Don’t ditch the SPF! Experts debunk claims that sunscreen ‘leaches into blood’

Scientists have claimed chemicals from sunscreen leach into a person's body. Source: Getty

Aussies know that when the sun is shining they need to slop on some sunscreen, however a recent study claimed that the chemicals in the lotion could actually be seeping into people’s bloodstreams. But, before you go ditching the SPF altogether, further experts have warned that the study’s results may not be as reliable as they seem.

The research was carried out by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who tested sunscreen on 24 volunteers over the course of seven days. Each participant had a specific amount of sunscreen applied to their skin four times a day for four days. They were not exposed to sunlight during testing and over the course of the week had their blood tested multiple times to see if the sunscreen’s chemicals did enter the blood stream.

Four different chemicals were found to have leached into the blood of participants at levels which exceeded the safe amount set by the FDA, with these levels increasing further as more sunscreen was applied in the days following.

While the results may sound concerning, Australian researchers have since reacted to the news and urged people not to forego sunscreen altogether, pointing out that no health issues from the leaching of chemicals had been identified and stressing the safety and quality testing of products available on the Australian market.

Further experts claimed the results are not accurate with real world conditions as the test was not undertaken outside.

Cancer Council Chief Executive Officer Professor Sanchia Aranda said Australia has strict standards for sunscreens and people should feel safe using the product to protect their skin.

“In Australia, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) regulates all sunscreen ensuring that only approved ingredients, which have been addressed for quality and safety, are used in each product and at certain quantities,”  she explained in a statement published on Scimex.

“The TGA regularly reviews the evidence and ensures that sunscreen ingredients are safe and effective.”

Aranda added: “Sunscreen isn’t a suit of armour and should only be used as the last line of defence. Whenever the UV level is three or above, the Cancer Council also recommends slipping on protective clothing, slapping on a broadbrim hat, slopping on sunscreen, seeking shade and sliding on sunglasses.”

Melanoma Institute Australia Chief Executive Officer Matthew Browne echoed her comments, reminding Aussies of the risk of developing cancer without the protection of sunscreen.

In a statement shared on Scimex he said: “Melanoma Australia cautions against using results of a small overseas study, based on atypical application and use of sunscreen, to undermine community confidence in sunscreen.

“All sunscreens on the Australian market are highly regulated and there is indisputable scientific evidence that sunscreen helps protect against UV damage, the greatest risk factor for developing melanoma which kills one Australian every five hours.”

What are your thoughts on this study? Do you feel safe using sunscreen?

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