As summer approaches, it’s essential to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Some folks won’t walk out the door without sunblock, while others loathe the stuff and rely on a hat or choose inside activities like bowling or bunco. If you do choose to wear sunscreen, it’s important to check the labels and not just grab a brand because you’ve been using it for many years.

Sunscreen ingredients are either physical blockers or chemical absorbers. Physical blockers, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are generally considered safe while chemical absorbers, such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, octinoxate, and octocrylene have raised concerns about their potential effects on human health and the environment.  All of these are approved by the FDA; it’s up to you to decide how vigorous you want to be about what you put on your skin.

While wearing sunscreen is a great way to shield your skin, you might not know that certain oils offer natural UV protection. There a few lesser-known ones from the Amazon Rainforest that are treasures.

Here are some oils to consider adding to your summer skincare routine:

Red raspberry seed oil has an SPF of up to 50 and is rich in antioxidants that protect against environmental stressors. This oil is perfect for people with sensitive skin because it’s non-greasy and doesn’t clog pores, although it can often smell a bit fishy.

Carrot seed oil has an SPF of up to 40 and is high in antioxidants, vitamins A, C and E. It also contains carotenoids, which help protect against free radicals that can damage the skin. 

Coconut oil has an SPF of up to 10 and is a natural moisturizer that’s great for all skin types. It contains lauric acid, which has antimicrobial properties that can help fight against bacteria and fungus on the skin. Coconut oil can also help soothe sunburned skin.

Buriti oil is a deep, dark orange. If used alone, light skin may look like it has a bad fake tan. On darker skin, it creates a gorgeous glow.

Andiroba oil is also native to the Amazon and has a natural SPF of 6. It is rich in fatty acids that help protect against UV damage and nourish the skin.

Acai oil, derived from the acai berry, is native to the Amazon Rainforest. It has a natural SPF of 2-4 and is rich in antioxidants, which help protect against UV damage and promote healthy skin.

Passionfruit oil is easy to find with a natural SPF of 6. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamins A and C and fatty acids, which help protect against UV damage and promote healthy skin.

Sustainably harvested buriti oil has the highest natural content of beta-carotene (vitamin A) and a natural SPF.

Adding these oils to your skincare routine can provide an extra layer of protection against the sun’s harmful rays, but it’s important to note that they’re not a substitute for sunscreen. Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is still the best way to protect your skin. That and a hat. If you are devoted to outdoor activity when the sun is blasting, using a sunblock with questionable ingredients for a short time might be a better choice than using a “cleaner” product that might lead to skin damage due to its lower SPF.  

Our skin is our largest organ. We really don’t want ingredients that may or may not cause cancer hanging around on it any longer than necessary. An easy work around is to wash your face or take a shower as soon as you get home from tennis, golf, pickleball, basketball, riding or wherever. Bye, bye bad stuff. Then moisturize, relax and know you’ve done the best you can to defend against the rays while healthfully nourishing your skin.  

Brook Dougherty of Indio is the founder of JustUs Skincare and can be reached at [email protected]. For more information visit

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