Natural Sun Protection Plant-Powered Antioxidants: Sun-Up Before Sun Protector


What you’re up against: We all know how difficult it can be to find products that match a healthy, plant-focused lifestyle. Some products, we just decide to live without. But who really wants to go without sunscreen? Here’s what you need to know to make a game plan for summer fun.

Disclosure: The secret behind my Sun-Protector is the ingredients.  Red raspberry seed oil is the number one ingredient in my Sun-Up Before Sun Protector- and you will not find it in any commercial sunscreen, or any sunscreen product available to buy.  Why?  Red raspberry seed oil has a natural SPF of 28-50 AND, because it is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and essential fatty acids, it not only protects your skin from harmful rays, but it actually nourishes, fights aging and heals the skin.  However, it is extremely expensive and therefore, an effective ingredient that Big Cosmo avoids. 

Well, NOT ME!  Those that know me and my skin-food, know that I am willing to take the risk.  I will only provide the BEST options for the skin and the body.  You may gasp at the price tag associated with this risk, however, please note that not only will you only find 100% natural ingredients; you will NOT find any water in my products.  Full strength, Sun-Up Balms are designed to stay on the skin and repel water, all while protecting your skin and your internal body.  Sun-Up has been tested and has remained on the skin for hours after application and water activity.  A VERY little bit goes a VERY long way.


I openly oppose commercial skincare because of all of the added, unnecessary chemicals and toxins that penetrate through your skin and pollute your entire body- ultimately altering how your organs function.  Sun-care is no different- in fact, commercial sunscreens may actually be more harmful to your organs than the damage inflicted by the sun itself.  I have always felt it was safer to minimize the time in the sun, use shade to its full potential and dress in sun protectant clothing (sun shirts were worn over swimsuits and hats).  Having three young children that adore the sun more than I do, brought this topic to the forefront.  I do not want my children to have to sit out of sun-time activities, yet I want to protect them from the harmful rays.  I also cherish their health more than anything and need a sunscreen that will not only be effective, but not contaminates their delicate organs, tissues, and cells. Children, especially very young children, are more susceptible to damage from chemicals and toxins (just as the elderly are more susceptible).

Children are still developing mature neurologic and immune systems, and chemicals and toxins can cause more potent damage much more rapidly to them than to adults.  Secondly, young children have a higher body fat percentage- meaning they can store this fat-loving, absorbed chemicals much faster and longer than adults.  Chemicals stored in the tissue can be responsible for long-term health conditions because they are slowly released into the bloodstream.  More discerning is the fact that these chemicals that are absorbed through the skin DO NOT pass through the liver first.  Unlike foods that are ingested and first pass through the liver and are metabolized into water-soluble form to be excreted in the urine, feces, via the skin and respiratory system, fat-soluble chemicals that are absorbed by the skin enter the blood as it travels to the organs before it goes to the liver for detoxification.  These chemicals travel to the organs, pass through the blood-brain barrier and cross the placenta in full strength.  THIS IS WHY CHEMICAL-FREE SKINCARE IS SO IMPORTANT!

When these chemicals are absorbed through the skin, they are delivered in full strength to all of your organs- including the brain.  They love fatty tissue and migrate into fatty tissue very easily.  Unnecessary evils (chemicals) are fat-soluble, and our cell membranes are permeable to fat-soluble substances; they can easily pass into the cells and cause DNA mutation and damage.  This is true for all skincare products- not just sunscreens. Our body contains fat tissue as a protective mechanism in two forms: adipose fat lies under our skin, visceral fat is found surrounding our organs.  Both are storage places for fat-soluble chemicals such as those toxins found in commercial skincare.  Once stored in the fat, they can feed nearby structures and organs.  The brain is made up of fatty tissue as well.  Chemicals absorbed through the skin pass through the brain via the bloodstream on the way to the liver and can be absorbed and stored in the fatty tissue of the brain.  In fact, recent research has found a link between the aluminum in commercial deodorant with neurological diseases, including dementia, autism, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s because of the levels of aluminum found in the brain tissue.

The cold, hard truth is this: chemicals that are fat-soluble easily pass thru the blood-brain barrier and do cross the placenta into the developing fetus.  Since most of these chemicals are neurotoxic, limiting exposure greatly reduces your and your children’s risk of neurological damage- including ADHD, mental confusion, sluggishness, and anxiety.

