Don’t Get Burned – The Dangers of DIY Sunscreen

The motivation behind making sunscreen from scratch, other than cutting costs, is ingredient control. While it makes sense to be concerned about what chemicals could be absorbed into your skin, it’s important to remember that all sunscreens go through rigorous Health Canada testing before being allowed on the market. Skin experts agree, the anti-cancer and anti-aging benefits of commercial sunscreen far outweigh concerns over chemical ingredients.


With homemade products it is difficult to regulate consistency and quality, and there is no guarantee that the ingredients actually include SPF. UV exposure is the greatest risk factor for melanoma and other skin cancers. SPF of at least 15 reduces the risk and can prevent wrinkles and pigmentation. The only way to know the SPF of a product is to do very elaborate testing in a laboratory, it isn’t something you can determine in your kitchen.

Most commercial sunscreens provide broad spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB protection, highly unlikely in a homemade sunscreen. Additionally, commercial sunscreens contain preservatives, while homemade sunscreens can spawn invisible mould. The process of making your own sunscreen could also be hazardous as zinc and titanium powders may pose health risks if inhaled.

Melanoma is a preventable disease, and part of making sure you’re protected is wearing a good quality sunscreen. Your local Super Thrifty pharmacy offers many safe, Health Canada approved sunscreens, some made from naturally derived mineral ingredients. Your pharmacist can help you choose the one that’s right for you and your family.

Experts advise applying sunscreen a half hour before heading outdoors. Reapply at least every two hours, more often if you’re swimming or sweating For extra UV protection avoid direct sunlight in the middle of the day when the sun is at its brightest and wear long sleeved, light coloured clothing with a nice big hat. Learn more about effective sun protection

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