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Does Sunscreen Reduce Male Fertility?

Man applying sunscreen

Sunscreen is most people’s constant companion in the sun. It is a necessary part of skincare and beauty if you want to avoid photo-aging and decrease your risk of skin cancer. Most professional organizations regard sunscreen as harmless. They suggest that everyone wear at least SPF 30 sunscreen with broad spectrum protection while minimizing their exposure to the sun for the best results. Most of us follow these instructions religiously as no one likes sunburn or early wrinkles. Some people are moving to cast doubt on the potential overall healthy nature of sunscreen though. You might have heard of studies suggesting there is a link between sunscreen and male infertility. This bears a little investigation to make sure that the quest for health hasn’t taken an unfortunately bad turn for some. You don’t have to dig far to find the truth.

The Claim
Sunscreens are interesting in that we apply them to our bodies regularly without knowing the full extent of their ingredients. Sure, the bottles all have an “active” ingredients list and some of them have an “inactive” list, but it isn’t a complete breakdown of what it used in the products. This unnerves some people. In general, this has lead to the claim cropping up every year or so that something may be off about sunscreen. Global fertility has been decreasing over many years and people are seeking an overall cause for this. At the moment, some people are latching on to the idea that some of the chemicals in sunscreen are impacting male fertility. The exact specificity of the claim depends on the year, but the most recent ones tend to center on chemicals somehow signaling sperm and leading them to change in such a way that it impact fertility. There are a few things that everyone needs to be aware of about these facts though.

What We Know
Yes, global fertility is dropping. There are far more complex reasons behind it than hidden chemicals in products. More nations are becoming develop and providing access to reproductive healthcare. Similarly, reproductive rights are gradually expanding around the world too. These fits and starts are ensuring more people are making a choice on whether they want children or not. Better education is allowing people to make healthier choices in that area that reflect what they are ready for in their lives. The fact that global fertility is dropping isn’t terribly surprising as a result. This isn’t all the information that you might want to consider. Think about what you know about how your skin works. There are layers of dead skin to protect the inner skin as well as complex ways to keep things out of your skin. Sunscreen can clog pores, but it isn’t going to directly into your bloodstream. Most studies involving testing the direct effect of sunscreen on sperm in a container. Sunscreen is designed to protect your skin and not support living cells. Lastly, professional organizations have fairly distinct opinions on this subject.

The Medical Opinion
With the exception of dissenters supporting the claims of an impact on male fertility, most major organizations are not yet convinced there is actually a connection. They tend to highlight that most studies on the impact of sunscreen on fertility are somewhat minimal and fail to test a broad range of products. There is an unspoken allowance that some products might do a tiny amount, but that would be the fault of the company rather than a class of product. Additionally, the most recent study in 2016 has been frowned upon as it caused a scare when not even half the chemicals used seemed to do anything. Some of the ones blamed aren’t used within the United States either. This is further compounded that the study has yet to undergo peer review for proper vetting of procedures. While opinions might shift in the future, the science currently seems to indicate there aren’t any major worries connected to male fertility when it comes to using sunscreen.

Sunscreen is something that everyone needs to use. Men, in particular, have greater need of it as they age. It may be a bit unnerving that you can’t always see all the ingredients in a sunscreen, but the FDA has clear regulations regarding ingredient safety that help protect you. You shouldn’t expend too much worry over whether or not sunscreen is safe to use. It is and more than likely will remain a healthy way to protect your skin.

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