Since SPF is a product so many people use daily and over their lifetime, what’s inside matters. Back in 2019, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) classified only two ingredients — zinc and titanium dioxide — as “safe and effective” or “GRASE.” This is because they are physical filters that aren't absorbed into the skin and therefore don’t pose the risk of interrupting our hormones.
On the other hand, six common chemical filters were found to be absorbed into the bloodstream at higher rates than are considered safe after just one application. The FDA stated that additional research and evidence is required before making a final call about the safety of these six filters. Such high absorption rates can potentially disrupt the endocrine system leading to adverse health effects over the long term.
Why avoid endocrine disruptors?
Many manufactured chemicals can mimic or interfere with the body’s hormones, otherwise known as the endocrine system. Endocrine disruptors are found in everyday products, from BPA lined cans, to skincare. Some are slow to break down in the environment, a quality that’s a potential health and environmental hazard. Since people are exposed to multiple endocrine disruptors at a time in daily products, assessing the public health effects is a difficult process and still underway. Until they’re marked as safe for long term use, it makes sense to avoid these ingredients as a health precaution.
The six sunscreen ingredients being tested for safety
Below are the six ingredients found to be absorbed into the bloodstream at a greater threshold than what is considered safe and effective (0.5 ng/mL). A threshold that was surpassed after only one application. In 2023, the FDA continues to exclude these from the GRASE list until there’s ample evidence to make a final classification. These studies are still in progress.
If you're looking for a clean zinc sunscreen that isn't greasy like the majority of SPF out there, check out Sun Juju. A plastic-free, reef safe SPF50 that's safe for your skin and the sea.