Can sunscreen be harmful? Here’s what researchers found

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It’s summertime in North Dakota and whether you decide to stay inside or not, there’s new research you should be aware of, to keep yourself protected from the sun.

The Environmental Working Group, or EWG, just released it’s 14th annual “Guides to Sunscreen.”
They reported three fourths of sunscreen products have less protection than they claim– or contain alarming ingredients.

I spoke with a dermatologist who broke the research down for me. In regards to sunscreens, there are basically 2 types.

There are sunscreens that are considered to be physical blockers, which contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Research says that these chemicals will prevent the sun rays from getting into your skin and are ok.

The other type is called chemical blockers, meaning when you apply them they get absorbed into your skin, creating a reaction which can prevent sun damage.

However, studies say chemicals in these, like oxybenzone, could cause problems especially if you have sensitive skin.

Sanford Health Dermatologist Dr. Richelle Knudson says, “The chemical sunscreens you can actually have an allergic reaction to on your skin yourself which can cause blisters, dermatitis, and things that are very bothersome and painful and itchy for patients. So we know in that population we specifically know that using the physical blockers rather than the chemical sunscreens because those can be can be irritating.”

This new information is more of a laboratory finding and there’s still more to be done. You can find these ingredients on the sunscreen bottles before you buy them.

“There are a few studies that have shown that when you do apply oxybenzone into your skin– there are serum levels of oxybenzone within your blood after application,” says Dr. Knudson. “The question we still have is… Is that still bad for you or what kind of negative side effects does it cause for you or is it that it’s just present and not causing any troubles at all?”

Dr. Knudson recommends using sun protective clothing as well, which she says can be just as effective or even more effective than sunscreen.

This year researchers from EWG rated the safety and efficacy of more than 1,300 SPF products. They found only 180 sunscreens that met their criteria and would likely meet the proposed FDA standards.

EWG wants to make these studies more known so the FDA can find out more accurate results–and see if it’s something dermatologist should be looking into more seriously.

For more information, click here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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