homemade sunblock

Coconut oil, its protective effects both cellular and shellular.

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I have written many times on why saturated fats have many proven benefits over unsaturated fats and the risk they pose. This blog is a brief summary of how and why coconut oil can be used for both cellular and shellular (ok I made that word up and yes my drawing sucks!). http://balancedbodymind.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/why-are-polyunsaturated-oils-so-dangerous/ One of the many problems associated with vegetable, nut and seed oils is their double carbon bond, which is pictured below and explains why these oils become problematic when aged or of most importance, when they become heated during cooking. Their propensity to cause inflammation and significant health issues is well documented and for further reading, please read the work of Ray Peat PhD.

molecular structure

molecular structure

Coconut oil has many advantages over so called essential fatty acids. 1. It doesn't have the issues associated with cooking at high temperatures and instability. 2. It is readily used by the mitochondria or energy producing cells without the need for carnitine, which is used to transport fatty acids into the cell. 3. It provides structural cellular protection.

Many bloggers and health advocates have touted the use of coconut oil as a form of sun block. That's fine, if you are of darker skin, where you are already protected from the suns harmful ultraviolet rays but if lighter skinned, here's the huge fail that you may have experienced. Coconut oil despite it's protective nature will burn fair skinned people, to which some of my friends have found out the hard way. However coconut oil can still be protective even for fair skinned people when used correctly and here's how.

You may have found that when using regularly sun block, you now often burn quicker with less sun exposure. There are two reasons why this may happen.

1. The sunblock that you use often contains vegetable oils as recepient of the zinc oxide and allows it to soak into your skin. 2. Your diet is high in vegetable and seed oils, nuts, green vegetables and foods high in PUFA's. Ever notice brown pigmentation spots on the skin too? The use of coconut oil should be applied post sun and also at night as a natural moisturiser of the skin. Applying coconut oil in conjunction with lowering the amount of PUFA's consumed in your diet and to avoid using sunblock. You should gradually introduce your time of exposure in the sun. Staying in the sun for long periods of time will ultimately age the skin but using these guidlines will help you to tolerate the suns ray's and gain the essential, hormone like Vitamin D and healing red rays.

When spending longer periods of time in the sun and for children. My friend Eric Lepine has devised this useful home made sunblock that doesn't have the PUFA's often found in commercial products. To make it he recommends the following.

½ ounce of organic beeswax 2 ounces of coconut oil 2 ounces of shea butter one capsule of Unique E (for extra antioxidizing properties; for women, I've even had them use Progest-E, for similar effect, plus the added bonus of the progesterone).

2 TBS of micronized zinc oxide (at that concentration, it will be about 20% of total volume, and should confer an SPF of about 30). The micronized version will have you avoid the zombie/pasty white look. You can opt for the non-micronized version if you prefer though.

Just melt the first three ingredient one at a time, progressively, waiting until the preceding one has completely melted before adding the next one. Once the first 3 ingredients are melted, squeeze the vitamin E capsule into the melted mixture, followed by the zinc oxide powder (if using micronized zinc oxide, use caution while mixing it in. While its safety is well-proven when it comes to topical use, the safety issues with micronized powders arise from the risks associated with breathing in the fine particles. The risk is likely mostly a matter of how often one is exposed to these fine particles but, extra precaution is always warranted). Mix well using a whisk. Transfer to a small pot with a large opening before the mixture solidifies (small mason jar or something similar). The mixture might need one last good mixing once it solidifies so, preferably, the container should have enough space to allow for this without making too much of a mess.

It's time for sunlight to get the credit it deserves for promoting health and stops being demonised. It's free, it's much better than poorly produced vitamin D supplements and an essential part of life. So if you need to use a block for longer periods. Try the one above or at least spend time getting used to sun light without the vegetable oils. If you want to know more about enhancing skin health with sun exposure check out this more recent blog.