How to Use Coconut Oil for Wounds, Cuts, Burns, And Scabs

Robyn Openshaw, MSW – Updated: November 12, 2019 – This Post May Contain Affiliate Links

You probably know that coconut oil has amazing benefits – but did you know that it can actually help to heal wounds and cuts? Scientists agree that using coconut oil for wounds is an effective way to promote faster healing.

In fact, there are many research studies that have found applying coconut oil to a cut or scrape on your skin can help you heal more quickly – and it works on all sorts of skin issues, from diabetic wounds to burns to dry skin. If you remember, coconut oil even came in handy for helping my concrete-mangled face shed its scabs and get back to smooth in just three days!

I often use coconut oil as a nighttime moisturizer, and in fact, it’s helped me heal after burning off about 10 pre-cancers. I also used it successfully on a deep cut on my lip two years ago (tennis racket to the face) that no doctor wanted to stitch up.

In this article:

  • What is Coconut Oil?
  • Can Coconut Oil Help Heal Wounds?
  • How Do You Use Coconut Oil for Wounds?
  • When to Use Coconut Oil for Wounds
  • Coconut Oil for Scars
  • Final Thoughts on Using Coconut Oil for Wounds

Of course, using the right kind of coconut oil in the right way is crucial for reaping the wound-healing benefits and maximizing your results. From which type of coconut oil works best to heal wounds to when, where, and how to apply it, find out everything you need to know about the powers of coconut oil to heal your skin.


You’ve probably seen jars of coconut oil at your local grocery store, but you may not know exactly what it is – or more specifically, how it’s created. Coconut oil comes from coconuts that are found on the coconut palm tree, or the Cocos nucifera. The coconuts are harvested from the tree when they’re mature, and then coconut oil is extracted from the kernel or meat. This process creates a plant oil with anti-inflammatory and skin barrier repair effects when used topically.1

Coconut oil can be extracted after the coconut milk has been removed while the meat is still wet, which results in what’s called virgin coconut oil. It also can be extracted from the copra2 – or dried coconut meat – which makes a more refined coconut oil. I’m a fan of using the “whole food,” or as whole as possible, for both food and for skin application, so I always buy organic, virgin oil.

Coconut oil is loaded with saturated fats, with nearly 90% of fatty acids in coconut oil being saturated fats.

Another product that’s similar to coconut oil and has been found to offer many of the same benefits for skin healing is cultured coconut extract, which is virgin coconut oil that undergoes additional bacterial fermentation.3

This may be useful in helping the skin maintain its own microbiome. (Yes, like the gut, the skin has a wide variety of beneficial bacteria that keep it healthy and young-looking and quick to heal.)

Lauric Acid in Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid and a number of other fatty acids, which research suggests have a positive effect on wound healing.4 Scientists have found that the high levels of monolaurin in coconut, which is derived from the large amounts of lauric acid, are particularly important because monolaurin has the ability to disintegrate the membranes of lipid-coated harmful bacteria. In short, monolaurin is thought to be what gives coconut oil its antibacterial and antifungal properties.5


When it comes to research about using coconut oil to heal open wounds on your skin, there’s no question: Using coconut oil can help cuts, scrapes, and scabs to heal more quickly. In fact, multiple research studies have found that coconut oil has a wide range of healing properties.

  • In animals, wounds treated with virgin coconut oil healed more quickly than untreated wounds. The coconut-oil treated wounds also showed a significant increase in pepsin-soluble collagen and increased antioxidant enzyme activities.6
  • Burns treated with coconut oil had significant improvements in burn wound contraction – or the body’s efforts to close up the wound – as well as a significantly decreased period of epithelialization, meaning new tissue growth that covers a wound to heal it.7
  • Coconut oil was found to be more effective than silver sulfadiazine cream at treating diabetic ulcers.8
  • The monolaurin in coconut oil can make it an effective antibacterial and antifungal treatment. Both bacterial and fungal infections can slow down the ability of wounds to heal.9

Coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

In addition to helping heal wounds, coconut oil has been shown to have excellent skin benefits. It can help with a variety of skin conditions and offer added protection from damage caused by the sun.

  • Coconut oil was found to be just as safe and effective as mineral oil for treating dry skin.10
  • Coconut oil decreased the severity of mild to moderate atopic dermatitis in pediatric patients.11
  • Coconut oil in the form of cultured coconut extract provides better barrier functions for the skin and has an anti-inflammatory effect after skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation.12
  • Coconut oil can even help protect the skin from the damaging effects of the sun’s UV radiation.13


To harness the power of coconut oil for healing wounds, start with virgin coconut oil, the pure oil that’s extracted from fresh coconut meat before it’s been dried.

Most of the research involving coconut oil for wound treatment has been conducted using virgin coconut oil, and several studies have shown that, compared to refined coconut oil, virgin coconut oil has more inflammation-reducing anxtioxidants and is better able to fight free radicals.14

You can find virgin coconut oil online. (My readers love to stock up on discounted buckets of the highest quality oil I’ve found, during our annual wholesale-price Group Buy on a variety of whole-foods pantry staples, so get on our newsletter list so you hear about it in October every year).

Virgin coconut oil will be whiter than refined oil and have a more coconut-y smell and taste. Just make sure it says “virgin” and “cold-pressed” on the label. This same kind of oil I use for my skin is what I use for baking or frying as well.

Wounds respond best to coconut oil when they’re treated while still fresh, so it’s smart to keep a jar of virgin coconut oil in your pantry and in your medicine cabinet. You can treat a wound using coconut oil with the following steps:

  1. Immediately after getting a cut, wash it with running water and pat it dry.
  2. Apply a generous amount of coconut oil to the cut using sterile gauze.
  3. Cover the cut with a bandaid or sterile bandage if you prefer.
  4. Re-apply the coconut oil to your cut several times a day, and continue to apply coconut oil to your scabs until the wound is healed.

You can treat burns using coconut oil in a similar way. When I blended some boiling turkey drippings in a blender to make gravy, the blender jar exploded and I ended up with one arm covered with second-degree burns. I used raw honey, wrapped it with an ace bandage, and later, added coconut oil.

  1. As soon as your skin is burned, immediately run the burn beneath cold water, which will stop the burning process.
  2. Apply coconut oil to the burn using sterile gauze.
  3. Cover the burn with a sterile bandage, and repeat the process several times a day until the burn has healed.

Of course, if your wound or burn is large or severe, please get professional medical attention.


Using coconut oil as soon as possible after you receive a cut, burn, scrape, or small open wound can provide a wide range of benefits. Along with helping you to heal more quickly, it keeps your skin moisturized and boosts collagen production, both of which may help reduce scarring.

Because coconut oil also has anti-inflammatory effects, applying virgin coconut oil to your burn or cut may help reduce swelling and relieve some of the pain.


While research hasn’t shown that using coconut oil (or any other kind of cream) for existing scars will necessarily help to minimize or eliminate them completely, some anecdotal evidence shows that coconut oil could help. Because coconut oil is moisturizing on the skin and boosts collagen production, there may be benefits if you apply coconut oil to existing scars regularly.

