The Dangers of Sunscreen?!
By Andrea Wieder, RN, MSN-FNP

We all know that sunscreen is incredibly important during this time of year. It protects our skin from sun damage and keeps us looking young if we routinely apply it. Did you know there are certain chemicals in sunscreen that have not been studied long enough for us to know their long-term effects? These chemicals may be cancer causing themselves! The chemicals oxybenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octcrylene, and avobenzone are all common ingredients in sunscreens, but we do not know their long-term effect. We do know they are systemically absorbed, and can be found weeks after use on the skin and in the blood. In Europe, many of these sunscreen ingredients have been banned, and at this time the FDA has not formulated an opinion on them. The most concerning chemical is oxybenzone since it is a known endocrine disrupter - meaning it can mess with your hormones! 

The two chemicals which have been studied well and found safe in sunscreens are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide which are mineral based. The FDA classified these sunscreens as safe and effective. It is NOT recommended to use these sunscreens in the powdered/spray form. My favorite mineral based sunscreen is CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Based Sunscreen. While it does sometimes make me look like a chalky white human being when I initially apply it, I do feel safer knowing the chemical makeup is considered safe and effective. Whatever sunblock you choose to apply, it is important to be well informed regarding what we are applying to our bodies.