Ditch the toxic sunscreen, use coconut oil instead

coconut oil sunscreen

by Paul Fassa – NaturalSociety.com

Summer time is beach time, or at least poolside time. It’s also time to choose a sunscreen. But if you want some protection form the sun’s UV rays, don’t always reach for toxic sunscreen. Instead, pack some extra virgin coconut oil along with your beach towel and umbrella.

That’s right, the same extra virgin coconut oil found in your kitchen pantry will do the trick to protect your skin – minus the toxicity from health-compromising ingredients. Coconut oil has been used as an effective sunscreen for thousands of years by indigenous, pacific islanders. Why slather toxic chemical laden sunscreen on your body when you can use non toxic coconut oil instead?

There are two types of UV (ultraviolet) rays from the sun: UVA and UVB. UVA rays are primarily responsible for skin damage from excessive sun exposure that can lead to cancer and skin aging. However, although UVB rays can also cause damage and sunburn, they are necessary for your body to produce its own cancer protective vitamin D via the skin.

Sunlight is by far the optimal way to produce your vitamin D. Blocking UVB rays may inadvertently be increasing your cancer risk by blocking vitamin D absorption. Plus, sunscreen causes cancer through carcinogenic ingredients.

Avoid Toxic Sunscreen

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) approximately 75% of commercial sunscreens contain toxic chemicals that are linked to cancer and disrupt hormones.

Store bought sunscreens typically contain:

– Retinyl palmitate, a known skin cancer hazard.

– Oxybenzone, which disrupts hormones leading to cell damage and cancer.

– Zinc and titanium nanoparticles are in colorless sun screen lotions.

Those and other chemicals rubbed on your skin are readily absorbed into your bloodstream and can be just as unhealthy and toxic as an oral dose.

The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) Hoax

An excerpt from a 2012 CNN article about sunscreens:

“The EWG said consumers should not purchase sunscreens with SPF greater than 50. SPF (sun protection factor) works by absorbing, reflecting or scattering the sun’s rays on the skin. It is very misleading to put high SPF numbers on labels because it gives consumers a false sense of security and doesn’t offer a lot more protection.”

While SPF 85 may sound like a lot more protection than SPF 30, the higher the number doesn’t always offer a higher return. Studies show that sunscreen with SPF 15 can block about 93% of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks 97%. SPF 50 blocks 98%. The protective factors plateau from there.

“A product with SPF 100+ blocks about 99.1 percent of the UVB rays. You don’t really need a high number. They end up being expensive and don’t offer more protection than SPF 50. Keep in mind, SPF protects only against UVB rays.”

Coconut oil has an SPF of 10 which means 90% of beneficial vitamin D creating UBV rays are blocked. How many people know that SPF ratings do not indicate any protection from the highly damaging UVA rays?

Yet, the American Cancer Society advises to apply a generous amount of of toxic commercial sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure and minimally every two hours thereafter, reapplying after being in the water, sweating, and towel drying.

Choose Coconut Oil for Sunscreen Instead

Daily exposure to the sun is essential to your overall health; it’s the overexposure that could cause some issues. Sunshine exposure is the best way for your body to create health protecting vitamin D. To protect against sunburn, use a non-toxic sunscreen like coconut oil or opt for a low-risk, safe sunscreen that doesn’t contain health-compromising ingredients.

Bruce Fife, ND, author of Coconut Cures: Preventing and Treating Common Health Problems with Coconut Oil, explains that coconut oil applied on the skin protects against sunburn and cancer. Unlike sunscreen, unprocessed coconut oil doesn’t completely block the UVB rays that are necessary for vitamin D synthesis. It protects the skin and underlying tissues from damage excessive exposure can cause. Instead of burning or turning red, it produces a light tan, depending on the length of time you spend in the sun.

Fife asserts that “Consuming coconut oil also strengthens the skin and makes it more resilient and less prone to sunburn.” He warns against using hydrolyzed or processed oil. Just make sure the coconut oil is pure and not processed.

153 Comments on Ditch the toxic sunscreen, use coconut oil instead

  1. It’s how long you’re in the sun, not to avoid it all together, quit with the fear trying to avoid all the cancer, if your that worried better grow yourselves a garden and avoid farmed food and live stock. Just be careful not to burn, and stay in the shade.

