FDA warns users of sunscreen


Jack Wolfe

SUNBURN. Since summer is approaching, there are entire sections in stores dedicated to sunscreen. “However, sunscreens have not been subjected to standard drug safety testing, and clinicians and consumers lack data on systemic drug levels despite decades of widespread use,” said former FDA chairman Robert Califf and JAMA Dermatology Editor.

   Published on Monday, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) caused alarm for sunscreen users after saying that the chemicals in sunscreen can seep into your bloodstream after just one day.

   However, the FDA recommends that people still use sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. The fact that an ingredient is absorbed through the skin and into the body does not mean the ingredient is unsafe. Rather, this finding calls for further testing to determine the safety of that ingredient for repeated use.

   “Such testing is part of the standard pre-market safety evaluation of most chronically administered drugs with appreciable systemic absorption,” as reported by the FDA .

  The FDA is pushing update regulatory requirements for most sunscreen products in the United States, where sunscreens are regulated as drugs. This action was aimed at bringing over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreens up to date with the latest scientific standards.

  A study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed the affects of sunscreen on people. The study included 24 healthy people who applied four common types of sunscreen on their skin.

  “The application of 4 commercially available sunscreens under maximal use conditions resulted in plasma concentrations that exceeded the threshold established by the FDA for potentially waiving some nonclinical toxicology studies for sunscreens,” said the study by JAMA.

   The study also found that “the systemic absorption of sunscreen ingredients supports the need for further studies to determine the clinical significance of these findings.”