Sunscreen Actives

Sunscreen agent (also known as benzophenone-3) that protects primarily from UVB rays, and some, but not all, UVA rays. It is part of the benzophenone group of chemicals. Oxybenzone is approved for use in specific concentrations for sunscreens sold in all major countries, including the United States, Canada, European Union countries, Japan, Australia, China, and South Korea. [1,2]

As a group, the benzophenones are used not only for sun protection but also as photostabilizers in cosmetics products. They keep products from turning color or from degrading in the presence of sunlight. They also have other uses, including flavor enhancers in food.

Like many sunscreen ingredients, oxybenzone has been subject to controversies and scare-tactic stories. We discuss these in our article "Can You Get Cancer From Sunscreen?"

References Cited:

  1. Burnett M, Wang S. Current sunscreen controversies: a critical review. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2011;27(2):58-67.
  2. European Commission Directorate General for Health and Consumers. Opinion on Benzophenone-3. [Internet]. 2008 [cited 2015 July]. Available from: http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_sccp/docs/sccp_o_159.pdf.
See UVA , benzophenone

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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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