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May 21, 2019

Sorry, Pinterest lovers: most DIY sunscreen fails to provide the sun protection you need

A new study throws shade on make-it-yourself sunscreen recipes

Prevention Sunscreen
sunscreen PA Images/Sipa USA

Studies show lotions provide better overall coverage than spray sunscreens.

Consider this your friendly reminder that while the DIY realm most certainly has its place in the world, make-your-own sunscreen is really not a good idea, according to a new study.

Researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Brooks College of Health at University of North Florida found that while the modern yearning for more natural sunscreen products is valid, DIY versions generally provide insufficient UV radiation protection.

The study, published Monday in the journal Health Communication, found that while 95 percent of homemade sunscreen pins on Pinterest claimed to be effective, 68 percent of featured “recipes” provide insufficient protection, according to a news release.


RELATED READ: We recognize dangers of skin cancer, but don’t apply sunscreen 


The researchers said they had concern because the DIY ingredients — like the ever-popular coconut oil — are widely shared (averaging 808 saves per pin), regardless of their minimal protection and lack of safety evidence.

Lara McKenzie, Ph.D., co-author of the study, had a warning for those who may want to make their own sunscreen.

"Homemade sunscreen products are risky because they are not regulated or tested for efficacy like commercial sunscreens," she said. "When you make it yourself, you don't know if it's safe or effective."

As skin cancer rates continue to climb, use of an effective broadband sunscreen is critical to protect the skin.

The researchers recommend using an FDA-approved sunscreen that is broad spectrum, water-resistant and has an SPF of 30 or higher.

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