How safe is sun­screen? Safer than skin can­cer

The Buffalo News - - FRONT PAGE - By Aaron E. Car­roll

WASHINGTON – Skin can­cer is the most com­mon ma­lig­nancy in the United States, af­fect­ing more than 3 mil­lion peo­ple each year. Us­ing sun­screen is one main­stay of preven­tion. But the re­cent news that sun­screen in­gre­di­ents can soak into your blood­stream has caused con­cern.

Later this year, the Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion will of­fer some of­fi­cial guid­ance on the safety of such in­gre­di­ents. What should peo­ple do in the in­terim as summer ap­proaches?

The only proven health risk so far is too much sun exposure. Some may think cov­er­ing up and lim­it­ing time in the sun is im­por­tant only for those with lighter skin, but the rec­om­men­da­tions against UV exposure ap­ply to ev­ery­one.

Yes, you should prob­a­bly keep us­ing sun­screen, al­though some who may want to play it extra safe could switch to sun­screens that con­tain zinc ox­ide and ti­ta­nium diox­ide.

Sun­screens were first reg­u­lated by the FDA in the 1970s, and they were con­sid­ered over-the-counter med­i­ca­tions, be­fore cur­rent U.S. guidelines for the eval­u­a­tion of drugs were put in place. Be­cause of this, sun­screens didn’t undergo test­ing the way mod­ern phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals would.

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