Do you regularly lather yourself up with sunscreen every time you go out? Are you one of those people who express shock when someone doesn’t wear sunscreen? Well, we have got bad news for you. A recent test done by the FDA showed that sunscreen chemicals may be doing you more harm than good.
The test found 6 active chemicals in sunscreen that, once absorbed by your body, many stay for several days. Moreover, even applying it once releases sunscreen chemicals beyond the FDA’s approved threshold. Now, several experts are thinking over the sale of sunscreens due to safety concerns.
An Ohio based dermatologist, Alok Vij, states that the scariest thing is that the biological repercussions are still not widely known. Dr. Vij is not a part of the research.
Previous studies have determined that many of the chemicals that the FDA mentioned can cause hormone imbalance. It can further result in infertility, the risk for your future child, and even cancer.
The Ambiguity Surrounding Sunscreen Chemicals
The skincare industry is one of the largest in America, with around $2 billion per year. It’s taught to us as basic health care.
It was assumed that the sunscreen producers were using “GRASE” ingredients, which stand for generally recognized as safe and effective.
FDA mandated safety tests for skincare products to check if a product is absorbed 0.5 nanograms per skin milliliter many decades back. But the fact is that sunscreens have been popular even before that. So, what this means is that they went under the FDA’s radar without essential testing.
In 2019, a team from the FDA conducted tests on several sunscreen products. They found that four ingredients were common in all the products- avobenzone, octocrylene, ecamsule, and oxybenzone. These sunscreen chemicals stay in our bodies for several days.
The FDA went on to ask sunscreen producers to conduct more tests on these ingredients. However, any such safety tests are yet to be done. They are not considered GRASE as of yet.
Even though the sunscreen manufacturers were given a deadline of November 2019, the companies are still to follow through. Some people even criticized the FDA, saying that their safety tests were conducted unrealistically.
As a result, the FDA conducted its safety tests once again. They gathered 48 adult subjects, half males and the other half females. This time, they asked the subjects to apply sunscreen as the tube recommended. Their blood tests were taken after that. The result? The second study confirms the results of the previous study.
What Should You Do?
The FDA has reiterated that the studies say sunscreen chemicals cannot be deemed safe, but they cannot be considered unsafe either. It’s just that there’s no conclusive research that affirms the same. There’s still a lot of ambiguity around it. And until detailed studies on sunscreen chemicals are conducted, we will be in the dark.
The FDA has further advised people to continue using sunscreen and take other sun-blocking measures along with it. Hopefully, there will be more research conducted in the future that will fill the gaps with regards to sunscreen chemicals.
IMAGE CREDIT: Marko Kujavic