Doctors remind DIY sunscreens are often ineffective as summer approaches

We'll be spending more time outside during the COVID-19 pandemic now that the weather's getting nicer. 

Recent research looks at the effectiveness of DIY sunscreen and doctors are saying your homemade, chemical-free version won't always work. 

"What they found was that most of the recipes contained things like coconut oil, essential oils, things that really have no sun-protective value, and oils, actually, when you put them on the skin can let the sun penetrate deeper and give you more sun exposure," said Dr. Melissa Piliang from Cleveland Clinic. 

The study, published in the journal Health Communication, looks at nearly 200 homemade sunscreen recipes shared on social media. 

Researchers found 95% of the social media posts made claims about the effectiveness of the sunscreens, though 68% recommended recipes with insufficient UV protection. Remember, that's the job of the sunscreen. 

Dr. Piliang says there are two sunscreen ingredients that are considered both safe and effective - zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are known as mineral or physical sunscreens, not a chemical barrier. 

But if you're worried about applying and re-applying a lot of sunscreen to your body, there are other ways to protect yourself.

"The other alternative, especially for people who are really worried about putting chemicals on their skin, is to use sun-protective clothing. So those are great, you put it on in the morning, you don't have to think about it again during the day. You should still apply sunscreen to exposed skin, like your hands, your face, maybe the back of your neck."

Think about it even driving in the car, your left side might get more exposure to the sun. 

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends everyone use sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, which means it protects against UVA and UVB rays, that has an SPF of 30 or higher and is water-resistant.