Is Sunscreen Dangerous? Five Biggest Sunscreen Mistakes

Is Sunscreen Dangerous? Five Biggest Sunscreen Mistakes

Many of our patients ask if sunscreen is dangerous. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association1 shows that sunscreen chemical filters are readily absorbed into the human bloodstream under normal use. This new information is important and relevant to your immediate sun protection choices.

So, what can you do for yourself and your family for safe sun protection? Titanium and zinc oxide-based sunscreens, also known as physical or mineral sunscreens, are good options. A mineral sunscreen is a mechanical blocker that essentially stays on top of the skin instead of being absorbed in the blood and protects against the harmful UVA/UVB rays. We also recommend wearing UPF 50 photo-protective clothing such as rash guard swim shirts, long sleeved shirts and wide brimmed hats & sunglasses.

Five Biggest Sunscreen Mistakes

Here are the top five sunscreen mistakes to avoid so you can have a sunburn-proof existence!

  1. Using expired sunscreen. Believe it or not, sunscreen does have a shelf life and the expiration date is stamped on every tube. So, throw out that old sunscreen!
  2. Not putting on enough. The protection factor is dependent on the dose of product you apply to your skin. The average adult needs about one fluid ounce applied to their body to receive adequate protection. Studies have shown that people are applying 25-50% of what they should be applying.
  3. Not reapplying every 2 hours and after swimming, sweating, or rubbing product off. Sunscreen breaks down as it blocks UV rays. To maintain adequate protection, it must be reapplied for continued UV filtering.
  4. Only wearing sunscreen on sunny days or for mid-day sun exposure. Clouds do not block UV rays enough to prevent sun damage. In fact, UVA is out all day- sun up to sun down, clouds or no clouds.
  5. Depending solely on makeup or moisturizer to give you full protection. Unless your makeup or moisturizer is 30+ broad spectrum, you are not getting optimal protection.


1. Effect of Sunscreen Application Under Maximal Use Conditions on Plasma Concentration of Sunscreen Active Ingredients – A Randomized Clinical Trial
2. New FDA Study Shines Light on Sunscreen Absorption