Summer is right around the corner. The weather is getting warmer and thoughts of vacations and days lazing on the beach are well underway. But what are you and your family going to do to protect one another from the harsh rays of the sun? Wear sunblock, of course. But, stop and think for a moment about what that sunblock might do after you slather it on every inch of your body. Does sunscreen enter the bloodstream? A new study shows some surprising findings.
The unfortunate answer is yes, according to a recent study conducted by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Sunscreen can enter the bloodstream just one day after use, and the levels of several potentially harmful ingredients were high enough to trigger a safety investigation, according to CNN.
While there's no evidence that these UV ray blocking chemicals can be harmful, it shows that more research is needed to ensure safety among all sunscreen brands available for sale, according to WIRED.
The concentration of chemicals found in the bloodstream, where above normal levels, meaning that the FDA needs to take a better look at what's going into our skin and how it affects our bodies, according to the New York Daily News.
Researchers studied 24 individuals who used a variety of four different sunscreens (sprays, lotions, creams, etc.), according to JAMA.
Blood concentration of the sunscreen ingredients rise with continue use and remain in the bloodstream for up to 24 hours, according to the study published n the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA).
But this doesn't mean you should stop using sunscreen, according to the New York Daily News. Janet Woodcock, M.D., director at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a statement:
The fact that an ingredient is absorbed through the skin and into the body does not mean the ingredient is unsafe. Rather, this finding calls for further testing to determine the safety of that ingredient for repeated use. Such testing is part of the standard pre-market safety evaluation of most chronically administered drugs with appreciable systemic absorption.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, about 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and about 86 percent of melanomas occur due to exposure to UV radiation from the sun, meaning sunscreen plays an essential part in sun safety.
“These products are used to prevent skin cancer,” Dr. Theresa Michele, director of the division of nonprescription drug products at the FDA, and co-author of the study, told CBS News. “It’s very important from a public health perspective that people use them, especially as skin cancer rates are increasing. Right now, we know that there are benefits from these products and we don’t know if there are any harms.”
Aside from sunscreen, sun lovers are also encouraged to seek shade when possible, wear appropriate clothing, always wear a hat, and sunglasses, according to the American Cancer Society.
When choosing a sunscreen, pick one that is above 30 SPF, and has broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB ray.
While more study is needed to understand the affects of sunscreen chemicals in the bloodstream, slathering on the stuff is essential for keeping sun safe this summer. Read the labels carefully, and choose wisely.