Yes, Chemical Sunscreens Absorb. Here’s What You Should Know.

You follow the news and stay informed, so you’ve seen the reports stating that chemical sunscreens absorb into the bloodstream. The FDA plans to do more research on these ingredients, like oxybenzone and octinoxate. But until it does, what are you supposed to think? What happens when the chemicals get to the bloodstream? Will the ingredients be banned? You may even be asking yourself, “Wait, didn’t we already know this? Why is it only now becoming a big deal?”

Even for savvy consumers, these developments can be confusing. We completely understand why, so we wanted to help break everything down and talk about safer options.

The news that chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin isn’t new…

It’s true. Researchers have known for years. Maybe you’ve even heard us talk about it from time to time (wink, wink). However, the FDA’s new proposed sunscreen guidelines acknowledging this information brought it to the fore. The last update to these guidelines was in the 1970s, so it makes sense it’s receiving a lot of attention! And, since the FDA controls regulations around ingredients, its involvement in this is a big deal.

What happens when these chemicals absorb?

Even though we don’t have the FDA’s follow-up research yet, its proposal expressed concern about the rate at which chemical sunscreens absorb, especially considering findings from other studies link them to adverse effects.[i] Here are some of the potential risks associated with absorbing these ingredients:

  • Chemical sunscreens can irritate sensitive skin.[ii][iii]
  • They absorb UV rays and disperse them as less harmful energy in the body.[iv]
  • They’ve been linked to hormone disruption, which can lead to a host of other issues.[v][vi][vii]
  • They’ve been connected to birth defects and developmental issues.[v][viii]

Yikes! Sound scary? We think so, too. By now, you’re probably thinking that there must be a better option. And you’re right!

chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin, but mineral sunscreens do not.The good news: Mineral sunscreens do not absorb

Unlike chemical actives, non-nano mineral sunscreens, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, do not soak into the skin or enter the bloodstream. Instead, they sit on top of our skin and reflect away harmful UV rays like tiny mirrors. Because of this, they’re safer for sensitive skin and don’t mess with our hormones.

In fact, the FDA’s new proposed guidelines identified zinc and titanium as the only two sunscreen actives on the market currently recognized as safe and effective. Out of 16! Even though it hasn’t yet drawn conclusions about 12 chemical actives, including oxybenzone and octinoxate, it already decided 2 others aren’t generally recognized as safe and effective. Luckily, you don’t have to wait to find out the rest. There are safe options available now that you don’t have to think twice about.

The bottom line

At the very least, we know chemical sunscreens absorb and minerals do not. For us, that’s a good enough reason to use mineral actives to protect against UV rays! Goddess Garden has only ever used non-nano zinc and titanium as sunscreen ingredients in our formulas because we want to take better care of people and the planet. Minerals are safer for our families as well as for our coral reefs! So when you choose a mineral sunscreen, your time in the sun can be truly carefree—as it should be!

 

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[i] https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-02-26/pdf/2019-03019.pdf
[ii] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2733085?guestAccessKey=e1ad4492-fe70-4f53-970d-d63bfa1cdccd&utm_source=For_The_Media&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=ftm_links&utm_content=tfl&utm_term=05062019#jpc190002r1
[iii] https://www.mdedge.com/dermatology/article/80980/psoriasis/benzophenones-named-2014-contact-allergen-year
[iv] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537164/
[v] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890623817302277?via%3Dihub
[vi] https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/ehp150
[vii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4997468/
[viii] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0890623818305835

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