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Natural Sunscreens and the truth about Essential Oils SPF values

The Truth About Red Raspberry Seed Oil and Essential Oils to Protect  Skin from the Sun’s UV Rays

Much is claimed about the SPF of oils like Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Jojoba Oil, Carrot Seed Oil and others.

Many essential oils are now used in natural sunscreens based on claims that they offer natural SPF UV protection. Research that recorded very high SPF values in their tests is widely quoted on websites. It is used to support the natural sun-screen products on offer.

The benefits of using natural oils such as Argan Oil to condition skin after and during sun exposure are well known. The topical application of oil lotions or creams is also proven to stimulate collagen production and help to heal scars. This makes them of great interest to use for care of the skin and fighting UV collagen damage.

The truth about SPF is that the proof of the SPF values of essential oils in sunscreens and the benefits of Red Raspberry Seed Oil is not consistent.
Data from different scientific studies are not entirely in agreement. People often quote only research and benefits that support the claims for the oils in their sun screens and lotions.

All studies did concluded that natural oils do have SPF protection properties and also other benefits for your skin. So, they have strong potential for use as sun-screens. The problem is that results of the research into natural oil SPF values for sun blocks vary.

Melanoma is skin cancer and caused for the most part by exposure to UV light. Unfounded claims for SPF values in products could potentially be life threatening.
For this reason we have put together as much of the current research as possible.

Read on to learn the truth about essential oils and their natural SPF values.

Essential Facts You Need to Know about Melanoma.

1 Additives such as retinyl palmitate and Oxybenzone ,butyl-methoxydibenzoylmethane – BMDBM and octocrylene – OCT  are present in many sunscreens. Some research suggested a link to increased risk of developing skin cancer. However, many cancer charities as well as the U.S. Food and Drug administration defend these additives as being totally safe. [14] But then the U.S. FDA allow GM foods to be labelled as Organic as well as using Fracking contaminated waste water to be used on Organic crops and the same FDA that approved Aspartame, a nerve toxin, for use in foods. so maybe we should take their advice to them with caution.

2 The number of times you have been sunburnt as a child is strongly linked with the risk of developing skin cancer. With an 80% increase is you were burnt 5 or more times before the age of 20[14]

3 A person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns at any age. [13]

4 The most common site for men to have a Melanoma is on the upper back. [12]

5 The most common site for women to have a Melanoma is on the lower legs. [12]

6 In the last 35 years, tanning bed use has exploded and melanoma rates have tripled.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer  warns that use of sunbeds ( tanning beds) before the age of 30 increases your risk of developing a melanoma by 75% [11]

 

The Causes of Skin Aging and Sun Burn

UV Raditation

UV (or Ultra Violet) radiation is a high frequency for of light that comes to us from the Sun.

There are two types of UV radiation that affect us on the earth – UVB  (290-320 nm – nano meter wavelengths) and UVA  (320- 400 nm). UVA is thought to be the cause of skin aging and UVB the source of sunburn. Any sunblock you buy should always offer UVA AND UVB protection. Only having one and  not the other may even increase the risk of getting burnt and developing Melanoma.

Stopping skin cancer with SPF

Whether it be sunblock, sunscreen, or suntan lotion sun protection products all aim to do the same thing. That is to reduce to reduce the total amount of UV rays ( Ultra Violet light) that reach your skin from the sun.

The amount by which they reduce UV exposure levels is expressed by an SPF ( Sun Protection Factor) value. The SPF value is a multiplier of the length of time which your skin can “safely” stay in the sun. If you are able to spend 10 minutes sunbathing without burning or reddening without sunblock then by using a factor 15 sunblock you should be able to stay in the sun for 15 x 10 minutes ( 150 minutes) without problems.

Reducing Exposure for Tanning

Most people get sun burn while trying to tan. In many cases reducing the time to get a tan rather than blocking the sun can be an alternative. Special oils formulas, such as our Sahara Tanning Serum, speed up the tanning process so that exposure to the sun may be reduced for sun tanning purposes.

 

The Best Essential Oils that Offer SPF  Protection for Skin Against UV Damage

We have seen articles and research claiming anything from 6 to 50 for red raspberry seed oil SPF alone!  Whilst other scientific studies concluded that “non-volatile oils” can have SPF values between 2 and 8 and “volatile oils” between 1 and 7. [22] This immediately raises concerns about websites claim essential oils have SPF values as high as 50 and so can be used as sunscreens.

