Dr. Emily Arch responds to recent developments in FDA sunscreen regulation.

As dermatologists, sunscreen is an integral part of our recommendations for a comprehensive sun protection strategy.  Recently, sunscreens have come into question given the FDA’s plans to further study chemical sunscreen ingredients to ensure safety and a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association noting that certain sunscreen ingredients can be absorbed into the bloodstream after application.  While we applaud the FDA’s effort to ensure that we have safe and effective sunscreens to offer our patients, these recent developments have not changed our recommendation of regular sunscreen use as a cancer preventative step for our patients.

Skin cancer remains the most common cancer in the United States, and we know that unprotected ultraviolet radiation exposure is a major risk factor for development of potentially deadly forms of skin cancer, as well as skin aging.  Daily use of sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher halves an individual’s risk of melanoma.  The chemical sunscreen ingredients being called into question have been used for decades with no reported systemic side effects in humans and more research is needed before determining if absorption of these ingredients has an effect, deleterious or otherwise, on a person’s health.  However, if you are concerned, know that excellent alternatives are available.

Physical (mineral) sunscreens containing zinc or titanium oxide are widely available and offer excellent broad spectrum protection.  Remember that sunscreen is only one part of your sun protection strategy.  Avoidance of sun at peak exposure times, seeking shade, wearing hats and sunglasses, and use of sun protective clothing are all steps to ensure that you are enjoying the long awaited summer safely.

To schedule an appointment for a full body skin cancer screening with Dr. Arch or any of our providers, you can reach out to us via Klara or call us at 773-276-1100.2

Shop our selection of sunscreens for every skin type at our online store.