Why You Shouldn't DIY Sunscreen - Everyday Essentials

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Why you shouldn't DIY sunscreen

Why You Shouldn’t DIY Sunscreen

We’ve got DIYs for just about everything. So why not sunscreen? For starters, it just isn’t safe. There are many things to consider when determining whether or not to make sunscreen at home and what it all boils down to is risk versus benefits. Do the benefits of making a DIY sunscreen outweigh the risks? Let’s take a more in-depth look at all things sunscreen.

Dangers of the Sun

The first thing to take into consideration is just how dangerous the sun is. Let’s be real. It’s 94 MILLION miles away, so it can’t have that much of an effect on us, right? Wrong. Several things can go wrong when there is too much exposure to the sun. One of those things is short-term and long-term skin damage. 

When we mention short-term skin damage, we’re basically talking about a sunburn. A sunburn is a form of radiation burn caused by harmful UV (Ultraviolet) radiation emitted by the sun. Signs of sunburn include skin redness, pain, and blistering. In more extreme cases, burns can escalate to second-degree burns that require medical attention. 

Now, long-term skin damage is a little harder to see in the immediate future, but it is not something to forget. Extended, frequent exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays can accelerate and encourage skin aging. Skin aging can manifest itself in different ways that frequently include wrinkles, dryness, and sagging. It can also cause age spots and lead to skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common of all cancer and includes melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.

Why Sunscreen?

Hellooooo sunscreen! Sunscreen is applied to the skin to filter out UV radiation. There are two main types of sunscreen: chemical-based, and mineral-based. How they work depends entirely on the kind of sunscreen they are. Chemical-based sunscreens absorb into the top layers of the skin and absorb the UV radiation before they wreak havoc on the body. Mineral-based, or physical sunscreens, create a barrier on the skin that acts as a shield and bounces the UV rays off the skin. A typical active ingredient in mineral-based sunscreens is Zinc Oxide. Both types of sunscreen have been proven to be safe and effective, however, some people have reported minor skin irritation from chemical-based sunscreens, so that’s something to consider when choosing which is best for you. 

Why Can’t I Make My Own?

What it really boils down to is precision. For sunscreen to be effective, it has to have precisely the right amount of ingredients to make a balanced, broad-spectrum protectant. Not only does it require the right amount of each ingredient, but the ingredients also have to be blended just right to guarantee a sufficient coat on the skin. To be effective, it can’t have any clumps and the ingredients must be equally distributed throughout the product. This simply cannot be done in the home kitchen without costly, extensive machinery.

Another thing that is often overlooked is that reputable commercial sunscreens go through rigorous testing before it hits the market. These tests help determine the SPF rating for the product and how water-resistant a product may be. In the United States, these tests are a requirement of the FDA even to sell the product commercially. The cost of a broad spectrum UV test ranges depending on where you get it done, but it’s typically upwards of $5,000 per test. Needless to say, when you are making sunscreens at home, there is no way to guarantee that you or your kids will be adequately protected.

Benefits vs Risk

We have now talked about the dangers of the sun, how sunscreens work, and why it’s not possible to make an effective product at home. Now it’s time to put it all together. What are the benefits of a homemade sunscreen? It’s natural, you can pronounce all the ingredients, it’s cheap. What are the risks? It may not be effective, it may not provide adequate coverage, it could increase the risk of sunburn, or worse, skin cancer. 

In conclusion, it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether or not the benefits outweigh the risks for you or your family. In our opinion, it’s best to leave the manufacturing and formulating of sunscreens to the professionals with the right tools and resources to make an effective product. We care about your safety and that’s why we do not offer sunscreen DIYs at Plant Therapy. 


19 thoughts on “Why You Shouldn’t DIY Sunscreen”

  • I have made my own sunscreen the last 3 years and had been using commercial sunscreens before that. (I am fair skinned and work outside all spring, summer and fall) The first year after using my DIY blend, I went to my yearly dermatologist appointment and didn’t have to have one spot removed. Before that, I would have several spots a year removed.
    I think I will stick to my DIY blend.

  • This is why I love plant therapy. The honesty. Unlike other essential oil companies, plant therapy seems to really be about safety. I love that plant therapy doesn’t recommend things like ingesting oils. (I’ve been using essential oils for 15 years and I had always been taught YOU NEVER INGEST ESSENTIAL OILS)Now I read this article and I love plant therapy even more because I know as a consumer, it would be so easy for them to make an extra buck by saying “u can even use this oil to make sunscreen with!” (Imagine how many EO newbies would totally go for that!) But instead they are honest about it and tell us that we should probably just go ahead and buy a quality sunscreen instead of trying to make one ourselves- giving us the honest reasons and truth for telling us this. I also want to say, there are certain essential oils that shouldn’t be used before going into the sun-but that’s another chapter. I love you plant therapy! Thank you for being trustworthy. Thank you for being YOU.

  • Good information. I had not thought of making my own sunscreen. This post gave me better insight and exceptional education as to why not make your own

  • Good information. I research my OTC sunscreens really well before I make a purchase. It has been tempting to DIY, but I’m glad I didn’t! Thank you for your explanations! Love, love, love Plant Therapy.

  • I have made my own sunscreen for the past few years and have had requests for it from friends. I’ve never had one complaint about poor coverage (as long as it’s reapplied as needed) and the requests come back the next year. I’ve been happy with it myself as well and I feel much more comfortable knowing what’s going in it. We don’t have many options for natural sunscreens in my country, so it makes more sense and is more economical for me to make my own.

  • I’ve made my own sunscreen and didn’t have trouble getting it smooth and not clumpy. It works fine for me and my family. No sunburns using it. We are not fair skinned, however. All have dark hair and medium toned skin, so we don’t burn super easily anyway, which I’m sure is a factor in it working for us. Just don’t forget, you need enough sunshine for your body to make vitamin D, so whatever sunscreen you use, don’t use it all the time. Let your skin get some sun, i.e. 15 – 20 minutes daily roughly before 10 AM or after 2 PM, depending on where you live and the season.

  • I have been making my own sunscreen and am a true believer of it’s benefits its versus the cancer causing ingredients in the manufactured type. Our skin is our largest organ and I will not increase the chance of developing skin cancer. Read the ingredients of manufactured sunscreen. If your don’t the ingredient…beware. We are being brainwashed by pharmaceutical companies that are making billions. Thank about it!

  • This is a great post. 100%… great explanation for those that want to try making their own sunscreen. Leave the sunscreen to the professionals.

  • I have seen diy sunscreen recipes but have been really hesitant to try them. If you want to go more natural there are alot of companies out there making safe and effective sunscreen that do not contain a lot of chemicals and have also been rigorously tested and provide a good alternative .

  • Thank you for being honest about this. I had been thinking about making my own sunscreen for this summer, knowing there is a lot of DIY sunscreen recipes out there. I never thought about the rigorous testing companies need to go through to make sure it is effective.

  • I had never even thought of making my own sunscreen! Thank you for doing the right thing. It would be good to also remind everyone that many essential oils, especially those in the citrus family, will make the skin more photo sensitive and vulnerable to burn.

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