As a skin therapist, the issue of ingredient safety is something you need to be well versed in to support and advise your clients against any potential risks.
Recently, the TGA released a multiple sunscreen recall having identified low levels of benzene detected. Many of these brands are very popular and even sold through salons and clinics, for example, the Cancer Council Sensitive Sunscreen SPF50+.
Please review details about the recall and advise your client who may be using a sunscreen that they have obtained independent of your recommendation.
But let’s take a quick look at the issues with benzene:
What is benzene and what are the risks?
Benzene is a chemical that can cause cancer in humans, depending on the level and length of exposure. Benzene is not an ingredient in sunscreens but can be a contaminant in raw materials used in the manufacturing process. It has been detected in one batch of a raw material used in the manufacture of a number of products and the TGA is working with affected companies to confirm if benzene is present in their medicines and if it is, how much is there.
Benzene levels in sunscreens sold in Australia must be below 2 parts per million (ppm). Although exposure at the levels detected would not be expected to cause serious adverse health effects, and risks to users are considered low, the sunscreens are being recalled to ensure consumer safety.