Accidental Sunscreen Swallowing: What will Happen?

Short Answer: If you accidentally swallow sunscreen, you may have mild stomach upset and vomiting. This is because sunscreen contains ingredients that can irritate your digestive system or cause intoxication.

Sunscreen is a cream or lotion used to protect the skin from sunburn and other harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Sunscreen contains active ingredients that either reflect or absorb UV rays before they reach the skin.

There are two types of sunscreen: physical (mineral) and chemical.

Physical sunscreen uses minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to block and scatter UV rays.

Chemical sunscreen uses compounds such as cinnamates, salicylates, and avobenzone to absorb UV rays and convert them into heat.

If you accidentally swallow sunscreen, you may experience some mild stomach upset and vomiting.

This is because sunscreen is not meant to be ingested and can irritate the lining of your stomach and intestines.

Some sunscreens may also contain alcohol or salicylates, which can cause intoxication or aspirin overdose if swallowed in large amounts.

Alcohol can affect your central nervous system and cause symptoms such as drowsiness, confusion, slurred speech, and impaired coordination.

Salicylates can interfere with your blood clotting and cause symptoms such as bleeding, ringing in the ears, nausea, and breathing problems.

It is uncommon to swallow sunscreen due to its unpleasant taste and texture.

However, children may be more likely to swallow sunscreen out of curiosity or by mistake.

Therefore, it is important to keep sunscreen out of reach of children and supervise them when applying sunscreen.

You can treat mild cases of sunscreen ingestion by drinking plenty of water or milk to dilute the sunscreen and soothe your stomach.

You can also take an antacid or anti-nausea medication if needed.

However, if you swallow a large amount of sunscreen or have severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, seizures, or loss of consciousness, you should seek medical attention immediately.

To avoid accidental swallowing of sunscreen, don’t eat or drink anything while applying sunscreen and wash your hands thoroughly after applying sunscreen.

Finally, remember, sunscreen is an essential product for protecting your skin from sun damage and skin cancer.

You should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day and reapply it every two hours or more often if you sweat or swim. You should also wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and a hat when exposed to the sun.

About the Author

Abdur Rahman Choudhury

Abdur Rahman Choudhury is a nutrition coach with over 7 years of experience in the field of nutrition.

He holds a Bachelor's (B.Sc.) and Master's (M.Sc.) degree in Biochemistry from The University of Burdwan, India. He was also involved with a research project about genetic variations in the CYP11A gene among PCOS and Metabolic Syndrome patients.

He has completed the following online courses: Stanford Introduction to Food and Health by Stanford University (US) through Coursera, Certificate in Nutrition from Fabulous Body Inc. (US), Lose Weight and Keep It Off certificate course from Harvard Medical School (US), and Nutrition and Disease Prevention by Taipei Medical University (Taiwan) through FutureLearn.

Abdur currently lives in India and keeps fit by weight training and eating mainly home-cooked meals.

Leave a Comment