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Addressing Sunscreen Safety

By Colleen Rock
June 21, 2019

Recent reports have raised concerns about the chemicals in sunscreen and led to questions about sunscreen safety. While some of the information out there is helpful and accurate, there are still a number of misconceptions about sunscreen and its use.

In order to separate fact from fiction, here’s what you need to know about sunscreen safety.

Is It Safe to Use Sunscreen?

Almost all skin cancers are caused by sunlight and exposure to harmful UV rays.

Accordingly, dermatologists are encouraging patients to continue using sunscreen and recognizing its antiaging and health benefits.

Not only does sunscreen protect skin from photodamage and signs of aging, it’s also proven to prevent skin cancer.

In fact, studies have shown that sunscreen use can decrease an individual’s risk of melanoma by 50 percent and reduce the risk of squamous cell carcinoma by 40 percent.

Sunscreen Safety and Chemicals

When it comes to sunscreen safety, it’s important to note that all sunscreen ingredients are chemicals in some form or another. However, there are various types of chemicals that work in different ways.

While zinc and titanium in physical sunscreens sit on top of skin and deflect sunlight, chemicals like oxybenzone are absorbed to prevent sunlight penetration.

The absorption of oxybenzone and several other chemicals has become a hot topic recently, and many individuals are worried about its presence in blood, urine, and breast milk.

With that being said, researchers have only determined that some sunscreen ingredients can make their way into bodily fluids. Studies are ongoing to determine if there are any long-term or serious health implications that users need to be aware of.

In the meantime, women who are pregnant or breast feeding should opt for physical sunscreens out of an abundance of caution.

Does Sunscreen Cause Skin Sensitivity?

Often times, individuals are not sensitive the sunscreen’s active ingredients.

Rather, it is the inactive components, including emulsifiers, preservatives, fragrances, plant extracts, antioxidants and other ingredients that can cause contact dermatitis, including “natural” ingredients, that can lead to contact dermatitis.

Therefore, people with sensitive skin should identify any triggers and avoid creams and lotions that contain such ingredients. Doing so, will help limit unwanted side effects, while practicing sunscreen safety.

Learn More About Sunscreen Safety

If you would like to learn more about sunscreen safety, please call our office today to schedule a comprehensive consultation with Dr. Syed Amiry.

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(703) 766-2220 | Fax: (571) 323-1486 1830 Town Center Drive | Suite 410 | Reston, VA 20190