Let’s Explore the Common Ingredients in Commercial Skincare

Zinc oxide, what you might remember seeing on your lifeguard’s nose, was the original sunscreen. Made in the 1940s, it sort of sat on the top of your skin to protect it from the sun and worked similarly to wearing a white shirt (about SPF 15).

Modern-day sunscreens can have chemicals that sink into your skin and bloodstream to avoid having this residue – but at what cost? Some of the generic sunscreens on the market have parabens, oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate– each of which have been linked to harmful effects.   These added and unnecessary chemicals are endocrine disruptors, cause DNA damage, are mutagens, can interfere with reproductive organs and may affect fertility, can cause developmental defects, cause neurological damage, are suspected carcinogens, promote aging, damage the immune system, inhibit cell growth and can cause skin irritations such as contact dermatitis, rashes, dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, acne and rosacea.  The list goes on- that is just a brief synopsis of some of the internal damage these chemicals can cause.

Titanium dioxide actually absorbs the sunlight (about 70%), which can produce free radicals in the skin (specifically the hydroxyl radical, which we don’t want). Zinc oxide deflects and scatters sunlight and does not produce free radicals. According to the Environmental Working Group, the FDA doesn’t currently regulate at the nanoparticle level; they consider both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (which the International Agency for Research on Carcinogens called a ‘possible carcinogen) are safe for use in sunscreens. Despite some concerns, EWG considers zinc oxide and titanium dioxide safer than other products on the market – specifically for lotion sunscreens and not necessarily for sprays. Several other skincare companies reference non-nano as better because it doesn’t enter the bloodstream, as nanoparticles will.  The gist? Non-nano may be better for you than nanoparticles, which can enter the bloodstream.

Plenty of Paleo sources recommend diet as another natural sunscreen. Mark Sisson, of Mark’s Daily Apple, cites research and shares several alternative methods to boost sun protection, such as eating foods high in lycopene (found in tomatoes), supplementing vitamin D, eating saturated fats, drinking antioxidant-rich teas and more. But what if you need a little extra help? Every person’s skin and situation for sun exposure is unique.

What you need to know: A commonly cited study from 2000 found that red raspberry seed oil has a natural SPF of 25-50, which is equal to the titanium dioxide used in many sunscreens, and it blocks against the broad spectrum of both UV-A and UV-B rays (UV-B penetrate just the surface of the skin, and can cause aging or wrinkling; while UV-A can harm the dermis, or second layer of the skin and cause mutations that might lead to cancer).

Raspberry seed oil has the essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, healing oils and antioxidants that are great for your skin. It’s anti-inflammatory characteristics make it useful in treating eczema and psoriasis.

Relatively new labeling from the FDA requires manufacturers to test sunscreens based on their effectiveness and label them with more recommendations, including whether the product is “Broad Spectrum,” or able to protect you against UV-A and UV-B rays; as well as the amount of time consumers can expect it to work. For raspberry seed oil to be tested by the FDA and proven to be an active ingredient or sun repellant, a manufacturer would have to financially back the process, and then produce enough of the seed oil sunscreen to regain profits. There may not be enough supply of raspberry seeds internationally to do this, which wouldn’t justify the cost.

My Solution for Responsible, Body-Safe and Protective Sun Care

I am a minimalist when it comes to ingredients- I am also a perfectionist when it comes to a recipe. As usual, I look to nature to provide the ingredients I need.  Thankfully, many plants have developed their own UVR protection and can provide us with the same natural protection.  Not only are they safe for the environment, but they protect us as well.

I used to use red raspberry seed oil exclusively as a sun protectant.  It has a SPF of 25-50 and contains vitamins, nutrients and antioxidant protection.   Antioxidants protect against free radical damage. Free radicals in the body can cause a plethora of health issues- including cancer, immune suppression and signs of aging. Commercial skincare contains chemicals that promote free radical damage- add that to sun exposure, which also causes free radical damage- and the sun becomes your foe- not your friend!

Make friends with the sun!  The sun not only feels great and creates a healthy glow- the sun is great for our mental health too!  It also aids in vitamin D synthesis in the body.

“Activated vitamin D is one of the most potent inhibitors of cancer cell growth,” says Michael F. Holick, PhD, MD, who heads the Vitamin D, Skin, and Bone Research Laboratory at Boston University School of Medicine. “It also stimulates your pancreas to make insulin. It regulates your immune system.”