There is anecdotal evidence that coconut oil can help reduce the harsh appearance of scars.

Plus, treating scars with coconut oil hasn’t been shown to have any negative effects, so it’s worth trying. Most skin care products are full of chemical additives to preserve it for years.

At the very least, the moisturizing effects of coconut oil will help to keep your scar from getting dry and becoming uncomfortable.

Final Thoughts On Using Coconut Oil For Wounds

Next time you get a cut, an open wound, or a sore on your face (or any other part of your body), skip the chemical medicinal creams and head for your pantry.

By using coconut oil on your wound several times a day and continuing to apply it to scabs, you can cut down on your healing time, prevent scarring, and give your skin a little pampering – all in one fell swoop!

Read Next: Top 11 Benefits of Coconut Oil, And How To Use It Every Day

Robyn Openshaw, MSW, is the bestselling author of The Green Smoothies Diet, 12 Steps to Whole Foods, and 2017’s #1 Amazon Bestseller and USA Today Bestseller, Vibe. Learn more about how to make the journey painless, from the nutrient-scarce Standard American Diet, to a whole-foods diet, in her free video masterclass 12 Steps to Whole Foods.


Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links that help support the GSG mission without costing you extra. I recommend only companies and products that I use myself.

Posted in: 12 Steps To Whole Food, Natural Remedies

14 thoughts on “How to Use Coconut Oil for Wounds, Cuts, Burns, And Scabs”

  1. Norbert says:

    Great article. I did use coconut oil in my food before, but not as a natural skincare product 🙂
    Would it be recommended for babies, when they have skin irritations or rashes?
    Thank you 🙂

    1. Rose Butler GSG says:

      You’re very welcome Norbert. Absolutely, you can use cold-pressed, virgin coconut oil on the pediatric population. Check out source #11 above for more information. Hope this helps.

  2. Patty says:

    Sounds absolutely wonderful. As I find that all essential oils and most brands of coconut oils are toxic for me what is the purest oil you can purchase. It is apparently due to to processing or something added to it. I am at a loss but will try something else again.

    1. Rose Butler GSG says:

      Hi Patty, if you’ve tried the cold pressed, virgin coconut oil and it doesn’t work well for you, how about an organic olive oil. I use this on my hands in the winter sometimes.

  3. Fiona says:

    I use coconut oil as a facial moisturiser and for sun protection. I work outside as a gardener, and find it very effective, especially when combined with wearing a sun hat if needed (rarely here in England), and keeping my shoulders covered on exceedingly hot days. I also use coconut oil to treat athletes’ foot, rubbing it between my toes each morning before putting on my socks. I haven’t had any problems with the fungal disease since I started doing that many years ago, after all the creams stopped working. I also put a desert spoonful in my porridge each morning and it makes the porridge really smooth and creamy without tasting overtly of coconut. There are so many uses for the oil that I can’t imagine life without it.

    1. Rose Butler GSG says:

      Hi Fiona, thanks for sharing how you use coconut oil. You can use it in so many ways!!

  4. Cheryl A Major says:

    I used coconut oil to heal the top of one of my sheep’s heads. She had rubbed it raw and then it became chronically flaky…almost like eczema. The coconut oil fixed her up in just a few days! Amazing stuff. Great article Robyn!

    1. Rose Butler GSG says:

      Cheryl, that’s great to hear!! Thanks for sharing.

    2. Raq says:

      Can U also apply it to stitches? II’m not comfortable with having to keep it covered for 9 days with white stick on bandages.It already has dry crusted blood.The stitches are a bit tight bc it was recut and restitched again.I’d like to soften the stitches to be more flexible and not so tight.

  5. Don says:

    I have a terrible habit of picking at scabs on my skin, done it all my life.

    I am now trying to keep them soft so I can leave them alone and I am hoping that using coconut oil will help.

    1. Rose Butler GSG says:

      Don, keeping your skin soft with coconut oil is a great idea, hope it helps you too!

  6. Laura Venecia Rodriguez says:

    I like virgin coconut oil and used it as a moisturizer for my face for several years.

    Also, I used it to remove eye makeup at night. Long story short, however, I stopped using it anywhere near my eyes. In 1.5 years, I got 3 severe styes (my eyelids blew up and I looked like I had an elephant eye) on my left eyelid. I concluded that the coconut oil clogged the pores in my eyelid. I stopped using coconut oil 10 months ago and so far the stye has not returned whereas it was returning about every 5 months. Was it the coconut oil? Just not sure…Would love your take on this.

    1. Nichole says:

      Laura, I’m not Robyn, but I’ve used coconut oil to remove all my eye makeup (and rest of my makeup, then as my night moisturizer) for years with no issues. I’m trying to think how coconut oil could cause your problem (especially only in one eye) but I’m not sure. In any case, it sounds like NOT using it has been the best choice for you!

When Burns Happen

I recently burned myself while brewing a batch of kombucha. You can read more about that here, I highly recommend you read this article if you brew your own kombucha!

I burned myself pretty badly, second degree burns. I wanted to treat my burn naturally and this is how I did that.

But first, I want to share with you the difference between 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree burns. It is important that you know the difference between these burns and when it is necessary to seek medical attention.

The Difference Between 1st, 2nd and 3rd Degree Burns

According to, here is how to tell the degree of burn that you might have.

First-Degree Burns

First-degree burns, the mildest of the three, are limited to the top layer of skin:

  • Signs and symptoms: These burns produce redness, pain, and minor swelling. The skin is dry without blisters.
  • Healing time: Healing time is about 3 to 6 days; the superficial skin layer over the burn may peel off in 1 or 2 days.

Second-Degree Burns

Second-degree burns are more serious and involve the skin layers beneath the top layer:

  • Signs and symptoms: These burns produce blisters, severe pain, and redness. The blisters sometimes break open and the area is wet looking with a bright pink to cherry red color.
  • Healing time: Healing time varies depending on the severity of the burn. It can take up to 3 weeks or more.

Third-Degree Burns

Third-degree burns are the most serious type of burn and involve all the layers of the skin and underlying tissue:

  • Signs and symptoms: The surface appears dry and can look waxy white, leathery, brown, or charred. There may be little or no pain or the area may feel numb at first because of nerve damage.
  • Healing time: Healing time depends on the severity of the burn. Deep second- and third-degree burns (called full-thickness burns) will likely need to be treated with skin grafts, in which healthy skin is taken from another part of the body and surgically placed over the burn wound to help the area heal.

When To Seek Medical Attention

It is very important to seek medical attention for second and third degree burns. Risk of infection is high for both of these degree of burns, so be sure to see the doctor if you experience these levels of burns.

In my case, I went in to see my doctor and she cleaned and lightly dressed the wound.

When I went home, I followed up with a few home remedies to help heal my wound naturally. As always, it is very important to seek the medical advise of your physician before trying any home remedies.

