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American Academy of Dermatology warns that homemade sunscreens are not proven to be effective and may leave users vulnerable to skin cancer

American Academy of Dermatology Secretary-Treasurer Daniel D. Bennett, MD, FAAD

ROSEMONT, Ill. (July 2, 2024) — While the American Academy of Dermatology is aware of reports of people using homemade sunscreens, research shows that most homemade sunscreens lack effective sun protection, leaving users vulnerable to sunburn, premature skin aging and skin cancer, the most common cancer in the U.S.  

As dermatologists, we know that unprotected exposure to the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet rays is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. While sunscreen is a vital tool in the fight against skin cancer, homemade sunscreens do not go through the rigorous testing required of commercial sunscreens by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which means that their Sun Protection Factor (SPF), water resistance, and shelf-life cannot be guaranteed. In addition, due to inconsistencies in consumer preparation, the efficacy of homemade sunscreens may also vary between batches, putting users at risk for skin cancer. 

For the most effective sun protection, the AAD recommends that when outdoors, everyone seek shade, wear protective clothing — including a lightweight and long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection — and apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all skin not covered by clothing. 

It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and nearly 20 Americans die each day from melanoma. While commercial sunscreen may be more expensive than homemade sunscreen, it’s a small price to pay compared to skin cancer.  

To learn more about a personalized sun protection plan that works best for you, schedule an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist in your area.

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Shelby Homiston, shomiston@aad.org

Rhys Saunders, rsaunders@aad.org

Media Relations, mediarelations@aad.org

About the AAD

Headquartered in Rosemont, Ill., the American Academy of Dermatology, founded in 1938, is the largest, most influential and most representative of all dermatologic associations. With a membership of more than 21,000 physicians worldwide, the AAD is committed to advancing the diagnosis and medical, surgical, and cosmetic treatment of the skin, hair, and nails; advocating high standards in clinical practice, education and research in dermatology; and supporting and enhancing patient care because skin, hair, and nail conditions can have a serious impact on your health and well-being. For more information, contact the AAD at (888) 462-DERM (3376) or aad.org. Follow @AADskin on Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest and YouTube and @AADskin1 on  Instagram.