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* A synthetic dibenzoylmethane derivative. Also known as Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane or Parsol 1789. Please read TIA’s post on What Is It: Octinoxate Plus Other Sunscreen Ingredients and Are They Safe?
An oil soluble sunscreen agent. Classified as a “chemical” sunscreen because it works by absorbing UV rays over a wide wavelength, and then converting them to less damaging infrared radiation (heat). It’s marketed as a “broad spectrum” sunscreen because of it protects the skin against the sun’s entire range of UVA rays. It is one of the few chemical sunscreen agents with comprehensive UV protection, and for this reason, used in a large majority on sun protection products. It is also used in cosmetic products to protect other ingredients from deteriorating under the sun.
Tests have revealed Avobenzone’s tendency to significantly degrade in light over time, lessening its sun protection capabilities. For this reason, most sunscreens containing the ingredient also include photo-stabilizing ingredients like octocrylene. A number of companies have developed technologies to help stabilize the ingredient (i.e. Helioplex™, Active Photo Barrier Complex™), however the full risks associated with long term use of Avobenzone have yet to be determined.
Safety Measures/Side Effects:
Avobenzone appears to be relatively non-toxic and non-irritating to the skin. However, because it is often used in conjunction with photo-stabilizers, there is a greater risk for skin irritation and low-level toxicity. Furthermore, some studies have demonstrated it to be absorbed by the body and secreted into urine, and is therefore not recommended to use on children or pregnant women. Some skin specialists believe it to be just as harmful as PABA, and certain studies suggest that the ingredient behaves similarly to the hormone estrogen; however, the SCCNFP has gone on to negate the latter mentioned claim.
Both The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union have assessed the safety of this ingredient, and approved it safe to use in concentrations up to 3% and 5% respectively.
Recommended Products w/ Avobenzone:
Anthelios SX, Jack Black Sun Guard Ultra-Light Sunscreen