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SPF – sun protection factor

Some natural oils offer SPF protection from the sun that is better than protection found in any commercially produced sunscreen – and it’s chemical free!

Shea Butter – not an oil but derived from the fat of the shea nut. Shea butter melts at body temperature and absorbs rapidly into the skin without leaving a greasy feeling. It contains the antioxidants, vitamins A and E both of which enhance skin cell regeneration and promote blood circulation below the skin’s surface. Cinnamic acid in the oil provides vital protection against harmful UV rays. Its rich emoillient quality maks it excellent for very dry skin. SPF 6-8

Macadamia Oil – known as the ‘king of nuts’ and its oil is known to have almost the same properties as sebum. Sebum is the oil produced by our sebaceous glands to protect the skin from dryness and in a way makes skin and hair waterproof. macadamia nuts provide vitamins, minerals and antioxidant fatty acids. Good sources of magnesium, iron, phosphorous, potassium and vitamin E, the oil from Macadamia nuts also contains a natural plant chemical called cinnamic acid which provides a variable SPF level of 6.

Coconut Oil – has an amazing ability to heal the skin and block the damaging effects of UV radiation from the sun. One of the reasons why it is so effective in protecting the skin is its antioxidant properties, which helps pevent burning and oxidative damage that promotes skin cancer. There have been several recent studies done on the use of coconut oil as a sunscreen but there are fluctuations in the SPF rating of coconut oil. One study showed a rating of only 4 while another rated coconut oil at a 10.

Jojoba Oil – Jojoba is a desert shrub effective for treating eczema, psoriasis and dry skin. Jojoba oil is more correctly described as liquid wax. Like macadamia oil, the properties of jojoba oil are akin to that of human sebum or the skin’s natural oil. As a sunscreen ingredient, jojoba oil not only provides natural moisturisers for the skin, but also provides healing and anti-inflammatory elements through its natural substance called myristic acid. Myristic acid is a form of fatty acid naturally occurring in the plant oils. This oil has a SPF rating of 4.

Sesame Seed Oil – said to be composed of 20% protein and 50% lipids which gives the gamma tocopherol (Vitamin E) content. Tocopherol provides stable anti-oxidative mechanisms which include elminating free radicals. UVR rays are said to be capable of activating the release of free radicals in skin cells. The characteristic of being stable means they do not easily breakdown under the sun’s UVR or when kept in storage. As a sunscreen ingredient, it has an SPF rating of 4.

Rice Bran Oil – contains gamma oryzanol, a naturally occurring plant byproduct. The chemicals in gamma oryzanol suppress the rising melanin levels thereby blocking the transmittance of ultraviolet rays through the surface of the skin. This process whitens the skin a slight amount and has historically been used in Japanese culture to produce a glowing complexion. It has an SPF of 2-4.

Olive Oil – Olive oil contains three major antioxidants: vitamin E, polyphenols, and phytosterols. Antioxidants, when topically applied, may help protect the skin from premature skin aging. Vitamin E partly accounts for the anti-aging benefits of olive oil because it helps restore skin smoothness and protects against ultraviolet light. Hydroxytyrosol, a rather rare compound found in olive oil, also prevents free radical damage to the skin. It has an SPF of 2-8.

Sunflower Oil – High in antioxidants including Vitamin E, which help to reduce free radicals that cause skin damage. Sunflower seed oil is also naturally moisturizing and is high in beta-carotene, which can reduce sun sensitivity. It has an SPF of 2-8.