  2. Yeah right. Try telling people who don’t want to tan or burn to use, from what I’ve heard, an old Hawaiian method, that could protect your skin from burning but will make you tan much more. Who cares about coral and sea creatures and their habitat. Let’s all try to look as white or Caucasian as possible. Or even worse, be addicted to the norm and using unnatural chemicals and products.
    How about not suntanning!! I’m sure you don’t protect the ocean, because you can’t or you don’t want to or because you don’t think it’s important because the government will find a planet, engineer a spaceship to get there and send the elite away as the rest suffer or Jesus will be here soon. Either way, we don’t know for sure if that will happen, so until then, no sunblock. Use the oil or mix the oil with zinc oxide if you feel you must be out in the sun. Stop destroying the earth because you can’t have a tan at work, or because you think you need it, or because you want to look more like white people, or because your skin burns.
    Seriously. Protect Earth. It’s not a joke anymore. It’s not an choice either. Protect Earth.

  3. I used it all summer in California went to the beach several times and NEVER got a sun burn but then again I was very mindful of how long I stayed out in the sun… It’s called common sense .. Not so common anymore…

    • Are you implying I don’t have common sense, because I got burnt using coconut oil? I’m glad that coconut oil worked for you, but people have different skin types. Some people don’t burn as easy as others. I have been going to the beach my entire life. I am not out longer than 2-3 hours at the time in the morning. I use a SPF umbrella, when I’m not walking. Guess what?? I still got burnt trying coconut oil.

    • No I didn’t mean to insult you personally sorry …people need to do their own research coco oil is only 8 or so SPF at best but you have to let it soak in not use it like baby oil …

  4. Sesame oil has more protection in it plus the added bonus of the ability to heal skin cancer…… If you want to step it up a notch……. Mix it with Kokum butter!! ….. But that doesn’t mean slather it on and stay in the beating sun for 8 hours!

  5. Best tip- eat Tomato paste (2 tbs) every day and within 2 mths you WILL notice a drastic change in your skins reaction to sunburn.
    Try it… Don’t go believing anything I say. Just try it and come to your own conclusion.
    Coconut oil is great for ” some people” and health benefits. I myself tried a tablespoon of coconut oil for 3 days straight and my throat tightened up real bad…. So once again, one size doesn’t fit oil. Love this site by the way xxx

  6. Erm, I’m no rocket scientist, but isn’t coconut oil an “oil” that cooks in heat…. Just saying.
    I do agree sunscreens use unnecessary chemicals. I know baby SPF natural is safer on adults.
    Check at your natural grocers.

  7. I actually have a good friend who used coconut oil as a sunscreen, and burned very badly. This article mentioned zinc. If you use a zinc oxide product with no nanoparticles you will be just fine. The problem with most sunscreen on the market is they contain both zinc and titanium oxide. When the sun penetrates the skin, the combo of the two actually get into the bloodstream causing toxicity levels that can be detected. Burn Out Kids, and several other products on Amazon are great choices. Just look for Zinc Oxide non-nano formulas. Better yet, try to avoid the sun if you can. Experts say ” 20 minutes a day” is all we need to get a sufficient amount of natural vitamin D.

  8. I’m an Aussie, when I was a teenager we all slathered ourselves in coconut oil so we would burn and get a nice dark tan. I had a melanoma taken off my bottom lip at 19yo…so yes, I’ve tried it and paid the price

  9. I have been, and so far it’s been working. I usually get a sun burn every year, every year. this year i have not gotten a sunburn and I have ONLY used coconut oil. It freakin works! I sooo love coocnut oil. <3

  10. Raspberry seed oil has an SPF of between 30 & 50. Coconut Oil has an SPF of 10. Either way you’re not going to be able to apply them and go out and spend a whole day in the sun and be protected. I make my own sunscreen using a combination of these, along with mango butter, essential oils, and zinc oxide. Some people don’t want to use zinc oxide, but I’m thinking my mixture is safer than most commercial products.

  11. Michael, You only need 15 min in the sun to get burned enough to increase your risk of skin cancer. This is being promoted as sun block which gives people the impression they can go out in the sun and be safe.
    And yep, is brilliant to eat and makes a great moisturiser but its useless as sun block.

  12. coconut oil RULES>>> I do use it to cook.. and take some by the spoonful good to eat too.. is a good lubricant and safe to put on the body.. did not know was good sun screen.. but want to share.. the stuff we buy IS full of crap that gets absorbed into the body and most is NOT very good for us! !