Do oils or herbs really have enough SPF potential for use for sun protection creams? One good reason for creating a natural sun block recipe is that commercial sunscreens normally contain a long list of rather unpleasant chemicals. Although the big Cancer Charities and the FDA say they are lovely and no problem many people with some academic qualifications do not agree.

So, for this reason alone it would be good to find a natural oil or herb based alternative.

The most important studies supporting the SPF of natural oils in sunscreens.

The results of the first study we looked at concluded that herbs and oils such as aloe vera, jojoba, cucumber, wheat germ do have UVA and UVB absorbing properties and potential for creating effective, natural, commercial sunscreen. [23]  A second study looking into Raspberry Seed Oil concluded that “Raspberry seed oil showed absorbency in the UV-B range with potential for use as a broad spectrum UV protectant.” [1]

A further investigation into Rice and Raspberry Seed Oils was conducted in 2014. It examined the effects of adding vegetable based oils, rice bran oil and raspberry seed oil to cosmetic formulations. It was found that adding these natural oils allowed them to reduce the amount of synthetic chemicals needed in a commercial sunscreen. The vegetable oils seemed to improve the UV absorption rates as well as improve antioxidant activity. [2]

One further study determined that Raspberry Seed Oil offers protection against both UVA and UVB. Tests concluded that the Raspberry Seed Oil under test had an SPF value of comparable effectiveness to titanium Oxide [3]

Yet another study, published in the International Journal of Pharmacology Research, also supports some of the claims that herbal oils can have high SPF values. This report suggested SPF values of 6 to 20 for various essential oils ( see our oils list below for details). [41]

Summary – natural essentials oils for sun protection

Red Raspberry Seed Oil – SPF – See below

One of the best know oils with SPF protection is said to be Red Raspberry Seed Oil.
One of the most commonly quoted studies and the hotly contested concluded that Raspberry Seed Oil could have an SPF value of between 28 to 60 for UVB wavelengths and 6.75 to 7.5 for UVA wavelengths [3]  [1]

Carrot Seed Oil – SPF 19 – UVB

Carrot seed oil is proposed as an essential oil ideal for use in sunblocks. with significant antioxidant, antiseptic, anti fungal and fragrant properties with high levels of vitamin A.

Wheat germ Oil – SPF 22 UVB

Wheat germ Oil was found to have a UVB protection SPF of 22 [41]

Coconut Oil – SPF 8

Coconut Oil is an all round fantastic oil which you should have in your kitchen. Like culinary Argan Oil it has amazing benefits for your health and is delicious. Try a tablespoon or two a day for your health. We include this oil in our Sahara Tanning Serum as it helps to develop a deeper tan more quickly. This means you can get a better tan more safely with less UV exposure.[50]

Jojoba Oil – SPF 06 UVB

Jojoba is excellent at locking in moisture and has anti-inflammatory properties. This is why it is included in our Sahara Tanning Serum – to help stop the drying of skin due to heat. It is also similar to the natural sebum produced on our scalp and in fact helps cleans the hair follicle – which is why Jojoba is also included in our Hair Magick Hair Repair Serum.[41]

Rice Bran Oil – SPF 1.7*

Rice bran oil contains a substance known as gamma oryzanol. Research shows that it protects skin against UV induced oxidation. The UVB absorption SPF of the 1%* oryzanol cream was tested to be 1.7.  [31]

The Sahara Tanning Serum mystery solved?

Sahara Argan Oil conditions and tan anti aging serum

Sahara Argan Oil Anti Aging Tanning Serum

2.20fl oz Sahara Tanning Serum

A Tanning serum of exotic oils with over 40% Argan Oil to preserve skin and develop a rich tan quickly while sun-bathing.

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When researching this article we discovered that one of our products, Sahara Tanning Serum, contains two of the oils discussed below. We always said to assume that this product has an SPF value of 0 and offers no UV protection.

However, comments made by some customers over the years were a bit of a mystery.
Many people commented that they experienced less reddening of their skin than they would have expected after sunbathing when using our Sahara Tanning Serum?

