Myth or Fact: Coconut is an effective sunscreen

Posted by Melanie Dixon, M.D.
July 22, 2013

Melanie Dixon MDQ. Is coconut oil an effective sunscreen?

A. We know that ultraviolet rays damage our skin leading to skin cancer and aging skin. Unfortunately, coconut oil blocks only an estimated 20 percent of the sun's damaging rays. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends an SPF of 30 or higher, which will block 97 percent of these harmful rays. Research shows that sunscreen, when used properly, prevents skin cancer including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Manufacturers may eventually combine coconut oil with other ingredients to give broad spectrum UVA/UVB coverage, though coconut oil alone is not sufficient (nor are other oils such as jojoba, sunflower, etc.).   

In addition to sunscreen, there are other good ways to protect your skin from the sun. Consider sun protective clothing such as swim shirts, wide brimmed hats, sunglasses, pants, and shirts with long sleeves. Also try to seek shade and avoid the peak hours of sun from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Comments (4)

But what about the toxic, carcinogens in commercial sunscreen?

Alicia Random - 05/31/2016

First thing for people to figure out is how much Vit D3 is in their system. Having adequate amounts will allow you to spend more time in the sun without burning. Plus you get the benefit of making more Vit D3, which is important as this is actually a hormone which boost the bodies immune response. So what happens when you use all this sunblock? , you get sick very easily. Our wonderful medical system no longer lets you get your levels tested, unless you pay out of pocket. Makes me think they know how good it is and want to keep the public in the dark.

Grace - 05/02/2016

Blocking 20 percent naturally sure beats blocking more with toxic sunscreens and when you add other ingredients, as you mentioned, you can get an effective sunscreen with no chemicals needed. Raspberry seed oil is one such additive.

Neva - 08/03/2015

For some of us who are allergic to sunblocks, coconut oil is a good option.

Bo - 05/26/2015

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