Sunscreen Ingredients – Avobenzone

by Samantha on Tuesday

It is no secret that common sunscreens contain many harmful ingredients. The list of sunscreen ingredients reads like a list of Greek words. But what are the sunscreen ingredients that we should avoid, and why?

First, it is important to note that the sunscreen industry makes billions of dollars each year on the sale of sunscreens. These manufacturers also help fund dermatology associations, in order to spread the word that their sunscreens are safe. But numerous scientific studies repeatedly show that chemical sunscreens can have harmful and even potentially deadly consequences.

One of these harmful ingredients is avobenzone (trade names Parsol 1789, Eusolex 9020, Escalol 517 and others, INCI Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane). It is an oil soluble ingredient used in sunscreens to absorb the full spectrum of UVA rays. But it does not block short-wave UVA radiation, nor does it block UVB rays. However, avobenzone degrades significantly in light, so it does not protect as well over time. So on an average day in a temperate climate, sunlight can break down most of the avobenzone (the Food and Drug Administration contends that avobenzone breaks down by as much as thirty-six percent in one hour, but it is interesting to note that the FDA also approves avobenzone for use in sunscreen). What this means is that avobenzone becomes less effective in such a short time that you are not being well-protected from the sun’s rays.

But beyond that, avobenzone can cause serious health issues as well. Avobenzone easily penetrates the skin and is considered a strong free radical generator. What this means is that avobenzone can initiate chemical reactions. By reacting with other molecules, avobenzone can damage DNA, fat and protein of cells. This type of damage to the cells can produce not only aging of the skin, but skin cancer!

It is important to note that avobenzone is one of three active ingredients the FDA approves, along with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, as the basis for sunscreens. Titanium dioxde and zinc oxide are the primary physical blockers used in organic sunscreens. However, in a truly organic sunscreen, avobenzone should NOT be an ingredient.

Significant controversy still surrounds avobenzone, and research continues to be done on this sunscreen ingredient. But why would one want to take a chance on a chemical ingredient that could harm the body? Take the time to educate yourself on all the ingredients in chemical sunscreen. With such potential harm in using chemical sunscreens, isn’t it time to choose a more healthy option? The research shows the harm in these sunscreen ingredients, so we should change our habits. There are safe alternatives to chemical sunscreens in the form of organic sunscreens. You owe it to yourself to protect yourself, and your family.

If you enjoyed this article and would like several more FREE sunscreen tips, go to for more advanced information.

Renee Pawlish offers advice and tips on safe sunscreen and organic living. She extensively researches these topics and shares the information so anyone can live a better, healthier life. Her online resources are a valuable educational experience!

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