In particular during short sunbathing trips where they had not used a sunblock. So possibly this in some way does indicate that the reports of these oils having an SPF value is true and can be of practical value.
In either case we are sure you will find that essential oils, such as pure Argan Oil, applied under a sun-block will leave your skin looking and feeling less-aged and less dry or leathery after periods of exposure to the sun.

Especially as this is kinder to the skin and free of some very nasty chemicals.

You can learn more about and buy our Sahara Tanning Serum here.

Conclusion – Can Oils Provide SPF Sun Protection in Sunscreens?
A natural and effective sunscreen seems to be quite possible to produce. Currently the issue appears to be that research results vary to quite a degree. We are also not aware of any natural sunblocks that have been put through a cosmetics testing process by an organisation like the FDA. ( If you know of any please get in touch).

Some of the products out there are claiming high SPF values but after examining the ingredients we often find that they contain titanium oxide or zinc oxide. Both are extremely effective sun UV blocking agents and also, being mineral, qualify as natural.

So if you want a same natural and effective sun lotion and skin care regimen for the beach we suggest a simple zinc oxide cream for protection from the sun and natural oils to condition and help protect the skin from aging. We of course recommend our Sahara Tanning Serum for this.

 

Research References

[1] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/215523935_Characteristics_of_raspberry_Rubus_idaeus_L_seed_oil_Food_Chem
[23] http://www.phcog.com/article.asp?issn=0973-1296;year=2009;volume=5;issue=19;spage=238;epage=248;aulast=Kapoor

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=raspberry+seed+oil+UV&cmd=DetailsSearch

[3] http://mail.lotioncrafter.com/reference/oomah.pdf

[14] http://www.livescience.com/45939-melanoma-early-life-sun-exposure.html

[13]http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sunburn/facts-about-sunburn-and-skin-cancer

[11] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.22453/abstract

[12] http://www.searo.who.int/publications/bookstore/documents/9283204298/en/

[21] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_oil

[22] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3140123/

[41] IN-VITRO DETERMINATION OF SUN PROTECTION FACTOR AND EVALUATION OF HERBAL OILS Jyotsna A Saonere Suryawanshi  http://www.ijprjournal.org/File_Folder/37-43(ijpr).pdf

[50] In vitro sun protection factor determination of herbal oils used in cosmetics

Chanchal Deep Kaur and Swarnlata Saraf http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3140123/

[31] Yoshino, G., Kazumi, T., Amano, M., Tateiwa, M., Yamasaki, T., Takashima, S., Iwai, M., Hatanaka, H., and Baba, S. (1989). Effects of gamma-oryzanol and probucol on hyperlipidemia. Curr. Ther. Res., 45(6), 975-982   https://www.tsuno.co.jp/e/04/img/pdf/oryzanol_Food.pdf

 

 

 

A lot of websites have written about natural UV protection with pure oils. Some for and some against.

Some research, that found high SPF values in their studies, are now used by many websites to support the products they are trying to sell. However, the findings of different studies vary and are in conflict. So websites are only choosing the research that supports their products.

 

Melanoma is the number 1 cause of skin cancer. This means that unfounded claims could potentially be life threatening.
For this reason we have put together some of the current research in case you wish to learn more.

 

Learn the truth about essential oils and their true natural SPF values by clicking here.

 

Before we start – Some Essential Melanoma Facts

1 Additives such as retinyl palmitate and Oxybenzone ,butyl-methoxydibenzoylmethane – BMDBM and octocrylene – OCT are present in many sunscreens. Some research suggested a link to increased risk of developing skin cancer. However, many cancer charities as well as the U.S. Food and Drug administration defend these additives as being totally safe. [14] But then the U.S. FDA allow GM foods to be labelled as Organic as well as using Fracking contaminated waste water to be used on Organic crops so I am not sure who they are looking after there!

2 The number of times you have been sunburnt as a child is strongly linked with the risk of developing skin cancer. With an 80% increase is you were burnt 5 or more times before the age of 20[14]

 

 

3 A person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had five or more sunburns at any age. [13]

 

 

4  The most common site for men to have a Melanoma is on the upper back. [12]

5 The most common site for women to have a Melanoma is on the lower legs. [12]

 

6 In the last 35 years, tanning bed use has exploded and melanoma rates have tripled.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer  warns that use of sunbeds ( tanning beds) before the age of 30 increases your risk of developing a melanoma by 75% [11]

 

 

 

The biggest cause of skin aging and sun burn?

