You’ve heard it before: wear sunscreen any time you are in the sun. It’s true — it is important to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 any time you spend prolonged time outdoors. However, recent reports have surfaced that are flagging certain sunscreens as unsafe and potentially cancer-causing.
Chemicals To Avoid
While the FDA is still investigating this issue, Valisure, an independent quality assurance company, recently found high levels of benzene in 78 sun products. Benzene is a known human carcinogen, according to the CDC, the World Health Organization, and more. Not only is this chemical highly flammable, it is used to make plastic and synthetic products, dyes, lubricants, drugs, pesticides, and more. It is also naturally found in crude oil, gasoline, and cigarette smoke.
The short of it: long-term exposure to inhaled benzene is a known risk factor for leukemia. This chemical is not intentionally added to sunscreen, but there is no level of benzene that is considered safe in topical or aerosol products.
How to Stay Protected
To stay protected against the sun in the meantime, switch to a mineral-based sunscreen and continue to wear protective clothing while the FDA investigates this problem.It is important to research any sunscreens or after-sun products that currently are in the homes of consumers — these products from popular brands such as Johnson & Johnson may be recalled off the shelves.
Sources: Yale Medicine, Valisure, AAD