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When I was a kid, my summers were filled with amazing trips to the beach each year with my family. Each summer we would travel to and explore a new beach creating different memories along the way. There is one thing that each of these trips had in common though, and the memories all share a common thread, Zinc. This may not mean a whole lot to you, but if you are reading this, you are probably a mom, and if I tell you that every summer my aunt would slather our faces with Desitine, you can understand why changing my child for the first time and using that thick ointment took me immediately back to those summer trips. Yes. I was that kid with thick white streaks on my face, but I get complimented on my great skin to this day.

Hey, sunscreen is expensive, and skin cancer is becoming more and more common among Americans. It is important to consistently protect any skin that may be exposed to the sun on a daily basis, but this can get very pricey, especially when you have a bunch of little faces you need to protect as well. Always make sure everyone has a good sun hat for those long days of sunshine and then use some form of sunscreen applied every couple of hours while you are outdoors. You should really be using some form of SPF everyday for even minimal exposure.

We’ll take a minute to look into some of the alternatives out there to those pricey sunscreens that may help you save a few dollars.


Because its primary ingredient is Zinc, Desitine works wonders as a sunscreen in a pinch. My story was true, we used it every summer and my skin looks like it was never touched by the sun. Desitine is a great option to save some money, because as a parent, it is probably something that you already have in your arsenal, so really it is free. The only downfall is its thickness. It is hard to completely wash off of the skin because it is so oily; it takes a little extra work to get off. The thickness also means that its color really shows on the skin, looking a bit like war paint. On the upside, it provides excellent protection.

DIY Recipes

If you are feeling particularly crafty and don’t mind a little extra work, there are many DIY recipes for homemade sunscreen. Some of these seem a bit like a science experiment, with all of the blending and adding of different components and “oxides.” If you don’t mind investing a little money up front in order to save some in the long run, than this may be the option for you. You will have to purchase the ingredients, mostly organic minerals from a specialty store, which may seem expensive at the time of the purchase; however, once you have all the materials, you can make batch after batch of sunscreen and you will end up saving a ton of money, especially when sunscreen typically sells for between $8 and $15 a bottle.

Simple Surfers Mix

Surfers spend every day in the water with extreme exposure to the sun, of course they have come up with a quick and simple do it yourself alternative to SPF in a store bought bottle. The surfer recipe I have found is four ingredients that you whip together, and “slather on,” providing you with great overall total coverage that will sooth the skin and provide excellent protection against extreme and prolonged exposure to the sun. The four components to this mix are Zinc oxide, bee’s wax, tee tree oil and coconut oil. The tee tree oil and the coconut oil provide soothing and conditioning agents that smell awesome to boot. And the bee’s wax ensures your concoction is waterproof. The zinc provides your sun blocking agent.

This one gets my vote and will be what my family will be wearing this summer. It smells and feels great, it is easy and affordable to make, and I will have the satisfaction all summer of knowing that something that I made kept my family’s skin safe all summer while they had fun in the sun.

Whatever you choose to use on your skin or to protect your family’s skin, make sure that it is doing its job. These recipes have been used by others, but your batch is unique. If you notice any burning or coloring of the skin, use your discretion, and make sure to reapply often to ensure you stay protected.

Janet Lynch works for Chefs Diet, a new diet delivery service. She is also a very active blogger and health enthusiast.