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red raspberry and carrot seed oil sunscreen spfSun Screens & SPF Values of Natural Oils

We researched this article after receiving comments from some customers about out Sahara Tanning Serum.

Customers said they has experienced less reddening of their skin than normal after sunbathing or during daily exposure to sun when applying our Sahara Tanning Serum.

However, we had always pointed out that our Tanning Serums has no sun protection added and should be though of as having an SPF of 0.

When we looked into this we discovered that many studies have recorded high SPF protection values in tests on some natural oils.

Learn about Sahara Natural Tanning Serum ►︎

Essential Oils that Offer SPF Protection

The information about this on the internet is a bit “variable” to say the least.

We have seen articles and research claiming anything from 6 to 50 for red raspberry seed oil SPF alone!

Scientific research that we reviewed 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.

One good reason for creating a natural sun block is that commercial sunscreens contain many quite unpleasant chemicals. Although the big Cancer Charities and the FDA say they are lovely chemicals and that there is no problem many people with some academic qualifications do not agree.

So, is there any natural oil or herb based alternative?

The Most Important Studies

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]

Further investigation into Rice and Raspberry Seed Oils examined the effects of adding vegetable based oils, rice bran oil and raspberry seed oil to cosmetic formulations. They found that adding these natural oils allowed them to reduce the amount of synthetic chemicals needed in a commercial sunscreen.

In fact vegetable oils seemed to improve the UV absorption rates as well as improve antioxidant activity of these cosmetics. [2]

Another study determined that Raspberry Seed Oil offers protection against both UVA and UVB and had an SPF value of comparable effectiveness to titanium Oxide [3]

A report published in the International Journal of Pharmacology Research, also supports 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 The Best Natural Oils for Sun Protection

Red Raspberry Seed Oil – SPF 28-60 UVB : SPF 6.75-7.5 UVA

The most widely discussed natural oil with SPF protection is Red Raspberry Seed Oil.
It is featured in the most commonly quoted studies that 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 a 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 6 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 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]

Argan Oil Tanning Serum Bottle

Argan Oil Tanning Serum - 65ml

A blend of Moroccan Argan Oil plus three exotic oils to fast-tan and condition skin while sunbathing

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Conclusion – Can Oils Offer Any Protection from the Sun?

A natural, effective sunscreen seems to be quite possible to produce. The issue appears to be that research results vary. 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 recommend our Sahara Tanning Serum for this.

Research & References











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

Chanchal Deep Kaur and Swarnlata Saraf

[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

One Response to Natural Sunscreens with Oils

  • Neville Bryant says:

    Hi, I am from New Zealand and am wanting to formulate a natural sunscreen. Do you know where I can go to get the SPF scientifically tested. The ingredient I am looking at is Raspberry Oil.

    Thank you.

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