Can sunscreen cause skin cancer?

Protecting the skin from ultraviolet, or UV, rays from the sun and tanning beds is key to reducing the risk of skin cancer. To do so, the American Cancer Society, or ACS, recommends the daily use of sunscreen or sunblock. However, many consumer and environmental groups have brought up concerns regarding some of the more common ingredients found in sunblocks today, and are worried about the potential effects they may have on people and the environment. However, there is no current indication that this is the case.

Regulation of skincare products

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers sunblock to be a cosmetic product. However, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t taken seriously in terms of their ingredients and effectiveness. Sunscreen labels are required to list active and inactive ingredients as these can be absorbed into the skin. Sunscreen also expires which means that it may not be as safe or effective past this date.


One of the more common ingredients used in sunscreen is oxybenzone. This ingredient is deemed safe by the FDA, but other groups feel as though it may impact the environment, such as coral reefs, which has led to Hawaii banning the sale of sunscreen products with oxybenzone starting in the year 2021. However, it has not been found that this ingredient can contribute  to cancer, though it may cause some patients skin irritation or allergies.  However, it is considered safe as a sunscreen ingredient and is effective at protecting the skin against UV rays that can significantly increase one’s risk of skin cancer, and continues to be used across the US in sunscreen products.

Learn more about ways to protect your skin

A proactive approach to skin protection and skin cancer prevention will provide patients with a healthy life! If you have questions about sunscreen use, or want to book a skin cancer screening with Dr. Marta Rendon, contact the practice of our board-certified dermatologist by calling (561) 750-0544. At the Rendon Center, we are here to help Boca Raton, FL area patients take the steps in caring for their skin and improving its health every day!

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