We used to think that covering ourselves up with high-SPF sunscreens and sunblocks was the smartest way to go – especially during the blazing summer months. Now, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration isn’t so sure. While we’ve always assumed that sunscreen doesn’t really get absorbed into our systems, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that this may not actually be the case. It examined the absorption of four commercial sunscreens into our system and found that at least one active ingredient is making its way into our bloodstream (via ABC).
Environmental Working Group, or EWG, says that because of this, the FDA is now looking to propose changes to how sunscreen ingredients will be tested for safety, and that is to include studies on whether ingredients actually penetrate our skin to cause more harm than good. EWG is especially worried about the effect of oxybenzone, which studies show may mimic hormones. Oxybenzone is one of six ingredients commonly used in chemical sunscreens today; other ingredients are avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate.
Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, use zinc oxide and / or titanium dioxide; EWG says these have undergone testing and are considered to be safe.