Why Chemical Sunscreen is an Inevitable Disaster
By now, most people are familiar with the chemical sunscreen craze that has swept India in recent years, particularly the use of sunscreens that contain parabens and other ingredients that are commonly linked to skin damage and cancer.
Now, a new study has found that the chemicals used in these sunscreen formulations may also be harmful.
The results of the study were published online in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and the study was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science.
According to the study, chemical sunscreen ingredients may be especially toxic if they contain certain preservatives.
These preservatives are added to the formulation of the sunscreen to ensure that the sunscreen stays effective for extended periods of time, but some of these ingredients can be toxic to humans.
According the study’s lead author, Dr. Rajendra Kumar, a dermatologist in the Department of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania, the study found that paraben-containing sunscreen ingredients were significantly more toxic than non-paraben sunscreen ingredients.
This could be because the parabenes in the ingredients are not stable or can be damaged during the manufacturing process.
“Parabens have a strong impact on the health of humans,” Kumar said in a press release.
“They can disrupt DNA and cause mutations in the cells that line our skin, and we don’t yet know how these mutations could affect our health.”
Kumar and his colleagues used a method called gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC/MS) to analyze the levels of parabenzas in the sunscapes that were used in the study.
GC/MS measures the amount of the active ingredient in the mixture.
The researchers found that in the majority of the sunscreen products tested, the concentrations of paracene, aspartic acid, benzene, xylene, butylene glycol, and polysorbate 80 were higher than those in non-antimicrobial formulations.
“These chemicals have an impact on human cells in many ways,” Kumar told Live Science.
“If they are present in a long-lasting way, they can cause mutations, which can lead to skin cancer.
And parabeners are not the only preservatives that can be found in sunscopes, and some may also interact with other chemicals that we can’t detect by GC/MMS.”
Kampur said that the study does not establish a link between parabened sunscanners and skin cancer, but that it raises important questions about how these sunscones are made.
“We know that paracenone is found in many consumer products.
So, paracetones, benzophenone-4, benzyl alcohol, and other types of paracetones can be used in sunscreen formulations,” he said.”
But parabent sunscontrol products are also made with parabenic ingredients, so it remains unclear how these ingredients might affect human health.”
The study also found that while parabents may not be the most toxic of preservatives, they may be one of the most damaging because they can affect DNA in the skin.
The study found parabenosolone, a chemical used in sunscreen, to be more toxic to DNA than paracenes.
“The results highlight the need to develop more targeted therapies against these types of chemical pollutants,” Kumar explained.
“Many chemicals in sun screens can alter DNA and have potential to affect human cell functions.
In this study, we show that paracetin, a non-preservative ingredient found in some paracens, may be a potential target for these chemicals.
And as the chemical composition of sunscreen formulations changes, we should be able to predict what kinds of molecules will be found.”
The research was funded by the DOE Office of Technology Assessment (TTO), the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Indian Institute of Technology, the United States Army Research Office, and the UBS India fund.
The full paper is available at Live Science .