Sunburns & Sun Protection

Shea Butter Recipe for Sunburn

This shea butter recipe is good for light sunburns treatment. Cream is enriched with Aloe Vera gel and Lavender oil that are also good for sunburns.

What do you need?

  • 2 oz. unrefined Shea butter
  • 2 tablespoons Aloe Vera gel
  • 30 drops Lavender essential oil
  • 4 oz. empty clean jar
  • electric hand mixer

You don’t have to melt shea butter at all and this is the method i prefer. Make sure unrefined shea butter is on a room temperature before you start. Mash it with a fork and add Aloe Vera and Lavender oil. Mash it again a little bit. Mix it with a hand mixer for few minutes and you are done!

Alternatively, you can do the same cream using following method. Melt unrefined shea butter on the steam using double pot.  Put it out of the steam and let it cool down on the room temperature. Add Aloe Vera.  Aloe Vera won’t blend so easily with shea butter, so i usually mix it with electric mixer for a few minutes. Add Lavender essential oil and mix it again. Put it in a clean jar and let it cool down on a room temperature.

If you haven’t used Aloe Vera before, before you mix it into the cream putt a small amount of gel on the back of your hand to be sure there is no allergic reaction. If there is, just leave it out from the recipe.

I often read on internet about Shea butter’s effectiveness for a sun protection. This is true to some extent, but shea butter sun protection factor is very low and it varies greatly from sample to sample. It just isn’t reliable protection from the sun. Best thing you can do for your skin is to avoid strong sun exposure or at least use some more reliable sun protection.

This cream can be helpful if you already got light sunburns. If your sunburns are more serious you should visit your doctor for a medical advise.

Sunscreen Lotion

This homemade shea butter lotion recipe provides good physical sun protection due to titanium dioxide and zinc oxide properties. Some of the oils included provide light sun protection also, but they are here mostly for the good scent and other benefits.

Titanium dioxide powder (available in pharmacy) is most important ingredient because it provides the physical protection from sun. For ‘snow white’ type or sensitive skin you can use more than 2 tablespoons. For dark type skin even 1 tablespoon will do.

Zinc oxide powder is optional, but valuable ingredient due to its anti-inflammatory, sedative, anti-allergy and mild physical sunscreen properties. If you have very sensitive skin, zinc oxide should be included. Drawback of using zinc oxide is its strong drying effect, so it is not recommended to put more than 1 tablespoon.

What do you need?

  • 3 fl. oz. (~90 ml) of unrefined vegetable oil(s)
  • 2 fl. oz. (~60 ml) of shea butter
  • 1 fl. oz. (~30 ml) of cocoa butter
  • 2 tablespoons of titanium dioxide powder
  • 1 tablespoon of zinc oxide powder (optional)
  • 3 fl. oz. (~90 ml) of distillated water
  • 2-3 tablespoons walnut oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons of calendula or carrot oil
  • 10 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 3 drops of mint essential oil (optional)
  • 3 drops of vanilla essential oil (optional)
  • well-sealed, preferably dark glass bottle

First melt shea butter and cocoa butter on the steam using a double pot method. When melted, leave it to cool a little bit. In the meantime prepare other oils mixture.

You can use only one vegetables oil, but I prefer mixture of the following: olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, avocado oil, flaxseed (linseed) oil, canola oil and sunflower oil. Flaxseed, canola, and sunflower oil are not so easily absorbed thus give your skin oily, shiny look and reflect sun rays. That means they provide light sun protection, in addition to increasing the viscosity of the product. Whatever combination of oils you use it should be around 3 fluid oz. in total. Add 2-3 tablespoons of walnut oil which provides a good bronze color. Add 2-3 tablespoons of calendula oil or carrot oil.

Mix well melted shea and cocoa butter with other oils. When mixture is cooled on a body temperature, add 10 drops of lavender essential oil (soothing, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergy effect), 3 drops of mint essential oil (soothing, cooling effect) and 3 drops of vanilla essential oil for good smell.

Finally, you should put all parts (powders, water and oils) into well-sealed, preferably dark glass bottle. Put titanium dioxide (2 tablespoons) and zinc oxide (1 tablespoon) powder first. Then put 3 fluid oz. of distillated water. At the end, put oils mixture in the bottle. All parts should be on the same (room) temperature when mixed!

This lotion doesn’t contain any emulsifier to keep it homogeneous, so you have to shake it well before every use!

Sunscreen Cream

This cream provides physical sun protection due to titanium and/or zinc oxide properties. Strength of this cream supposes to correspond to approximately “15” sun protection factor of chemical protection creams.

Titanium dioxide is the main sun protection ingredient, but it can be mixed with or substituted with zinc oxide. Zinc oxide mineral powder works against harmful ultraviolet rays and protects from UVA and UVB rays.

If applying essential oils, be careful to choose something that does not sensitize the light. For example, the citrus oils such as bergamot, orange, lemon, and grapefruit are not a good choice. On the other hand, eucalyptus, lavender or mint oil is fine. Eucalyptus oil also moisturizes the skin and enhances the beneficial effects of other components.

Beeswax provides prolonged protection, keeping the cream on the skin which would otherwise go away in the water. Even if you skip essential oils in this recipe, beeswax, cocoa and coconut butter guaranty nice scent.

What do you need?

  • 4 oz. (~120 ml ) of shea butter
  • 4 oz. (~120 ml) of cocoa butter
  • 7 oz. (~200 ml) of coconut oil
  • 2 oz. (~60 g) of beeswax
  • 6 table spoons of titanium dioxide or 4 oz. (120 g) of zinc oxide
  • 15 drops of essential oils in total (optional)

First, melt the beeswax and cocoa butter on the steam using a double pot. Then, add the shea butter and coconut oil. When everything is mixed together, remove it from the steam and wait till it is cooled on a body temperature. Add essential oil(s) and mix thoroughly. Finally, add slowly the titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Stir it with the spoon or electric mixer (recommended).

After a couple of hours cream will become harder. The end result is a creamy, well spreading sun cream convenient to use on the hot beach.

Read general guidelines on how to make your own creams.

Learn more about shea butter, what it is good for and where to buy it.


Sunburns & Sun Protection — 5 Comments

  1. Another way to melt the Shea butter is to place the container of Shea butter into a bowl and then add hot water to the bowel, I use the hot water from my kitchen sink. It may take a little bit longer to melt but it works great.

  2. my name is ifeoluwa from Nigeria,I sell very good sheabutter from Africa, interested people shud call&whatapp: 08079198240

  3. please can I add propyl glycol, propyl paraben or petroleum jelly to it. if yes at what stage.

  4. I love shea butter for sun protection. I just use it straight up on both my self and my daughter. We are both fair skinned caucasians. We have been using the shea butter as sun protection for 2 years and have not gotten a single burn including going to the beach, spending time out on the water and being in the hot sun for prolonged periods. In fact the only time my daughter has been burnt in that time was when a family member put regular sunscreen on her and she got a really nasty burn.

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