Like most people, you probably also apply sunscreen before heading out in the sun in order to protect your skin from the cancerous UV rays, right? Nowadays, people do not just apply sunscreen on their bodies and face when they are on the beach or at the pool, but when they are heading out for work, school or for a walk with friends in the park.
However, are sunscreens safe for us? According to FDA recent research, the chemicals present in these products do not just stay on top of the skin and go away when we rinse them off. On the contrary, a lot of the active ingredients from them go into our blood, a research shows.
Why Is Sunscreen Dangerous for Us?
In one report published in JAMA journal, it was discovered that after the application of lotions, creams, and sprays with sun protecting properties, there is absorption of the active ingredients beyond the limits recommended by the FDA.
Though the impact of this release of chemicals into the blood is not yet fully known, this data supports the need for additional research.
According to Theresa Michele, director of the FDA division for non-prescription drug products and co-author of the study, everyone has always thought that these sunscreen products work on the skin’s surface only and not be absorbed; however, they are.
Furthermore, editor-in-chief, Kanade Shinkai and former chairman of the FDA, Robert Califf explain that sunscreens do not undergo drug safety tests and there is lack of information on systemic drug levels despite a widespread use.
Plus, there have not been trials to understand the exact dose of sunscreen to maintain a balance of risk and benefit when trying to avert skin cancer.
What Happened During the Research?
The researchers tested the concentrations of 4 active ingredients in the blood of 24 participants. The participants were instructed to apply one of the four distinct sunscreens four times per day on skin that was not protected by a swimsuit.
After one application, oxybenzone reached the concentration threshold two hours afterwards and exceeded 20 ng/mL by the seventh day of the study.
The team explains that these findings raise a lot of crucial questions about these products and how their benefits and risks are evaluated by regulatory agencies.
It is pivotal to find out if the absorption of sunscreen is a risk for our health and second, the effects of sunscreen formulations, clinical properties, level of physical activity, and sun and water exposure.
In the US, sunscreen brands now need to send data related to the blood absorption to the FDA. If this information shows that the sunscreen does not penetrate into the blood beyond the threshold, there will be no problem. However, if it does, the regulators need to examine the possible risks in terms of cancer and reproductive and endocrine health.