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coconut oil as sunscreen?!?!?!

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
Hi all. My crunchy holistic vegan mama friend swears by coconut oil, of all things, to keep her family's skin safe from sunburn. Has anyone else heard of this? Of course I recall folks using coconut oil to get tan, to attract the sun to their bodies...

My friend said that the coconut oil doesn't stop the sun from getting to your skin, but somehow makes your skin tan instead of burn. She tested it on herself for over a year before using it on her toddler son. They certainly aren't burnt, and look tawny and healthy.

Has anyone else heard of this? Any dermatologists out there? It makes me nervous--we are of Swedish and Welsh stock=VERY vulnerable to sunburn! But the chemicals in sunblock (even "natural" brands) make me nervous too. Mostly we cover up, but for swimming and what not we do need protection.

Anyone?

Thanks, and happy summer!
post #2 of 43
Subbing, I'm interested in the responses! However, from what I understand, ANY change in skin color from the sun is a sign of damage, to whatever extent--so causing the skin to tan instead of burn is preventing maybe more severe damage, but it's not a "good" thing. As much as I don't like using chemical sunscreens, we're also super pale and the sunscreen prevents burns and tanning so is helping prevent any of that damage that can lead to skin cancer, not just the burns.
post #3 of 43
I put long sleeve "rash guard" shirts on my ds when he's swimming and they work great. I'm skeptical about the coconut oil idea, even if it's blocking the UV rays that burn, that doesn't mean it's blocking the UV rays that cause skin cancer.

Is your friend fair-skinned? I have several friends that laugh at how covered up I keep myself and ds, but none of them are fair-skinned irish kids like me and none of them have to make semi-annual trips to the dermatologist for mole checks.
post #4 of 43
I am familiar with the contention that eating of generous amounts of coconut oil- and other saturated but undamaged, unprocessed fats- will render you less susceptible to sun damage and its long term outcomes. Supposedly we are suffering from skyrocketing skin cancer rates partly because we've been eating processed commercial polyunsaturated fats that are unstable (oxidize quickly) and they have ended up in our skin, rendering it unable to react to sunlight in the way it is supposed to...

Maybe your friend eats this way, also, in which case her topical coconut oil may or may not actually help but then there may be a piece if this I am missing...
post #5 of 43
subbing
post #6 of 43
We used cocunut oil instead of sunscreen this year. I usually burn on my shoulders if I spend more than an hour outside. This year, I didn't. I have a tan for the first time without getting burned.
We're fairly deficient in vitamin D in my family, we need to be out in the sun more often. The difference in everyones mood since spending more time in the sun has been drastic.
post #7 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by ishyfishie View Post
Subbing, I'm interested in the responses! However, from what I understand, ANY change in skin color from the sun is a sign of damage, to whatever extent--so causing the skin to tan instead of burn is preventing maybe more severe damage, but it's not a "good" thing.
This was my understanding as well.
post #8 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeminijad View Post
I am familiar with the contention that eating of generous amounts of coconut oil- and other saturated but undamaged, unprocessed fats- will render you less susceptible to sun damage and its long term outcomes. Supposedly we are suffering from skyrocketing skin cancer rates partly because we've been eating processed commercial polyunsaturated fats that are unstable (oxidize quickly) and they have ended up in our skin, rendering it unable to react to sunlight in the way it is supposed to...

Maybe your friend eats this way, also, in which case her topical coconut oil may or may not actually help but then there may be a piece if this I am missing...
I've heard this too. As for the topical coconut oil, I imagine there's something to it...I may be willing to test the theory on myself for an hour in the backyard, but probably not for a full day at the beach...
post #9 of 43
Where are the scientists mamas out there?? I SO want this to be true, I would love to smell like coconuts vs. nasty sunscreen, ahh so tropical. In science classes I have taken we learned about caroteins(orange veggies)preventing sunburn but not coconuts. I would love to learn more.
post #10 of 43
I am more willing to believe that our diets (like a pp mentioned) have more to do w/the rising skin cancer rates and our body's inability to handle the sun, than the theory that the sun is bad.

I just can't fig out why humans would be put on the earth w/sun, have to work and live in sun exposure when it would be so bad for us. What did people do thousands of yrs ago?

