Octinoxate, also known as octyl methoxycinnamate, is the oldest and most commonly used UVB-absorbing agent in sunscreen. UVB rays are the type that cause sunburn, and UVA rays are the type that prematurely age your skin. Both types of rays can cause skin cancer. While octinoxate does provide some protection against UVA rays, it does not protect against the entire range of UVA wavelengths. Therefore, another UVA-protecting active ingredient should be present in the sunscreen.
Octinoxate has been proven safe as used in sunscreen products through decades of research and thousands of studies. There are sole studies that claim octinoxate possesses health hazards, however, the conditions of these studies are completely inapplicable to how this ingredient would be used in a sunscreen product. For instance, these studies would use extremely high concentrations of octinoxate, much higher than what would be used in a sunscreen, or even feed this ingredient to lab animals. The studies that did evaluate the safety of octinoxate under normal concentrations did not find that this ingredient is linked to any health risks.