Social networks are echo chambers across all sorts of DIY trends, including the increasingly popular arena of homemade cosmetics. But the products shared on those platforms aren’t always as healthy as one might think, according to a new study published in Health Communication and carried out in the US by the Center for Injury Research and Policy (Nationwide Children’s Hospital) and the University of North Florida’s Brooks College of Health.
The study’s authors focused on homemade sunscreen recipes found on the image-centric Pinterest social network and found that 95% of the 189 “pins” (images associated with a given board) dedicated to natural sunscreens emphasize their efficiency, while 68% of them provide insufficient UV radiation protection.
Widely shared recipes
The experts behind the study are sounding the alert on a worrying situation, as these recipes are often presented as safer alternatives to the name-brand sunscreens. Even more alarmingly, these images are massively disseminated: the average number of pins for an image was 808. One of them has even been pinned over 21,700 times.
“Homemade sunscreen products are risky because they are not regulated or tested for efficacy like commercial sunscreens. When you make it yourself, you don’t know if it’s safe or effective,” said study co-author Lara McKenzie, PhD, principal investigator in the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s. The researcher adds that the way to find the best sunscreen is to opt for one that can be applied regularly, and stay on the skin without irritation.