Is sunscreen toxic to eat? In short, ingesting small amounts of sunscreen is generally considered safe, but large amounts can cause toxicity. It is important to follow the instructions on the label and not intentionally ingest sunscreen.
Are the Ingredients in Sunscreen Safe?
The safety of the ingredients in sunscreen has been the subject of much debate. Some studies have found that certain chemicals in sunscreen, such as oxybenzone, may be harmful when absorbed into the skin. Others have found that some of these chemicals may also be toxic when ingested.
However, the majority of the research on the safety of sunscreen ingredients has found that they are safe for use on the skin and do not pose a significant health risk when ingested.
Accidental Ingestion: Sunscreen can accidentally be ingested when it is accidentally swallowed while applying it to the skin, or if it is used on the lips and then accidentally ingested while eating or drinking.
If you accidentally ingest a small amount of sunscreen, there is typically no cause for concern. However, if you ingest a large amount or have any symptoms of toxicity, it is recommended that you seek medical attention immediately.
Intentional Ingestion: Some people may intentionally ingest sunscreen as a form of vitamin D supplementation or to protect themselves from UV rays from the inside out.
Sunscreen is not meant to be ingested, and doing so can lead to serious health problems, such as digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, and even toxicity. It is key to only use sunscreen topically and to avoid ingesting it intentionally.
What is Sunscreen Poisoning?
Sunscreen poisoning occurs when someone ingests a large amount of sunscreen. This can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, it can lead to more serious health problems such as breathing difficulties and unconsciousness.
Sunscreen is generally safe when used as directed, but it’s crucial to keep it out of reach of children and pets. Children are more likely to ingest products like sunscreen because they are curious and often put things in their mouths.
Symptoms of Sunscreen Poisoning
The symptoms of sunscreen poisoning can vary depending on the amount of sunscreen ingested and the age and health of the person. Some common symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach cramps
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Breathing difficulties
If you suspect that your child has ingested sunscreen, it’s essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The earlier the treatment, the better the chances of a full recovery.
What to Do if Your Child Eats Sunscreen
If your child has ingested sunscreen, there are several steps you should take:
- Call Poison Control: Call the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. This is a free, confidential service that can help you determine the best course of action.
- Follow Their Instructions: Poison Control will ask you questions about the amount of sunscreen ingested and the symptoms your child is experiencing. They will then give you specific instructions on what to do next, which may include going to the hospital or inducing vomiting.
- Keep Your Child Calm: If your child is experiencing symptoms such as nausea or vomiting, try to keep them calm and still. Moving around can make the symptoms worse.
- Seek Medical Attention: If Poison Control advises you to go to the hospital, do so as soon as possible. Make sure to take the bottle of sunscreen with you so the medical professionals can determine the best course of action.
How to Avoid Swallowing Sunscreen
The best way to avoid swallowing sunscreen is to apply it properly and avoid getting it in your mouth. This can be done by:
- Applying sunscreen to dry skin: Wait until your skin is completely dry before applying sunscreen to avoid getting it in your mouth or eyes.
- Avoiding sunscreens with a high alcohol content: Sunscreens with a high alcohol content can be more likely to irritate your mouth or cause you to swallow it.
- Wiping your mouth: After applying sunscreen, make sure to wipe your mouth to remove any excess.
- Choosing sunscreens that are labeled as “safe for ingestion”: Some sunscreens are labeled as “safe for ingestion,” which means they have been tested and found to be safe if ingested.
What to Do If You Swallow Sunscreen
If you accidentally swallow sunscreen, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the potential harm:
- Drink plenty of water: Drinking water can help flush the sunscreen out of your system.
- Call poison control: If you are experiencing any symptoms, such as nausea or vomiting, it is mandatory to call poison control.
- Seek medical attention: If your symptoms persist or if you are feeling unwell, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
The Bottom Line
A sunscreen is a great tool for protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, but it is also important to be mindful of the potential dangers associated with ingesting it. By following the tips outlined above, you can help minimize the potential harm and stay safe while enjoying the sun.
In conclusion, it is necessary to choose sunscreens that are safe for ingestion, apply them properly, and avoid getting them in your mouth.