Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Aluminum Found In Sunscreen: Could It Cause Skin Cancer?

Date:
August 13, 2007
Source:
Keele University
Summary:
Scientists are questioning the safety of aluminum added to sunscreens and sunblocks. Aluminum was present in all seven products tested and its content was of particular significance in three products. Aluminum is a pro-oxidant and could significantly increase the potential for oxidative damage in the skin.

Scientists at Keele University in Staffordshire have questioned the safety of aluminium added to sunscreens and sunblocks.

The researchers, Scott Nicholson, BSc, and Dr Christopher Exley, PhD, Birchall Centre for Inorganic Chemistry and Materials Science at Keele, measured the aluminium content of sunscreens/sunblocks, which either include or do not include an aluminium salt (for example, aluminium hydroxide, aluminium oxide, aluminium silicate, aluminium stearate, aluminium starch octenylsuccinate) as an ingredient.

Aluminium was present in all seven products tested and its content was of particular significance in three products, each of which listed it as an ingredient. Following numerous enquiries the manufacturers were not forthcoming as to the role of aluminium in their product, except one manufacturer, who confirmed that aluminium hydroxide was added to their product to coat the surface and thereby prevent the agglomeration of another ingredient, titanium dioxide particles.

World Health Organisation guidelines recommend a single application of at least 35mL of a sunscreen/sunblock to achieve the stated sun protection factor. For three of the sunscreens/sunblocks investigated a single application of product would result in 200 mg of aluminium being applied to the skin surface. In addition, WHO guidelines suggest re-application of product every two hours which, for example, for an average day on the beach, would result in up to 1g of aluminium being applied to the skin surface.

Skin is permeable to aluminium salts when, for example, they are topically applied as antiperspirant formulations. It will accumulate in the skin and be transported to sites throughout the body. It is highly likely that the everyday use of sunscreens/sunblocks is an hitherto unrecognised contributor of aluminium to the human body burden of this non-essential metal. Perhaps of immediate significance is the potential for aluminium in the skin to act as a pro-oxidant.

Recent research in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine has shown that UV filters in sunscreens promote the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the nucleated epidermis of the skin. The authors speculate upon the role which might be played by anti-oxidants, either already in the skin or included in sunscreen formulations, in counteracting the pro-oxidant activities of UV filters though they did not consider how the presence of additional pro-oxidants might exacerbate such effects.

Aluminium is one such pro-oxidant and could significantly increase the potential for oxidative damage in the skin. While the relationship between the burgeoning use of sunscreens/sunblocks and the increased incidence of skin cancers and, in particular, melanoma, is highly controversial it has not hitherto been considered that aluminium in these products could be an extremely significant contributing factor. Of course, aluminium is already in the skin surface and may not need to be a component of sunscreens/sunblocks to exacerbate oxidative damage attributed to the application of such products.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Keele University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Keele University. "Aluminum Found In Sunscreen: Could It Cause Skin Cancer?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 August 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070812084458.htm>.
Keele University. (2007, August 13). Aluminum Found In Sunscreen: Could It Cause Skin Cancer?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070812084458.htm
Keele University. "Aluminum Found In Sunscreen: Could It Cause Skin Cancer?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070812084458.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins