A couple weeks ago, I read an article titled, "Ditch the Toxic Sunscreen; Use Coconut Oil Instead" by Anthony Gucciardi, on the website Affliction Free Naturally: a Guide to Healthy Living.
I thought, "Yes!! I'm new to this coconut oil thing, but I like it! And I've heard that regular sunscreen has a lot of extras we don't need in it. Sounds good, I'll try it!"
I even shared it on Facebook.
So, I packed up my pool bag, grabbed some waters and headed to the pool. With my container of 100% Organic, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil from Trader Joe's.
I laid my towel out, and started slathering on the coconut oil. It's very oily and shiny. I spread on a generous layer at 11:00 am. At about 11:45, I got in the pool for about 15-20 minutes. A little after 12:00 and drying off, I reapplied the coconut oil to my entire body again. At about 12:45 Hector got to the pool and we swam for about 30 minutes and then went in the house.
(Note that this is the same amount of applications I would do if I were using traditional sunscreen. About 2 times in 2.5 hours, and after dipping in the water)
(sneaking in a pic of 24 week baby boy!)
See, it's very shiny! Looks like any other tanning oil.
Me, all oblivious.
So yes, the article I cited above, states that coconut oil can be used as a sunscreen, as it has an SPF of 10, which means it blocks 90% of UVB rays.
When I got out of my swimsuit to shower, I thought, "Wow, I got some pretty distinct tan lines.."
When I got out of the shower, my skin was tingling a little, and looking pink.
About 3 hours later, after we came out of a movie, and I went into the restroom at the theater, I was flabbergasted. My skin was the color of a tomato. And it itched and burned. It felt tight all over. And this is a problem for an ever-growing pregnant belly.
This picture was taken 36 hours after the sun exposure.
I would like to report that I have never, ever had a sunburn of this caliber. I have to take Tylenol to keep the pain at bay. It hurts to walk, to sit and especially to try and lay down and sleep. Thank the good Lord my pregnant belly didn't allow me to lay on my tummy under the sun, or my backside would be just as burned.
I'm super embarrassed of my maroon-purple skin right now. People ask what happened and I almost just want to say I fell asleep at the pool. Sounds more likely than, "Oh.. I read an article about how to use coconut oil as sunscreen.. haha, yea, it says it works! But, uh.. obviously it failed me."
I know my whole front side is going to peel in a few days and it's going to be atrocious. I'm layering on aloe lotion every chance I think of it.
Part of this is my fault, definitely. For reading one article and running with it. I should have done more research and been more cautious. But honestly, I did not feel like I was burning, while I was outside. I really feel like an idiot. I'm also writing the author of this article, because it is absolutely false information that can seriously hurt people.
There may be ways to make your own natural sunscreen out of coconut oil, but KNOW THIS. Coconut Oil ALONE will not protect you from sunburn. Just learn from my painful experience.
I still love coconut oil as an everyday moisturizer, and will continue to use it, as my skin heals. But I will never again use it for sunscreen.