Sunscreen – Why you should avoid Octocrylene

Sunscreen – Why you should avoid Octocrylene

It has been recently shown that Octocrylene, a UV filter found in sun protection products and anti ageing products, evolves into a harmful component once the products are open.

Octocrylene was previously accused of being harmful to marine life, especially corals. Some manufacturers have consequently withdrawn it from their sunscreens for environmental reasons but many have not, at least not yet. 

Now, a new in-depth study on this synthetic UV filter shows that Octocrylene, in some sun protection and anti ageing creams, degrades after some times into benzophenone – an endocrine disruptor, also suspected of being carcinogen.

What is interesting is that Benzophenone is not initially present in these products. It appears following the transformation of a specific sun filter found in many cosmetics (moisturisers, self-tanners, shampoos, etc.): octocrylene.

The researchers have shown that once the products are opened, it quickly turns into benzophenone.

The scientists involved analysed fifteen sunscreen and anti ageing creams purchased in France and The United States (you can find more about these in their report, published on Monday, March 8, in Chemical Research in Toxicology, a specialized journal of the American Society of Chemistry – see link at the end of this blog).

The products purchased have undergone an accelerated ageing process validated in the United States and equivalent to one year spent at room temperature. Then, they were analysed using a high-performance mass spectrometer.
Initially, there is very little benzophenone in the products. But gradually, with the ageing of the product, the increase in benzophenone exceeded 100%, and even reached 200% for some products.
According to the researchers, it is the first time that this transformation of octocrylene to benzophenone has been shown. 

Stressing that this substance is readily absorbed through the skin, the researchers believe that products containing octocrylene, and therefore contaminated with benzophenone, can pose a threat to health and the environment.
These same scientists are now calling for a ban of octocrylene from personal care products. 

Conclusion: if you are using skincare products with octocrylene, it is not good keeping them for too long once you’ve opened them.

For sunscreen products, consider adopting creams/lotions that act as a barrier because they sit on top of your skin and do not penetrate it. Those products are formulated with zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide particles.

Phyt’s sells only certified organic cosmetics. They do not use octocrylene in their sunscreen products  – or any other products; this ingredient is forbidden in manufacturing certified organic products.

Phyt’s focus is, and always has been, on ingredients that are essentially barriers, such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide rather than UV-absorbing chemicals.
As a barrier, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide do not go through the skin and bloodstream but reflect the UV away from the skin.

Remember also that, once opened, organic cosmetics should not be kept for too long (look at the back of the products – on the packaging or the products themselves – for a small symbol of an open jar. There is a number inside the jar followed by the letter M: that’s the number of months the products can last once opened).
Note: Phyt’s use only non-nano zinc and titanium particles in their sun protection creams.