Summer is here! People are in the sun more and looking to make sure they stay healthy and protected while enjoying summertime activities.
Recently, the FDA released a call for further data regarding some common sunscreen ingredients. This was a result of a study which demonstrated systemic absorption of some of these ingredients through the skin. Although our skin is an effective barrier, almost anything we apply is absorbed to a certain degree.
Just because something is absorbed does not make it unsafe, and after decades of use, there have been no reported data of systemic internal side effects from use of sunscreen. What we do know is that UV radiation from sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer, including melanoma. However, until more data is available, patients have been asking what they should use on their skin.
My main advice is do not refrain from sunscreen use! If you are concerned, stick to mineral based sunscreens (you will see zinc oxide or titanium dioxide listed as the active ingredients) as these sit on the surface of the skin and reflect the UV radiation. Also, use sun protective clothing with UPF in it, and limit your sunscreen application to exposed skin only. I plan to continue to use sunscreen on myself and my children as a safe means of preventing skin cancer, and I encourage you to as well.
Meredith Price, MD FAAD, heads Hamzavi Dermatology Grosse Pointe. Online at HamzaviDerm.com; on Instagram @gpdermdoc; on Facebook @ HamzaviDermGrossePointe.
By Dr. Meredith Price