Are Sunscreens Ingredients More Dangerous Than The Sun's Rays?

June 15, 2017

© Jason Stitt | Dreamstime

There has been a lot of talk about sunscreen lately.  As we douse ourselves and loved ones with sprays and crèmes to protect us from sunburns, rapidly aging skin, and potential skin cancer, there is concern from some that these chemicals that protect you from the sun can actually cause a whole slew of other cancers. Chemical sunscreens are the most common type of sunscreens on the market and they work by creating a layer that absorbs the sun’s rays. In particular the chemical oxybenzone is being questioned.  It is in 60% of the sunscreens on the market and does quite an effective job of absorbing the sun's UVB rays.  However scientist says this compound is what is killing reefs across the world and it make some wonder what its negative effects are on the human body. Some scents worry as more and more people opt for sunscreens that an increase in the use of oxybenzone could cause birth defects and cancer because of how long it stays inside the body (up to five days after application).  However there is a general consensus that the benefits of using chemical sunscreens to protect against skin cancer greatly outweigh the risks of potential cancer from oxybenzone, simply because there isn't enough information on oxybenzone yet.  The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends everyone wear a daily SPF 30 sunscreen (especially children, as early sunburns are strongly correlated with skin cancer later in life).  As you may remember that mineral sunscreens, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are less effective in blocking damaging sunrays and are less likely to actually meet the sun protection rating you see on the bottle. There may be more oxybenzone-free options in store shelves as scientists work on alternatives.  For now, the most effective way to protect yourself from danger is to avoid the sun and wear long sleeved shirts, pants and hats when outside, supplemented with a SPF 30 sunblock. 

SOURCE: Popular Science

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