Spotlight On Octocrylene

by Gio
is octocrylene dangerous?

And the trial to chemical UV filter continues…

Last week Octinoxate was on the witness’ stand. Now, it’s the turn of Octocrylene.

This UV filter is accused of causing allergy, premature aging and destroying your health. Is all this true or have the rumours got out of hand once again?

Let’s see the evidence:

What is Octocrylene and what does it do?

Octocrylene is a UV filter that protects from ALL UVB but only short UVA rays (it still lets those pesky long UVA rays through).

At first glance, it seems more powerful than most UV filters. Most of them protects only from one type of UV rays. This does double (but not broad-spectrum – huge difference there!) duty.

Problem is, Octocrylene is very weak. Used alone, it wouldn’t be able to keep you safe from UV harm. So, why do brands bother to use it?

Octocrylene has a few tricks up its sleeve most other UV filters don’t:

  • It makes sunscreens water-resistant
  • It helps prevent unstable UV filters (like avobenzone) from degrading and becoming useless when exposed to sunlight
  • It boosts the effectiveness of other UV filters
  • It helps coat the skin better

No wonder it’s so popular!

FIY, both in Europe and USA, Octocrylene can only be used in concentrations up to 12%.

Octocrylene Is An Allergen

Some of the rumours are indeed true. Octocrylene IS an allergen.

In 2010, the Archives Of Dermatology has found that it “appears to be a strong allergen leading to contact dermatitis in children and mostly photoallergic contact dermatitis in adults with an often-associated history of photoallergy from ketoprofen [a pain reliever]. Patients with photoallergy from ketoprofen frequently have positive photopatch test reactions to Octocrylene. These patients need to be informed of sunscreen products not containing Octocrylene, Benzophenone-3, or fragrances.”

Let’s put things into perspective now: only a minority of the population is allergic to Octocrylene. No need to panic here. But if you’re allergic to ketoprofen or have sensitive skin, avoid Octocrylene.

Can Octocrylene cause free radicals?

Now, let’s examine the other charge. Does Octocrylene causes wrinkles and nasty diseases?

A 2006 study shows that Octocrylene is absorbed into the skin and causes the formation of free radicals when exposed to light.

Free radicals don’t just cause wrinkles. They also damage DNA and cancer.

Scary huh? Again, don’t panic. The study shows Octocrylene can can cause free radicals, not cancer. Even breathing causes free radicals but you don’t stop doing it, do you?

Until scientists get to the bottom of the matter and find out just how damaging the free radicals made by Octocrylene really are, use this UV filter together with antioxidants-rich serums. Antioxidants are little warriors that destroy free radicals. 🙂

Related: What Are The Best Antioxidants-Rich Serums?

Should you stop using Octocrylene?

If you’re allergic to it, yes. Obvs.

If you’re not allergic to it, it depends. If you want its water-resistant benefits and are willing to slather on an antioxidants serum (something you should do anyway 😉 ), keep using it.

But if you’re not comfortable with the idea of your sunscreen causing free radicals, give it a pass.

Do you use sunscreens with Octocrylene? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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5 comments

Marianthi July 21, 2013 - 7:10 am

Another excellent article, giving me information on something I did not even suspect. Thank you so much!

Reply
beautifulwithbrains July 21, 2013 - 8:31 pm

Marianthi, you’re welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Reply
Ariane July 9, 2018 - 6:37 am

I just bought a spray sunscreen and was so amazed that unlike mineral sunscreen, it’s not greasy. And not to mention, I bought the expensive one. I got so excited, I searched on to what to put first ㅡ moisturizer or sunscreen. Along my research I end up in this article and other articles saying that the ingredient of my newly bought sunscreen is not actually safe for the face. Let alone the whole body. Gosh. I am so disappointed! ???

Reply
Gio July 21, 2018 - 9:41 pm

Ariane, if you’re not allergic to octocrylene, there’s no reason to stop using it. Just apply an antioxidant serum first to neutralise free radicals.

Reply

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