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Experts: Do-It-Yourself, Homemade Sunscreen Projects Not A Great Idea

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Being at the beach is just one of many outdoor activities families will enjoy this summer, and with it comes getting serious about sunscreen.

Recent concerns about the safety of some sunscreen ingredients has sparked a surge in homemade sunscreen, a move that comes with its own potential problems, reports CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez.

Niki Chave says the internet is full of great projects for her 3-year-old, Lofton.

"They don't always turn out like the pictures, but we at least try," she said.

Art projects are one thing, but the internet is also filled with homemade versions of safety-related products - everything from ointments to furniture.

Many can actually pose a danger, including - believe it or not - homemade sunscreen.

"They probably don't meet the safety criteria or the standards for those product types," said Dr. Lara McKenzie. "The way the photographs are taken, the way the information's portrayed, it looks good."

Be careful: Researchers at the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital studied do-it-yourself sunscreen recipes posted on Pinterest.

The study found nearly all the pins claimed some level of sun protection, many including specific SPF levels up to 50.

"Some of the claims would offer recipes with ingredients that we know are not scientifically effective in offering that kind of broad spectrum coverage," said McKenzie

Commercially-available sunscreens are closely regulated by the FDA. They're required to list all ingredients and have a proven level of both UVA and UVB protection.

That's not the case for these DIY versions.

"We're taking a risk with our children, with ourselves, and that risk is a really bad sunburn or skin cancer in the future," said McKenzie.

MORE: Chemical Sunscreens Help Prevent Skin Cancer, But What Else Do They Do To A Body?

"I think parents get tripped-up on the words 'all-natural' or 'homemade,' and they automatically think, 'well, it's homemade, it's got to be the best product,'" said Chave.

If you're concerned about chemical ingredients in some sunscreens, look for so-called physical or mineral sunscreens that contain zinc and titanium for sun protection.

Use plenty and reapply often.

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