Ingredients in sunscreen are absorbed in the body and enter the bloodstream, according to a study by the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, an arm of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The study enrolled 24 healthy volunteers who were randomly assigned to a spray or lotion sunscreen containing avobenzone, oxybenzone or octocrylene as ingredients or a cream sunscreen that contained the chemical ecamsule. The chemicals are four of 12 sunblock ingredients FDA recently said needed to be researched by manufacturers before they could be considered safe.
The volunteers were asked to put their assigned sunscreen on 75 percent of their bodies four times each day for four days. Thirty blood samples were taken from each volunteer over a seven-day period. Of the six people using the ecamsule cream, five had levels of the chemical in their blood considered statistically significant by the end of day one. For the other three chemicals, especially oxybenzone, all of the volunteers showed significant levels after the first day. The study also found that the blood concentration of three of the ingredients continued to rise as daily use continued, and then remained in the body for at least 24 hours after being applied.
While the verdict is still out on the effects of the ingredients entering the body, experts say you should keep applying sunblock until told otherwise. “The fact that an ingredient is absorbed through the skin and into the body does not mean the ingredient is unsafe. Rather, this finding calls for further testing to determine the safety of that ingredient for repeated use,” the news release states. By raising a red flag, the FDA hopes sunscreen companies will do their due diligence and thoroughly research the ingredients they use to make their products.