Saturday, July 27, 2013

Please please please please don't make your own sunscreen

I can't believe how many things I'm seeing on things like SnapGuide or Instructables or in my favourite forum about making sunscreens. All I can say is please don't. There is no guarantee that these products work, and you're risking short and long term damage for yourself and the people you love. I know we want to save money or have more "natural" products, but the reality is that the reason sunscreens have drug identification numbers (in Canada at least) is that they have to undergo a ton of rigourous screening tests to make sure they work. Adding zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to shea butter or Vaseline or something else doesn't make it a sunscreen. There are so many factors that go into make an effective sunscreen that the textbook I have on the topic runs more than 500 pages. 

There is no argument I haven't heard before about why you want to make your own sunscreen, so I'll ask you not to make one. There is absolutely nothing you can say that will make it okay for you to make something that could be quite dangerous to someone. Sunscreen makes my skin break out so badly and my skin is red all summer long because of the irritation, yet I still use it. I have the skill and knowledge to make something that might resemble sunscreen, yet I would not think of doing it, even though it would save my family a ton of money. You have so many products containing so many different types of physical and chemical sunscreens with so many different types of bases - anhydrous, fancy moisturizers, basic lotions - that there is something you will be able to use. You will have to invest some time and money to find a product that your skin likes - I've been searching for years - but you will find something.

What I find funny is that the recipes I'm seeing are using mineral oil and Vaseline as the base, which are not exactly "natural" to some people. (I think they are - after all, dinosaurs were natural, right?) 

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Nina said...

Excellent post, thanks for sharing this information!

Jennifer said...

Coconut oil. ARGGG. I've seen a lot of homemade sunscreen recipes that just suggest straight coconut oil. I'm SO done with the coconut oil is good for everything craze. Enough already. Thank you for posting this.

julie said...

I really appreciate your blogs on this topic. It seems like the trend for summer 2014 will be using various oils and butters because of their "natural" spf.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Julie! Oh no! More uphill battles to fight!

Mama G said...

If I add zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to a face cream I make, does it do ANYTHING for sun protection?

Love your posts, so informative, thank you!!


Randi Hymers said...

Hi Susan, I love your blog, and was wondering if I can sure this one in my blog about not making your own sunscreen and why I do not make sunscreen. I just want to add a link to your blog if I could, let me know.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Randi! Please share this with anyone who will listen. Having said this, did you see the update to this I posted two weeks ago?