Heal A Burn Naturally

So after I made it home, I was sure to keep the wound clean and freshly dressed to keep out the risk of infection.

My burn was a second degree burn, so I followed my doctors orders and then followed up a few days later with these naturally remedies.

Using Aloe Vera

One of the most soothing things I put on my burn was aloe vera. Now I am not talking about the aloe vera that you get in the stores, I am talking about aloe vera that comes directly from the plant.

  • Simply cut a large leaf/stem off of the base of the plant.
  • Carefully slice diagonally (not cutting all the way through) into the aloe vera stem exposing the gel like substance.
  • Now place the entire piece, (gel and plant with the gel side down) on top of the burn and wrap with some gauze and tape to keep in place.
  • Leave on overnight and replace the plant and dressing the next morning. Continue to do this until the burn is healed.

Using Lavender Essential Oil

Another method to help heal the wound naturally is to use lavender essential oil. You can read my introduction to lavender essential oil and its over 35 uses in this post.

Lavender essential oil is anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory and helps with reducing the pain. It can also renew cell growth when the skin is burned. Follow this protocol to heal your burn.

  • Simply mix together 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil (You Can Buy It Here) with 2 teaspoon of coconut or olive oil and rub over the burn.
  • Repeat several times a day until the burn is healed.
  • To help reduce the pain and peeling, you can add 10 drops of lavender essential oil with 4 oz of distilled water and mix in a spritzer bottle. Spray as needed.

Be sure you are using only therapeutic-grade essential oils! I highly recommend the essential oils below. It is the only brand I use and trust!

You can learn more about essential oils here.


  • source:
  • source:
  • source: modern essentials

Ah, coconut oil! The supermarket staple is the gift that just keeps on giving.

Seriously, not only does it smell like a much-needed vacay (just a whiff can transport you!), but it can also be used for everything from baking sweet eats to ridding your scalp of dandruff. One of its major claims to fame? Being super moisturizing thanks to its high lauric acid content, explains Mona Gohara, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine.

Since coconut oil basically smells like the beach in a bottle, it does begs the question: Can I use coconut oil for a sunburn—or no?

First thing’s first: What exactly is this seemingly magical coconut oil?

To put it simply, coconut oil comes from the “meaty part” of the fruit. Hmm, delicious.

“More specifically, it’s a combo of natural fatty acids, including linoleic acid, and lauric acid—both of which have hydrating, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. Plus, they’re known to strengthen the skin barrier,” says Gohara.

So, can I use coconut oil for sunburn relief?

While this arsenal of benefits might sound like a perfect match for red and raw skin, pros recommend using it more as a lotion for parched, lightly damaged skin than as a full-on treatment for scorched skin. Why? There’s no evidence showing that coconut oil is superior to tried-and-true burn treatments such as cold milk soaks and aloe vera, says Estee Williams, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

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Still, there’s no denying it has the potential to speed up healing of sun-ravaged (read: mega-dry) skin and prevent infections thanks to its antimicrobial properties. “So, if you’re set on using coconut oil, best to do so after the skin has cooled down and started to recover a little,” says Williams.

Okay, so I’m burned—now what?

Step one: Put the coco to the side, girl; you don’t need it yet.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), its essential you begin treating sunburn the minute you notice it. A good start? Applying a cold, damp washcloth—soaked with water or milk—for 10 to 15 minutes daily. Yup, you read that right. The proteins in milk (“any cow’s milk,” says Gohara) help coat and protect the skin.

CeraVe Moisturizing Cream $18.99

After each cool-down sesh—which you should do as often as possible for a speedy recovery—pat dry and slather on some lotion. Moisturizing helps repair the damaged skin barrier and calm inflammation, both of which are the result of the UV rays killing skin cells (ugh), explains Gohara. And although any basic cream can do the trick, Williams is a fan of Cerave since it has “ceramides,” the lipids that are responsible for forming that protective wall. If your skin is really burning up (cue: Jonas Bros), add a layer of aloe vera before your usual cream routine to help ease the pain.

Now can I start using the coconut oil?

Not so fast there, champ. Just a few more steps before you can go crazy on the coco.

“When your skin barrier is compromised, water evaporates more readily,” says Gohara. “The more severe the burn, the more likely you are to lose water.” So, it’s even more important that you stay hydrated during this entire sunburn relief process. Keep up with the liquids—good ole H2O is the best replacement.

And if you start to experience extensive blistering all over, consult a doc. Although rare, this response can put you at further risk of dehydration and infection.

Finally, it’s time for the coconut oil!

After one to two days of treating your burns the old-school way, your skin should be calmer and healing well. And because of that, it’s safe to start oiling your bod. (Before you cover head to toe, however, try a little bit out on a small area to make sure you don’t have any negative or allergic reactions.)

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Since it basically acts like a moisturizer, use coconut oil post-shower or bath just like you would do with lotion. If you want even more moisture, feel free to add a layer of cream after your round of oil—just apply an even lighter layer of oil so your skin can still breathe easy.

Pro tip: Since the oil can impede your body’s ability to release heat, steer clear of heavy application if you’re planning on going back into the high temps right away (bold choice, tbh). And, of course, don’t forget to put on sunscreen! SPF should be your BFF.

Elizabeth Bacharach Elizabeth Bacharach is the Assistant Editor at Women’s Health where she writes and edits content about mental and physical health, food and nutrition, sexual health, and lifestyle trends across and the print magazine.

Using Coconut Oil For Sunburns Can Work If You Follow These 7 Simple Steps

We have all heard about the benefits of coconut oil on skin. It’s super moisturizing, fights bacterial acne, prevents wrinkles, and smells delicious — but can using coconut oil cure sunburns? Let’s look at all the facts about this miracle oil to get to the heart of the matter.

According to Dr. Oz, coconut oil has a range of internal health benefits including balancing blood sugar and fighting off “yeast, fungus, and candida,” (just to name a couple of many perks). Organic Facts shares that coconut oil’s saturated fats retain moisture on the skin, while capric, caprylic, and lauric acids have disinfectant and antimicrobial properties that greatly benefit our exterior (hello, soft skin and goodbye zits!).

On top of happy organs and glowing skin, the endless uses of coconut oil for hair rounds this out as the beauty product of the century, and given that extra virgin coconut oil reigns supreme, it made me wonder if we should also use coconut oil for sunburns, too.

The answer is yes and no. Coconut oil is terrific for moisturizing dry skin, but you have to get your delicate, sunburned skin back in shape before you go lathering on the coco.

When using coconut oil to cure your sunburn, follow these 7 simple steps.

1. Apply A Damp Washcloth


The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying a damp washcloth to the skin as soon as you notice a burn. Repeat this several times a day for 10-15 minutes. Allow the skin to remain damp and follow each washcloth session with a moisturizing lotion.

