There is growing concern regarding potential adverse health and environmental impact of certain chemicals in sunscreens, oxybenzone in particular. In addition, a small pilot study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found certain sunscreen chemicals were detected in the blood of study participants.
While there is no evidence that this causes harm, “The FDA is asking for more data on certain ingredients to find out to what extent the skin absorbs these ingredients and if absorbing sunscreen has any effects on the skin or body. This does not mean that the FDA is expressing concern about sunscreen ingredients, nor have they concluded that any of the sunscreen ingredients sold in the U.S. are unsafe.” Henry W. Lim, a former president of the American Academy of Dermatology, said, “What we do know is that all these (sunscreens) have been used for decades in the U.S. And, thus far, there have been no reported data of systemic, internal side effects from the use of sunscreen.
The FDA has determined that the mineral based sunscreens containing titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE) in protecting the skin from the sun,” Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and dermatologists see the impact it has on patients’ lives every day. Unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays is a major risk factor for skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form.
The AAD encourages the public to continue to protect themselves from the sun by seeking shade; wearing protective clothing, including a lightweight, long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses; and generously applying a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to exposed skin. Please discuss any questions or concerns you have regarding sunscreens with your dermatologist.