You only have to do a search on Google or Pinterest to find dozens of recipes for homemade sunscreen. It sounds like a great idea. It’s all natural and you have control over the ingredients you are putting on your skin. But is it a good idea? Or are there some things that are better left to those who know what they are doing?
The Benefit of Making Your Own Sunscree n
You might have heard some of the negatives of store-bought sunscreen. You might worry about chemicals you are spreading over your and your children’s bodies. You might have heard rumors that nanoparticles are dangerous. Making your own sunscreen provides you with a product you can feel comfortable using. It contains only the ingredients you put into it.
The Dangers of Homemade Sunscreen
Making homemade sunscreen isn’t as easy as it sounds. Yes, you can find recipes quickly and easily by searching the web. But, it is almost impossible to know whether these recipes are effective. The formulas for the sunscreens bought in the store have been tested, repeatedly. They protect your skin according to the SPF listed on the bottle. Mixing your own sunscreen doesn’t give you that security. You can’t be sure that the SPF you think you created is really what you ended up with. In one blog, "The Trouble with Making Your Own Sunscreen," the author talks about her attempts at creating her own sunscreen. She was lucky enough to know people who could test her creations, and often, the SPF she thought the sunscreen was turned out to be wrong. For example, in one attempt she tried to create a sunscreen with an SPF of 30. When tested, it turned out to be 15. That is a big difference. It took her many attempts to come anywhere near the correct SPF.
Some people choose to make their own sunscreen because store-bought sunscreen is expensive. But homemade doesn’t necessarily mean cheaper. By the time you buy all the correct ingredients, you might spend well over A 6.7 oz. container of this ingredient sells for $7.00 on Amazon, with shipping costs of $6.57, which means you are spending over $13.00 just for one ingredient. Many recipes also call for zinc oxide, which will cost you about the same. Your cost is now over $20.00 and you haven’t bought any of the lotions or oils. Make sure you avoid products containing nanoparticles as these can be inhaled and cause health problems. You should not attempt to mix nanoparticles without special equipment.
Zinc oxide provides between 1 to 1.5 SPF per percentage added. That means you need about one-third of your sunscreen to be zinc-oxide. Unfortunately, it is hard to mix and can end up as clumps throughout your sunscreen; sometimes you won’t notice the clumps and assume you have mixed it correctly. You can still end up with a lotion that isn’t properly mixed, with some areas providing more protection and others leaving you vulnerable to the sun’s rays.
Many of the recipes I looked at called for coconut or another type of oil. Unfortunately, oil is not the best ingredient to use because it attracts the sun. If you don’t have the right amount of titanium oxide or zinc oxide, you could potentially cause more damage than if you didn’t use sunscreen at all.
Sunscreens are meant to protect you from the sun’s rays. They are meant to help reduce your risk of skin cancer. They help protect your skin from premature aging. When it comes to the health of your skin, it is probably better to go with the experts and purchase store-bought sunscreen. There are too many unknowns when making your own.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.