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that includes vitamins D1, D2, and D3. and can affect as many as 2,000 genes in the body.  Vitamin D also regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorous, and supports a normal functioning immune system. Adequate Vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases.

My simple solution of red raspberry seed oil works great- but I knew it needed some help to be more effective- after all, most things in life are better when they are not standing alone but used in conjunction with other beneficial ingredients. The only problem I noticed with using straight Red Raspberry Seed oil was that it absorbed too quickly, thereby reducing the effectiveness of providing UV protection- so I created a solution.

I created Sun-Up Before Sun Protector using a base of Red Raspberry Seed oil and added additional oils and essential oils that offer additional UV protection, skin healing and cell regenerating properties.  When combined with red raspberry seed oil , they make an effective sun protectant that not only blocks damaging UV rays, but provides a blend of nutrients for the skin in case even a small amount of damage occurs. Secondly, these added ingredients resist water and sweat offering longer-lasting protection during the water and other activities.

Red Raspberry Seed Oil

Red Raspberry Seed oil is the primary oil in Sun-Up because of it offers the skin “broad spectrum” protection from damaging UV-A and UV-B rays and has an SPF of 25-50.  It also is a highly moisturizing and emollient oil. It naturally contains an exceptionally high proportion of alpha and gamma tocopherols (Vitamin E), polyphenols and other antioxidants. It is also rich in Vitamin A and contains up to 83% omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Red Raspberry Seed oil also has pronounced anti-inflammatory properties. Red Raspberry Seed Oil also has high levels of antioxidants.  Antioxidants like vitamin C and E are nature’s own sunscreen, designed to protect living organisms like plants from sun damage, oxidation and disease. The high presence of these vitamins may explain the SPF factor of vegetable oils like red raspberry seed oil, carrot seed, and olive oil.

What protection does Sun-Up Before Sun Protector provide? Sun-Up contains the following oils, and listed are the SPF for each oil.  Combined, this offers great UV protection as well as a plethora of nutrients in the form of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential fatty acids.  Not only will you protect your skin, but you will actually provide nutrition for the cells of you body.

Sun-Up Before Sun Protector

Sun-Up Before Sun Protector SPF
Red Raspberry Seed Oil 25-50 Organic Red Raspberry Seed Oil is highly moisturizing and emollient. It possesses an exceptionally high proportion of alpha and gamma tocopherols (Vitamin E), polyphenols and other antioxidants. It is also rich in Vitamin A and contains up to 83% omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Organic Red Raspberry Seed Oil also has anti-inflammatory properties and offers the skin broad-spectrum protection from damaging UV-A and UV-B rays.
Beeswax* 15 It makes Sun-Up water-resistant and allows better protection during water sports and while sweating.
Avocado oil* 15 Avocado oil is rich in vitamins A, B, D and E, fatty acids and lecithin. Avocado oil has the quick-acting capacity to be absorbed by the skin tissue and provides the skin with emollients that can hydrate, nourish and regenerate the epidermis or the outer skin layer.
Zinc Oxide (non-nano sized) 8 A non-toxic, and typically non-irritating, effective broad-spectrum sunblock. The particles sit on the outermost layer of your skin, scattering and absorbing UVA and UVB rays, protecting the skin below.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil* 2-8 Olive oil works to repair damaged skin and protect against skin cancer.
Virgin Coconut Oil* 8 Coconut oil has an amazing ability to heal the skin and block the damaging effects of UV radiation from the sun. One of the reasons why it is so effective in protecting the skin is its antioxidant properties, which help prevent burning and oxidative damage that promotes skin cancer.
Vitamin E* It is readily absorbed by the epidermis layer of the skin, and can heal the damage caused by ultraviolet radiation. It can also provide protection to the skin from sun damage. Vitamin E also prevents water loss from the skin and helps it to retain its natural moisture.
Carrot Seed Essential Oil* 40 It has antiseptic properties that help prevent and heal infections. Carrot Seed EO also helps with skin irritation, is rich in antioxidants and helps to rejuvenate the skin.
Lavender Essential Oil* 6 It has natural anti-inflammatory and sun-blocking properties; also great for soothing and repairing skin.
Myrrh Essential Oil* 20 It has natural anti-inflammatory and sun-blocking properties and is a powerful antioxidant.
Sandalwood Essential Oil* 30 It helps soften skin by increasing and restoring its ability to retain moisture.

