elbow, behind the ear) and find out if your skin has a reaction.

Ideas for home-made creams

spa illustration


Another little warning: the sun protection offered by these products remains relatively weak in comparison with chemical products found in shops. Sunbake with moderation, especially if you have fair skin or sensitive skin.

Ingredients for a sun cream:

  • 4 tablespoons of coconut oil (about 40g)
  • 4 tablespoons of shea butter (about 40g)
  • 1 tablespoon of beeswax (about 10g)
  • 2 tablespoons of zinc cream (or zinc oxide)
  • To keep the cream for longer, you can add a few drops of vitamin E.
  • Choose a zinc oxide « without nano », that will ensure that there will be no nanoparticles in the powder.

Instructions of use:

  • Melt the beeswax in a bain-marie
  • Add the shea butter and the coconut oil.
  • Mix with a well-sanitized utensil.
  • Let the mixture cool down and add the remaining ingredients.
  • Put your cream in a sterilised container (with boiling water for example). With the vitamin E, the cream can be kept for six months. Between two uses, keep your cream in a cool place if possible.


And also after the sunburn

Coconut oil has the characteristic of being solid at temperatures close to 20°C. It hydrates the skin deeply and is also a perfect oil for dehydrated hair. It is an oil ideal for making balms easily.

Ingredients for an after-sun cream


Instructions of use:

  • Melt the coconut oil in a container, in a bain-marie.
  • Let it cool down once melted
  • Add the lavender EO
  • Mix with a well-sanitized utensil.
  • Place the jar in the refrigerator for about twenty minutes.
  • Apply on the areas that have been affected (redness) by sunbaking, including the face (avoid the area around the eye).


The information provided could not be considered as medical information nor engage Pacific Scents responsibility as to your usage of essential oils for yourself or anyone else. We strongly invite you to compare the information with that of authoritative experts and the opinion of health professionals.



(1) Kaur CD, Saraf S. In vitro sun protection factor determination of herbal oils used in cosmetics. Pharmacognosy Res. 2010 Jan;2(1):22-5. /

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