T Nation

Coconut Oil as Sunblock


Thoughts on this article?


Apparently coconut oil has an SPF of 10, and is a much safer and non-toxic (obviously) alternative to regular sunblock, which contains hazardous compounds such as retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone.


Might not be a bad idea if you can handle that smell all day. I've heard more and more recently that sunblock may be more harmful than good. The best option is to wear big hats and clothes that breathe and cover the skin. Tanning on purpose is being more recognized as one of the more harmful things you can do to your body.


not sure.

i have childhood memories of the smell of coconut oil and sunbathing at the beach.

then at some point they stopped importing it for the islanders. oil and the heat of the sun... uh... fries the skin, you see.

so it vanished off the shelves from nz.

(we have highest rates of skin cancer being closest to the hole in the ozone, yeah).

i remember some people would use other oils at tan accelerators...

if it really does work as a sunscreen then that is news to me.


The article you reference is quoting information from this group. Here's their list of no's regarding sunscreen. I recently read this, and have considered eliminating sunscreens with oxybenzone. The idea of exposure to hormone disruptors is troubling. They also have a list of "safe" sunscreens for people that are interested.


Here are a couple of other links with more information about the science on oxybenzone, which made me think some of these recommendations to avoid it may be excessive. Generalizations made from animal studies where immature rats were administered mega doses of oxybenzone orally, etc..



FWIW, I've never heard of Coconut Oil being used as a sunscreen.

Personally, I avoid PABA, and Retinyl Palmitate. That first link has a list of "safe" sunscreens. I like those with more of a physical barrier. They've gotten a lot better with making products with "micro or transparent" zinc. The one I'm using now has active ingredients of Homosalate 10%, Zinc Oxide 7.5%, Octinoxate 7.5%.

I'm fair skinned, had a basal cell carcinoma in my 20's, and have lived my whole life in the southwest and west coast so I really try to protect my skin.


Powerpuff, how is your ballet going? I would love to read about your experiences with that, if you have posted them somewhere.

I ended up quitting physiotherapy because they were more about 'smile and massage and take advantage of the placebo response' than they were about actually teaching us a body of knowledge.

I looked into this course that involves a class that 'taught movement via gymnastics and dance' and the thought intrigued me... I started doing a group fitness class for the feel-good and found one instructor who was BRILLIANT. he could totally kick my ass (no mean feat since i'm pretty fit now and need low impact). he could also totally kick my brain (weird crossing the body stuff that one should surely be able to do and odd little things...) turned out he trained as a ballet dancer and that got me intrigued.

ballet dancers do an awful lot of jumping... but they don't hurt their knees (unless they force turnout from knee not hip). they turn out HEAPS, yeah. as much as they can. they jump from there. and they don't hurt their knees. gets me thinking... i don't think girls (in particular) should aim for their feet / knees to point forwards... i think we are supposed to be more like frogs...

anyway. trying to learn the positions... if you want to know about how feet are supposed to work... ask a ballet dancer, huh. foot rehab... never mind physio... ballet is where it is at, methinks.

(like if you want to know about fat loss ask a bodybuilder rather than a nutritionist)


hmm... i wonder who gets to do physiotherapy on ballerina's feet...

(i wonder if they are considered 'hypermobile' instead of considering most other people's inappropriately restricted)


Alexus- yes ballet can be very impressive and entertaining, although like soccer players they tend to have problems with ankles later on in life. Im not saying its not a good sport to learn/practice, but like all things, if you do things long enough you are going to see an increase of incidence of repetitive induced injuries.



Regarding skin cancers from sun and/or sunscreen.

I'm not familiar with the details of any of the studies and metastudies done, but I wonder how much of it is pure genetics versus cause from a particular ingredient in a sunscreen.

For example, when these studies are done, do they account for heritage being, say (for lack of better terms/descriptions) "UK decent" (fair skinned) versus "southern Mediterrainan desecent" (dark skinned Span/Port/Ital/N.African) versus Indian, Asian, etc.

Somebody previously mentioned cancers in New Zealand population. Was that uniform across aboriginals and European transplants?


WARNING Ballet Threadjack -

Hey Alexus! Nice to see ya. Sorry to hear that your physiotherapy studies weren't what you'd hoped. Better to find out sooner than later. I still see you as a marvelous physical therapist, or chiropractor or massage therapist, or something rehab related. You'd be fantastic. Don't give up. There has to be a niche for you and your interests. You've got so much experience with movement patterns and mobility and such.

I'm not logging right now. If you start logging again, there's a Directory of Women's Logs in the PW section. Please put up a link.

About ballet, I had to take a break due to schedule conflicts this past semester, but I'm hoping to go at it again in the fall. It's demanding, finding time to work in 2 hour long classes every Tues and Thursday mornings. Unfortunately, our 15-year-old daughter (the one in a wheelchair) is going to need major scoliosis surgery this fall, so that may push things back. I'm still doing a lot of barre work and stretching, in addition to my lifting.

You asked about foot mobility in ballet - Seeing how their feet move is amazing! It takes years to develop, but their feet are WAY more mobile than the general population. My teacher can control each toe. Her dexterity in her feet is almost like the fingers of her hand. Mind-body connection that most of us have never developed.

