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Easy Homemade Sunscreen

Updated on June 13, 2015
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Joanne Marcinek is a woman with a mission. Her passion is to help people get the relevant information they need on the Internet.

Lotion & Zinc Oxide = Sunscreen

The easiest homemade sunscreen is to mix some of your favorite lotion with some Zinc Oxide, the primary active ingredient in commercial sunscreen's like Coppertone's Water Babies SPF 50.

Several members of our family have had skin reactions to using any sunscreen other than Water Babies. So I decided to make some from home with a lotion we know we can all tolerate.

Homemade Sunscreen Ingredients

Suncreen Tips

Make sure to use a lotion without citrus oils, they can make your skin more likely to sunburn. I would also recommend a lotion with low or no perfumes, your skin is more sensitive when it's being exposed to the sun.

Ingredients for Homemade Sunscreen

Here's where I got the things needed to make homemade sunscreen.

1) Plastic Bottle from Container & Packaging Supply

2) Cetaphil Lotion from Walgreen's

3) Zinc Oxide from Bulk Apothecary


  1. Pour about 6 oz of lotion into a bowl
  2. Add 4 Tbs. of Zinc Oxide. Do not breathe in the Zinc Oxide and clean up any spills.

The more Zinc Oxide you add, the greater your SPF factor. I didn't have a recipe to work with, I found the basic instructions at Wellness Mama, but she didn't give proportions.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Zinc OxideCetaphilLotion in BowlAdd in Zinc Oxide
Zinc Oxide
Zinc Oxide
Lotion in Bowl
Lotion in Bowl
Add in Zinc Oxide
Add in Zinc Oxide

Mix the lotion and zinc oxide together thoroughly and there you have it. Homemade Sunscreen.

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Finished Homemade Sunscreen

Does Homemade Sunscreen Work?

I haven't done extensive testing on this homemade sunscreen yet. However, we are experiencing a heat wave here in Connecticut this July and yesterday I spent 20 minutes in the noon-day sun and today was almost 3 hours at the pool (noon to 2:45pm). I used my homemade sunscreen on my left side and Coppertone's Water Babies on my right side and I see no difference at all in sun-burn or tan on either side.

So, my anecdotal conclusion? It works just fine. And it even smooths into your skin much easier than the Water Babies.

Important Update: Homemade Sunscreen

Update, 3 hours later.

The only place I did NOT reapply sunscreen was on my back. The homemade Sunscreen side of my back definitely got redder than the Water Babies side.

Other parts: arm, chest, leg where I used (and reapplied the homemade sunscreen) were great.

Conclusion: Homemade Sunscreen needs to be reapplied more frequently than commercial Sunscreen.


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