You know how when you are young you would rather die than listen to one word of advice your parents give you? Yup, that was me. There was one thing though, that for whatever reason stuck. My mom would always tell me to wear sunscreen. This is one of those golden nuggets that you don’t understand when you are seventeen. As if I’m ever gonna get wrinkles mom, please. And skin cancer is for old people. But alas, there I was sneaking into her medicine cabinet generously applying her SPF 30 face cream in the morning (that just shed a whole lot of light on why you flew through that stuff huh, Ma?) . Here are the words every mother wants to here….Mom, you were right. (I still stand by my tattoo and belly piercing though).
Most of us use sunscreen when we are planning a day outside in the sun. Really though, you need to be using this stuff everyday. Even on cloudy days UV rays are strong enough to damage skin. We all want the easy way out, right? We want to be able to do barely anything but get huge results. Well what if I told you there was a way to prevent skin cancer and wrinkles and it’s as easy as putting lotion on everyday? Oh wow! How do I do that? F*ck!ng sunscreen. Use it. You will walk for the cure but not put lotion on for the prevention? Think about that one…
As with any product there are good sunscreens and bad ones. Ones that are natural and ones that are filled with chemicals. You’re here on greensypants so you’re looking for alternatives to the mainstream crap you buy in stores. For some reason we forget that what we put on our body is just as important as what we feed ourselves. Our skin is our biggest organ and it is porous. It will absorb what you put on it. There lots of chemicals that you will see on the back of your sunscreen bottle that could potentially be harmful.
Truth be told, the jury is out on all the chemicals used in sunscreen. There are some studies that show some of the chemicals, such as oxybenzone, are present in the urine of almost all subjects that applied the sunscreen. What does that mean? It means that you put it on your skin and it has the potential to be absorbed into your bloodstream and hang out in your body for a while before exiting through your urine. What did it do while it was in there? Maybe nothing, but we don’t really know. The companies that make products with suspect ingredients always fall back on the old…”We have been using this ingredient in our product since 1970 (or some other seemingly far away year).” Oh, cool. You know what there is a lot more of since 1970? Cancer. Is anyone able to prove without a doubt these ingredients cause cancer? No. Is there anyone who can prove definitively and without question that they don’t cause cancer? Anyone? Didn’t think so. There are plenty of studies that show zero adverse affects. Guess who paid for those studies???? Yeah, the company making the sunscreen. That’s not a conflict of interest or anything.
I went ahead and listed all of the ingredients in your typical SPF 30 sunscreen that you would buy in the store. Take a look…
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 1.0%, Homosalate 10.0%, Octisalate 5.0%, Octocrylene 0.8%, Oxybenzone 4.0%
Inactive Ingredients: Water, Stearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Hydogenated Dimer Dilinoleyl/Dimethylcarbonate, Copolymer, Triethanolamine, Cetyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Disodium EDTA, Dipopylene Glycol, Disodium Ethylene Dicocamide, PEG-15 Disulfate, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, BHT, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lecithin, Aloe Barbadenisis Leaf Juice, Phenoxyethanol, Methyldibromo, Glutaronitrile, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone.
Phew. At least I see Aloe Leaf Juice in there!
The active ingredients listed here (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) are what are referred to as “physical barrier” sunscreens which simply sit on the skin and form an actual barrier from the sun. The rest of these hard to pronounce ingredients on this label are “chemical barrier” sunscreens. That means that they are absorbed in the skin and the sun protection is a chemical reaction. There are so many ingredients in most sunscreens to ensure full spectrum light protection. All those chemicals listed above have different UV rays they filter. That is really important when using sunscreen. It’s getting confusing now, I know.
I don’t want to launch into a chemistry lesson and try to explain all these scary looking ingredients. I wouldn’t be able to if I tried. Instead, I am going to show you the ingredient list of the Badger brand sunscreen that I use…
Active Ingredient: Non-Nano Uncoated Zinc Oxide 22.5%
Inactive Ingredients: Certified Organic Sunflower Oil, Certified Organic Beeswax, Certified Organic Jojoba Oil, Sunflower Vitamin E.
Well, isn’t that lovely?
There is only a “physical barrier” sunscreen here. Zinc Oxide. The non-nano, uncoated means that the particles in the zinc are big enough that they cannot penetrate the skin and will only sit on top. Many other sunscreens contain Titanium Dioxide. This ingredient has recently come under fire. Here is a good read. The controversy is not in the ingredient itself just in the fact that it’s not always clear if the type of titanium dioxide used is the proper formulation, and therefore, may be absorbed through skin. Take a gander and you be the judge. You may want to read the “Nanoparticle Info” at the bottom of this post.
Now, like I said in the past, I’m not about to tell you that your sunscreen may be harmful and then leave you high and dry. You have options here, loves. Can you make your own? Yes. Do I make my own? No. Is there a reasonable middle ground? YES!
