DC doctor urges continued use of sunscreen, even with Johnson & Johnson recall

After Johnson & Johnson initiated a recall for five of its spray-on sunscreens due to a potential benzene contamination, a D.C.-area doctor is urging people not to stop wearing sunscreen entirely.

“The facts are this: UV radiation from the sun is a known carcinogen. Sunscreens are an effective and safe part of an overall sun-protective regimen to ensure that we keep our skin safe as we go about our day,” said Dr. Adam Friedman, professor and Chair of Dermatology at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Friedman said it isn’t known how exposure to benzene could affect people, so the products were recalled out of “an overabundance of caution to make sure that when individuals apply a product to their skin, we know it’s absolutely safe.”

However, the recall should not scare anyone into not applying sunscreen, Friedman said, because UV exposure is known to be incredibly harmful.

“I want to make this as clear as humanly possible: Everybody needs to use sunscreen to exposed areas every single day in combination with protective clothing like hats, sunglasses, long sleeves and pants as well as avoid peak hours when possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.,” he said.

For those who would like to know that their sunscreen does not contain benzene, pharmaceutical company Valisure — which detected the benzene in the Johnson & Johnson sunscreens — maintains a list of sunscreens that have been tested and found to be clear of the contaminant.

A full list of the products recalled by Johnson & Johnson can be found online.

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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