Octocrylene - The Dermatology Review

Octocrylene

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09.28.18 AD DISCLOSURE

Octocrylene Overview

Octocrylene is a chemical compound often used as an additive in sun screen, and is thought to have skin moisturizing effects because of its emollient properties. What makes this chemical such a popular additive to sun block, is its ability to neutralize UV radiation dissipated by sunlight, and to minimize skin damage from prolonged sun exposure. Octocrylene is also often combined with avobenzone, another common sunscreen ingredient often appearing on ingredient labels. Because of its effectiveness, the chemical has been approved across the globe for use in cosmetics and skin care products, but the concentrations of this ingredient are usually limited to no more than 10 or 12 percent. However, the use of this chemical doesn’t just stop with sunscreen for face and arms, but can extend to a variety of other products, like hair spray, tannin oil, BB cream, conditioner, and CC cream, among others.

Octocrylene Finds Extensive Use in Sunscreens

Octocrylene has the ability to improve skin coating levels of other UV absorbers, thereby allowing the pleasant feeling to last for a longer time. As an active ingredient in sunscreen drug products, the chemical is mostly used for external purposes in lotions and creams used as sun care products, daily use moisturizers, decorative cosmetics including sun protection, and baby sun protection applications.

Octocrylene is typically an organic compound that is thick and has an oily texture, though it is colorless. An active ingredient used in many over-the-counter sunscreen products, octocrylene is very chemically stable and can be used as an additive to cosmetics in order to preserve any natural chemical degradation that can occur when skin care products are exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods of time. The chemical can also act as an emollient, locking moisture in the skin to increase cellular hydration. However, it’s important to remember that the primary purpose of this ingredient is to neutralize UV radiation, and any emollient properties are just an added benefit. If you’re looking to specifically moisturize the skin, octocrylene should not be the most important ingredient on your list.

Stable Compound for Sun Protection

The clear and colorless compound was first identified for extensive use when researchers realized it combined very well with avobenzone, providing excellent UVA protection and making it one of the most popular compounds used in sunscreens across the United States. On its own, it is a weak sunscreen offering limited UVA and UVB protection. However, its strength lies in the fact that it is chemically stable and can boost the photo stability of other synthetic ingredients contained in sunscreens.

Another useful chemical property of octocrylene is its ability to easily combine with other oils, which makes it helpful as an emulsifier – used to keep ingredients more thoroughly mixed to improve their effectiveness. In-vitro studies have shown that sunscreen combinations containing octocrylene may increase UVA protection levels without causing instability or significantly harming the skin, and boosting the sun protection factor (SPF).

Minimal Side Effects

Octocrylene is absorbed into the skin quite easily, thereby increasing danger of forming free radicals that may become unstable and react with other compounds forming harmful substances when used in excess quantity. This is a paradoxical concept, because the chemical is meant to decrease free radicals on the surface on the skin. But when it enters the body, it has more opportunities to react with other chemicals and cause changes in the deeper layers of the skin. This is why the concentration quantities of this ingredient are limited, as larger doses could be potentially harmful. Possible reproductive toxicity is also a possible side effect, albeit a smaller one. If you are worried about the potential effects of octocrylene, speak with your dermatologist and your physician, especially if you are pregnant

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