Print Edition - 2019-05-09  |  Health and Living

Sunscreen ingredients in bloodstream

  • Self care

May 9, 2019-

The active ingredients of commonly-used sunscreens end up in the bloodstream at much higher levels than current US guidelines from health regulators and warrant further safety studies, according to a small study conducted by US Food and Drug Administration researchers and published on Monday.

The over-the-counter products originally marketed to prevent sunburn with little regulation are widely used to block radiation from the sun that can cause skin cancer, the most common malignancy in the United States.

The study of 23 volunteers tested four sunscreens, including sprays, lotion and cream, applied to 75 percent of the body four times a day over four days, with blood tests to determine the maximum levels of certain chemicals absorbed into the bloodstream conducted over seven days.

The study found maximum plasma levels of the chemicals it tested for—avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene and in one sunscreen ecamsule—to be well above the level of 0.5 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) at which FDA guidelines call for further safety testing.

For example, the maximum concentration of avobenzone was found to be 4 ng/mL and 3.4 ng/mL for two different sprays, 4.3 ng/mL for a lotion and 1.8 ng/mL for the cream. “The study findings raise many important questions about sunscreen and the process by which the sunscreen industry, clinicians, specialty organizations, and regulatory agencies evaluate the benefits and risks of this topical OTC medication,” Dr Robert Califf and Dr Kanade Shinkai said in an editorial that accompanied the study in JAMA.


Published: 09-05-2019 10:39

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