Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Please please please don't make your own sunscreen!

It's that time of the year again, and as I do every time the sun shines a little brighter than I would like, I have to remind you that we can't make our own sunscreens at home. Please please please don't make your own sunscreen. I know it seems as simple as adding some titanium dioxide or zinc oxide to a product to reflect the sun's rays, but it really isn't that easy.

I know some of you are dying to write to me and tell me I'm wrong, that your sunscreen works for you, and so on. But there is no argument you can make that will support you making what is considered a drug at home. This isn't as simple as making a lotion or conditioner. The worst thing that happens with those products is a little more dry skin or a bad hair day. We're talking sunburn, premature aging, and skin cancer as the worst case scenarios for a poorly made homemade sunscreen.

I have to say this again: There is no argument you can make that justifies making your own sunscreen. I know this because over the last 8 years I think I've heard them all, and none of them are reasons to make a drug in your kitchen. (If you have, however, had the SPF of the product confirmed by a proper lab with the credentials to perform such tests, I'd entertain the argument.)

Please check out this post for more information on all kinds of things relating to sunscreen!

If you'd like to learn more about SPF, check out my column in Handmade Magazine!

And check out this post by Realize Beauty about her experiences with testing her sunscreens!

And check out this infographic from Compound Interest about the chemistry of sunscreens!

2 comments:

firegirl said...

How do you feel about putting some SPF into a daily moisturiser? A lot companies seem to be doing this as part of their moisturisers that are not meant to be sunscreen, say with an SPF of 15. I would never dream of making my own sun screen for a sunny day, but what about the grey days you spend mainly at work? I know there are lots of issues in formulating a sun screen, but is it better to go without rather than your own moisturiser with a little sunscreen? BTW, I live in Scotland, where the average sunlight between September and May is not even strong enough for your body to make sufficient Vit D.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi firegirl! The problem is that you have no idea if it's working or not, so you can add enough of ingredient X to make it SPF 15, but you have no guarantee that it is doing that. The odds are more likely that you have no SPF at all as it's super hard to make these things at home. I can't tell you what to do with your body, but I can't say in good conscience that we can make our own products at home and be safe about it.

And it sounds like I need to live where you live. I would live in the Arctic circle if I could!