*Certified Organic

My Take on Zinc Oxide

Let’s talk zinc oxide for a moment. Nano-sized zinc oxide (in most commercial sunscreens) means that the particle size is small enough to potentially pass thru the skin/cells and enter the body. Most times, they hitch a ride on the oil or chemicals that are contained within the sunscreen. A nano-particle is a particle smaller than 100 nanometers, or 100 billionths of a meter.

Non-nano sized zinc-oxide means the zinc oxide particles are larger, and should be unable to penetrate the protective mechanism of the skin- even if they try to hitch a ride on carrier oil. In essence, they just sit on the skin and deflect the sun.

I personally have a love-hate relationship with non-nano zinc oxide (NNZO). While I don’t feel 100% safe using it all of the time- because I am not exactly sure that a small amount is not absorbed as it soaks in the oil medium- I do feel that it does have it’s place in the sun.  I feel that I am very well protected during everyday sun with my blend of oils and essential oils in Sun-Up, but there are times I feel the need for extra protection. For example, the first few days of sun season, a sun vacation in the middle of winter, or any vacation nearing the equator!  I also feel children are more sensitive to the sun and its damaging effects- so if I feel it will be a long day in the sun, I reach for Sun-Up Ultra with NNZO.

Words about SPF- don’t EVER let it give you a false sense of security!!  ALL SUNSCREEN FAILS – primarily because it is either sweat off, removed while swimming, or fully absorbed. Any product with an SPF higher than 20 is appealing to your sense of “more is best”.

ALL commercial sunscreen should be reapplied at least every 2 hours to remain effective- no matter the SPF.   Most contain water and are either removed with sweat or water or absorb quickly into the body.

In testing our Sun-Up Balm, we have found that it does stay on the skin and offer protection for at least 2 hours (and up to 4 hours), even while swimming.  I still recommend applying a “touch up” every 2 hours.

As mentioned earlier, following a diet rich in fresh vegetables, nuts, fruits, and meats will help arm your body with the antioxidants, vitamins and essential fatty acids to help prevent free-radical damage caused by sun exposure.  However, diet alone will not prevent sunburn.  With proper nutrition, you can help prevent the damage caused by the sun.  Arm yourself with a Paleo diet AND Sun-Up Before Sun Protector, and you can enjoy the sun from the outside.  

To protect yourself from UV and free radical damage, eat plenty of:

  • Egg yolks
  • Green and black tea
  • Nuts
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Mustard greens
  • Collard greens
  • Yams
  • Salmon
  • Tomatoes
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries
  • Goji berries
  • Grapes Yellow, red or green peppers
  • Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO). FCLO is a natural anti-inflammatory rich in omega-3 acids. These are the fatty acids that your skin needs to protect itself from the sun. FCLO is also an excellent source of vitamin D itself

Primal Life Organics cannot make claims about SPF for this product, as it has not been tested. We do not call this sunscreen and do not claim it to be sunscreen. We can, however, provide you with the information about each ingredient (from legitimate sources that have tested these ingredients) and allow you to make an informed decision as to whether this product is right for you. If we provide the education, you take control of your own destiny- instead of relying on Big Cosmo to make these decisions for you.
Sun-Up is a “protector” because the research indicates each ingredient does provide some sort of skin protection.

Primal Life Organics cannot, and does not make claims that this is a sunscreen. We simply compile the ingredient information in one place and ask you to form your own, informed decision of whether this is the correct product for you. In order to make claims of this product being a sunscreen with a specific SPF, we would need to have this product tested, which would be very costly and drive the price up. Also, it would provide little additional information that you can already conclude given the facts I provide you with. Remember, an SPF ABOVE 25 is not needed- as most need to be reapplied frequently to remain effective. Buying a high SPF product because of the number is appealing to your sense of “more is better” and provides you with a false sense of security- not sun protection.

We invite you to use this product alone, or in conjunction with a sunscreen you trust- just be informed and make your decision based on the facts.

Please understand, the information we provide you about each ingredient is documented from legitimate Internet sources. Please be responsible and know that you can verify all this information by performing a Google search for each ingredient and then make your own educated decision if this product is right for you.

The more you educate yourself about natural alternatives to commercial products and the more you experiment with plant-based products, the more you trust what nature has to give you. Un-tampered nature. Pure nature. Only nature-based.

Feel free to contact us at with any questions or comments.