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UNF Professor's Survey Seeks Answers About Homemade Sunscreens

Wilfredo Lee
Associated Press 2020 file photo
Cameron Baca, left, of Riverside County, California, puts on sunscreen while at Miami Beach

Commercial sunscreens have come under fire due to concerns about some of the chemicals in them that can harm people or the environment.  A local professor is conducting her second study of sunscreens people make at home.

University of North Florida public health professor Julie Merten’s first study two years ago sampled homemade sunscreens touted on Pinterest.  She found lots of different ingredients to make them water resistant, including coconut oil and beeswax along with "carrot seed oil, raspberry oil, shea butter,” she added.

However, most recipes Merten found offered insufficient UV protection.  As chair of the Skin Cancer Prevention Task Force in Northeast Florida, Merten wants to minimize the risks.

"We’re talking about protection from the sun in the state of Florida.  Sun is a part of our life and the better protection we have to be able to go out and enjoy our lives and the beautiful environment we have, that’s important to me.”

Merten said she also wants to know why people are driven to make their own sunscreen.  She plans to take the results of this study to commercial manufacturers to let them know what people want in their products.

If you are over the age of 18 and use or make homemade sunscreen, you can participate in Merten’s three-minute Homemade Sunscreen Survey here. The deadline to complete it is Saturday, July 31.

Michelle Corum can be reached at, 904-358-6308 or on Twitter at @MCorumonME.

Michelle Corum joined WJCT as "Morning Edition" host in 2012 and has worked in public broadcasting as an announcer and reporter for public radio stations in Lawrence, Kansas, and Interlochen, Michigan. She also manages WJCT's Radio Reading Service for sight-impaired listeners.