Summer goes hand in hand with three letters: S.P.F. By now, mostly everyone has been told that wearing sunscreen is critical when spending time outdoors as it plays an important role in protecting against sunburn and skin cancer. However, there have been recent reports about the safety of different sunscreen ingredients.
The active ingredients in sunscreen can be mineral or chemical. Mineral sunscreen is typically made of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has said those ingredients are generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE).
Chemical sunscreens are a popular type of protection. However, a study published May of this year evaluated the systemic absorption (through the skin and body) of sunscreen active ingredients. It found that four ingredients — avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene and ecamsule — were found in blood samples at levels exceeding the threshold recommended for toxicology testing. While researchers can’t yet conclude if those ingredients are safe or not, the findings mean that they need to be studied more.
Some sunscreen ingredients may not only have the potential to be harmful to humans, they might also hurt other living creatures, particularly coral reefs. Hawaii, Key West, and other popular vacation areas have banned the sale or advised against the use of sunscreens that have oxybenzone and octinoxate, USA Today reported.
But before canceling summer fun, know that there are multiple ways to get protection, says cancer.net including limiting the time between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM when the sun’s rays are most intense and wearing clothing that can cover exposed skin, along with a hat and sunglasses.
So enjoy summer knowing that it is best to avoid sunburns and that there are choices when it comes to different kinds of sunscreens.
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