If You Thought All Sunscreen Was Safe, Think Again

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When it comes to sunscreen and safety, we were taught to wear it no matter what, end of discussion. But the FDA just announced a new sunscreen proposal that could shake up that very mindset. While wearing SPF will always be a must to prevent skin damage, the kind of sunscreen you use could be in question. Whoa, whoa, whoa—what do they mean?

We’ll make it quick. The FDA hasn’t updated its sunscreen guidelines in nearly 40 years, which is a pretty scary statistic given that sunscreen is a big part of a toxin-filled beauty industry. The proposal is taking a closer look at the safety of the most common active ingredients in SPF, and of the 16 in products currently on the market, the FDA deemed only two as safe: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. They’re both minerals that act as physical blockers, which sit on the surface of the skin and reflect UV rays, rather than seeping into skin and blocking UV rays like chemical ingredients do.

Even more concerning, there are only two known harmful ingredients in the list (PABA and trolamine salicylate), while the remaining 12 are still unknown. How are we supposed to stay away from potentially toxic chemicals if we don’t even know what they are? Well, that’s exactly why this proposal is happening.

The FDA must come to a final decision on the regulations before November 26, 2019, so we’ll know more soon(ish). Until then, it might be smart to swap out chemical sunscreens for mineral ones that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Not sure what’s what? Check out our favorite mineral-based sunscreens below.

Shop Mineral Sunscreen:

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Brianna Lapolla


Brianna Lapolla formerly held the role of Senior Commerce Editor at PureWow covering all things shopping across beauty, fashion, and lifestyle. Now, she's putting her 12 years of...
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