The depletion of ozone layer resulted in increase exposure of ultraviolet ray. As industry growing, the chemical waste it released to the air has destroyed the ozone layer significantly. As a result, it got depleted and what was once an impenetrable shield is getting thinner. Since there are many Harmful Chemicals in the Environment,sunscreen has been produced and a popular ingredient for it is the use of avobenzone.
What is Avobenzone
Avobenzone is a derivative of dibenzoylmethane also known as butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane. It is a synthetic oil soluble chemical patented in 1973. Further, the chemical is registered in CAS with number 70356-09-1. The chemical has white to yellowish color in the form of crystalline.
Being oil soluble, avobenzone is also highly degradable when being exposed to sunlight. Because it is unlikely to accumulate within one’s body, FDA approved this chemical and permitted it to be used in topical application (See FDA List of Approved Cosmetic Ingredients for more). After the acceptance, what are the uses of avobenzone? Here is the list of it.
1. Absorbing Ultraviolet Ray
The main function of avobenzone is as absorbance to ultraviolet ray. The mechanism of how the uses of avobenzone can protect human’s body from ultraviolet ray is evabenzone take on the ultraviolet ray. Further, the light is transformed into infrared. Thus, avobenzone is usually used as ingredient in sunscreen a well products with SPF.
Avobenzone evaporates easily under long exposure to temperature especially sunlight. The protection feature of avobenzone may wear out once it gets broken down and degrade. To make the effect last longer, it usually is combined with other compounds especially photostabilizer.
2. Anti Aging
Another function of avobenzone is still dealing with the fact that it protects skin from ultraviolet. Avobenzone has also been used in anti-aging product to prevent sagging skin and wrinkle. The function of avobenzone is also to prevent black spot in skin. Avobenzone does not have special effect that actually will affect the skin but acts as protection instead.
3. Ingredients Stabilizer
In cosmetic products, avobenzone is combined with other ingredients and acts as stabilizer. Avobenzone alone is too weak to be used as sole ingredients in sunscreen and skin protection but it works well when combined with photostabilizer ingredients.
The composition of ingredients will be more stable and work better when it has avobenzone in it. Thus, it is also makes the product last longer in terms of effectiveness.
4. Preservatives in Cosmetic
While the former function is to enhance the ingredient in cosmetic itself, the next function is to protect the product from sun exposure that leads to damage to the components. When avobenzone is added, the product will last longer since it protects the exterior of the product from sun exposure. The way avobenzone directs sunlights to a less damaging one definitely adds a lot to avobenzone’s various uses.
5. Ingredient in Lip Balm
Not only avobenzone is used as ingredient in sunscreen related products, it is sometimes also found in lip balm. The use of avobenzone in lip balm is to prevent chapped lips because of exposure to sun.
Avobenzone does not directly act as moisturizer but instead it acts as a component that will keep the natural moist of the lips. Though the use in lips is still controversial since there are also many Harmful Chemicals in Cosmetics Products, some products have low concentrate of it in their composition.
More Applications of Avobenzone
Other uses of avobenzone in everyday life as general sunscreen and skin protection is also found in several products as listed below:
- Body Lotion
- Hand Cream
- Anti-acne products
- Cancer Protection Product
Avobenzone Side Effects
Avobenzone is widely used in cosmetic but there has been a debated suspicion if avobenzone may cause several harmful side effects both for human and environment. Here is the probable side effects of avobenzone.
1. Persistent Pollutant to Environment
Avobenzone when combined with photostabilizer compound may cause environmental persistence once the sunlights degrades and break it down. Studies have found avobenzone to linger to several chemical more than what is necessary such as phenols, aromatic acid, and acetyl benzines. It will happen when it exposed to chlorinated water and any sodium chloride.
2. Possible Carcinogen
Avobenzone itself is too weak as composition in sunscreen and other related products. Thus, it is usually combined with other ingredients. However, some of the chemical reaction as listed above are found to be carcinogenic.
Hence, while avobenzone itself is not carcinogenic, the after effect of its reaction with other compounds may trigger cancerous chemical and other Prohibited and Restricted Cosmetic Ingredients by FDA.
3. Heightened Skin Sensitivity
Not all sunscreen products will be suitable to all type of skin. Combination of avobenzone with octocryl may cause heightened skin sensitivity. Skin that does not go well with this combination will experience redness or sever acne.
Severe irritation may also occurs because when skin is too sensitive, any substance will cause the skin to react with skin problems. If this occurs, stop the use of the products containing avobenzone with octocryl and consult dermatitis doctor to check on the symptoms.
4. Promote Dry Skin
Another side effect that avobenzone may cause is when it combines with other ingredients is dry skin. Dry skin may occur because the stabilizing process between avobenzone and photostabilizer. The heavy process of having to be stable as well as too frequent topical application will cause the skin to dry as the side effect. If this happens, sunscreen must be accompanied with moisturizer that does not contain avobenzone to get the skin’s moist back.
Indeed, the uses of avobenzone are beneficial especially as cosmetic ingredient. From protecting skin from ultraviolet light to keep the skin from aging, avobenzone is beneficial. However, there are also side effects just like with other synthetic chemicals. It is better to be aware of any use or skin product especially for long-term use. That is all about the uses of avobenzone and the side effects follow. (Also read List of Banned Chemicals in Cosmetics in Europe)