Octocrylene: Safety, allergies, free radical damage

Octocrylene is a common chemical used in sunscreen, it’s practically colorless and has a oily liquid texture. It acts by absorbing UV rays when it’s applied to the skin.

Octocrylene spectrum range and stability

Octocrylene is considered a weak UV filter due to the fact that it can only absorb UVB rays and a part of UVAII rays, so it is commonly paired with other sunscreen filters such as avobenzone.

Octocrylene is very stable and presents a minimal photodegradation.

Octocrylene absorption and endocrine effects.

Research reports that octocrylene has been found in human breast milk samples, meaning that octocrylene is able to be absorbed and stored.

Octocrylene has not been been found in human plasma or there’s not enough data for now.

However, it does not pose an high risk in relation as being an endocrine disruptor, since it has a few estrogenic effects.

Octocrylene allergies

Some cases of photocontact allergy have been reported due to the use of octocrylene, it is believed that this could happen in people who have previously used topical products that cointain ketoprofen according to a study review.

Contact allergy could also occur but in most cases is only seen in children and it’s less frequent than photocontact allergy.

So octocrylene presents a minimal risk in terms of inducing an allergy, altough we should always do a patch test before using a product.

Octocrylene and free radical damage

Although sunscreen filters supposedly are made to decrease sun induced DNA damage together with skin free radical damage, octocrylene easily penetrates into the deeper skin layers and therefore is able to react with other chemicals producing free radicals.

Furthermore octocrylene is able to increase UV-induced reactive oxygen species in the skin due to its capacity to penetrate the stratum corneum.

Note that the presence of antioxidant compounds into the sunscreen or the use of different excipients and vehicles could impact in the way in which octocrylene damages the skin. However reactive oxygen species produced by sun damage are higher than those produced by octocrylene when it’s correctly applied and reapplied.

FAQ about octocrylene

Does octocrylene cause allergies?

Yes, it can rarely cause allergies.

Does octocrylene cause free radicals?

Yes, it does. But note that free radicals species produced by sun damage are worse than those produce by octocrylene, furthermore octocrylene damage could be reduced when combined with antioxidants and when it’s used in lower quantities.

What types of rays can octocrylene block?

UVB rays and a part of UVAII rays.