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Do sunscreens interact with other medications or foods?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expressed some concerns about products that contain both sunscreens and insect repellents, including N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET).

The FDA regulates sunscreens and insect repellents separately and needs to research the effects of combining these products before making a decision on how the combined products should be regulated. One concern is that sunscreens need to be applied liberally and often, while DEET is not intended to be used this way.

The FDA has also been petitioned by the International Center for Technology Assessment to further evaluate sunscreens that contain nanoparticles, also called nanoscale materials. These substances are particles so tiny that the body may absorb them more readily than other topical products, and the particles may then interact with body processes and proteins.

While one source in the sunscreen industry claims that nanoscale materials have already been tested for safety by the industry, the FDA has recognized that further testing and regulation is needed. As with any drug or supplement, you should talk with your doctor if you have concerns.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.