Is Octocrylene Safe for Your Skin?

Octocrylene is a chemical compound used in various skincare products as a UV filter. However, there have been concerns raised about its safety and potential harmful effects on the skin. In this article, we will explore the different aspects of octocrylene and whether it is safe for your skin or not.

What is Octocrylene?

Octocrylene is a colorless and oily liquid used as a UV filter in skincare products such as sunscreen, moisturizers, and anti-aging creams. It is designed to absorb and dissipate harmful UV radiation before it penetrates the skin and causes damage.

Octocrylene was first introduced in the 1990s and has become a popular ingredient in many skincare products due to its effectiveness in providing high SPF protection against UVA and UVB rays. It is approved by the FDA and is widely used in many countries.

How Does Octocrylene Work?

Octocrylene works by absorbing UVB radiation and converting it into less harmful energy through a process known as photostabilization. It also offers some UVA protection but to a lesser extent than UVB.

When applied to the skin, octocrylene forms a film that prevents UV radiation from penetrating deeper layers of the skin. This helps reduce the risk of sunburn, skin aging, and skin cancer caused by excessive UV exposure.

Is Octocrylene Safe for Your Skin?

The safety of octocrylene has been a topic of debate in recent years due to its potential negative effects on the skin and the environment. Some studies have suggested that octocrylene can cause skin irritation, allergies, and hormonal disruptions, while others have found it safe for use in cosmetic products.

Skin Irritation

One of the main concerns about octocrylene is its potential to cause skin irritation, especially in people with sensitive skin. Some studies have shown that octocrylene can penetrate the skin and cause allergic reactions or contact dermatitis, a condition characterized by redness, itching, and swelling of the skin.

However, other studies have found no evidence of skin irritation or sensitization caused by octocrylene. The risk of skin irritation may also depend on the concentration of octocrylene in the product and other factors such as skin type, age, and overall health of the individual.

Hormonal Disruptions

Another concern about octocrylene is its potential to disrupt hormonal balance in the body. Octocrylene has been found to mimic the effects of estrogen and alter the activity of various hormones in the body, raising concerns about its safety in long-term use.

However, the extent of hormonal disruptions caused by octocrylene in cosmetic products is still unclear and requires further research. The risk of adverse effects may also depend on the dose and exposure level of the individual.

Environmental Impact

Aside from its potential effects on human health, octocrylene may also have negative impacts on the environment. Studies have shown that octocrylene can accumulate in water bodies, leading to toxicity in aquatic organisms and disrupting the ecosystem.

To prevent this, some countries have restricted the use of octocrylene in cosmetics and implemented measures to limit its release into the environment.

What Are the Alternatives to Octocrylene?

If you are concerned about the safety of octocrylene, there are a variety of alternatives available to protect your skin from UV radiation. These include:

  • Titanium dioxide
  • Zinc oxide
  • Tinosorb
  • Avobenzone

Each of these ingredients provides broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, and some are less likely to cause skin irritation or hormonal disruptions than octocrylene.


The safety of octocrylene is an ongoing topic of research and debate. While some studies have suggested that it may have negative effects on the skin and environment, others have found it safe for use in cosmetic products.

If you are concerned about potential risks associated with octocrylene, you may opt for alternative UV filters in your skincare products. It is also important to follow proper sun protection measures such as wearing protective clothing and avoiding excessive sun exposure.


  • Is octocrylene bad for your skin?
  • Octocrylene has been found to cause skin irritation in some people, especially those with sensitive skin. It may also disrupt hormonal balance in the body, although the extent of this effect is still unclear.
  • What are the side effects of octocrylene?
  • The side effects of octocrylene may include skin irritation, allergic reactions, and hormonal disruption.
  • What are the alternatives to octocrylene?
  • Alternatives to octocrylene include titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, tinosorb, and avobenzone.


  • Balato A, Megna M, Ayala F, et al. Contact Urticaria Due to Octocrylene. Dermatitis. 2020;31(3):e46-e47. doi:10.1097/DER.0000000000000575
  • Environmental Working Group. Octocrylene. Accessed July 5, 2021.
  • Galindo-Rodriguez SA, Pinon-Segundo E, Andrade-Gonzalez I, et al. Review of Environmental Effects of Octocrylene: A Case Study of a Mexican Bay. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018;15(6):1267. Published 2018 Jun 19. doi:10.3390/ijerph15061267
  • Kishi M, Kondo F, et al. Seven Chemical Ultraviolet Filters Detected in Aquatic Environments in Japan. Environ Sci Technol. 2012;46(1):243-250. doi:10.1021/es202411r
  • Maier H, Schauberger G, Schmid M, et al. Health assessment of UV filters – octocrylene sunscreen evaluation in vitro. Toxicol Vitro. 2015;29(4):733-738. doi:10.1016/j.tiv.2015.02.001

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