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Which Oils Have Natural SPF (Sun Protection Factor)?

Which oils provide protection for sun damage by restoring the skin after sun exposure?

Sun protection is always a subject of interest, especially at this time of the year. Many clients ask me what is the best Sun Block to use and wonder about natural sunscreen protection wanting to find a safe, natural product. The subject can be controversial and it’s my intention to remain neutral on the matter. It is not this article’s intention to advise on what to use or which natural SPF products are available in the market, nether tell you about my favourite ones (which of course I have!).

The only scope of this blog is to provide some information about vegetable oils that may have sun protection properties and bring light on some misconception.

If you would like to dive deeper, the study below attempted to investigate the sunscreens containing various herbs like aloe vera, jojoba, cucumber, wheat germ, olive etc for their efficacy in protecting skin from UVA and UVB sunrays. Commercial herbal sunscreens containing herbs aloe vera, basil, green tea, etc and bearing SPF range 10-40 coded as HS1- HS14, were analysed by subjective, photostability and other parameters evaluation Efficacy Study of Sunscreens Containing Various Herbs for Pro­tecting Skin from UVA and UVB Sunrays

While few natural vegetable oils have some sun protection properties and have been traditionally used for this purpose, unfortunately there is very little literature or clinical studies to prove it, on the other hand there is very little evidence that chemical Sun Blocks don’t have harmful consequences, not only for your skin but also for your health.

Recent Swedish studies have shown that long term use of chemical Sun Blocks can possibly harm the health of its users while not actually providing protection from UVA rays. In this study, physical Sun Blocks such as Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, are recommended over the chemically-based products. (

Environmental pollution

Another element of concern for many is the environmental pollution that these chemicals may cause. Again, a Swedish study by the International Coral Reef Initiative, has researched the damaging impact of sun screens on coral reefs (Impacts of sunscreens on coral reefs - International Coral Reef Initiative,

I think it’s important to find the right balance between protecting our own skin and looking after the environment we live in.

Of course, protecting our skin from excessive sun exposure is important and caution should be taken. In recent years we saw an increasing worry surrounding not only skin ageing related to sun exposure but also skin cancer. UV exposure can also interfere with the body’s ability to produce collagen and cumulative damage from a lifetime of exposure to the sun plays a major role in premature aging.

I believe doing our own research is important in order to make an informed decision by considering all the factors including lack of vitamin D and a wise time-related sun exposure.


We need to make a distinction between oils that provide natural sun protection and those that provide protection from sun damage by restoring the skin after sun exposure. The oils listed in both classifications are those most often mentioned in the contest of oils with SPF.

Which Oils Have Natural SPF (Sun Protection Factor)?

Raspberry Seed Oil SPF 28-50

Shea Butter Traditional use

Sesame oil Traditional use

Coconut oil SPF 8

…the SPF value of olive oil and coconut oil was found to be around 8; castor oil, around 6; almond oil, around 5; mustard oil and chaulmoogra oil, around 3; and sesame oil, around 2. Hence it can be concluded that olive oil and coconut oil have the best SPF values, a finding that will be helpful in the selection of fixed oil during the formulation of sunscreens. (Pharmacognosy Res. 2010 Jan-Feb; 2(1): 22–25)

Raspberry seed oil.

A study shows that Raspberry seed oil have a natural sun protection factor between 28 and 50. SPFs of 30 can block up to 96% of all UV rays which is more than enough protection to last you the whole day! This study published in Food Chemistry in 2000 reports that “raspberry seed oil showed absorbance in the UV-B and UV-C ranges with potential for use as a broad spectrum UV protectant.

The optical transmission of raspberry seed oil, especially in the UV range (290±400 nm) was comparable to that of titanium dioxide preparations with sun protection factor for UVB (SPF) and protection factor for UV-A (PFA) values between 28±50 and 6.75±7.5, respectively (Kobo Products Inc., South Plain®eld, NJ).

