American researchers have studied the recipes for homemade sunscreens shared on the Pinterest social network.

Their verdict: Most of them provide insufficient ultraviolet (UV) radiation protection.

Social networks are echo chambers across all sorts of do-it-yourself (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 the Health Communication journal.

The study was carried out in the United States by the Center for Injury Research and Policy (Nation-wide 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.

They found that 95% of the 189 “pins” (images associated with a given board) dedicated to natural sunscreens emphasise their efficacy, although 68% of them provide insufficient UV radiation protection.

The experts behind the study are sounding the alert on a worrying situation, as these recipes are often presented as safer alternatives to branded 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 Dr Lara McKenzie, principal investigator in the Center for Injury Research and Policy.

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. – AFP Relaxnews