The Skin Cancer Foundation Comments on Sunscreen Ingredient Absorption Study

New York, NY (May 7, 2019) – The recent study “Effect of Sunscreen Application Under Maximal Use Conditions on Plasma Concentration of Sunscreen Active Ingredients” published in JAMA concludes that additional research is needed to determine the effects of absorption of sunscreen ingredients into the bloodstream. It has long been established that organic ultraviolet (UV) filters, otherwise known as chemical sunscreen ingredients, may be absorbed into the body to some degree and then naturally excreted in breast milk and urine. 

The Skin Cancer Foundation has always made recommendations based on the latest and best scientific evidence available. The sunscreen ingredients currently FDA-approved have been used in the U.S. for many years, and there is no evidence that these ingredients are harmful to humans. There is, however, substantial evidence showing that sunscreen helps reduce skin cancer risk, as well as skin aging. In fact, the study authors reiterate that people should continue to use sunscreen. Daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by about 40 percent and melanoma by 50 percent. It’s estimated that nearly 3.5 million Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma, SCC or basal cell carcinoma in 2019. Most of these cancers will be the result of sustained UV damage, which is why The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone practice daily sun protection. There’s simply no justification for abandoning sun-safe behaviors.

For those consumers who are concerned about chemical sunscreen ingredients, they can choose products with the mineral ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Out of an abundance of caution, pregnant and nursing women may want to consider using mineral sunscreens as well. It should be noted that products only containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are not a perfect solution, as they may not achieve high SPF (sun protection factor), broad-spectrum protection. They also may not be as cosmetically elegant as chemical sunscreens and can leave a whiteish cast. Americans deserve more choices, which is why the Foundation continues to support efforts to encourage the FDA to approve the use of new UV filters that are currently available outside the U.S.

Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that sunscreen is just one part of a complete sun protection strategy. There are many ways to protect yourself from the sun, including seeking shade and covering up with clothing, broad-brimmed hats and UV-blocking sunglasses. 

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About The Skin Cancer Foundation
The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only global organization solely devoted to the prevention, early detection and treatment of skin cancer. The mission of the Foundation is to decrease the incidence of skin cancer through public and professional education and research. Since its inception in 1979, the Foundation has recommended following a complete sun protection regimen that includes seeking shade and covering up with clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses, in addition to daily sunscreen use. For more information, visit SkinCancer.org. 

Contact:
Arielle Grabel, agrabel@skincancer.org; 646-583-7987
Ali Venosa, avenosa@skincancer.org; 646-583-7979