I’m a huge fan of do-it-yourself projects, whether homemade bread or cardboard laptop bags, because they often mean creative upcycling and unique, handcrafted goodies that are free of weird ingredients or materials. So when I saw directions for making homemade sunscreen on Instructables (via Lifehacker) right after writing about some of the not-so-healthy chemicals that are used in many store-bought sunscreens, I thought, maybe I should give this a shot! After all, as the directions point out, “By making your own sunscreen, you control exactly what goes in!”

Weighing sunscreen ingredients

But before investing in gloves, a mask, and titanium dioxide, I thought it best to check with the experts to see if DIY sunscreen really is a good idea. So I put the question to Sonya Lunder, senior analyst and Environmental Working Group. Her response: “The long and short of it is that it is better to trust the pros than try to make this stuff at home.”

Why? “Formulating sunscreens is an art and a science,” says Lunder. Since homemade concoctions can go on unevenly leaving portions your skin vulnerable to the sun, and since even some essential oils can make skin more sensitive to the sun, expert mixologists are really the best people to be crafting these sunscreens.

Lunder especially cautions people against buying nano forms of zinc and titanium powder. “The particles are much more absorbed by the lungs and nasal passages — which is why we don’t recommend people use powder or spray sunscreens.”

So there you have it: Don’t worry about getting a sunscreen-dedicated mini mixer and just get your sunscreens from the store. Here again are the details on the safest, easy-to-find sunscreens.

Photo courtesy of scoochmaroo / Instructables