    • burnt to a crisp implies long stretches in the sun.. probably during the time of the day not recommended.. btwn 11am and 1 pm or there about.. and the over the counter stuff is so full of crap and chemicals .. not really that good for us..

    • I burn every year, and this year I have not burned at all and I have only used coconut oil this year. Try actually doing something to prove it works before opening your mouth and spewing out shit you have no proof of.

    • The body finds it easier to process the damage from sunburn than the damage from being in the sun while wearing sunscreen. The main ingredient Oxybenzone becomes carcinogenic when exposed to sunlight. Have a research and do what works for you and your bod. I only use coconut oil and never burn.

    • agree…I insisted my husband wear coconut oil while we were in FL last week and he burned badly. Then, due to a weakened immune system, he developed a severe head cold that was then passed on to the entire family. He will never use coconut oil again. I read later that fair skinned people need to ingest it before applying it to their skin for adequate results. I wonder if that was the missing link…

    • nope. mind you i don’t sit out for hours in the direct sun. i went on a 12 hour drive and i put the oil on my skin and it was fine. i wasn’t directly in the sun for too long of a time. i haven’t burnt at all this year. this is the first year that i’ve been out in the sun a lot. i don’t mind the natural stuff hate the chemicals of other suntan lotions. also when i use the coconut oil, i don’t sweat like a pig, like when you use commercial, chemical lotions. give it a try. you have nothing to lose.

    • if you sit outside in the direct sun for long lengths of time and are fair skinned etc then yes you will burn. you’ll burn with anything. i don’t sunbathe, i sit in the shade and avoid direct sun for extended periods of time. i am not fair skinned. i tan i wear a hat, etc. one must know one’s own skin, climate, sun’s rays etc, etc. out here on the coast we are not as hot as your summer is. so everyone must use common sense. unfortunately a lot of people don’t have or use common sense. what works for one doesn’t always work for another. everything in moderation. i must say for me the coconut oil works really well. 🙂

  13. Yup, UVB = burn. What is the PA rating? That measures UVA rays. Either way, coconut oil is not a good alternative to chemical sunscreens. Physical blocks with minerals that provide a shield are best. Chemical sunscreens are not favorable since they convert uv rays into heat causing breakouts and heat rash. Lots of sunscreen options out there with only zinc & titanium. Ceravé is available in drug stores…

  14. Use coconut oil after a day in the sun – I don’t think advising people not to wear sunscreen is a good idea. I’m all for natural everything, but the sun and skin cancer are serious matters

  15. Zinc oxide & titanium dioxide, not coconut oil, will protect you from burning in the sun & skin cancer. Please please stop posting this, it’s misleading and with the rise in skin cancer this post is irresponsible.

  16. I am a big advocate of natural alternatives, but I have to say this one is no good. Coconut oil is IS amazing, great for the skin and hair. And it does have an SPF factor…LESS THAT 1 UNIT OF SPF. That one little SPF is most likely null and void since soaking the skin in moisture allows carcinogenic sun rays to more easily penetrate the skin. Good non-toxic sunscreens include hats and clothing coverage, as well as IRON OXIDE, which is a physical sunscreen that lays on top of the skin to reflect rays, instead of being absorbed into the skin. You can find it in the first aid section.

  17. coconut oil (Organic) is amazing, I use it in place of butter, I use it for everything, including under my eyes, on my chest, in my hair, etc. BUT do NOT use coconut oil for a sunscreen, it is an oil and you will burn. I have been looking for an organic higher SPF in it though and have yet to find any….

  18. I love it in my coffee too and I agree a 10 SPF is not very high especially to use in AZ, unless it is just for a short time maybe under 30 min. Instead, I will continue to use my Noevir Sunscreen that does not contain those nasty ingredients.

  19. I’m sorry but, I live in central Florida and can’t agree with the advice in this article. While I can agree and have been aware of the “toxic” materials found in sun screen, for some of us there currently is nothing better that I have found. I an a 33 year old mother of three. I an of northern European decent there for two of my children and my self all have porcelain white (nearly translucent in some places) skin. I have tried every SPF level it there along with every natural product and material you can think of. I have used just about every brand on the US domestic market and have even imported products from international sources. Through till and lots of error I can say with no doubt that there is a difference with brands (even when they say that they contain the exact same chemicals) as well as SPFlevels. I only stopped burning once I was able to get products above SPF 70. Even at the level I would still get some color. Once the 100+ hit the markets (other then pure zinc) I could go to the beach or a theme park with my kids Abbe not suffer a burn or worse , sun poisoning!

