Important information about sunscreen

Important Information about Suncreen

This year, the FDA has proposed new guidelines for the regulation of sunscreens, and it has published an important study on sunscreen safety. 

The study on sunscreen safety:   This study was conducted by the FDA and published in JAMA in May.  The goal was to measure the amount of sunscreen found in the bloodstream with common over-the-counter sunscreens. They found that there were increased bloodstream levels of all four sunscreens that were tested oxybenzone, avobenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule

The FDA’s stance on sunscreen safety:  The FDA has taken the position that currently, there are TWO sunscreen ingredients that are considered “Generally Recognized As Safe & Effective” — zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.    Additionally there are two that are considered not-recognized as safe and effective, which are PABA and trolamine salicylate. 

For the remainder of the sunscreens — that are in many commonly available sunscreens — the FDA states that more information is needed from industry to address the safety concerns. 


What does all of this information mean for you? 

It is important to be aware of the facts:

1.  Sunscreen use has been shown to decrease sunburn, precancerous spots and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin (among the most common skin cancers). 

2.  Zinc-oxide and Titanium dioxide are considered safe and effective. 

3.  Sunscreen manufacturers have not necessarily conducted drug safety testing in sunscreens, and therefore information about the safety levels of a many of the commercially available sunscreens is not known.


So which sunscreen should you choose? 

At MC Medical, our recommendation is that you choose a high-quality, mineral based sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, particularly when you are re-applying your sunscreen often.  There are many on the market.

In terms of the safety of other commercially available sunscreens, it is recommended to pay attention to ingredients, and to use these with caution in your children, who have different skin-surface to body-volume ratios.

Sunscreen use is important. Like so many items that we can purchase today, it is important to make informed choices. So remember to look for minerals: titanium dioxide and zinc!