I am almost sure that there isn't any scientific data on this however bc there's no money in proving that sunscreen isn't necessary and processed food is bad.
post #11 of 43
I've tried it and gotten burned, but I'm pretty D deficient so that might have a lot to do with it. I'm also Irish, with skin so pale that it's sometimes blue.

This thread reminded me to take my CLO.

ETA: And YES- right on, tanyam926.
post #12 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanyam926 View Post
I just can't fig out why humans would be put on the earth w/sun, have to work and live in sun exposure when it would be so bad for us. What did people do thousands of yrs ago?
Died before it mattered.
post #13 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanyam926 View Post
I am more willing to believe that our diets (like a pp mentioned) have more to do w/the rising skin cancer rates and our body's inability to handle the sun, than the theory that the sun is bad.

I just can't fig out why humans would be put on the earth w/sun, have to work and live in sun exposure when it would be so bad for us. What did people do thousands of yrs ago?

I am almost sure that there isn't any scientific data on this however bc there's no money in proving that sunscreen isn't necessary and processed food is bad.
I completely agree with this! In my experience, I've usually burnt pretty bad in the past. But, this year I've been eating a lot less processed foods with more healthy saturated fats, including coconut oil. All summer, I have only gotten one sunburn, but it went away so quickly. Usually when I burn, it's there for at least a week, but this was gone by the next day...and I almost wouldn't call it a burn, because it was just a little pink. I haven't tried the topical coconut theory yet, but I think I'll give it a go this week. Will post results in a week!
post #14 of 43
putting oil on your skin magnifies the rays hitting your skin. you would get more tan, but it's certainly not protecting your skin from the sun.
post #15 of 43
Coconut oil does not contain any sunscreen properties.

Cocoa butter does, but it is not significant enough to matter.
post #16 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanyam926 View Post
I am more willing to believe that our diets (like a pp mentioned) have more to do w/the rising skin cancer rates and our body's inability to handle the sun, than the theory that the sun is bad.

I just can't fig out why humans would be put on the earth w/sun, have to work and live in sun exposure when it would be so bad for us. What did people do thousands of yrs ago?

I am almost sure that there isn't any scientific data on this however bc there's no money in proving that sunscreen isn't necessary and processed food is bad.
Our ozone layer was thicker then.
post #17 of 43
I've heard neem oil is supposed to be a really good natural alternative to sunscreen...haven't put it to the test but it was highly recommended by our holistic pediatrician. I remember her saying that coconut oil is good for when you're going to be exposed to chlorine, like in public pools and such. If you smear it on your skin before you go in the pool then it will help you not absorb nearly as much as you would normally. I haven't heard it being used as sunscreen, though...
post #18 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenful View Post
I've heard neem oil is supposed to be a really good natural alternative to sunscreen...haven't put it to the test but it was highly recommended by our holistic pediatrician. I remember her saying that coconut oil is good for when you're going to be exposed to chlorine, like in public pools and such. If you smear it on your skin before you go in the pool then it will help you not absorb nearly as much as you would normally. I haven't heard it being used as sunscreen, though...
Neem oil has like 1-2 spf, not effective sunscreen

Neem does make a good insecticide though I use it when one would use spray on bug stuff.
post #19 of 43
I remember the suntan oil my mom used when I was little had coconut oil in it.

As for what our ancestors did... my pale skinned ancestors lived at 50 degrees latitude. It makes a substantial difference.
post #20 of 43
With travel being a big part of our history, here's something to consider-

Most people's skin tones were designed to match our original environments. Swedish folks are fairer to get vitamin D in the Arctic, and Kenyans are darker to protect their bodies from the sun. So since we've all traveled and migrated and relocated- well, Irish people in Texas need to watch out! The climate is beyond what their skin can handle!

Also, being black or dark skinned is not a guarantee of your safety. If you rip off your bikini and see a tan line, you have damaged your skin. Proceed with caution.

Cocoa anything does not protect you from harmful UVA/UVB rays, which is what you want to avoid.

That said, I tanned a little this year, because I wanted to clear my skin, and it has worked. My mom was dumb and let me tan as a little kid, for which I could hit her with a wet noodle for.

Children may tan beautifully but you are doing MAJOR damage to their skin later in life by letting them do so. They should never, ever burn or tan if you can avoid it.
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