Approved in: United States, Australia, Europe, Japan
Banned in: None
Best for: Sun damage prevention
Coral safe? Detectable levels but no harm found
Caution: Formulas may leave white cast on darker skin, and ingredient may be carcinogenic in powder form
Found in physical sunscreens
There are two sunscreen ingredients generally recognized as safe and effective, or GRASE, by the FDA, and both are physical sunscreen ingredients. (Note: the GRASE label also means that the FDA won’t be monitoringTrusted Source products with these ingredients.)
The first one, titanium dioxide, serves as a broad-spectrum UV filter (although it doesn’t block long UVA1 rays).
The FDA approves titanium dioxide for use in children older than 6 monthsTrusted Source, and research shows it’s generally safer than other sunscreens via skin exposure.
However, researchers also write that power and spray forms should be avoided as it may be hazardous. A 2011 reviewTrusted Source notes that titanium oxide nanoparticles through oral exposure are classified as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” meaning only animal studies have been conducted.
Keep in mind this ingredient isn’t limited to sunscreen. It can also be found in SPF makeup, pressed powders, lotions, and whitening products.