VeganicSKN are grateful to now have the full support of the FDA behind their key skincare ingredient, zinc oxide. Once again, over the weekend, the American Food and Drug Administration released a report, denouncing the safety of 12 different, commonly used sunscreen ingredients. They are calling on manufacturers to address some serious safety concerns, after no further data was released despite a similar callout in 2019. VeganicSKN is a natural skincare manufacturer with a focus on the use of zinc oxide. The review has confirmed zinc oxide to be the only broad-spectrum active ingredient considered safe and effective for use in sunscreens.
Citing the need for far more research into widely used chemicals such as oxybenzone and avobenzone, the FDA report declared these chemicals as not "GRASE" meaning not "generally recognized as safe and effective". The proposal declared, "because the public record does not currently contain sufficient data to support positive GRASE" that there needs to be more data collected, and soon.
Some of the current data, particularly around oxybenzone and avobenzone indicates that endocrine disruption and possible carcinogenic effects upon the breakdown of these ingredients poses a risk to the health of users. This is particularly due to the way the chemicals are absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. Oxybenzone has been seen "in human breast milk, amniotic fluid, urine, and blood plasma. The significant systemic availability of oxybenzone, coupled with a lack of data evaluating the full extent of its absorption potential, is a concern".
EWG's senior vice president for government affairs, Scott Faber, said "sunscreen chemicals like oxybenzone pose significant health concerns, but the sunscreen industry continues to bury its head in the sand." He also praised the FDA for its continuing calls to action over the issue.
People concerned need not worry too much though, as whilst the safety of chemical sunscreens is dubious, mineral sunscreens have been declared GRASE. Using sunscreen with active ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide is safe, as when "topically applied [these] particles do not enter systemic circulation to any meaningful extent". This supports the work of VeganicSKN, a manufacturer which only uses organic zinc oxide in its products.
The FDA proposal has declared that there is not sufficient data to consider common sunscreen ingredients cinoxate, dioxybenzone, ensulizole, homosalate, meradimate, octinoxate, octisalate, octocrylene, padimate O, sulisobenzone, oxybenzone, or avobenzone to be safe or effective when applied to human skin.
Conversely, mineral ingredients Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are not absorbed by the skin and are therefore both safe and effective active ingredients in sunscreen.
Until there is more data, the proposal suggests it may be prudent to avoid the use of any chemical sunscreen, and stick to those that are mineral based.