Wearing sunscreen can do so much good to your skin and overall health. The sun emits various UV rays, some of which are harmful to our skin and body. But when you wear sunscreen, you don’t worry as much about such harm.
While conventional sunscreens do their job of protecting our body from UV rays pretty well, there are a few potential drawbacks with them.
For one, some of their ingredients trigger allergic reactions in people. Besides that, some ingredients used in conventional sunscreens are potentially toxic.
You may have considered making your own sunscreen to get around the drawbacks. In trying to do this, you will want to get the best essential oil you can lay your hands on. But there are many options, and sometimes, choosing can be hard.
Below, we discuss 12 best essential oils for sunscreen. We talk about their sun protection factor (SPF), how they protect against UV rays, and much more.
Table of Contents
Vitamin E Essential Oil
Vitamin E essential oil is a potent antioxidant. So, it is not surprising that some studies suggest it can prevent sunburn.
One way UV light causes damage is by producing radicals through oxidation. The said radicals damage DNA and kill cells if not attenuated.
Besides acting as a sunscreen through antioxidation, vitamin E essential oil may also absorb UV rays. Then again, it promotes skin moisture retention and reduces inflammation.
Vitamin E essential oil is pretty safe. In most cases, the only side effect experienced is minor skin irritation. But this effect is less likely if you dilute the oil appropriately.
Raspberry Seed Oil
Raspberry seed oil offers protection against UVA and UVB. However, its defense against UVB is way higher than against UVA. The SPF of raspberry seed oil against UVB is around 28-50, but against UVA, it is just about 8.
Raspberry seed oil’s protection against UV rays is bolstered by the powerful antioxidants it contains. The said antioxidants neutralize free radicals, promote skin cell growth, and improve skin tone.
Vitamin C Essential Oil
Like vitamin E essential oil, vitamin C essential oil has significant antioxidant activity. So, it is pretty effective in preventing damage caused by radicals produced by UVA and UVB rays.
Beyond protecting the skin from solar damage, vitamin C essential oil promotes wound healing. So, if you already have some wounds from sunburn, vitamin C essential oil might reduce their healing time.
Vitamin C essential oil also helps with skin inflammation symptoms. You can expect some relief from itchiness, scaliness, redness, cracked skin, and more.
By promoting collagen production, vitamin C essential oil can ensure your skin maintains its elasticity even when exposed to UV rays. So, overall, vitamin C essential oil provides multipotent protection as sunscreen.
Vitamin C essential oil is pretty safe. However, while it may help with skin inflammation, it can also cause mild skin inflammation. But such cases are uncommon.
Wheat Germ Oil
Wheat germ oil is pretty great at moisturizing the skin. But beyond that, it can prevent damage caused by free radicals.
The effect of wheat germ oil in preventing free radical damage is, in part, due to its vitamin E content. Yes! Wheat germ oil contains vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant.
Apart from vitamin E, wheat germ oil also contains B vitamins and choline. B vitamins promote skin health in various ways.
For one, vitamin B2 helps with skin tone, vitamin B1 helps with skin irritation, biotin revitalizes the skin, and vitamin B5 promotes skin elasticity. Choline promotes the production of elastin and collagen, contributing to the maintenance of skin elasticity.
Wheat germ oil has an SPF rating of around 20.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is chock-full of antioxidants. So, it is pretty effective in neutralizing free radicals produced by UV light.
Beyond that, lavender essential oil promotes skin regeneration and wound healing. So, if you have had some sunburn in the past, this should help your skin get better.
Then it also has some anti-inflammatory properties. So, it should help with redness, itchiness, pigmentation, and other skin inflammation symptoms you might have.
Lavender essential is pretty mild, so it is unlikely to trouble your sensitive skin. Still, it is possible to experience some side effects when you use it.
People use chamomile oil to treat various skin conditions. But beyond treating skin issues like bruises and canker sores, it can protect you from the sun’s harsh rays.
Like lavender essential oil, chamomile oil contains antioxidants. So, it can help prevent free radical damage. Besides, it has anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe skin irritation and redness.
Avocado oil offers a layer of monounsaturated fat, which protects the skin from oxidative UV damage. The fat layer offers protection by shielding your skin and taking the oxidative damage from the UV light.
Beyond the protective fat layer, avocado oil contains nutrients that help with skin repair. It can help with damaged skin, and it can nourish dry skin.
Avocado oil also promotes collagen production. This way, it helps with skin elasticity and reduces skin aging. Avocado oil also promotes skin moisture retention, keeping your skin firm.
Avocado oil has an SPF rating of around 15.
Hazelnut oil comes with fatty acids and vitamins that can help filter UV light from the sun rays getting to your skin. One of the vitamins in hazelnut oil that helps elicit this effect is vitamin E. As we already said, the antioxidant activity of vitamin E helps prevent oxidative UV damage.
Besides protecting you against UV damage, hazelnut oil is generally beneficial for your skin. Thanks to its vitamin E content, hazelnut oil can help reduce pigmentation.
Then if you have rashes, scars, and other signs of skin inflammation, hazelnut oil might help.
While hazelnut oil is pretty safe for sensitive skin, it has some side effects. However, those effects only show up when you use hazelnut oil excessively.
Hazelnut oil has an SPF rating of around 15.
Peppermint oil may not offer as much protection as the other essential oils discussed. But it is pretty helpful for soothing pain.
Most of the soothing effects offered by peppermint oil come from menthol. Menthol dilates blood vessels and stimulates cold receptors to cool your skin and relieve pain. Hence, the value of peppermint oil in sunscreen preparations.
Besides soothing your skin, menthol has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities. So, it can improve unwanted skin conditions while reducing your chances of a skin infection.
Peppermint oil may also help relieve headaches that come with excessive sun exposure. Side effects associated with peppermint oil are typically minor: redness and skin irritation.
Pomegranate Seed Oil
Another essential oil you should consider for your sunscreen is pomegranate seed oil.
Pomegranate seed oil has a lot of antioxidants, including vitamin C. So, it can help neutralize free radicals.
Apart from that, pomegranate seed oil contains punic acid. Punic acid promotes skin cell regeneration. It also helps maintain skin elasticity while improving skin tone.
Pomegranate seed oil may also elicit antimicrobial action. So, overall, it is a multipotent essential oil for sunscreen. Some studies even say it can improve the effectiveness of sunscreen formulations by up to 20%.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil has a mild SPF rating of just around 2. So, like peppermint oil, tea tree essential oil may not do much in the way of blocking UV rays from your skin. However, it is pretty effective at healing and soothing sunburn.
Ordinarily, people use tea tree essential oil for various skin conditions. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory activity, it can help with itchiness, redness, swelling, blistering, and more.
So, if you use it for sunscreen, you may just be preventing infection.
Tea tree essential oil is generally safe. However, in rare cases, it may cause skin inflammation.
With an SPF of just around 3, eucalyptus oil might not offer so much protection against UV rays from the sun. But it does more in healing and soothing the skin.
Apart from its pain-relieving and skin-healing effects, eucalyptus oil can help with skin inflammation. So, it might help with itchiness, swelling, and redness.
Eucalyptus oil has some antimicrobial activity. So, it may also prevent skin infection.
You should avoid ingesting eucalyptus oil or any of the essential oils we’ve discussed. Some of them are toxic, so swallowing them may be problematic.