WellnessTok has done it again. After convincing people to shampoo once monthly and tan with nasal spray, it now has users asking: Is sunscreen bad for you?

That may seem like a strange query to have when we live in such a pro-sunscreen, anti-UV ray—and post-tanning bed—day and age. But the same platform that gave us the debunked nutrition “hack” Oatzempic has become a hotbed for anti-SPF misinformation, leading many users to believe influencer claims that sunscreen is not just unnecessary, but actively harmful and potentially cancer-causing.

However there has been no evidence indicating that it does. “Sun damage can lead to skin cancer, but the FDA has not found that sunscreens cause cancer,” Brendan Camp, MD, double-board-certified dermatologist at NYC’s MDCS Dermatology, confirms.

If you’re still thinking, “but the chemicals!” Well, there’s nothing wrong with considering non-chemical SPF options, either; if nothing else than for the environment. But since viral misinformation tends to lack nuance, it can be tough to figure out what’s what.

Ahead, we asked board-certified dermatologists and plastic surgeons to debunk this harmful trend.

Why do people think sunscreen is bad for you?

As noted above, the FDA has not found evidence of sunscreen causing cancer, though they did find that some ingredients found in chemical sunscreen may remain in the body after use.

“As documented in a recent FDA study in JAMA, chemical sunscreens, with active ingredients like oxybenzone, octocrylene, octinoxate, homosalate, and avobenzone, are applied to the skin and then can remain in the blood plasma at significant levels for days to weeks after application,” says Madhu Shetti, MD, a board-certified radiation oncologist specializing in cancer diagnosis and treatment and founder and CEO of Balmere. However, according to Dr. Camp, “the AAD released a statement that more research is needed to determine if the absorption has any effects on a person’s health.”

What’s more, “just because an ingredient is absorbed into the bloodstream does not mean that it is harmful or unsafe,” Dr. Camp clarifies. “More research is needed to evaluate the effects of certain sunscreen filters on internal organ systems, though recent studies do not point to a clear link between these products and health problems.”

Much of the anti-sunscreen movement comes down to misinformation—which is largely due to social media users claiming to be doctors.

Dr. Keith Kimberlin for example, who recently shared in a video claiming that most sunscreen “is toxic ” and “more dangerous than [sun]burning,” is a chiropractor with a doctorate of chiropractic degree (DC). Kristen Cavallari’s naturopath, Dr. Ryan Monahan—who shares and is seemingly responsible for some of Cavaralli’s anti-sunscreen views—has a doctorate in acupuncture and oriental medicine (DAOM), while. Dr. Andrew Huberman, who claimed “there’s stuff in sunscreen that goes to your brains,” has a Doctorate of Philosophy—or PhD—in neuroscience.

These degrees do make them doctors, though their qualifications are not comparable to those of medical doctors (MD) like dermatologists or plastic surgeons, who have graduated from medical school. “Board-certified dermatologists are the only physicians with advanced medical training and certification to diagnose and treat conditions that affect skin, hair, and nails,” Dr. Camp reiterates.

Is sunscreen bad for you?

To put it simply, no–and any conflicting information around the overall safety of sunscreen lacks significant scientific support, says Dr. Sachin M. Shridharani, MD, FACS, board-certified plastic surgeon at New York City’s Luxurgery and international authority on aesthetic plastic surgery treatments and technique.

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