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Homemade Sunscreen Recipes Commonly Shared, Offer Low Protection

Interest in natural products includes homemade sunscreen, which offers insufficient sun protection

TUESDAY, May 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) — There is widespread public interest in and acceptance of homemade sunscreens, even though they often do not offer sufficient protection from ultraviolet radiation, according to a study published online May 20 in Health Communication.

Julie Williams Merten, Ph.D., from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, and colleagues examined how homemade sunscreens are portrayed on Pinterest. Two researchers coded pins identified using homemade sunscreen and natural sunscreen as search terms; established interrater reliability was 90 percent.

The researchers found that of 189 identified pins, the majority (95.2 percent) positively portrayed the effectiveness of homemade sunscreens, and more than two-thirds (68.3 percent) recommended recipes for homemade sunscreens that offered insufficient protection from ultraviolet radiation. One-third of pins (33.3 percent) made claims of sun protection factor (SPF) ranging from SPF 2 to SPF 50. In this sample, roughly 41.8 percent of the identified pins had been saved by other users (range, one to >21,000 times).

“Pinterest and the interest in homemade recipes for sunscreen present an opportunity for public health professionals to proactively engage on social media,” the authors write.

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