Sunscreen Ingredients May Seep Into Bloodstream, But Health Effects Unknown: Study

The FDA study found higher levels of sunscreen ingredients, like oxybenzone, are absorbed into the bloodstream than previously thought

Several active ingredients in popular sunscreens don't just sit on the top of the skin, they are absorbed into the bloodstream, according to a new study from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, NBC News reported.

Researchers determined that far higher levels of these ingredients are absorbed into people’s systems than the amount considered benign enough to avoid safety testing — in some cases, as much as 40 times higher than the threshold amount, according to the study published Monday in the peer-reviewed medical journal JAMA.

Researchers noted it is not clear whether the chemicals tested by the FDA are harmful when there is systemic exposure and calls for further testing to determine the safety of that ingredient for repeated use.

“These products are used to prevent skin cancer,” said study coauthor Dr. Theresa Michele, director of the division of nonprescription drug products at the FDA. “It’s very important from a public health perspective that people use them, especially as skin cancer rates are increasing. Right now, we know that there are benefits from these products and we don’t know if there are any harms.

The four ingredients in question are avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene and ecamsule.

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