UV (or Ultra Violet) radiation is a high frequency for of light that comes to us from the Sun.

There are two types of UV radiation that affect us on the earth – UVB (290-320 nm – nano meter wavelengths) and UVA (320- 400 nm).

UVA is thought to be the cause of skin aging and UVB the source of sunburn.

Any sunblock you buy should always offer UVA AND UVB protection. Only having one and not the other may even increase the risk of getting burnt and developing Melanoma.

 

Stopping skin cancer with SPF

Whether it be sunblock, sunscreen, or suntan lotion sun protection products all aim to do the same thing. That is to reduce to reduce the total amount of UV rays ( Ultra Violet light) that reach your skin from the sun.

The amount by which they reduce UV exposure levels is expressed by an SPF ( Sun Protection Factor) value. The SPF value is a multiplier of the length of time which your skin can “safely” stay in the sun. If you are able to spend 10 minutes sunbathing without burning or reddening without sunblock then by using a factor 15 sunblock you should be able to stay in the sun for 15 x 10 minutes ( 150 minutes) without problems.

 

 

 

The best oils for protection against UV damage

 

Many oils and some herbs are claimed to have an SPF value. Perhaps the most commonly discussed are: Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Avocado Oil, Macadamia Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Jojoba Oil, Carrot Seed Oil, Soybean Oil, Wheatgerm Oil

 

 

The oils with the highest SPF values

Red Raspberry Seed Oil is possibly most widely used as a natural sun lotion ingredient. We have seen articles claiming anything from 6 to 50 SPF for this oil! So what is the truth?

 

A study that concluded that “non-volatile oils” can have SPF values between 2 and 8 and “volatile oils” between 1 and 7. [22] This immediately raises concerns about websites claim values as high as 50 for many different oils.

 

 

 

 

But do oils or herbs really have potential for use in sun protection creams.

One reason for looking at this carefully is that commercial sunscreens normally contain a long list of rather unpleasant chemicals. Although the big Cancer Charities and the FDA say they are lovely and no problem many people with some academic qualifications do not agree.

So, for this reason alone it would be good to find a natural oil and herb based alternative.

 

The most important studies supporting the SPF of natural oils.

The results of the first study we looked at concluded that herbs and oils such as aloe vera, jojoba, cucumber, wheat germ do have UVA and UVB absorbing properties and potential for creating effective, natural, commercial sunscreen. [23] A second study looking into Raspberry Seed Oil concluded that “ Raspberry seed oil showed absorbency in the UV-B and UV-C ranges with potential for use as a broad spectrum UV protect ant.  “ [1]

 

Another study conducted in 2014 looked into adding vegetable based oils, rice bran oil and raspberry seed oil to cosmetic formulations. The research discovered that adding these natural oils allowed them to reduce the amount of synthetic chemicals needed in a commercial sunscreen. The vegetable oils seemed to improve the UV absorption rates as well as improve antioxidant activity. [2]

 

One further study determined that Raspberry Seed Oil offers protection against both UVA and UVB. Tests concluded that the Raspberry Seed Oil under test had an SPF value of comparable effectiveness to titanium Oxide [3]

 

Yet another study, published in the International Journal of Pharmacology Research, also supports some of the claims that herbal oils can have high SPF values. This report suggested SPF values of 6 to 20 for various essential oils ( see our oils list below for details). [41]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summary – Natural Oils The Facts

 

Red Raspberry Seed Oil (SPF – See below)

One of the best know oils with SPF protection is said to be Red Raspberry Seed Oil.

One of the most commonly quoted studies and the hotly contested concluded that Raspberry Seed Oil could have an SPF value of between 28 to 60 for UVB wavelengths and 6.75 to 7.5 for UVA wavelengths [3]  [1]

 

 

Carrot Seed Oil (SPF 19 – UVB)

Carrot seed oil is proposed as an essential oil ideal for use in sunblocks. with significant antioxidant, antiseptic, anti fungal and fragrant properties with high levels of vitamin A.

