Sunscreen is again in the news as it is time to stock up for the hot sunny months ahead. It has also been in the news regarding safety.
The safest ingredients are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide - the physical sunscreens, but these may not be as effective as the chemical sunscreens.
Oxybenzone is the chemical most in question for safety. It is absorbed into the bloodsteam and in animal trials it did cause some problems with the endocrine system. Those problems have not been shown in humans.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) continues to say that you should use sunscreen (including sunscreen with oxybenzone), and that it’s still considered safe to use when it comes to human health.
“Despite reports that oxybenzone disrupts hormones and causes cancer, we have no data to prove that real world use of sunscreens with oxybenzone is harmful to our health,” says board-certified dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
What’s more, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and slathering on the SPF is the best way to keep it out of your future. “UV light is the number one cause of skin cancer, which is largely preventable with sunscreen and sun protective behavior. Based on what we know today, I do not recommend people stop using oxybenzone-containing sunscreen as it effectively blocks skin cancer-causing UVA rays more fully than many other chemical blockers used in sunscreen.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics states you may want to avoid using sunscreens with oxybenzone in infants and very young children.
Sun protective clothing - hats, long sleeves and sun glasses - allows you to use less sunscreen and avoiding mid day sun is also helpful. Remember even on cloudy days the UV rays are strong in the summer and protective measures should be taken.