    Advising people use something that can cool you is not good advise. I’ve tried it, even different types solids, liquids ect..it’s will not work for anyone whom does not tan or who is avoiding trying to get one….if you are one of those people who tan..like the south pacificers out like my son whom is good percentage north American Indian, it will help to not burn and will give you one of the must even dark tans that you will ever have…they rest of us just cook in it and you WILL burn.

    I know sun burns and have battled them my whole life. I have had sun poisoning, I have had real blisters from the sun. I have suffered a 3rd degree sunburn….nasty awful things…please for the love of humans do ALL of your research and give stepped advise for people. We do not all have the same generic back ground, we don’t all tan, some of us can’t EVER! Blanket advise is dangerous!

  20. That is absolutely terrible advice. I’ve been enjoying reading your posts up til now. Yes, Pacific Islanders may use them, what what’s the colour of their skin? What is the colour if the skin of most people from first world countries?
    What are the rates of skin cancer? Have your skin burn, like a few readers who have tried your coconut oil suggestion, sets them at a much higher risk of skin cancer down the track – and this is a proven fact.
    I think you should retract this. It is very dangerous and the benefits of sunscreen, especially when one is in the sun for prolonged amounts of time, far outweighs any possible risks.

  21. This may work for someone with an olive complexion, but if you are fair, this is ridiculous. Coconut oil has an SPF of around 4. You do realize that one severe burn can lead to melanoma? My sister tried this and ended up FRIED. There are sunscreens out there without all of the toxic ingredients, use one of those. I love coconut oil and use it daily, but this is very misleading and dangerous.

  22. just got back from the beach and using coco oil. i do not recommend just that. its awesome for everyday wear, but not intense sun like at the beach. im fairly burnt and i even had a base tan. add beeswax or carrot seed oil in addition like Andrea said.

  23. Bioceutica is a new brand offering a skincare line,lntuitiv, with coconut water as the main ingredient. A very stable line of health care set to move into the global market soon!

  24. I just came back from the beach and used extra virgin coconut oil on my face and neck (as I always do for a moisturizer) and I had a definite burn were I didn’t have coconut oil. It worked for me just have to be diligent about putting it on next time. I am not fair skinned

  25. I have been doing it for a few years now as I was burning more with conventional sunscreen. It does work if you use the good extra virgin pure oil, not the stuff that smells like coconut! Mixed with shea butter is even better

  26. You have to use another oil that has a higher SPF, like carrot seed oil, with beeswax, and coconut oil. To my understanding, anyway. Coconut oil only has an SPF of 2-8, so it should only be used when there’s minimal sun exposure.

  27. I tried it yesterday at the beach (after reading a similar posting), got pretty red, but surprisingly no burn. I’ve been told of a coconut oil (and a few other ingredients) sunblock that they have at Whole Foods, I’ll post it when I know. My belief is that it does work, but would work better with a few other things! 🙂 Stay positive y’all, it’s not a fight its a discussion!! Love

  28. But only if it’s Unrefined, Raw, Cold Pressed!! The generic, processed crap won’t work. Note to those with tougher, less sensitive skin…HEMP OIL works just as well! 🙂

  29. Do not use this as a sunscreen!!!! As teenagers we used to use coconut oil to tan and we burned ourselves to a crisp! Now in our 50’s skin cancer is rearing it’s ugly head. This article is irresponsible! You need an SPF of at least 30 and you must reapply frequently when you spend extended time in the sun. The toxins in the sunscreen are not near has dangerous as developing life threatening melanoma or squamous cell carcinomas. Until a really safe sunscreen is developed use what we have responsibly.

  30. this is a stupid idea, as a teenager i slathered myself in coconut oil to GET a good tan, it does nothing to protect your skin from the sun except moisturize it
    I’m in Australia, skin cancer is our biggest killer, use sunscreen, protect your skin – remember slip, slop, slap

  31. This is so irresponsible I can’t even believe I’m reading this. This will NOT work on a very pale person and shouldn’t be even thought about for small children or those with a history of melanoma in their families. Yes, there are toxic sunscreens out there (you don’t mention a single brand) but to promote this as an all-encompassing alternative puts people who trust you at risk. EWG knows better and so should you. Not only am I unliking your site, I’m passing this along as a warning to others.

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