2. Use Vitamin E Oil For Deep Moisture

Age Renewal Moisturizing Creme, $13, Amazon

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends moisturizing with a product that contains an antioxidant like Vitamin E after a sunburn to help mitigate skin damage. Although coconut oil does have Vitamin E, you’ll reap more benefits with higher concentrations. Pure Vitamin E oil is great option, but you might try a Vitamin E-intense lotion so you’re not sunburned and totally sticky all night.

3. Apply Aloe Vera To Soothe The Sting

Although aloe vera won’t speed healing time, it will bring down the hurting time. Be sure to use a gel made of 100% aloe vera, and not a perfumed product containing the healing plant, as it could make sensitive skin hurt more! Alternatively, for a particularly ache-y burn, a hydrocortisone cream may be applied the first day or two.

4. Take A Good Old-Fashioned Bath

Apple Cider Vinegar, $7, Amazon

…A bath full of vinegar, that is. Run a cool bath and add a cup of apple cider vinegar per gallon of bath water. To do your part to fight the massive drought going on, a more earth-friendly solution is to add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar to a spray bottle and fill the remainder with water. Spritz away to your heart’s content!

5. Rehydrate And Medicate

Zico Premium Coconut Water (6 Pack), $17, Amazon

Getting plenty of fluids is crucial after a bad sunburn. Drinking not-from-concentrate coconut water will help rehydrate your body and replenish the electrolytes lost as you sweated your booty off beachside. Additionally, The Skin Care Foundation recommends taking a dose of ibuprofen (not aspirin, or acetaminophen) for 48 hours at the first signs of the sunburn. The ibuprofen’s anti-inflammatory qualities help with swelling, redness, and “might prevent some long-term skin damage.”

6. If It Looks (And Hurts) Pretty Bad, Go Seek Medical Attention


Most likely you can walk this off like the tough dame you are. However, if you have blistering burns that cover more than 20% of your body, the Mayo Clinic urges you to get medical attention. In that same vein, if you have fevers and chills in tandem with blistered skin, you may have sunstroke and need to see a doc. Another reason to get help; if you get infected skin from picking or scratching at blistered, sunburned skin. Be careful, all you lovely beauties. Wear sunscreen, stay out of direct sun without protection, and for the love of God, don’t lay in tanning beds.

7. Bring on the coconuts!


Once your skin has recuperated after the first two days of pain, bring on the coconut oil! Coconut oil is a fantastic way to nourish skin that has been dehydrated (read: baked in the sun). A great idea is to blend 1 teaspoon of Vitamin E oil into 1 cup of coconut oil for a deep moisture treatment packed with antioxidants.

As with any medical or home remedy for an illness or pain, always check with your doctor to make sure it is right for you!

Images: Fotolia; Giphy (3)

I am critical of all things that are considered hip in today’s culture, one of which being the glorification of coconut oil. When given the opportunity to analyze and possibly discredit this substance, I had to jump on it. Everyone has been flipping out over the million uses for coconut oil. Though it has been shut down for its lack of nutritional benefit by the American Heart Association, it is still a great base for beauty and cleaning home remedies.

One of the popular uses for coconut oil is as an at-home remedy for sunburns. I wanted to find out whether using coconut oil for sunburns actually works so you can recover from your time in the sun safely.

Is Coconut Oil Safe on Sunburns?

Claire Waggoner

A sunburn is when the rays of the sun damage and dry out your skin, thus making your skin desperate for moisture. With the vitamin E and other moisturizing properties of coconut oil, it’s a great product to replenish your skin. The fatty acids in coconut oil will also soothe the sunburn due to their anitviral and antibacterial properties. Coconut oil can also assist in speeding up the recovery from the burn too.

With that being said, coconut oil should not be used as a preventive measure for sunburns. Coconut oil does not provide the necessary UVA/UVB protection found in sunscreen, thus leaving you exposed to the harmful rays. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using a sunblock that has an SPF of at least 15.

Coconut Oil Home Remedies for Sunburns

Jina Kim

Is coconut oil good for treating sunburns alone? Yes! You can just rub coconut oil on the burn by itself as it’s moisturizing on its own. There are a ton of essential oil combinations that you can try too, which can provide additional health benefits and each oil will provide something different.

Coconut oil mixed with lavender oil and aloe vera will pack a double punch of moisture to the burn. The aloe vera will assist in bringing out the burn and the lavender will provide an immunity boost to fight the inflammation and infection of the burn.

Amber Holte

Coconut oil mixed with castor oil and a combination of essential oils will also help the burn. Castor oil will help heal the burn from over exposure while the coconut oil replenishes the moisture and promote healing. By adding essential oils, such a tea tree or rose, you’ll help replace the vitamins and minerals lost by the burn.

If the itching is what is killing you the most, mixing tea tree oil with coconut oil will help relieve the itching. There are a multitude of healing combination options that can help relieve any and all aspects of a sunburn.

Julia Murphy

Is using coconut oil for sunburns safe? It’s a good home remedy for treating sunburns, but if there is one thing you should remember is that it is not good for preventing sunburns. You can also add to the coconut oil with some of the options above if you really want to add a double punch of healthy to the healing process. Coconut oil has a ton of great uses, but be sure that you’re really looking past the hipster fad to be sure that it’s the best remedy for your body.

6 Ways to Quickly Recover From a Sunburn

Bad sunburn? Here’s what to do | Source: iStock

Even when you’re careful, sunburns happen. There is nothing that can ruin your day or week-long beach vacation faster than skin that is painful to the touch and lobster-red. A sunburn is the result of damage from ultraviolet (UV) rays, which do more than turn your skin bright red. When you get too much sun, free radicals are released leading to premature cellular death. Over time your DNA can become damaged leading to mutations and skin cancers.

It pays to be careful and cautious in the sun. Limiting your time in direct sunlight, using sunscreen, wearing a hat, and hanging out in the shade are all easy ways to keep your skin under wraps. Unfortunately, mistakes happen. When you feel a sunburn coming on, get out of the sun immediately and give these recovery strategies a try. Your skin will thank you and before you know it your burn will turn to bronze.

1. Cool down

Cooling off in the water | Source: iStock

Dermatologist Jeffrey Brackeen, MD, who is a member of The Skin Cancer Foundation, suggests hopping in cool water at the first signs of a sunburn. If you’re near a pool, ocean, or lake, you’re in luck, but a cold shower works well too. Try to keep your time in the water minimal — the goal is just to cool off — and avoid any soaps, which can be drying and may irritate your skin even more. Once you’ve cooled off, continue treating your skin with cold compresses which will help remove the heat from your skin. Ice cold water on a clean washcloth will do the trick.

2. Take a fever reducer

Immediately pop an aspirin or ibuprofen. Not only will taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs) help numb the pain, but they combat inflammation. Just make sure to take a fever reducer as soon as you notice the pain as the benefit of NSAIDs decreases after 24 hours.

3. Aloe vera

Eat water-rich watermelon | Source: iStock

You’ve probably heard of or used aloe vera after sun exposure before, but you need to be careful when selecting a product. Anything with petroleum, benzocaine, or lidocaine will trap heat in the skin and further irritate the burn. Buy a product that is as pure as possible, or if you have access to it, use the leaves off an aloe vera plant. Aloe vera is a proven anti-inflammatory and will help prevent major peeling. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends lathering on a lotion with aloe in it to soothe your red, itchy skin.

