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Herbal Sunscreens - The Future?

With the sun finally making an appearance, I wanted to see if plants can be used to protect us against the sun’s rays.  How can we tap into the properties that a plant has to protect itself from the sun?

Whilst moderate exposure to the sun is beneficial to our health & wellbeing and triggers vitamin D production, excessive UV radiation can cause sunburn, premature ageing & skin cancers and suppress our immune systems.

There is growing interest in the use of herbs to protect against damaging UV rays with potentially less side effects & kinder to the environment than some of the sunscreens available.

Unfortunately there are currently no unifying guidelines on the sun-protective potential of the various herbs so, until further research is available, make sure you are sun sensible.

  • Green & Black Tea (Camellia sinensis) - polyphenols & catechins in tea have been shown to counteract adverse skin reactions after sun exposure
  • Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) - has compounds that absorb UV-B radiation 
  • Walnut (Juglans regia) - shown to be a particularly effective self-tanning sunscreen agent
  • Aloe gel (Aloe barbadenis) - assists in new skin cell growth, cools & heals, decreases burning effect of UV radiation by about 20%
  • Oils - sesame oil resists 30% of UV rays and olive, coconut & peanut oils block 20%
  • Vitamin C - one of the body’s most important antioxidants, providing many skin benefits including increased synthesis of collagen & photoprotection.  Found in active form and in substantial quantities in rosehip oil

In the meantime, I shall be using the best botanical sun protection of them all...the shade of a large tree!