I get it.
Finding a good sunscreen is a pain in the butt.
Everything seems to be too greasy, too white or too expensive. And those synthetic UV filters! Do they really cause cancer?!
It’s so tempting to stop the search and turn to good old coconut oil instead. Word on the street is that it has in-built SPF to protect you from sunburns.
What they don’t tell you is the sun damage it leaves behind. Here’s why using coconut oil as a sunscreen is one of the worst skincare mistakes you can make:
Why is coconut oil considered a good alternative to sunscreen?
Before sunscreen came along, people who lived in tropical climates, such as India and the Pacific island, relied on coconut oil for sun protection. They swear it helps them prevent sunburns.
It’s a nice story, isn’t it? But one science hasn’t proven yet. Without a proper study that controls every variable, how do you know coconut oil is to thank for their lack of sunburns? Maybe their diet played a part, too.
Besides, UV rays don’t just cause sunburns. They also cause wrinkles and cancer. There’s no proof coconut oil can protect you from those.
What’s the SPF of coconut oil?
Let’s put coconut oil to the scientific test. If coconut oil really were a good alternative to sunscreen, it should have a SPF of least 15 (the minimum recommended by dermatologists).
That’s without taking into consideration UVA rays (remember, SPF only refers to the protection you get from UVB rays).
Does coconut oil has a SPF of 15? Nope. Its SPF is much lower.
A 2010 study shows coconut oil has a SPF of 7!
7 peeps! That’s super low. You know what this means? Coconut oil only block 80% of UVB rays!
Coconut oil is NOT a good alternative to sunscreen. I repeat: coconut oil is NOT a good alternative to sunscreen.
What Should You Do Instead?
If your skin is prone to allergies and irritations or you simply prefer to use natural products, turn to a mineral sunscreen with zinc oxide.
These sunscreen protect from the entire UV range and are so gentle, they don’t irritate even the most sensitive of skin types.
If you’re curious to know what I use, check my favourite mineral sunscreens here.
Is coconut oil a substitute for sunscreen?
No, no, no! Coconut oil has a super low SPF. It won’t protect you from UV harm. Please, do your skin a favour and use a proper sunscreen with a high SPF that protects from both UVA and UVB rays.
Have you ever used coconut oil as sunscreen? Share your experience in the comments below.