4. Get hydrated

A sunburn sucks the moisture out of your skin leaving your body dry and itchy. Drinking lots of water will help get your system back to its regular hydration levels so it can focus on healing your sunburn. Consuming water-heavy fruits like watermelon, honeydew, and cantaloupe is a great idea as they’ll provide the water your body is craving and will give you the nutrients needed for your skin to regenerate.

5. Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar as a sunburn cure | Source: iStock

In addition to applying a cold compress to relieve the heat, a compress of apple cider vinegar will help to get rid of a sunburn’s inevitable sting. Take a clean washcloth and wet it with cold water. Splash some apple cider vinegar on the cloth and dab it directly onto your sunburn, allowing the vinegar to soak into your skin. The relief should be almost immediate.

6. Coconut oil

To prevent peeling, you’ll want to moisturize your skin right away. Once you’ve extracted the heat with a cold compress and stopped the stinging with apple cider vinegar, take some organic, cold pressed coconut oil and lather it liberally on your sunburn. Mixing in a couple drops of therapeutic-grade essential oils, like those from doTerra, can also be healing. Lavender is said to heal the burn, while peppermint cools the skin and releases any trapped heat. If you don’t have coconut oil, look for products that include clove, licorice, cucumber, and yucca these ingredients can help reduce irritation and redness.

More from Health & Fitness Cheat Sheet:
  • 5 Vitamins You Should Stop Taking Now
  • Want to Live to Be 100? This Diet Can Help Prolong Your Life
  • Signs of Skin Cancer: 6 Symptoms You May Not Know About

Apple Cider Vinegar Sunburn Remedy

As hard as I try to help my kids avoid a sunburn, there have been a couple of times over the years when they’ve gotten sunburned regardless of my best efforts. Learning about this surprising use for apple cider vinegar that helped my daughter recover quickly and comfortably from a sunburn after a day spent bike riding in the Colorado sun.

This month my teen and tween are both enrolled in a fantastic bike camp where the kids bike to various parks all over the city while learning bike safety, maintenance, and urban navigation along the way. Being in the sunshine is unavoidable when biking –and of course, good for absorbing vitamin D– and I encourage them to lather on a chemical-free, mineral-based sunscreen in the morning before they leave the house. And mostly they do.

However, sometimes the sun is so strong that they burn anyway. Especially my blue-eyed daughter, who will be nicely tanned by the end of the summer, but now, in early June, is still pretty fair-skinned. Which is why what happened yesterday when she rode fourteen miles with her camp group and came home with reddened arms.

By bedtime, her arms were hot and burning. I suggested she rub aloe vera gel on them, which she did, but it wasn’t enough.

A true child of the computer age, she got online and searched for sunburn remedies and found this one that had been recommended by many people. So we tried it… and lo and behold, it worked! Within just a few minutes her pain diminished, and by the next morning she rejoiced in how significantly the redness had faded.

Here’s what she did.

  1. Soak a small washcloth in a bowl of apple cider vinegar to saturate the cloth.
  2. Place the washcloth on the sunburned area for a one to three minutes. Allow skin to dry.
  3. Slather coconut oil over the sunburned area and allow to soak in. Do not rinse off. The coconut oil will moisturize, nourish, and heal the skin.
  4. Repeat every twelve hours (morning and night) or as desired until redness and pain are gone.

Alleviating the inflammation from a sunburn quickly translates to reducing the cancer risk from a sunburn.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Sunburn: Can it Really Help in Curing the Condition?

In the world of health and wellness apple cider vinegar seem to have been enjoying quite an outing recently. Touted as an all-rounder, the magical properties of this nature’s elixir ranges from your household chores, skin and hair care to the culinary space as well as health maintenance. Apple cider vinegar works as an excellent detox ingredient, when consumed with a glass of warm water first thing in morning on an empty stomach. It is known to flush out all the toxins and prepares the digestive system for the day ahead. This piece is dedicated to understanding apple cider vinegar’s role in one of the most common skin woes – sunburn – and whether or not you should resort to it as a natural way of treating the skin condition.

Shilpa Arora ND, a renowned Health Practitioner, Nutritionist and certified Macrobiotic Health Coach, doesn’t recommend using apple cider vinegar to treat sunburn. She notes, “Tanned or sunburned skin is sensitive, using apple cider vinegar may further burn the skin. Dilute it with water in order to use for tanning; not recommended for sunburn at all”.

Apple cider vinegar

“Apple cider vinegar may actually exaggerate the problem,” shared a leading Delhi-based dermatologist and beauty expert, Dr. Deepali Bharadwaj. While the skin-benefiting properties of apple cider vinegar cannot be brushed under the carpet, its efficiency in treating sunburn remains questionable. One thing that we could reason was that the liquid must not be applied directly on the affected area. Sunburned skin requires nourishment and ingredients that can soothe the affected area. In case you are looking for some alternative remedies and every day ingredients that can help treat sunburn, we bring you a list of ingredients that can work like magic.

Aloe Vera

The ingredient is touted for its soothing properties and is probably one of the most inexpensive ways to battle the most common skin and hair woes. If you own an aloe vera plant you can simply pluck one of the shoots, take out its gel and apply directly on the affected area.

Apply the gel gently on the affected area


An ingredient that is extremely soothing on the skin. Dab with cotton directly on the affected area. You can also mix it with multani mitti or sandalwood (chandan) powder and make a paste that can be applied on the affected area.

Rosewater soothes your skin

Coconut Oil

One of the best ways to tackle sunburn is to apply a film of pure coconut oil on the affected area, it will help in pacifying the itch as well as the discomfort.

“Ice should be applied instantly on the affected area. Curd is excellent. Once the skin is less reddish you can try ingredients like turmeric and tomato juice. Protect your skin from sun damage by tweaking your diet to accommodate more antioxidant-rich foods. Ingredients that are yellow, green, purple and red in colour act as natural sunscreen agents that can be consumed in baked, steamed, boiled or grilled form to reap maximum benefits,” concluded Dr. Bharadwaj.
CommentsSunburn can cause the body to lose its moisture, therefore hydration is extremely important. Drink lots of water and keep your skin moisturized. Get in touch with a certified dermatologist to learn more about sunburn, how to prevent yourself from it and other ways to quickly get rid of it in case you happen to have it.

6 Best Natural Ingredients for Alleviating Sunburn Pain

While there may be few of us who don’t love the feel of sunshine on our skin, if you’ve ever had a sunburn, you know firsthand just how painful it can be when you don’t adequately protect yourself. Pain associated with sunburned skin can make even the most basic activities — mobility throughout burned areas, wearing clothes, showering, or laying down to sleep — incredibly uncomfortable.