Raspberry seed oil contains Ellegic acid, a natural phenol antioxidant capable of preventing damage to the collagen.

This excellent oil, suitable for sensitive skin, is deeply nourishing, softening, emollient, conditioning, and a lipid barrier providing protection and moisture retention for the skin. As it contains extremely high levels of alpha and gamma tocopherols (vitamin E), vitamin A, approximately 30% of omega 3 and 54% of omega 6 fatty acids (so with approximately 84% content of essential fatty acids) it gives the skin a vital broad spectrum defence from harmful UVA and UVB rays. (


Pomegranate Seed oil.

Studies show that it provides protection from sun damage but it is not an oil with SPF. Studies suggest that if sun damage has already occurred Pomegranate Seed oil can help to diminish that damage.

Abundant in Punica Acid (Omega 5), Pomegranate Seed Oil seems to be the only known botanical source of this rare essential fatty acid. Omega 5 has strong anti inflammatory properties and is a good antioxidant. It tackles free radicals so delays skin ageing. It also contains Vitamins A, B D and E and Ellagic Acid which is a natural phenol antioxidant.

This natural combination of Punicic Acid and Ellagic Acid makes the oil very regenerative and even helps to stimulate collagen production.

Pomegranate Seed oil is an ingredient in my Rose Beauty Oil

The best quality Chilean Rosehip oil is a main ingredient of my Rose Beauty oil.

Rosehip Seed Oil.

Being a wonderful oil for cell regeneration and skin rejuvenation, this oil helps protect against sun damage by reducing the negative effects of UV exposure and helping reduce *hyperpigmentation. There are no studies showing that it provides with SPF. It contains high quantity of Linolenic Acid and antioxidants like vitamins *A, C, and E which have been shown to synergistically combat visible sun damage and possibly prevent photoaging.

Rosehip oil also contains both lycopene and beta carotene which also have skin-lightening properties, so again helping with hyperpigmentation. This oil is excellent for sensitive skin, superb for acne prone skin and one of the best choices for skin with large pores. It is quickly absorbed by the skin and leaves no fatty residue. It helps fade the appearance of scars, stretch marks and wrinkles. Rich in Essential Fatty Acids, it is deeply nourishing for dry skin.

The best quality Chilean Rosehip oil is a main ingredient of my Rose Beauty oil.

*1. Hyperpigmentation occurs when excess melanin forms dark spots or patches on the skin.

*2. Rosehip oil is rich in vitamin A. Vitamin A is made up of several nutritional compounds, including retinoids. Retinoids are known for their ability to reduce hyperpigmentation and other visible signs of aging with regular use.



Although indigenous people all over the world have been protecting their skin from the sun with vegetable oils for generations, this question is yet to be answered by the scientific studies.

Due to lack of clinical studies and the inadequacy to determine whether they are a sufficient sun protection, natural oils cannot be considered a replacement for sunscreen or recommended for prolonged sun exposure.

Having said that, you can surely use them with the confidence that your skin absorbs them and will be nourished by them without the worry of harmful toxins. Considering the wonderful range of therapeutic benefits they offer, they can be used to complement a natural sunscreen product and give extra care to your skin. Their richness in essential fatty acids and anti-oxidants offer protection against the free radicals produced by lengthy sun exposure.

Apply them to your skin before sun exposure: you could increase sun protection by applying vegetable oils to our skin before the sunblock.
Use oil as an after-sun moisturizer: regenerate and moisturise your skin with this beautiful oils after sun exposure.
Add-in to your sunblocks: use them to enhance the benefits of your natural sunblock by adding the oils to it for an extra dose of antioxidant skin protection.

There is a vast choice of natural sunscreens in the market and as the demand for natural solutions increases, new formulations are produced every year. These chemical free sunscreens use physical sunscreen filters like zinc and titanium oxide which effectively protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. Many of them also incorporate some vegetable oil in their formulation.

I hope this has helped to clarify things and gave information on what nature has to offer.

Happy and safe sunny days!

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