Is Sunscreen Safe? Separating Fact from Fiction

By now, sunscreen is probably a part of your daily routine. If it's not, then here’s your sign that it should be! 

In recent years, and with the rise of social media, I’ve come across a lot of misconceptions about sunscreen and its safety. 

As a dermatology PA and recovering chronic tanner (yes even the tanning bed so I get all of it- promise), I feel like it’s my personal duty to set the record straight. 

Let's dive into Fact vs Fiction: Sunscreen Edition!

Is Sunscreen Toxic?

NO! ❌

Let's clarify - this myth about sunscreen toxicity arose due to concerns about certain chemical sunscreen ingredients like oxybenzone and retinyl palmitate. However, numerous studies have proven that these ingredients are safe in the concentrations used in sunscreen. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends the use of sunscreen to reduce the risk of skin cancer.

But, there have been some studies conducted on chemical sunscreens, leading brands to avoid the ingredient oxybenzone due to its high absorption levels. This could cause endocrine issues and result in breakouts like cystic acne. Additionally, there is concern about the impact of chemical sunscreens on the environment, including the killing of coral reefs. As a result, Hawaii has banned oxybenzone and octinoxate.

Here's what you need to know: The FDA has deemed certain sunscreen ingredients as "generally recognized as safe and effective" (GRASE). The two ingredients that are GRASE are the ones found in mineral sunscreens, which physically block harmful UV rays from the skin.
Source: FDA

While we need more research on the safety of other chemical sunscreen ingredients, the evidence so far has led many brands to avoid using oxybenzone. So, the easiest way to stay safe is to stick to mineral sunscreens.

The chemicals in sunscreen are considered safe

While it's true some chemicals in sunscreen can be harmful in large doses, the amounts used in sunscreen are largely considered safe. The FDA also regulates sunscreen to insure its safety and effectiveness.

So, the takeaway?

We do know that the possible risks from these sunscreen ingredients is still lower than the risk of skin cancer without sunscreen. This should not keep you from choosing a face and body sunscreen. Wear it.

Still concerned about safety? I talk about it a lot on my instagram or try jump to another one of my many SPF blogs

Shop My Favorite Sunscreens:

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EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46
EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

$45.00
Alastin Hydratint Pro Mineral SPF 36
Alastin Hydratint Pro Mineral SPF 36
Alastin Hydratint Pro Mineral SPF 36
Alastin Hydratint Pro Mineral SPF 36
Alastin Hydratint Pro Mineral SPF 36

Alastin Hydratint Pro Mineral SPF 36

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