The best and healthiest way to prevent sunburn pain is to avoid a sunburn altogether. Always use sunscreen when you are going out in the daytime, even if the sky is cloudy. Stay in the shade and wear protective clothing. If you do get a sunburn, only time can make it go away, but you can help relieve the pain with natural ingredients.

Here are some of your best natural options for sunburn pain relief:

1. Aloe

Juice straight from an aloe plant is the best form to use on your sunburn. To access the juice, slit open an aloe leaf and use a spoon to extract the liquid from inside before applying it to the burned area. If you don’t have access to an aloe plant or need to cover a larger surface area, you can find all-natural aloe vera gel in many stores and pharmacies.

2. Coconut Oil

The fats found in coconut oil can help protect and soften burned skin. To use coconut oil on a sunburn, first cool the area with cool (but not cold) water, using a damp cloth or in a bath or shower. Then apply the coconut oil to the affected area. It will gradually absorb into the skin and soothe the burn.

3. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a common natural remedy for soothing skin irritation. For a sunburn, you can create a paste with ground-up rolled oats, milk, and honey to apply to the area. Alternatively, you can create a sachet of ground oatmeal using a tied-off sock or cheesecloth and let it steep in a tepid bath. (Note: Don’t put loose oats in the bath unless you want to scrub a big mess out of the tub later!) Relax in the bath and let the oatmeal-infused water work on your skin, squeezing the sachet occasionally to extract more of its essence into the water.

4. Witch Hazel or Tea

Witch hazel and tea both contain tannins, a natural compound which can help reduce inflammation, making them great choices to use topically on a sunburn. Create a compress by pouring witch hazel or cooled tea (made from black or green tea leaves) onto a clean cloth and then apply it to the sunburned area. Leave the cloth in place, and reapply the tea or witch hazel as needed. For an extra cooling effect, add mint leaves when you brew tea for this purpose.

5. Baking Soda or Cornstarch

There are multiple ways to treat sunburn pain using baking soda or cornstarch. You can create a paste using water and either baking soda or cornstarch and apply it gently to the sunburned area. You also can put baking soda in a lukewarm bath and soak in it for sunburn relief. Dusting your skin with cornstarch is another way to use it and though it might be a bit messy, it reduces painful friction between your sunburned skin and clothes, making it easier to get dressed and to sleep on sheets.

6. Hydration

Sunburned skin gets dry, and you may also have gotten a bit dehydrated while you were out in the sun. Drink water and eat hydrating foods, including juicy fruits such as grapes, watermelon, or oranges.

Save Your Skin

Sunburns aren’t just a source of temporary pain — excessive sun exposure damages your skin permanently. Over time, this can result in changes in skin texture, dark spots, wrinkles, and potentially skin cancer. If your sunburn is accompanied by blisters, nausea, dizziness, fever, or chills, contact your doctor immediately as these may be symptoms of a serious condition known as sun poisoning.

Even if you avoid sunburns, it is important to have a doctor perform a skin check-up and skin cancer screening at least once a year. Skin cancer is highly treatable in its early stages, but early detection is the key to success. Contact your doctor for a skin check-up today!

Coconut Oil and Sunburn: Why Coconut Oil Sunscreen is a Bad Idea

If you’re reaching for coconut oil before heading out to spend time in the sun, stop right there. Coconut oil should not be used as a standalone sunscreen in any situation. Why? Let’s delve in.

The Push Towards Natural Skin Care

There’s nothing that gets us excited quite like the push towards natural skin care that’s been happening over the last few years. For decades, we’ve talked about ensuring that what goes in our bodies is healthy, including natural foods, homeopathic medicines, and proper hydration—but only recently have we started talking about making sure what goes on our bodies is healthy, too.

People are now more informed than ever about the products they’re using on their bodies. We’re paying more attention to those hard-to-read chemicals listed on the back of our moisturizers and choosing natural products over chemical.

A quick peek on Pinterest reveals the plethora of information that’s now being shared about natural skin and body care, from sulfate free shampoos to homemade face masks.

And at Colorescience, we think that’s fantastic. Our philosophy is based on improving lives with our health-forward formulas made of pure, natural minerals. We’re totally transparent with exactly what goes into our skincare, so that you can arm yourself with the knowledge that you’re doing something good for your body.

Looking for all-natural sun protection?

Protect your skin using chemical-free, all-mineral sunscreen from Colorescience!


What we don’t love, however, is when misinformation is disguised as fact and passed around to millions of people who, fully intending to do something great for their bodies, do something bad. We see this a lot when it comes to skin and body care trends. A natural product is presented as a “cure-all” and prescribed for every ailment, from acne to wrinkles, and everything in between.

Perhaps the biggest current culprit of this fallacy is coconut oil. Dry skin? Use coconut oil. Hair lost its shine? Use coconut oil. Looking for a natural alternative to sunscreen? Why not try coconut oil?! While it’s true that coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer and is naturally antibacterial and antifungal, it’s not the wonder substance that lifestyle gurus claim. And it’s definitely not a natural alternative to sunscreen. Read on to learn all about why using coconut oil as sunscreen isn’t just ineffective—it’s downright dangerous.

What is Sunscreen?

Before diving into why coconut oil isn’t sunscreen, let’s talk about what sunscreen actually is. The sun puts off two highly dangerous types of UV (Ultraviolet) rays: UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, causing lasting damage like wrinkles and aging. UVB rays are much shorter and burn only the surface of your skin, causing sunburns in the short term and skin cancer in the long.

Sunscreen is a substance that’s able to block both UVA and UVB rays, protecting your skin from sunburns, skin cancer, wrinkles, and aging. Sunscreen is measured in SPF, short for Sun Protection Factor. This is a measure of the substance’s ability to block UVB rays, and its measurement is pretty straightforward: “If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer—about 5 hours.”

Another way to think about SPF is in percentages: “SPF 15 filters out approximately 93% of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 keeps out 90% and SPF 50 keeps out 98%.”

Reality is, however, that it’s not quite that simple. No sunscreen—no matter the SPF—can be reliably effective over 2 hours. If you go swimming or sweat, it will deteriorate more quickly. Furthermore, the definition refers to the “reddening” of the skin, but there’s a lot of damage that can occur before your skin turns red.

Chances are, most sunscreens you’ve used are what are known as chemical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens, true to their name, are made of a mixture of chemicals that deactivate and degrade UVA and UVB rays. They’ve become a tried and true classic because they’re inexpensive and readily available at just about every drug store, gas station, and grocery chain around. But if you’re feeling wary about chemical sunscreen, you’re not alone.

There’s been a huge trend away from chemical sunscreens as of late, and for good reason. Not only are they made of mystery chemicals that can sound a bit scary, like oxybenzone, octisalate, and octinoxate, but they have some serious downsides. They deteriorate pretty rapidly in direct UV light, so they need to be applied more frequently. Furthermore, they’re quite harsh and pore-clogging.