 

Wheat germ Oil (SPF 22 UVB)

Wheat germ Oil was found to have a UVB protection SPF of 22 [41]

 

Coconut Oil (SPF 8)
Coconut Oil is an all round fantastic oil which you should have in your kitchen. Like culinary Argan Oil it has amazing benefits for your health and is delicious. Try a tablespoon or two a day for your health. We include this oil in our Sahara Tanning Serum as it helps to develop a deeper tan more quickly. This means you can get a better tan more safely with less UV exposure.[50]

 

 

 

Jojoba Oil (SPF 06 UVB)

Jojoba is excellent at locking in moisture and has anti-inflammatory properties. This is why it is included in our Sahara Tanning Serum – to help stop the drying of skin due to heat. It is also similar to the natural sebum produced on our scalp and in fact helps cleans the hair follicle – which is why Jojoba is also included in our Hair Magick Hair Repair Serum.[41]

 

Rice Bran Oil (SPF 1.7*)

Rice bran oil contains a substance known as gamma oryzanol. Research shows that it protects skin against UV induced oxidation. The UVB absorption SPF of the 1%* oryzanol cream was tested to be 1.7. [31]

 

 

The Sahara Tanning Serum mystery solved?
When researching this article we discovered that one of our products, Sahara Tanning Serum, contains two of the oils discussed below. We always said to assume that this product has an SPF value of 0 and offers no UV protection.

 

However, comments made by some customers over the years were a bit of a mystery.

Many people commented that they experienced less reddening of their skin than they would have expected after sunbathing when using our Sahara Tanning Serum?

In particular during short sunbathing trips where they had not used a sunblock. So possibly this in some way does indicate that the reports of these oils having an SPF value is true and can be of practical value.

 

In either case we are sure you will find that essential oils, such as pure Argan Oil, applied under a sun-block will leave your skin looking and feeling less-aged and less dry or leathery after periods of exposure to the sun.

 

Especially as this is kinder to the skin and free of some very nasty chemicals.

 

Conclusion

A natural and effective sunscreen seems to be quite possible to produce. Currently the issue appears to be that research results vary to quite a degree. We are also not aware of any natural sunblocks that have been put through a cosmetics testing process by an organisation like the FDA. ( If you know of any please get in touch).

 

Some of the products out there are claiming high SPF values but after examining the ingredients we often find that they contain titanium oxide or zinc oxide. Both are extremely effective sun UV blocking agents and also, being mineral, qualify as natural.

 

So if you want a same natural and effective sun lotion and skin care regimen for the beach we suggest a simple zinc oxide cream for protection from the sun and natural oils to condition and help protect the skin from aging. We of course recommend our Sahara Tanning Serum for this.

 

Research References

[1] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/215523935_Characteristics_of_raspberry_Rubus_idaeus_L_seed_oil_Food_Chem

 

[23] http://www.phcog.com/article.asp?issn=0973-1296;year=2009;volume=5;issue=19;spage=238;epage=248;aulast=Kapoor

 

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=raspberry+seed+oil+UV&cmd=DetailsSearch

 

[3] http://mail.lotioncrafter.com/reference/oomah.pdf

 

[14] http://www.livescience.com/45939-melanoma-early-life-sun-exposure.html

[13]http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sunburn/facts-about-sunburn-and-skin-cancer

[11] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ijc.22453/abstract

[12] http://www.searo.who.int/publications/bookstore/documents/9283204298/en/

[21] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_oil

[22] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3140123/

[41] IN-VITRO DETERMINATION OF SUN PROTECTION FACTOR AND EVALUATION OF HERBAL OILS Jyotsna A Saonere Suryawanshi http://www.ijprjournal.org/File_Folder/37-43(ijpr).pdf

 

 

[50] In vitro sun protection factor determination of herbal oils used in cosmetics

Chanchal Deep Kaur and Swarnlata Saraf http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3140123/

 

[31] Yoshino, G., Kazumi, T., Amano, M., Tateiwa, M., Yamasaki, T., Takashima, S., Iwai, M., Hatanaka, H., and Baba, S. (1989). Effects of gamma-oryzanol and probucol on hyperlipidemia. Curr. Ther. Res., 45(6), 975-982 https://www.tsuno.co.jp/e/04/img/pdf/oryzanol_Food.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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