Recent reports in the news have once again confused consumers about “the safety of sunscreens”. Headlines reported “unsafe levels of sunscreen chemicals found in blood”. The actual FDA statement was that blood levels of sunscreen were found that were higher than would be classified as “automatically safe”. This means that the FDA is having the most common chemical sunscreen compounds studied to find out IF they are dangerous at all at the levels commonly found.
There is no good evidence that chemical sunscreens are dangerous, despite statements of concern from various sources. On the other hand, there are many good studies that prove sunscreen decreases skin aging and the risk of all skin cancers. At 5 million cases treated each year, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US, and 90% of skin cancer is caused by UV exposure.
SPF 15 products block 93% of the UVB rays and SPF 30 blocks 97%, but most people do not apply enough volume of product. Recommendations are to apply 1 oz. to the body, (about 1 tsp. for face and neck), 30 minutes before exposure, and then re-apply every 2 hours, after swimming, or after sweating heavily. Moisturizers and facial foundations are typically not applied heavily enough to get the SPF effect as rated. First apply sunscreen and then apply foundation over it. SPF clothing, hats, scarves and sunglasses are important adjuncts and can minimize the amount of sunblock that needs to be applied to sun exposed areas.
Here is a link to the Skin Cancer Foundation’s information on sunscreen that may reassure patients and sunscreen consumers;
Best Regards & Stay Healthy
Dr. Deb Irizarry