This is where coconut oil comes into play. In search of a natural sunscreen that isn’t chock full of chemicals and won’t clog pores, it’s more than common to come across articles promoting coconut oil. Uninformed health and skincare gurus claim that coconut oil is not only a good alternative to sunscreen, but it may be even more beneficial as it allows Vitamin D to enter your system. Not only is this information wrong, but it’s also incredibly dangerous.

No natural oil, like coconut oil, should be used as a standalone sun protection solution, as these products aren’t able to absorb UV radiation efficiently.

Can I Use Coconut Oil as Sunscreen?

Despite what many lifestyle and skin care gurus would tell you, the short answer is no.

According to a study by the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, coconut oil has an SPF of 1. That means it will take exactly 1x longer for your skin to turn red using coconut oil as SPF than with no coverage whatsoever. Coconut oil as sunscreen is also not advised by the Mayo Clinic, who estimate that coconut oil only blocks around 20% of UV rays. A few studies show that coconut oil’s SPF may be slightly higher, like this study from the University Institute of Pharmacy, which tested it at 8—which is still too low to be considered safe. Other health experts have indicated that coconut oil has a natural SPF of 4 to 5—confused? Us too. In the face of all this conflicting information, one thing remains true. Regardless of study or publication, coconut oil doesn’t offer the SPF needed to keep your skin safe from damaging UV rays.

Bottom line: coconut oil fails to prevent most of the damaging and harmful UVA and UVB rays that you’re exposed to when in the sun. While health bloggers posing as experts may tell you that it’s a good choice, all scientific studies point to one conclusion: it is not safe to use coconut oil as sunblock.

In fact, coconut oil is only able to block an estimate 20 percent of the sun’s damaging UV rays—leaving 80 percent to penetrate deeply into your skin.

So, Which Sunscreen Should I Use?

Now that we know the truth about coconut oil’s insufficiency when it comes to sun protection, the question remains: what is a natural, healthy sunscreen I can feel good about using?

Lately, physical sunscreens for face and body are on the rise as an alternative to their chemical counterparts. Physical sunscreens are made of physical compounds that sit on your skin act as UV protectors. They deflect sunlight, never allowing the UV rays to penetrate the skin. The most common compounds in physical sunscreen are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, two naturally occurring compounds that are gentle and safe on skin. It’s no wonder physical sunscreens are rising in popularity each day. Colorescience sunscreen solutions are designed to protect your skin from damaging UV radiation—without exposing you to harmful chemical agents.

Whenever you apply Colorescience sun protectants, you can rest assured you’re giving your skin the TLC it deserves.

Looking for sun protection that keeps your skin looking radiant?

With our lightweight formula, you can achieve healthy, glowing skin all day long!


How Can I Safely Incorporate Coconut Oil into My Sun Protection Regimen?

The truth is that the coconut oil sunscreen myth didn’t appear out of nowhere. There are a number of benefits that coconut oil provides that are useful when it comes to sun protection. As we mentioned before, coconut oil is an excellent moisturizer, and can be an excellent addition to your everyday skin care regimen.

When it comes to sun-friendly skin care, coconut oil contains a lot of helpful nutrients for your skin, as well as prevents dryness when your skin is exposed to the sun. But you cannot use it alone. Say it with us: “Coconut oil is not a viable sunscreen solution”.

Apply coconut oil in tandem with your natural sunscreen to add extra moisture to your skin and help keep it supple in the sun, but don’t rely on this natural oil to keep you protected from cancer-causing UV radiation.

When it comes to health and skin care trends, you must always do your research. Just because a skin care blogger has a shiny looking logo and trustworthy smile doesn’t mean they’re informed. Find articles from doctors, clinics, and scientific studies. If you’re unsure if the source is trustworthy, don’t trust it! You may be doing more harm than good.

How to Use Coconut Oil as Natural Sunscreen

photo courtesy of Milan Stojanovic – Getty Images

There are multiple different ways to go about protecting your hair from the heat of the sun that are simple to implement before heading outside. Once the beautiful weather starts calling us outside, it has become ingrained in us to slather on sunscreen to keep our skin protected and many times we forget that our hair is not exempt from the potentially damaging sun rays.

On days when you are spending all day in the sun, you can turn this time into a deep conditioning opportunity, as well.

If you are going to the beach or the pool, soak your curls with water and then slather on some coconut oil prior to heading out the door. By soaking your hair with your tap water at home, you are locking in much needed moisture and should help to keep out some of the chlorine or salt water that is prone to drying out hair.

Coconut oil has a natural SPF of 10, so along with the deep conditioning treatment, you are also keeping your hair safe from the sun’s rays.

If you are going to be out in the sun, smoothe coconut oil over your strands, especially the canopy (top layer) which is has the highest exposure to the sun’s rays and is most likely to be damaged by the elements. If you experience frizz or hair that won’t curl as much at the canopy and framing your face, this could be why.

3 more ways to protect your hair from sun damage

Coconut oil can help block UV rays, but for an even more effective protection it is best to create an actual barrier between your hair and the sun. There are also products formulated specifically to block the sun’s rays and repair the damage they can can cause – check out these sun-blocking tips.


The first option you can go with is to add a barrier between your hair and the sun. Options include a brimmed summer hat, or a scarf to wrap your hair with. This works best if you are going to spend a day out shopping or at a park. This option is great because it not only protects your hair but also will protect your scalp from the potential of being sunburnt.

DIY Sunscreen

If wearing a hat isn’t really your style, there are other ways to protect your hair. Sunscreen is an effective option to keep the sun’s rays from damaging your hair. The simplest way to include spf into your hair routine is just to use the same sunscreen you use for your face in your hair. If rubbing skin sunscreen onto your hair doesn’t sound appealing either, make yourself a protective hair mist with these three ingredients:

  • 1 cup water

  • 2 teaspoons sunscreen

  • 3 to 4 drops rosemary oil

Mix these ingredients together in a spray bottle and toss in your beach bag. Next time you are heading out, coat the mix over your hair for added UV protection. It is not heavy so fine hair won’t be weighed down by it. Don’t forget to reapply if you are going in and out of water as it will wash out.

photo courtesy of Milan Stojanovic – Getty Images

Post-sun reparative mask

If your hair is still feeling a little fried after spending time out in the sun, there are plenty of options for you to treat your hair to an after-sun reparative treatment. When you get home from the beach or pool, cleanse your hair from any chlorine or salt that may be left over and give one of these a try:

  1. Redken Color Extend Sun After-Sun Mask instantly detangles and revitalizes sun damaged and fried hair and with mango seed oil it will help deeply moisturize your hair.

  2. Davines Su Pak Nourishing Replenishing Mask contains a mix of essential oils and extracts that is able to restore residual damage from sun, sea or pool.

  3. Rene Furterer Sun Care Repairing After Sun Mask for Dry Hair uses palm butter to soften your hair and make detangling a breeze for dry, sun damaged hair.

  4. Christophe Beverly Hills Restorative Hair Mask not only helps restore damaged hair but also contains sunscreen to protect against UV and freed radical damage.

This summer, don’t be afraid to embrace the sun with confidence knowing that you can truly be protected from head to toe.

