A recent study published in JAMA revealed that chemical sunscreens seep into the bloodstream after application. The pilot study conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration, where 24 participants used one of four sunscreens which contained different concentrations of four chemicals avobenzone, oxybenzone, ecamsule and octocrylene.
Just one day after use, high levels of all four chemicals were found in all of the participant's bloodstreams, concluding that chemical sunscreens are absorbed into the bloodstream via the pores of the skin.
Whilst the study was small and their final recommendation has not yet been made public, the FDA did comment that natural sunscreens, which rely on zinc oxide and titanium dioxide should be “generally regarded as safe and effective.”
These two inorganic compounds are not absorbed into the body and create a physical barrier on the skin. This is why they often take longer to “sink in” and in some cases are more noticeable.
Not only are chemical sunscreens absorbed into the bloodstream they are also may be damaging to our reefs. The chemicals oxybenzone, octinoxate and parabens have been linked to damaging our coral reefs but more research is needed to confirm the findings of the International Coral Reef Initiative.