Can Coconut Oil Be Used as Sunscreen?


Coconut oil is great for skin care because of its antioxidant properties but the main question that comes to our mind is can coconut oil be used as sunscreen?

Can Coconut Oil Be Used as Sunscreen?

A doctor of Coconut Research Center, Dr. Bruce Fife said “The oldest way to use coconut oil is in the form of sunscreen and suntan lotion. Residents have been using Coconut oil for thousands of years. To protect their skin from the scorching heat and burning rays of the sun, they applied coconut oil’s thin layer all over their bodies. This will help to moisturize the skin, improve skin tone, reduces sunburn, and the smell of coconut oil keep irritated insects away.”

Before you used coconut oil, you must know your skin type and your duration of facing the sun. because if you have more sensitive skin you must go for higher SPF sunscreens. You must always prefer organic sunscreens as the Environment Working Group states, around 75% of brands making commercial sunscreens contain chemicals that are toxic and may lead to skin cancer and disturb hormones.

Let’s debate on can coconut oil be used as sunscreen or is it a myth.

Coconut Oil as Sunscreen

Coconut Oil as Sunscreen

The shortest answer for this most asked question can we use coconut oil as a sunscreen is “No”. A study by the International Journal of Cosmetics Science shows that an SPF of 1 is present in coconut oil which only protects your skin a little longer than no coverage from sun.

Coconut oil used as a sunscreen is also not recommended by Mayo Clinic stating the fact that only 20% of UV rays are blocked by coconut oil. Some other studies and also the study of the University Institute of Pharmacy say that SPF in coconut oil is slightly higher than 8 (tested) but still, it’s very low for saying that coconut oil is best for sunscreen.

Facts show that coconut oil is great for skin care but we cannot say that it acts 100% in protecting the skin from UV rays.

Coconut Oil as After Sun Care

Coconut Oil as After Sun Care

Now you may feel like I sound crazy but coconut oil is beyond doubt the best after-sun care. It may only act mild for sun protection but it has so many benefits for the skin that we can’t be challenged. It helps the skin from rash, dryness, peeling, and sunburn, and reduces redness.

Leave the coconut oil on your skin overnight and you’ll see the magic in the morning. Your skin will glow naturally.

According to Dr. Fife, if you consume coconut oil, it will make your skin resilient, healthy, and less prone to sunburn. It helps in increasing the pH levels of your skin by making it smooth and glowing.

Does coconut oil have vitamin E?

Does coconut oil have vitamin E?

Yes, coconut oil is high in Vitamin E which is great in preventing the skin from wrinkles. Powerful antioxidants property of coconut oil act as a shield between your skin and oxidation present in the environment. It is the main factor causing aging skin and coconut oil keeps your skin healthy.

Reason Why Avoid Using Natural Oils as Sunscreen

Reason Why Avoid Using Natural Oils as Sunscreen

We come up with the reason why your sunscreen can not be replaced by natural oils or butter. And why it is necessary to avoid using natural oils as Sunscreen? And why coconut oil should not be used as sunscreen? Let’s hop on the reasons that justify using natural oils as sunscreen is not an excellent choice.

  • Do not absorb UV rays

Researchers in one study show that natural oils are unable to absorb UV rays. They tested natural oils like canola oil, coconut oil, aloe vera, olive oil, citronella oil, and soya beans and conclude that they have so many benefits for the human body but when we talk about protecting the skin from sun or UV rays, they are nothing.

  • Do Not absorb the right wavelength of UV rays

According to researchers Gause and Chauhan, vitamin E was the only element that may help in absorbing UV rays that are below the wavelength of 310nm. The range of sunlight’s UVB-UVA is 290-400nm.

  • Not verified SPF tests

Natural oils are not gone to the lab for SPF tests but sunscreen is finalized by passing through many lab experiments and tests. The process of sunscreen making may clear your views about using natural coconut oil as sunscreen is good.

  1. In the making of the sunscreen, SPF is tested multiple times to get the right figure.
  2. Next, they tested the sunscreen on the human volunteers. They are exposed to the sun by applying the sunscreen on their skins.
  3. Then in the lab, they match the results to ensure that this sunscreen has the right SPF.

Natural oils are not tested this deeply, so always make sure that what amount of sunscreen your skin required.

Coconut Oil SPF Myth

Finally, we can say that coconut oil is perfect sunscreen is a myth as all facts, figures, and research shows that. DIY community always insisted on using coconut oil in the sun to protect your skin from sunburns but understand that it protects your skin for a short time.


Natural coconut oil has so many benefits for the skin that we can’t deny but thinking it is a perfect sunscreen is not right. Keep your skin smooth by adding coconut oil to your skin care routine but used sunscreen in the sun.

Lara Beck
Fitness Coach

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