The Truth About Coconut Oil Sunscreen

Sadly, coconut oil (in addition to other plant oils) has a relatively low-security level. In fact, coconut oil is listed as having an SPF level of 4. This would then equal to four-times the security compared with choosing to forgo the sunscreen completely.

The Best Ways To Use Coconut Oil for Your Skin

While coconut oil sunscreen is not an excellent replacement for real sunscreens, it can be beneficial when used over time spent in the sun. The high-concentration of healthy fats discovered in coconut oil can be especially valuable in reducing sunburn-related signs including swelling, itching, and peeling. Coconut oil likewise boasts a compound called lauric acid, a “healthy” saturated fat rich in antibacterial homes that might help ward off infections. Some of the ways you can use coconut oil for your skin are:

  • Body Butter
  • Body Scrub
  • Body Oil
  • Cold Sore Treatment
  • Hand Moisturizer

What to Utilize Instead of Coconut Oil Sunscreen?

Use sunscreen; it does protect from cancer. They work well, and they are specially made by science to do so. There is even sunscreen with coconut oil as part with greater SPF than plain coconut oil.

Another choice is to select an organic and natural sunscreen. Natural sunscreens include the beneficial minerals titanium and zinc and these minerals function as a barrier to block UV rays. Whereas other harsh chemicals in sunscreens can actually take in these rays and then minimize the impact of how it can help.

Natural sunscreen consists of non-allergenic active ingredients and because of this prevents inflammation. Harmful active ingredients in chemical sunscreens tend to make inflammation much more probable.

Recommended Sunscreen with Coconut Oil:

  • All Good Natural Kids Sunscreen

The benefits of coconut oil and other plant oils are seemingly endless when you’re trying to live naturally. Some studies have even shown that certain oils, including olive and coconut oil, can protect against sun damage. So in the era of DIY, why shouldn’t you use just oil as natural sunscreen? Here’s how we see it.

Oils Often Have Low SPF Values

Oils from coconuts, almonds and even lavender have been shown to offer a natural SPF. In other words, they absorb a percentage of the sun’s radiation and prevent some of the damage it might cause. Because of this, some naturalists claim you can slather on coconut oil in preparation for a day in the sun. But according to recommendations from health organizations, the SPF levels of most oils aren’t high enough to adequately protect against harmful UV radiation.i

For reference, here are some of the higher SPF values of oils according to a particular study:

  • Coconut Oil: 8
  • Olive Oil: 8
  • Peppermint Oil: 7
  • Lavender Oil: 6
  • Almond Oil: 5

This might seem pretty good for natural oils—and it is!—but it isn’t enough to adequately protect you during sun exposure. In fact, at SPF 8, coconut oil and olive oil only absorb about 20% of UV rays!ii

Because products with low SPF provide little coverage, the FDAiii and EWGiv recommend using sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15. (The American Cancer Society and the American Academy of Dermatology go even further. They recommend sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30!) The FDA even requires products below SPF 15 to contain a warning stating they have not been shown to prevent skin cancer or early skin aging. Since many oils fall well below that number, using just oil as natural sunscreen won’t provide the protection you really need.

The SPF of Oils Can Be Inconsistent

Without performing a lab test, there isn’t a good way to know a product’s actual SPF value. For this reason, FDA regulations require the SPF level of every batch of marketed sunscreen to be tested. However, since natural oils aren’t marketed as sunscreen, they don’t go through that testing.

Even with higher SPF oils, like wheat germ oil, it’s hard to know how much protection you’re actually getting. The oil quality can vary between brands and even batches. So while some sources quote specific SPF values for oils, others list wide ranges. Coconut oil, for example, is sometimes said to range between 2 and 8! That’s a big margin of error.

Another study identifies even more factors that can change an oil’s SPF value. For starters, perspiration and water can easily dilute the oil concentration. Additionally, an oil’s interaction with other substances—even with the skin—can impact its ability to absorb UV rays. All of this makes using oil as natural sunscreen a relatively unreliable mode of protection.

Consider Both UVA and UVB Coverage

According to EWG, an SPF value only signals a product’s ability to protect against UVB rays. That means harmful UVA rays, which penetrate deep into the skin and cause DNA damage and premature aging, are sometimes not accounted for.

This is a problem because UVA rays make up a huge portion of our sun exposure! While our atmosphere absorbs approximately 90% of UVB rays, damage to the ozone layer prevents it from absorbing hardly any UVA rays.v For this reason, there are approximately 500 times more UVA rays reaching the earth’s surface than We think that warrants protection!

Experts now recommend products with broad-spectrum coverage, meaning products that protect against both UVA and UVB rays. However, since testing on natural oils in this area is limited, we can’t know if they offer any protection against UVA rays. In fact, the few available studies on oils’ ability to absorb UV rays only experimented in the UVB range.

Red raspberry seed oil provides a great example. While it’s said to have an SPF rating as high as titanium dioxide’s, it has not been shown to protect against UVA rays. We pair titanium with UVA-blocking zinc for safe, broad spectrum coverage. However, there haven’t been any studies showing that oils can provide the same protection.

Using Oil as Natural Sunscreen Alone Is an Inadequate Means of UV Protection

Everybody loves luxurious ingredients like coconut oil and almond oil, and for good reason! These ingredients offer wonderful skin benefits and offer antibacterial properties. Still, results from the few studies available show that using oil as natural sunscreen doesn’t meet health professionals’ recommendations for adequate sun protection.

At Goddess Garden, we understand wanting to do things as naturally as possible. That’s why we’ve created sunscreen formulas with gentle minerals and nourishing botanical ingredients. In fact, many of our sunscreen formulas contain coconut oil and others said to provide SPF. They nourish the skin and add to the texture and overall user experience of our sunscreens. But we’ll leave the heavy lifting of UV ray protection to titanium and zinc!

  • What does SPF really mean?
  • UVA and UVB Rays: What’s the Difference?
  • What is Broad Spectrum?
  • The Myth of the Base Tan

Fill out my online form. Gause, S. and A Chauhan. “UV-blocking potential of oils and juices.” Int J Cosmet Sci. 2016 Aug;38(4):354-63. doi: 10.1111/ics.12296. Epub 2016 Jan 29.
Korac, Radava R. and Kapil M. Khambholja. “Potential of herbs in skin protection from ultraviolet radiation.” Pharmacogn Rev. 2011 Jul-Dec; 5(10): 164–173.
doi: 10.4103/0973-7847.91114.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Tips to Stay Safe in the Sun: From Sunscreen to Sunglasses.” May 23, 2018.
EWG. “How to pick a good sunscreen.” 2015.
Rai, Reena, Sekar C Shanmuga, and CR Srinivas. “Update on Photoprotection.” Indian J Dermatol. 2012 Sep-Oct; 57(5): 335–342.
doi: 10.4103/0019-5154.100472.
University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. “What is the Difference Between UVA and UVB Rays?” April, 2018. 2,392 times, 835 visits today)

Coconut oil for burn

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