Fertility and Sunscreen: What You Need to Know
During the summer, you often hear someone saying, “Don’t forget to apply sunscreen!” There is a whole generation of women and men who were taught to apply and spray it on generously to protect their skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. Sunscreen, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, prevents sunburn and reduces the risk of skin cancer as well as premature aging.
The big question now is this: Can sunscreen be harmful as well?
Sunscreen and Fertility
During the last decade, fertility rates throughout the world have fallen, and scientists theorised that chemicals found in everyday products (including sunscreen) are contributing to the problem, especially in men.
In April 2016, a study published from the University of Copenhagen found that 29 out of the 31 UV filters approved for sunscreen use in the United States and Europe have effects in men. 45 percent of them stopped the proper function of sperm cells. The reason? The filters were found to mimic the effects of the female hormone progesterone.
Another study done in 2014 found that exposure to certain UV radiation filters may be linked to infertility in men.
Sunscreens contain active ingredients and they can come in two forms: chemical and mineral. The chemicals in chemical sunscreens can be absorbed into the body and can also be found in your urine, blood and breast milk. These chemicals potentially cause hormone disruptions.
If you are trying to get pregnant, it is a good idea to take necessary precautions. If you are going to use sunscreens, look for mineral-based ones – those that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
Here are some additional safety tips you should keep in mind:
*Check your sunscreen on their sunscreen database.
*Avoid products with an SPF higher than 50. The FDA has determined that high SPF claims could be ‘inherently misleading’.
*Avoid spray-on sunscreens. These sunscreens do not provide a uniform coating. You do not want to coat your lungs with chemicals.
*Avoid sunscreens that have vitamin A. There are studies that have linked retinyl palmitate, a form of vitamin A to the formation of skin lesions and tumours on sun-exposed skin.
*Avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone – the most common UV filter. It may be both an allergen and a hormone disruptor.
*Cover up. This is still the best sun protection. Wear shirts, hats and pants.
If you have more concerns on infertility issues or if you simply want to know your options in terms of starting a family today, visit our website and setup an appointment with Dr. Fay Weisberg.