Usually I think of FDA restrictions as being quite adequate, even overdone. Sunscreen is an exception.

A few years ago it came out that the FDA had been approving sunscreens on the basis that the active ingredients, such as avobenzone and octocrylene, weren’t absorbed through the skin – but it turned out that about 50% was absorbed.

The proper action, by cautious-government-bureaucrat standards, would have been to ban those ingredients until proven safe, leaving only mineral sunscreens on the market. Instead they just let manufacturers keep on using them while more tests are run. I guess they were too embarrassed by making such a gross fuckup.

In any case, the upshot is that these chemicals haven’t been tested to the standards you’d expect from the FDA. And while there are some sorts of ingredients that are obviously harmless, these aren’t among them.

(Minerals do fall into the obviously-harmless category, since it’s quite hard for them to get through your skin. And in the case of zinc oxide, the most-used sunscreen mineral, zinc is an essential nutrient, so even if a bit of it did get through or got eaten, it wouldn’t matter.)