Is Sunscreen Lotion Really Safe? Here's What the FDA Says

Is Sunscreen Lotion Really Safe? Here's What the FDA Says

With summer fast approaching, millions of Americans are planning their annual beach vacations. If you're among this crowd, you'll probably want to protect against sunburn by wearing sunscreen lotion. Sunscreen lotion shields your skin from the sun's otherwise harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, which if left unchecked, could cause serious burns while also increasing your risk of skin cancer.

The FDA Raises the Alarm Over Sunscreen Lotion

In a new study, however, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration has raised the alarm over sunscreen lotion, saying that many of the active chemicals used in sunscreen products are readily absorbed into the bloodstream when applied to the skin.

According to the study, which is available to view in the medical journal JAMA, sunscreen lotion typically contains six active ingredients. Researchers from the FDA found that when applied to the skin, all six of these ingredients are absorbed into the bloodstream. Why does this matter exactly? Some of the chemicals used in sunscreen lotion are toxic to humans, whereas others have been shown to cause cancer.

"In this study conducted in a clinical pharmacology unit and examining sunscreen application among healthy participants, all 6 of the tested active ingredients administered in 4 different sunscreen formulations were systemically absorbed and had plasma concentrations that surpassed the FDA threshold for potentially waiving some of the additional safety studies for sunscreens," wrote the FDA.

Should You Wear Sunscreen Lotion?

Being that sunscreen lotion leaches chemicals into your skin, you might be hesitant to use it. The FDA notes, however, that these findings don't negate the benefits of sunscreen lotion. In other words, you should still wear it when staying outdoors for extended periods.

If you're worried about the harmful effects of sunscreen lotion, consider choosing a sunscreen lotion made of natural ingredients rather than synthetic ingredients. Chemical sunscreen lotions are usually more effective at blocking UV light than their natural counterparts. With that said, natural sunscreen lotions contain safe, all-natural ingredients, so you can rest assured knowing that they won't have an adverse effect on your health.

In addition to using natural sunscreen lotion, you can protect against sunburn by wearing more layers of clothing. A lightweight linen shirt, for instance, will cover your skin without leaving you feeling hot. Of course, you should still limit the amount of time you spend outdoors during the summer. Even with sunscreen lotion, you may develop sunburn.

Jan 24th 2020

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