Chemical Sunscreen Can Enter the Bloodstream After One Day

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A new study on chemical sunscreen exposure found that the chemicals enter the bloodstream after just one day of use. Alarmingly, in this study the concentrations of 3 common chemical sunscreen ingredients found in the blood continued to rise with daily use. The ingredients even remained in the body at least 24 hours after sunscreen use ended.

We have previously shared our concerns about hormone-disrupting chemicals in these types of sunscreens. While we will always advocate for the use of sunscreen, we also want to share facts about the safety of different types of sunscreens to help you make educated choices for your family.

What are the Health Concerns About Chemical Sunscreens?

A number of potentially harmful chemicals are present in many common chemical sunscreens. One example is oxybenzone, a synthetic chemical that absorbs the sun’s rays but also readily penetrates the skin. It can disrupt the body’s natural hormones and cause allergic reactions. Studies have indicated that increased levels of oxybenzone in adolescent boys led to lower testosterone levels. Children are especially vulnerable to oxybenzone because they absorb more of the chemical relative to their weight. It can also be more difficult for children to excrete the chemical. Hawaiian lawmakers even banned the sale and distribution of sunscreens containing oxybenzone because of the harmful effects to the ocean’s coral reefs. If these chemicals are harmful to coral reefs, why do we think it’s safe to lather our bodies with them?

Another potential health risk in sunscreens is vitamin A. According to government studies, this common sunscreen additive may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions. Aerosol spray sunscreens are also causing concerns for the threat of serious inhalation risks.

The Chemicals in the Study and the Findings

The pilot study conducted by the the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, an arm of the US Food and Drug Administration, found that several common chemical sunscreen ingredients entered the bloodstream at levels that trigger a government safety investigation after one day.

For the study, 24 healthy volunteers were randomly assigned to use a spray or lotion sunscreen containing vobenzone, oxybenzone, or octocrylene as ingredients or a crème sunscreen with the chemical ecamsule. These chemicals are part of a list that the FDA recently said need to be researched by manufacturers before they can be considered “generally regarded as safe and effective.”

Researchers asked volunteers to put their assigned sunscreen on 75% of their bodies four times a day for four days. Five of the six people using the ecamsule cream had levels of the chemical in their blood considered statistically significant after just one day. For the chemicals avobenzone, oxybenzone and octocrylene all of the volunteers showed significant levels after the first day.

Oxybenzone had the highest concentrations with levels 50 to 100 times higher than any of the other three chemicals tested.

How Can I Find a Safe Sunscreen?

At Sprout, we are passionate about providing healthy, reliable products to keep our children safe. A physical sunscreen is one which uses zinc oxide as the active ingredient. It creates a physical barrier between your skin and the sun. Shop our sunscreen section for all natural, safe sunscreen alternatives.

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Sunscreen enters bloodstream after just one day of use, study says.