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Valley skin experts weigh in on sunscreen controversy

(Creative Commons)

PHOENIX — Sunscreen is a summertime necessity in Phoenix, so Valley skin experts are weighing in on a recent sunscreen controversy.

In the past few years, there has been growing concern over the chemicals in sunscreen and how they may be absorbed into the blood stream.

Megan Ahmed is a nurse practitioner at Phoenix Skin Dermatology and said this is a concern that’s becoming more common.

“I have a lot of patients that come in looking for natural remedies to block out UV rays,” she said.

There has been a recent trend of people making homemade sunscreens or using natural oils or minerals solely for sun protection.

Ahmed said this may not be the best solution.

“There’s just not a lot of research backed behind those yet,” Ahmed said. “I’m sure in the coming years there’s going to be a lot of emerging studies on natural sunscreens.”

She said that if chemical absorption is a concern there are already plenty of products available that take that out of the equation.

“The one thing a lot clothing brands are now doing is UV protective clothing or swimsuits.” Ahmed said. “If I’m having someone that’s really concerned about what chemicals they’re putting into their body that’s usually my first go-to option because that way they’re not putting anything on but I know they’re absolutely getting that protection.”

She also explained that sunscreens like zinc, famously seen covering movie life guards noses, are considered physical sunscreens. This is different than chemical sunscreens because they go on top of the skin rather than the skin drinking it in.

“Physical sunscreens block out those UV rays and they’re better for patients typical with some skin prone issues,” Ahmed said.

Ahmed added that mineral sunscreens also eliminate the use of chemicals that people tend to be apprehensive about.

Ultimately, Ahmed said what Valley residents know to be true — protecting your skin from harmful UV rays — is crucial for healthy skin.

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