Your Sunscreen May be Harming Skin, Providing Little Protection Against Sunlight: Study

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Sunscreens that seem to be effective and safe on their own may not perform as effectively when compounded. A new study shows that in some combinations, they may potentially produce hazardous byproducts. According to the findings of a study published in the journal Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences, individuals should avoid using some sunscreens.

The study discovered that sunscreens containing zinc oxide not only lose much of their efficacy after two hours in the sun, but they may also become hazardous if the mineral is combined with chemicals usually present in most sunscreens.

Zinc oxide has been advertised as a safe, ‘chemical-free’ option to other sunscreens in the market, however, this is dependent on how it is served. Researchers claim that when this inorganic sunblock is used beneath or on top of other organic sunscreens, it does not filter as much UV radiation from the sun as either product alone.

The research team was headed by Dr. Aurora Ginzburg, which comprised College of Agriculture Sciences faculty Robyn Tanguay and Lisa Truong, as well as graduate fellow Claudia Santillan.

The researchers discovered that the mixture degrade the organic UV- filters, decreasing their efficiency and producing potentially hazardous byproducts.

The researchers used zebrafish to examine the impact of zinc oxide-based sunscreens. Since zebrafish and humans share around 80% of the genetic code, if a chemical creates unpleasant reaction in the fish, there’s a strong possibility it will induce comparable reactions in humans.

The researchers developed five combinations including the active components found in sunscreen and other lotions containing various levels of zinc oxide. The combinations were then subjected to UV radiation and changes were noticed.

When zinc oxide nanoparticles or bigger microparticles were induced, the researchers saw significant variations in photostability and phototoxicity. The chemical was shown to be hazardous after only two hours of sun exposure, according to the researchers. When sunscreen becomes harmful to the skin, it exposes customers to more radiation. This can eventually lead to sunburn, blisters, or sun poisoning.

According to Claudia Santillan, “The zinc-oxide-induced photodegradation products increased the number of defects in the zebrafish we used to test toxicity.” “This implies that zinc oxide particles are causing degradants whose entry into aquatic ecosystems is harmful to the environment,” she added.

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