You Really Shouldn’t Try Making Your Own Sunscreen

Image courtesy of Alex Liivet

The promise of DIY sunscreen is similar to that of other products you make for yourself at home: for your time, you’ll get a product that’s gentler, not full of mysterious “chemicals,” and cheaper. While many things are fun and easy to make yourself at home, sunscreen shouldn’t be one of them: its effectiveness is lab-tested and quantified right on the bottle.

Our scientifically sound colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports test commercially available sunscreens to find out whether the claimed sun protection factor (SPF) is really what’s printed on the label, and they find that “natural” products with ingredients similar to the homemade versions have the most variation. That’s not very promising.

Recipe-makers make claims about the active or inactive ingredients in commercial sunscreens being dangerous, but the point should be protecting oneself from the sun.

“What’s unsafe is making homemade sunscreen using ingredients without proven SPF or broad spectrum coverage in formulations that aren’t standardized or verified for their efficacy,” a board-certified dermatologist explained to Consumer Reports.

Products that blend skin-soothing creams and oils or essential oils might smell nice and soothe your skin, but the problem is that some DIY recipes distributed online make lofty promises about how well they shield your skin from the sun. One product without any active ingredients promises 80 SPF. Right.

Homemade Sunscreen Is a Definite Don’t [Consumer Reports]
Get the Best Sun Protection [Consumer Reports]