MISSION, Kan. — On these hot, sunny days, many will seek relief at the neighborhood pool, but some researchers are warning that a chemical in some sunscreens could be harmful.
The chemical is called Oxybenzone, and new research shows the chemical could cause skin allergies, thyroid issues and even cancer.
Sunscreen makers have been using it in their products since the 1980s.
Oxybenzone absorbs UV rays so putting it in sunscreen protects your skin from sunburn and long-term sun damage, but researchers recently discovered it’s being absorbed in your bloodstream and causing health issues.
Right now, dermatologists want young children and pregnant women to especially avoid using sunscreens with Oxybenzone.
Not every sunscreen has the chemical, but a lot of aerosol sprays do. Just be sure to check the label to determine if the sunscreen you use has Oxybenzone.
Dermatologists say stay away from sunscreen sprays anyways because breathing it in can hurt your lungs, you could miss spots on your skin, and it’s thinner than lotion so it doesn’t protect you as long. Dermatologists also say anything over SPF30 provides very little additional protection.
“SPF 30 will block about 97-percent of your UVB rays,” pediatric physician Dr. Rebecca Reddy said. “Going up to SPF 50 will maybe give you another percentage point or two, nothing is 100-percent protective. Your maximum protection and safety is right around 30.”
Overall, though, despite these concerns, doctors say using sunscreen with Oxybenzone is better than not using any at all – especially if you plan to be outside in the sun between 10 a.m., and 4 p.m.