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Oxybenzone Guide

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Oxybenzone raises a high level of health concern and is of regulatory concern because:

  • This ingredient (or its metabolites) is frequently detected in human blood or urine, indicating significant U.S. population exposure.
  • This ingredient is suspected of causing contact or photocontact sensitivity, according to the medical literature (Article by S Schauder and H Ippen in Contact Dermatitis)
  • This ingredient meets the criteria used to identify Substance of Very High Concern in the European Union's REACH program and is being prioritized for replacement by safer alternatives.
  • This ingredient has been restricted for use in cosmetics in Japan.

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From Wikipedia

Oxybenzone (trade names Eusolex 4360, Escalol 567) is an organic compound used in sunscreens. It is a derivative of benzophenone. It forms colorless crystals that are readily soluble in most organic solvents. A 2008 study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the compound to be present in 96.8% of human urine samples analyzed as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.[2]

It is used as an ingredient in sunscreen and other cosmetics because it absorbs UVB and short-wave UVA (ultraviolet) rays.[3] In the EU products intended for skin protection with 0.5% or more oxybenzone must be labeled "Contains Oxybenzone".[4]

This organic compound has been shown to penetrate into the skin where it acts as a photosensitizer. This results in an increased production of free radicals under illumination,[5] possibly making this substance a photocarcinogen.[citation needed] This study concludes that "determining what, if any, type of damage is done by ROS generated by UV filters needs to be explored." The fact that researchers have not discovered how free radicals possibly caused by this sunscreen agent compare with the damage known to be caused by UV ray exposure makes prohibition of it questionable at this point.

This study is of oxybenzone and two other sunscreen active ingredients. Two years after the study this information is now reaching consumers,[6] but it can still be found in many sunscreens.

Oxybenzone is a derivative of benzophenone, which can attack DNA when illuminated. It generates strand breaks and various photoproducts.[7] Already in 1993 the use of oxybenzone had been strongly criticized, based on its similarity to benzophenone.[7]

The photomutagenic properties of these compounds might be a contributing factor to the increased melanoma incidence that has been found in sunscreen users. Other possibilities include consequent overexposure to sun without UVA protection and vitamin D deficiency from overuse of sunscreen. (see sunscreen controversy)....

Products containing Oxybenzone

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