Don't try this at home: DIY sunscreen

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Between Pinterest and Instagram and crafting competitions, everyone seems to be looking to DIY these days, but Consumer Reports warns one thing you should not try to make at home is sunscreen.

You're at risk for sunburn in the short term, but in the long term you're really at risk for skin cancer.

That's in part because there's no way for you to test the effectiveness of the mixture. You have no quality control, you can't determine what the SPF of the product is and you don't even know if the ingredients have any kind of SPF protection.

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Take zinc oxide, one of the potential ingredients in homemade sunscreen.

This mineral protects skin by deflecting the sun's UV rays rather than absorbing them the way chemical based sunscreens do. Zinc oxide is found in many mineral-based sunscreens available on store shelves, but in CR tests of store-bought sunscreens, the ones that contain zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or both as active ingredients have been consistently found to be less effective than those that contain the chemical active ingredients.

MORE: Are you applying spray-on sunscreen wrong? If so, you can still burn

Effectiveness is key. In childhood, one blistering sunburn can increase the risk of skin cancer by 50 percent.

To minimize harmful sun exposure, you should not only use sunscreen and use it correctly but also apply a little strategy when heading outdoors. The best protection is to avoid strong midday sun, plan most of your activities early or late in the day, and wear sun protective fabric and sun protective clothing, hats and sunglasses in addition to your sunscreen.

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Meteorologist Elita Loresca talks about the importance of using sunscreen.

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