A recently published study demonstrated that four active ingredients used in over-the-counter sunscreen may be absorbed through the skin. Avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene and ecamsule, when applied to the skin, were absorbed and present at detectable levels in the blood, which raises questions about the safety of these sunscreen ingredients. The FDA is seeking additional data to determine the extent of this absorption through the skin and to determine whether these ingredients absorbed into the skin have any negative effects on the body.
The American Academy of Dermatology has released a statement agreeing with the FDA’s plan to collect additional data, but also reminding physicians and the public that these ingredients have been used widely for decades without any reported internal side effects in humans. Therefore, although the ingredients may be absorbed through the skin, the absorption of these ingredients is not expected to correlate with negative internal effects.
It is well-known that sun exposure is a leading cause of skin cancers including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. The American Academy of Dermatology and the dermatology community continue to recommend a multi-pronged approach to sun protection including sun protective clothing, hats, shade, avoidance of sun exposure during peak sun hours, and application of sunscreen with at least SPF 30 for sun-exposed skin.