Avobenzone: Uses and Side Effects
One of the more effective ways to take care of your skin is to protect it from the sun with sunscreens containing ingredients like avobenzone, which absorb UV radiation. While you may already understand that long-term exposure to the sun can cause severe sunburns and melanoma, what you may not know is that the sun’s rays can also destroy healthy skin cells and collagen, leading to sagging skin. Most sunscreens work by blocking UV rays and free radicals, but avobenzone works by absorbing the rays and converting them to energy that is less damaging to the skin. Because of the way it works, it’s called a chemical sunscreen and protects the skin from a wide range of harmful UV rays. If you are considering the purchase of sun block with avobenzone, you should be aware of how it may affect your individual skin type and whether it is the best choice in your situation.
A Brief History and Uses of Avobenzone
Avobenzone was first patented in 1973 and was in use throughout Europe after 1978. The cosmetic uses of this ingredient were not approved by the FDA until 1998, and today, this ingredient is considered to be generally safe for topical use.
Unfortunately, in many cases, avobenzone is not effective on its own as a sunscreen because its strength fades quickly when it is exposed to sunlight. However, when it was combined with a number of photo-stabilizing ingredients, like octocrylene, the resiliency of this ingredient is boosted significantly. Avobenzone is also widely used in other cosmetic and skin care products to keep the other ingredients stable. In addition to being used in sunscreen, this chemical is often used in creams, sprays, and even lip balms.
How to Use Avobenzone
When applying a sunscreen that contains avobenzone, be sure to read all instructions and warnings on the back label. While this product is generally safe to use on many areas of the body, you should be cautious, and avoid getting the lotion into your eyes or mouth.
Since avobenzone isn’t waterproof, you should reapply the sunscreen if you sweat heavily or go swimming. If you plan on staying in the sun for a long time, you should also reapply after two to three hours. Do not apply creams with avobenzone to broken or irritated skin, as the ingredient can exacerbate the problem and cause inflammation.
While this product has been deemed safe by the FDA, you should not apply it to children under the age of six and ask a dermatologist about using avobenzone if you are pregnant.
And don’t forget, SPF ratings on sunscreen aren’t meant to tell you the effectiveness of the cream – SPF 50 is not necessarily better than SPF 30. Instead, it tells you how much the lotion can boost your skin’s ability to fight UV radiation, and therefore, how long you can be in the sun. So if you have fair, sensitive skin, you will get sun burned more quickly than someone with an olive complexion, even if you wear the same avobenzone sunscreen, with the same SPF rating.
Avobenzone Side Effects
There are few side effects believed to be associated with avobenzone itself, though when it is combined with other ingredients, it may become toxic if used too often or in large doses. Most concentrations of this ingredient range from three to five percent when included in a sunscreen, and products with these percentages are usually safe.
No other adverse effects have been reported with the use of this ingredient, but if you notice any strange skin reactions after using avobenzone, you may have a skin allergy to the product and you should stop using it right away. While these allergies are rare, they have occurred, and the symptoms include redness of the skin, swelling, and hives. If you notice any of these symptoms after using avobenzone, consult your doctor right away.