A new research by Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. food and drug guarantee body, followed up on a pilot study published last year. And confirmation: six active ingredients found in sunscreen products can be detected in users' blood even after just one application.
However, several experts questioned about the study urge to continue using sunscreen. Sun damage has already been ascertained, while we do not yet have a measure of the health impact of the chemical compounds present in UV protection products.
The pilot study still left doubts
Last year the FDA released the results of a small pilot study. This study found that regular application of several common sunscreen formulations resulted in detectable blood concentrations of four chemicals: avobenzone, oxibenzone, octocrylene and ecamsule. At the time, the study was criticized for the too small sample, as well as for the excessive levels of product tested.
This follow-up study expanded the size of the sample, tested a large assortment of active ingredients and studied the absorption of blood even after a single application of sunscreen.
The new research has dispelled all doubts
New research has found that 6 major chemical ingredients active in sunscreen can be present in detectable concentrations in the blood even after just one application. All six chemicals (avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, octosalate and octinoxate) were found in concentrations above 0,5 ng / mL.
The 0,5 ng / mL threshold found in the study is not established as intrinsically insecure, but FDA researchers consider it significant, because the risk of cancer below this threshold is less than 1 in 100.000.
In an "ecumenical" and neutral way, the study does not investigate and hypothesize the carcinogenic effects of these substances in the blood, but will ensure that companies ask themselves the problem.
Sun creams: are chemical filters bad?
Rob Chilcott, University of Hertfordshire toxicologist, says the results of the study were predictable, as it is known that the skin is not a solid barrier and can absorb chemicals even from surface applications.
"This does not mean that sunscreen products are not safe to use, but that manufacturers must perform adequate safety tests", he claims Chilcott, who did not work on this FDA study. “It should be emphasized that, unless further details are taken, the health risks of using sunscreens and filters are not well defined. And those resulting from excessive sun exposure are potentially more harmful. "
In summary, there is definitive evidence that sunscreen chemicals applied to the skin can enter the circulation. We still don't know what their health effects are. Of course, seen individually (and have been observed for some time) these 6 substances do not do well, and not only to the environment.
Which is why I continue to use protections without going overboard. Maybe even supporting me with protective clothing without resorting to chemistry and in general without abusing sun exposure. It is the logic of minor damage, until new developments.
Do doctors need to keep recommending chemical filters and sunscreen?
This is what is asked an editorial accompanying the study, written by Kanade Shinkai, editor in chief of the journal JAMA Dermatology.
The editorial discusses the risk-benefit considerations that physicians should use to evaluate how well to recommend sunscreen to patients.
"In making an informed decision," it is read, “Physicians must determine whether the magnitude of the benefit outweighs the risk of potential harm to a specific individual. It is important to point out that this balance can be different. They affect the user's characteristics of the sunscreen (for example, for people with darker skin types and for children) and can depend on the frequency and duration of application (for example, daily vs intermittent use; starting from 'childhood or later in life). "