Consumer Reports Warn Homemade Sunscreen Poses Public Health Risks

Do-it-yourself sunscreen is not an effective way to prevent skin cancer

Consumer Reports has warned beachgoers that people who like do-it-yourself projects should skip making their own sunscreen.

Homemade crafts are not a wise approach to sunscreen, despite Pinterest and Instagram crafting competitions.

Do-it-yourself sunscreen could place beachgoers at risk for sunburns at first and skin cancer in the long run. Without a way to professionally test the SPF protection of a homemade sunscreen, there is no quality control. Crafters can't determine what the SPF of the product is. They often don't even know if those ingredients have any kind of sun protection.

Zinc oxide is one of the potential ingredients in homemade sunscreen. But this mineral protects skin by deflecting the sun’s UV rays, rather than absorbing rays the way chemical-based sunscreens do.

The common ingredient is found in many mineral-based sunscreens available on store shelves. Consumer Reports' tests have consistently found that even in store-bought sunscreens, the chemical ingredients are more effective than the ones only containing zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or both, as active ingredients.

Effectiveness should be the most important goal when using any kind of sunscreen, according to Consumer Reports. In childhood, one blistering sunburn can increase the risk of skin cancer by 50 percent.

To minimize harmful sun exposure, it's best to not only use sunscreen but use it correctly. Consumer Report officials say it's also important to consider when the sun rays are strongest.

The best protection is to avoid the midday sun, when the rays are most intense. Also, plan most of your activities early or later in the day, and wear sun-protective fabric and clothing, hats and sunglasses, in addition to your sunscreen.

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