Better known as Oxybenzone but sometimes runs by the alias’s BENZOPHENONE-3, (2-HYDROXY-4-METHOXYPHENYL) PHENYL- METHANONE; (2-HYDROXY-4-METHOXYPHENYL) PHENYLMETHANONE; 2-BENZOYL-5-METHOXYPHENOL; 2-HYDROXY-4-METHOXYBENZOPHENONE; 4-08-00-02442 (BEILSTEIN HANDBOOK REFERENCE) ; 4-METHOXY-2-HYDROXYBENZOPHENONE; ADVASTAB 45; AI3-23644; ANUVEX; B3; BENZOPHENONE, 2-HYDROXY-4-METHOXY-
Oxybenzone reminds us of a slippery little dude you might meet backpacking through the south of France, the type of guy who spends all his time running around town, telling everyone he’s their friend and that he is going to do all these wonderful things for them, all the while fiddling people out of their hard earned cash and ruining their memory of the trip forever.
So what exactly is Oxybenzone and why is T&D so het up about it?
Well it’s an organic compound commonly found in sunscreens (Not our Sunscreen we might add). It’s used widely in many everyday sunscreens, mainly because of its ability to absorb UVB and short UVA rays. Its chemical nature makes it a great ingredient for maintaining the qualities of other ingredients in a formulation and therefore you will find it used in many personal care products to maintain stability of its surrounding chemicals.
But the big bad news is that many top scientists believe Oxybenzone can cause cancer, in particular Skin cancer
Oxybenzone is a known penetration enhancer, meaning it helps other ingredients to penetrate the skin more easily. Independent, verified studies have shown it to penetrate the skin and cause photo-sensitivity. Photo-sensitivity is sometimes known as sun allergy resulting in easier sun burning or extreme reactions of the skin when exposed to sunlight.
The ‘Center for Disease Control and Prevention’ in the USA concluded a study in 2008, where 96.8% of urine samples that had been collected and examined were shown to contain oxybenzone. Meaning it contaminates the bodies of 97% of Americans. Basically this means that if you have used sunscreen with this ingredient, your body will store it in fatty tissues for long periods before you finally pass it in your urine.
The independent industry watchdog the ‘Environmental Working Group’ (EWG) along with many leading toxicologists believe there is a clear link between oxybenzone created hormone disruption and skin allergies. Others go further stating that oxybenzone potentially causes cell damage as a photocarcinogen and that this cell damage may lead to skin cancer.
We should note at this point that Sweden has completely banned the use of this ingredient – suggesting to us they should be known for more than just the clean lines of economical shelving units.
Yet even with a growing body of scientific evidence suggesting the harmful effects of this ingredient, both the American Academy of Dermatology and the FDA say Oxybenzone is safe for use in concentrations of 6% or less in over the counter sunscreens. And yes that goes for the EU, New Zealand and Australia as well – go figure.
At T&D we say No Dice (Ahem), no literally we say this is not on, consumers should be aware and make smart choices. Avoid this ingredient, it’s not worth the risk, the sun is harmful enough, we don’t need nasty little suckers like this little Oxy making things worse.
Ok rant over, as you were, but please be sun safe this summer and make smart choices, starting with what sunscreen you apply.
And if you don’t believe us, check this out here;