A sunscreens has two purposes. Firstly it helps the skin maintain moisture and its own natural oils which can be lost through exposure to the sun's radiation. Secondly, a good sunscreen protect the skin against UVA and UVB rays. It is said that the reduction in the atmosphere's ozone layer has made these rays more damaging. The body's own defense system to sunlight causes skin pigment cells, called melanocytes, to synthesize increasing amounts of melanin, which is what a tan actually is, gives our skin a protective pigmentation. It may not be quite enough these days, especially if you are fair-skinned or have a family history of skin cancer. Also see Suntan Oil
Take Care Tip: If you use perfume oils, avoid citrus oils - such as bergamot, orange, lemon or lime. They may cause unpleasant skin reactions when exposed to the sun. They also reduce a sunscreen's effectiveness.
Sunscreen Lotion Recipe
3 tbsp. unrefined sesame oil
1 tbsp. unrefined avocado oil
1 tbsp. unrefined jojoba oil
1 tbsp. walnut or almond oil
1 tbsp. shea butter
2 tbsp. cocoa butter
1 tsp. beeswax
1 tsp. soya-lecithin
2 tbsp. aloe-vera gel
2 tbsp. rose or lavender water
1/2 tsp. borax powder
20 drops carrot-seed essential oil
3-5 drops coconut fragrance oil (optional)
For After-Sun Relief
No Such Thing As A Safe Tan
To protect your skin from harmful UVA radiation, use a suntan lotion with a high sun protection factor. Lotions with plant-based oils, such as vitamin E-rich avocado oil, have enhanced effectiveness. Vitamin E helps prevent premature skin aging due to sun exposure. Remember, there is no such thing as a safe tan. Use common sense, and always avoid any overexposure to the sun.
What is UVA and UVB ?
Although benefits of UVA protection may seem limited in current sunscreens, the lotions are still useful for protecting against UVB rays and should continue to be used. The power of the sun can seem hard to avoid in the heat of the summer, but by following safe sun practices and taking care to protect vulnerable skin, the risk of developing skin cancer can be minimized.
Australian researchers found that UVA rays caused DNA damage to the cells deep within the skin. It is this layer of cells that regenerates our skin and it is feared that damage to the DNA of these cells may increase a person's risk of developing skin cancer. According to new research, while useful for protecting against UVB rays, lotions are less protective against harmful UVA.
They discovered that the UVA protection offered by leading sunscreen brands was not what might be expected. Furthermore, even when sunscreens were applied in the recommended concentration, they afforded much lower protection against the melanoma-inducing and skin-ageing UVA light than against UVB.
As well as containing moisturizing properties, avocado, sesame oil and shea butter contain a low SPF sunscreen. However, they have only a limited UVA/UVB-filtering ability, thus you should not use them as your only skin protection. For a natural sunscreen with a higher SPF. use a commercial sunscreen with titanium dioxide.
Perishability and storage: To keep homemade sunscreen from spoiling, use only clean utensils for preparation and storage. Store lotions in the refrigerator, where they will keep for about three to four weeks.
Proper application: To achieve maximum
protection from the sun, apply sunscreen to dry skin 30 minutes
before exposure. Limit your sun exposure time to less than one
hour; actual amount of time depends on your skin type.
Skin types: There are four basic skin types, each with a different level of tolerance to sun exposure. People with light skin and blond or reddish hair are Type I and their natural protection time (amount of time skin can be exposed to the sun without burning) is 5-10 minutes. The natural protection time for people with skin Type II, who have a somewhat darker complexion, is up to 20 minutes. People with skin Type III and IV, those with much darker skin tones, can stay in the sun for 30-40 minutes. To determine how long a sunscreen will protect you, multiply your natural protection time by the SPF. Of course, if you have a family history of skin cancer, you should always use a sunscreen with a high SPF.
Hydrosol - The condensed
water that is left behind when plants are steam distilled to
make essential oil. A little like waters made from roses and
lavenders and other herbs, except more pure and a little more
concentrated. You can make your own waters, just by steeping
an herb in warm water and straining. Or, you can purchase hydrosols.
What is a hydrosol?
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oil, and unscented massage oil.
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