Is DIY Sunscreen the Most Dangerous Beauty Trend of the Summer?

We would be lost (or at least a lot less entertained) without DIY beauty. Pinterest boards, YouTube tutorials, and Instagram posts have given us endless inspiration for soft skin and silky hair. But there is one (extremely) important beauty area that you should leave to the pros. And we’re not being dramatic when we say it could be a matter of life and death.

If you take a peek at some of the holistic beauty corners of the Internet, you’ll see a lot of buzz about why you need to DIY your sunscreen. At first some of these pitches seem pretty convincing: a 2016 recent study warned that Oxybenzone, the UV-blocking chemical found in most sunscreens, is “a serious and increasingly clear threat to coral.” Similarly, scientists have linked mass sunscreen application to a widespread Vitamin D deficiency, which increases the risk of breast and prostate cancers. So according to these sites, by applying sunscreen, you’re either killing Nemo or killing yourself.

This news has led to many tutorials on how to make SPF in your own kitchen. According to these recipes, all you need to “hack” sunscreen is Zinc Oxide, shea butter, a few essentials oils, lavender, and a cute Mason jar to mix it all up in. It’s so easy — and dangerous. A recent study by Consumer Reports reported that in no uncertain terms, DIY sunscreens don’t work. In the study, dermatologist Joel M. Cohen, MD, warns that, “One blistering sunburn translates into a 50 percent increased risk of skin cancer.”

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