Experts warn to avoid DIY sunscreen
Sandra Hermiston and Ross McLaughlin , CTV Vancouver
Published Friday, July 21, 2017 6:00AM PDT
A quick browse on Pinterest or Instagram and you'll see DIY, or do-it-yourself, projects are popular. But would you believe people are even making sunscreen at home?
The internet is full of recipes and how-to-videos for whipping up sunscreen. However, experts warn that can be a very risky process.
“You’re at risk for sunburn in the short term, but in the long term you’re really at risk for skin cancer,” said Dr. Jessica Krant, board certified dermatologist.
That’s because there is really not way for you to test the effectiveness of the mixture.
“You have no quality control. You can't determine what the SPF of the product is. You don't even know if those ingredients have any kind of SPF protection," warned Trisha Calvo, Consumer Reports health editor.
Zinc oxide, one of the potential ingredients in homemade sunscreen, protects skin by deflecting the sun’s UV rays rather than absorbing them the way chemical based sunscreens do.
But in Consumer Reports tests of store-bought sunscreens, the ones that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, or both, as active ingredients have consistently been found to be less effective than those that contain the chemical active ingredients.
And effectiveness is key.
“In childhood, one single blistering sunburn can increase the risk of skin cancer by 50 per cent,” explained Krant.
To minimize harmful sun exposure, you should not only use sunscreen, and use it correctly, but also apply a little strategy.
The best protection is to avoid strong midday sun and plan most of your activities early or later in the day. Also wear sun protective fabric and sun protective clothing, hats and sunglasses in addition to your sunscreen.
Good sunscreens don't have to be expensive. McLaughlin on Your Side recently aired a story that rated a number of sunscreens based on performance and price. Click here for more details.