Should We Be Worried About Wearing Sunscreen in Florida This Summer? Yes!
If you live in Florida, then you know that sun protection is absolutely essential. Sunscreen is a favorite go-to for many of us. However, should we be worried about wearing sunscreen, considering the long list of ingredients? A recent FDA study suggests yes.
This article takes a close look at the FDA's recent study on sunscreen ingredients, why sun protection is essential in Florida, and what our options really are.
A Recent Study Suggests... We Need More Studies!
Last year was already all sorts of crazy between COVID and the election. Add to that the FDA's findings on sunscreen ingredients, and it's a lot to worry about! The FDA completed a study on six ingredients (avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, octisalate, octinoxate) found in many sunscreens, and their results will shock you.
But first, you need to understand how sunscreen gets absorbed into the body. Here's a step by step process:
- Apply sunscreen to the skin.
- Sunscreen and chemicals coat and sink into the skin.
- Chemicals get into the bloodstream and spike there.
- Chemicals linger in blood for days, weeks, or months. (FDA found this out recently!)
Step four is essentially what the study found out. The FDA found that the chemicals spiked in the bloodstream at a higher amount than they previously suspected (higher than the 'safe limit' set by the FDA). Even worse, they linger there for long periods of time (over a month for some chemicals).
So what happens when these chemicals linger? The short answer is: they don't know. Is it safe? Maybe. Is it unsafe? Maybe.
The FDA doesn't know, so we don't know. Should that be concerning? Nneka Leiba, from the Environmental Working Group’s Healthy Living Science Program, says yes.
“The fact that these chemicals are being found at elevated levels in our blood, combined with evidence that they have been linked to adverse health impacts in other studies, is extremely concerning."
So, what are our other options?
Again, UV protection is essential for Floridians. Sun exposure without protection can cause a handful of horrible problems like skin cancer. In fact, Florida is among the top ten states that get more melanoma cases due to UV exposure. So, we still need to stay protected.
The good news is that there are sunscreens with ingredients that the FDA has marked as SAFE.
The FDA marks the ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as safe, and many mineral sunscreens list them as the main ingredients!
One doctor highly recommends mineral sunscreen as an effective way to stay safe in the sun and not put chemicals on our skin that may cause harm in the future:
“A lot of formulations have zinc only. They miss part of the UV spectrum. Mixing them together -- zinc and titanium -- provides broad-spectrum protection that’s very comparable to what you get in a chemical sunscreen."