Doctor says some sunscreens could carry cancer risks

Photo: Skeyndor / Flickr, Photo: Pixabay (MGN)
Photo: Skeyndor / Flickr, Photo: Pixabay (MGN)(WKYT)
Published: Jun. 14, 2019 at 5:32 PM EDT
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A new study out from the Journal of American Medical Association found certain sunscreens may lead to exactly what you're trying to avoid by wearing the lotions.

"The sunscreens we're using to protect us from skin related damage and cancer could actually be causing cancer themselves," emergency physician Ryan Stanton said. "The good news being that there are some versions that don't have these risks."

Stanton says there are two main types of sunscreen -- barrier sunscreens and chemical sunscreens. The JAMA trial found the chemical sunscreen can get into your blood and urine, and those chemicals have properties that can cause cancer.

"The problem is most people like the chemical sunscreens because chemical sunscreens are the ones that blend into the skin," Stanton said. "They rub in very well that you don't tend to notice people are wearing them."

The barrier sunscreens do block your skin from the sun, but it doesn't get into your body.

"I want you to look for two different chemicals, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide," Dr. Stanton advised. "Those are the two chemicals a barrier sunscreen had been shown to have no absorption and no carcinogenic properties. So zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are the two safe ones."

Stanton says children and pregnant women should especially avoid the chemical sunscreens, while further studies are done to see what the longer-term results will be.

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