Lather on the real stuff


Heydi Ortiz, News Editor

We hate to break it to you, but according to a recent study from the Brooks College of Health, that homemade sunscreen is not going to cut it. The study, conducted by an associate professor at UNF’s Brooks College of Health, Dr. Julie Merten examines how DIY sunscreens are portrayed on social media, specifically on Pinterest. The study suggests that using DIY, non-regulated, organic, non-toxic sunscreens is doing more harm than good.

The study released in the Health Communication journal found that 95 percent of all posts made about homemade sunscreen portrayed it and its effectiveness in a positive light. 68 percent of the recommended recipes offered insufficient UV radiation protection.

Sun Protection Factors or SPF claims were made in a quarter of the posts from Pintrest with a range of SPF 2 to SPF 50. So what’s the big deal?

Dr. Merten says this is concerning considering the fact that homemade sunscreen recipes offer minimal scientifically proven broad-spectrum protection, yet is widely marketed or promoted primarily on Pinterest as safe alternatives to commercial sunscreens.

Although some of the ingredients in DIY sunscreens do offer some inherent protections, none of the claims can be confirmed or tested and aren’t as protective as commercially available sunscreens.

“When it comes to protecting your skin, use a commercially available, FDA-approved sunscreen,” said Merten. “Resist the urge to DIY when it comes to sunscreen. Readers can use the internet for recipes for food; not for products intended to protect them.”

According to Merten, commercial mineral-based sunscreens like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are great alternatives that provide broadband UV protection.

Co-authors of this study include Dr. Jessica King from Wake Forest University, as well as Dr. Kristi Roberts and Dr. Lara Mckenzie from the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].