Recent data has revealed that certain UV-filtering chemicals in sunscreens can be absorbed into the blood-stream.
The FDA is conducting additional research to determine if this poses any long-term health risks and the type of damage that may result.
However, these findings do not suggest that people should avoid sunscreen – especially since one-in-five people are at risk for developing skin cancer in their lifetime. Rather, individuals should seek safer alternatives to chemical sunscreens.
If you are worried about chemicals in your sunblock, continue reading to learn about dermatologist-recommended sunscreens that won’t make their way into your bloodstream.
Concerns About Chemical Sunscreens
In a randomized clinical trial, 24 healthy participants applied four commercially available sunscreen formulations four times a day for four days.
Researchers found plasma concentrations of avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule that exceeded the threshold established by the FDA.
In other words, chemicals, found in some sunscreens, can stay in the blood for hours, but long-term effects, if any, are not yet known.
What Is a Physical Sunscreen?
In light of this data, many dermatologists are recommending that patients switch to a physical sunscreen.
A physical sunscreen is mineral-based, and its main ingredients are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
In comparison, chemical sunscreens contain synthetic chemicals such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule.
Is Physical Sunscreen Safer and More Effective than Chemical Sunblock?
The mechanism of action for physical sunscreen differs from that of chemical sunblock.
Physical sunscreen sits on top of skin and reflects sunlight to protect from harmful UV rays. Whereas chemical sunscreen is designed to absorb the sun’s rays once they penetrate the skin.
Many experts argue that this distinguishing characteristic makes physical sunscreens safer and more effective than chemical sunscreens.
Several physical sunscreens to consider include: Blue Lizard Sensitive, Neutrogena SheerZinc Dry-Touch, EltaMD UV Spray Broad-Spectrum SPF 46, and Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection.
How to Increase the Efficacy of Your Sunscreen?
In addition to the type of sunscreen, the amount and frequency of application are other important factors.
You should liberally apply lotion or powder to all sun-exposed areas, including the neck, lips, eyelids, and ears, every two hours.
Also ensure that the product offers UVA and UVB protection and has a SPF of 30 or higher.
Learn More About Sun Protection
If you are worried about chemicals in your sunblock, call our office today and schedule an appointment to learn more about sun protection tips and recommendations.