Chemicals in sunscreen get absorbed into our blood at concentrations up to 419 times higher than what is considered safe, research suggests.
A study found the chemical oxybenzone, which absorbs UVA and UVB rays, reaches plasma concentrations of up to 209.6ng/mL.
This is despite the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which works to ensure medical devices and personal products are safe in the US, recommending no more than 0.5ng/mL to prevent cancer.
As well as being potentially carcinogenic, oxybenzone may also disrupt hormones, leading to embryonic toxicities, research suggests.
Researchers stress, however, the implications of their study are unknown and people should not make the ‘knee-jerk decision’ to stop using sunscreen.
The research was carried out by the FDA and led by Dr David Strauss, director of the division of applied regulatory science.
Sunscreens protect against skin damage by reflecting, absorbing or scattering damaging UV radiation, the researchers wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Many people apply multiple grams of sunscreen every day, both directly and in SPF-enriched skincare or make-up.
Despite sunscreen’s proven benefits, the FDA advised ingredients with ‘safety concerns’, or those that are absorbed into the bloodstream at rates greater than 0.5ng/mL, should undergo ‘toxicology assessment’.