As Bird mentioned, foot, knee and ankle injuries - strains, sprains and stress fractures are common. If you are prone to bunions, ballet will make them worse. When you think about the stress of being on pointe, it makes sense. Also, I've heard that professional dancers "pay" for the lengthened tendons and ligaments in their back and hips too. I don't know if that's just because some of those things once stretched, never go back to normal and make the joints more vulnerable and unstable or if they are more prone to inflammation there and arthritis due to
"overuse". Not something I have to worry about too much at this point. :slightly_smiling:


Melanoma incidence and mortality is lower among New Zealand Maaori and Pacific peoples than among New Zealand Europeans. Maaori melanoma incidence rates are about one-tenth that of New Zealand Europeans (Sneyd and Cox, 2009). Of the 2,173 new melanoma registrations in 2007, 27 were Maaori and six were Pacific peoples (Ministry of Health, 2010b). Of the 292 melanoma deaths in that same year, seven were Maaori and two were Pacific peoples. However, the incidence of melanoma among Maaori appears to have increased. Age-adjusted incidence rates increased annually from 1996 to 2006 by 0.37 per 100,000 in the total population and by 0.20 per 100,000 in Maaori, a 12% and 90% increase respectively, over the 11 years (Sneyd and Cox, 2009). Melanoma incidence rates are higher in Maaori than Pacific and Asian peoples. Maaori and Pacific peoples in New Zealand have a higher than expected risk of thick and more advanced melanoma, with poorer prognosis. The median thickness of melanoma in 2007 was 0.78 mm in New Zealand Europeans, 1.2 mm in Maaori and 2.5 mm in Pacific peoples (Sneyd and Cox, 2009). Thirty-seven percent of melanomas in Pacific peoples were >4mm thick compared with 7.9% in New Zealand Europeans. It is unknown whether these differences are due to delay in diagnosis, different biological behaviours of similar melanomas or other factors that have yet to be identified.


The research showed that olive skinned people have different attitudes and behaviours towards the sun that fairer people, and are more likely to say they like to get a tan. It is concerning that we are reaching for the coconut oil rather than the sublock.


And there is the idea of coconut oil as a tan accelerator.

SPF 10 isn't actually very high. We are recommended to use SPF 30+ or preferably to cover the skin with rash shirts etc.


The Ballet Threadjack continues... Sorry everyone. No PMs so....

One more thought on this. I may have mentioned this to you before. My ballet instructor is just incredible when it comes to how the body works and finding and correcting movement patterns. There is a precision to ballet, and an awareness of all the muscles and joints. She was a professional dancer in NY, but also has a Ph.D. and she knows so much.

It reminded me of the BRILLANT teacher you mentioned. She can watch anyone just walking around and notice all kinds of things that are tweaked with regard to posture, muscle weaknesses, etc. She teaches a Condition and Correct course that you would probably love, where she works injures and rehab related topics, as well as just proper movement to avoid injury. I could see you teaching such a class someday, Lex.


Ah, I'm not sure about teaching classes in this stuff... I feel like I'm just starting out with it all, really, but have been looking for several years for a suitable class to take. Just end up enrolling in stuff that isn't so useful to me.

I've actually decided to apply to medicine. Bit of a process with my needing to do a prescribed curriculum for next year and applying for competitive entry from there. Gives me a chance to finish my my thesis with the rest of this year, though. I don't expect I'll learn much sports and exercise stuff doing medicine... But it will be a whole lot less stupid than what I've been suffering through this year. Literacy, ability to focus, ability to work independently etc will be on the rise...

I think it is mostly about the person. There are some wonderfully knowledgeable people out there. More about learning from them than anything else.

I was sad to have not overlapped with this guy very much:

But it got me thinking about ballerina's feet...

I wonder how much their injuries are due to high level performance demands (training through injury) rather than the kind of training they do? I'm not sure that we should take the mobility most people have in their feet as ideal or normal (in anything other than a statistical sense). I think feet are meant to be a lot more like hands than is commonly supposed... The video gave me some ideas to try for my clawed toes, anyway.

6 years of stretching and manipulations, he said it took him.

You would think podiatrists and physiotherapists would be all over this... Instead of working as glorified massage therapists and shoe salesmen...


^ Wow, Lex. That guy is fascinating. He was the instructor you stumbled upon? Yes, he reminds me is sooo much of my ballet teacher. She noticed a callus on the center of my foot, and showed me how it's related to a loose joint in my big toe, and the start of a bunion, then gave me exercises to strengthen it. She will look at wear patterns on shoes and such. Getting her to start correcting you was like magic. There's so much to learn about the body and how it moves, and how people compensate around weakness or injury. You know there will be a tremendous increase in the need for this as people live longer, and are so active, or want to be active and athletic as they age. And I'm with you on finding really knowledgeable people, regardless of their background.

End threadjack.

Sorry about that Greek.


Talking about sunscreens and the sun.....

Related, sunglasses are another concern. I hardly ever wear them. I'm fair skinned and green-eyed. My husband is blond and blue-eyed. He had an optometrist tell him that he should be conscientious about wearing sunglasses because "his eyes are blond too and are more susceptible to sun damage." Just something to think about. My father and my father-in-law (both blue-eyed) have developed cataracts now that they are in their 70's.


People with fair skin and hair also tend to have "fair" eyes, which means there is not a lot of pigment in the pigmented cells of the iris, and hence blue/green eyes. With the reduced pigment, more light is able to penetrate and these people tend to be more susceptible to glare. Glare itself does not cause disease, however the UV rays can be damaging

It is know that people with fair skin, hair and eyes are more susceptible to melanomas and hence wearing sunglasses to block any damaging UV light is not a bad idea to prevent retinal melanomas.

Studies have also shown that UV exposure can increase the incidence of cataracts, although it is normal for a person in their 70's to have cataracts. There are also other factors such as as genetics, medication, eye trauma, diabetes etc etc.

Bird. Word.