Zinc oxide. It should be listed as the only active ingredient in your sunscreen. As mentioned above, Badger is my go to store bought brand. It is expensive. This 3 oz tube pictured on the right cost $14. Since it is a mineral sunscreen, it is more expensive. Zinc is an actual earth mineral and is much more expensive than those cheaply manufactured chemicals. Make sense? I will say, that I think the Badger is worth the money. You can purchase it here. They have sunscreens for kids and adults and tons of other great products.
You can in fact make your own sunscreen by purchasing zinc oxide non-nano powder and mixing up a batch with other ingredients like magical coconut oil and cocoa butter. The reason I don’t do that is because zinc oxide powder in its concentrated form can be breathed in and damage your lungs. I don’t want to mess with that stuff. Don’t let that alarm you. Regular old table salt would be harmful if it were breathed in as well. What now? In true greensypants fashion, I have an answer for you….
Buttpaste. Yup. All you mommas and poppas out there will recognize this in the first photo. It’s diaper cream. You can use this stuff straight and it costs about half of what the Badger will cost.
Diaper cream is just zinc oxide which is the active ingredient in sunscreen. It is meant to sit on baby’s sweet little tush and form a barrier to protect affected skin. It’s all mixed up and ready to use. No messy lung infecting powder to deal with. The tube pictured in the first photo is maximum strength, 40% zinc oxide which would give you an SPF of approximately 60. Wowza! That’s a high SPF. You can use diaper cream straight up on your skin and will have maximum protection. If you will be using it straight you can go with regular strength diaper cream. If you want to add some other organic ingredients and make it a little more luxurious on your skin go with the maximum strength 40%. That will enable you to dilute the cream with other ingredients and still have a high SPF. Here is a recipe for making your own SPF 30 sunscreen with diaper cream.
- 1/4 cup (one 4oz tube) of maximum strength diaper cream.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon cocoa butter
- 1 tablespoon beexwax
Warm coconut oil on stove top in small pan until melted. Remove from heat and add other ingredients. Mix well and place in tube or jar.
Making the recipe will end up costing almost as much as buying the Badger. I make my own using this recipe and use the Badger. They are virtually the same. If I am going to give an honest recommendation I say stick with the Badger brand and avoid the hassle of making your own since the cost is about the same. If you really want to save money then go with straight up Buttpaste…But…
There is a down side I have to tell you about. The zinc does not absorb in your skin beautifully. It will make your skin appear a bit white. It’s not that bad. Remember that physical barrier talk above? This white layer is the protection from the sun. Is this inconvenient? Yes. Know what else is inconvenient? Cancer.
I used to be all weird about it in public. I was so concerned what everyone would say behind my back because I possibly look like I have lotion that needs to be rubbed in. Then I realized…You know what…I’m fighting cancer. And wrinkles. Oh, you think I look dumb with my skin protected from the sun? Let’s compare sun spots in 20 years. How about that??? I wear my ghost suit loud and proud. I don’t even care anymore. I’m saying “no, thank you” to cancer. And another thing…So many people ask me how I have managed to keep my skin looking youthful. You should see their face when I tell them Buttpaste. Priceless.
I am not suggesting you look like casper all day every day. You can put a small amount of the diaper cream in your daily moisturizer for a light UV protection if your sun exposure will be limited and the white won’t be detectable. It’s a better option than all the age defying creams with the yucky chemical sunscreens. If you are beach bound and know you are going to be in the relentless sun then spread that $hit all over. If the idea of the white is too much for you to handle in public, use your regular sunscreen and stick to using the diaper cream when you are at home in your own back yard and no one will see you. Those small changes are better than nothing. I will warn you though, that’s how I got my start. Just when I was in my garden. Now I glow white for all the world to see.
Lather up, bitches.
I’m not just talking about your face. Spread that $hit everywhere with reckless abandon. Pay special attention to your face, shoulders and chest. It may seem like overkill now but you’ll be the sexiest one in the nursing home someday.
I joke about the Casper thing, but really, it’s not that bad. Just be prepared to take an extra minute to spread evenly. I put a little sample on my arm for you to see. The left is the Badger brand and the right is pure Buttpaste. The recipe above comes out the same as the Badger.
See? You can handle that, right? In do time people will be asking you what you do to make your skin look so amazing. Add coconut oil to your routine and you are a green force not to be reckoned with. Read about it here.
- A little nervous? Use your normal sunscreen and gradually add more and more diaper cream into it. This way you will at least be using less of the harmful stuff.
- You can purchase other brands of diaper cream but look at the other ingredients. Many have some unsavory contents.
- Go with a diaper cream that is 40% zinc oxide if you are making the recipe.
- Babies don’t care if they look white. Use this on your little ones if you have them!
- As with any sunscreen, re apply often
- Don’t forget the backs of your hands, that area is the first to show age.
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A few people have inquired about my awesome beach bag in the first photo. Here is the link if you want to order one! Lot’s of colors and patterns!