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Is Octinoxate Safe? All About Octinoxate

  • Octinoxate is a UV filter. It absorbs UVB rays from the sun, protecting the skin from the damage these rays can cause. 
  • It is a common type of UV filter in the United States and can be found in sunscreens, moisturizers, lip balms, and other products.
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  • In the United States, octinoxate is the UVB filter in 90% of sunscreens. It has been approved for use in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

What Is Octinoxate?

  • Octinoxate is a cinnamate ester, which is a type of chemical. 
  • Cinnamate esters are organic acids found naturally in foods such as grapes.
  • It works by absorbing the sun's UVB rays. 
  • This is the type of UV light that is most commonly associated with sunburn and skin cancer.
  • Manufacturers typically combine octinoxate with other substances that prevent it from being absorbed through the skin. 
  • This reduces the possibility of octinoxate affecting someone's health. However, a small amount may still be absorbed by the skin. 

Where is Octinoxate ?

  • Octinoxate can be found in a variety of products, such as 
    • Sunscreens
    • Lipsticks
    • Moisturizers for the hands or face
    • Make-up items
    • Perfumes
    • Sprays for hair
    • ftershaves
  • This ingredient can be found on product labels under a variety of names. Companies may refer to it as: avobenzone octinoxate octyl-methoxycinnamate 2-ethylhexyl-4-methoxycinnamate (Parsol, Escalol) and Heliopan Neo.

Is Octinoxate Harmful?

  • In certain concentrations, both the United States and the European Union consider octinoxate to be safe. The maximum concentration in ready-to-use products is 7.5 percent in the United States and 10 percent in the European Union.
  • Octinoxate is classified as an endocrine disruptor by scientists (EDC). EDCs have an effect on the endocrine system, which is in charge of producing and regulating hormones in the body.
  • Despite the fact that small amounts of octinoxate can penetrate the skin barrier, current evidence suggests that its ability to do so is limited.
  • In comparison to other chemical UV filters, octinoxate has received little research.

Risks Of Octinoxate 

  • Some laboratory and animal studies have revealed that octinoxate has the potential to cause harm at high enough concentrations.

    1. Octinoxate And The Nervous System

  • A study on cells from rats discovered that octinoxate altered the release of important neurotransmitters, decreasing aspartate and glutamate levels. However, the octinoxate doses were extremely high and not comparable to the octinoxate doses that people normally encounter.
  • In laboratory studies, scientists work with isolated cells or tissues, and animal test subjects, such as rats, are used in animal studies.

    2. Octinoxate And Hormones

  • Octinoxate is an EDC, but its ability to affect human hormones is unknown. An older, short-term study from 2004 discovered that octinoxate and other UV filters in a cream had little to no effect on hormones in males or females after 2 weeks. 

    3. Octinoxate Can Cause Contact Dermatitis

  • Because some people are allergic or sensitive to octinoxate, they may develop allergic contact dermatitis. 
  • This type of eczema causes an itchy, inflamed rash in the area where the irritating substance comes into contact. 
  • Photo contact dermatitis is another type of reaction caused by a combination of an allergen and UV light exposure.

Non Dangerous Octinoxate Substitutes

  • People who want to avoid products containing octinoxate have two options. To begin, they can avoid octinoxate-containing products in situations where UV protection is unnecessary, such as perfumes. Second, in situations where UV protection is required, they can opt for mineral-based sunscreens.
  • Mineral sunscreens are made up of titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or a combination of the two. Unlike chemical filters, which absorb UV rays, these minerals act as a shield, deflecting them. This type of sunscreen is suitable for sensitive skin and has a lower impact on marine life.
  • Mineral sunscreens can be found in the same products as chemical sunscreens, such as lotions, makeup, and lip balm. Some, however, can leave a white cast on the skin.


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