Natural Oil SPF List

Scientific data on UV absorbance of natural & essential oils

SPFOilRecommendation
28.000Raspberry seed oilRefined Organic Cold Pressed Raspberry seed Oil
7.549Olive oilLa Tourangelle Extra Virgin Olive Oil
7.119Coconut oilViva Labs Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
6.668Peppermint oilMajestic Pure Essential Peppermint Oil
6.571Tulsi oilMiracle Botanicals Holy Basil Tulsi Oil
6.282Lemongrass oilMorning Pep Lemongrass Oil
5.687Castor oilHome Health Cold Pressed & Processed Castor Oil
5.624Lavender oilRadha Bulgarian Lavender Oil
4.659Almond oilMolivera Organics Sweet Almond Oil
3.975Orange oilNow Foods Orange Oil
2.810Lemon oilMajestic Pure Essential Lemon Oil
2.625Eucalyptus oilNow Foods Eucalyptus Oil
2.105Mustard seed oilDr Adorable Mustard seed Oil
2.019Chaulmoogra oilVirgin Cold Pressed Chaulmoogra Oil
1.771Sesame oilLa Tourangelle Toasted Sesame Oil
1.702Tea tree oilArt Naturals Essential Tea tree Oil

This SPF chart is compiled from research published in publicly-available scientific journals. Read below for more information on raspberry seed oil, other herbal oils, and the positive effects of other herbal compounds. Carrot seed oil is often incorrectly called a UV protectant.

Natural & Essential Oil SPF

Raspberry seed oil, olive oil & coconut oil have been shown to have the highest SPF values. These are calculated using in vitro (lab) absorbance data. FDA-evaluated sunscreen values are measured in vivo (on human volunteers), but results from two methods are usually equivalent.

Protection will vary by brand & harvest. Consider the values provided here and in supporting literature to be approximate.

Essential oils are not recommended for use as sunscreen. Fixed (pressed) oils are more stable than volatile (essential) oils.

Raspberry Seed Oil SPF Is Highest

According to a group of researchers in Canada, France & China, raspberry seed oil has a SPF between 28-50 and may act as a broad spectrum UV protectant:

The optical transmission of raspberry seed oil, especially in the UV range (290-400nm) was comparable to that of titanium dioxide preparations with [SPF] ... values between 28-50

[Absorbance graphs will be provided here soon.]

Raspberry seed oil also has characteristics found to protect against oxidative stress, has a long shelf life, and is a renewable resource. Organic raspberry seed oil is widely available.

We recommend Refined Organic Cold Pressed Raspberry Seed Oil.

Olive Oil & Coconut Oil SPF

Olive oil SPF is 7.549 and coconut oil SPF is 7.119, according to Kaur & Saraf in In vitro sun protection factor determination of herbal oils used in cosmetics (2010). They did not test UVA radiation, which does not cause sunburn but increases risk of melanoma & photodermatitis.

We recommend La Tourangelle Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Viva Labs Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.

Carrot Seed Oil Is Not Sunscreen

Results are misinterpreted from Kapoor & Saraf's Efficacy Study of Sunscreens Containing Various Herbs for Pro­tecting Skin from UVA and UVB Sunrays (2009). The title is clear: sunscreens containing, not comprised exclusively of, herbs are tested. Sample HS3 is a commercial sunscreen containing carrot seed oil, identified as Biotique Carrot, which contains zinc.

Other Natural Sunscreen

Kumar & Viswanathan found chicken oil absorbed nearly 75% of UV radiation and concluded unsaturated fatty acids make the best sunscreen in Study of UV Transmission through a Few Edible Oils & Chicken Oil. We find this interesting but do not recommend chicken oil as a sunscreen.

We recommend organic, renewable, animal-friendly SPF 28+ Refined Organic Cold Pressed Raspberry Seed Oil.