ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Memorial Day has come and gone and temperatures are creeping up. With highs expected to exceed 90 degrees, June presents a prime opportunity to break out the sunscreen and enjoy the outdoors.
But before busting out last years supply, or heading to the drug store to pick up a can, you might want to check what you’re applying.
Chemicals like avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrelyne are found in almost all popular sunscreens, including Coppertone, Banana Boat and Neutrogena. Despite being effective sunscreens, the chemicals’ other health effects have come under recent scrutiny.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed these chemicals, along with 8 others, “not generally recognized as safe or effective” in 2021 after studies showing these ingredients can be absorbed through the skin and disrupt hormone production prompted the agency to require more safety data.
“At this point, there are still a lot of unknowns about chemical sunscreens,” said dermatologist Alok Vij in a May 11th article for the Cleveland Clinic. “And it’s hard to support using products with unknown risks, even if the benefits are well-established.”
Despite chemical concerns, “there are still a number of safe, effective ways to protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV light,” said Dr. Vij; who recommends mineral-based sunscreen that contain ingredients like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
Both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are generally recognized as safe and effective for use as sunscreen by the FDA.
“Sun safety is important for everyone, including people of all skin tones. Consumers should continue to use sun protection measures, including using broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, as we gather more safety data on sunscreen ingredients,” said the FDA in its most recent update on sunscreen requirements.