avobenzone

Avobenzone is a synthetic sunscreen ingredient (also known as Parsol 1789 or butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane) that provides broad-spectrum sun protection by absorbing aging UVA rays. Avobenzone is one of the most widely used UVA filters in the world and has been rigorously tested for safety and efficacy.

To increase its photostability, UV absorbers such as octocrylene and non-UV filters (e.g., diethylhexyl 2, 6-napththalate) often accompany avobenzone in a cosmetic formula. Antioxidants (such as vitamin E and ubiquinone) also show promise for enhancing avobenzone’s photostability.

This sunscreen active is one of several currently undergoing further safety testing under the purview of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This testing is to gain a better understanding of the systemic absorption, metabolism, and elimination of these sunscreen actives when small amounts enter the body via topical use. It’s important to know that the presence of this or other sunscreen actives in the body does not mean your health is at risk. It is anticipated that the additional testing being done will reaffirm the safety of these ingredients; however, those who remain concerned can choose sunscreens with mineral actives (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) which are not included in the FDA’s new call for additional testing.

References for this information:
Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science, December 2014, pages 35-43
Household and Personal Care Today, March/April 2014, pages 4-8
Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology, 2014, pages 36–40
Indian Journal of Dermatology, September/October 2012, pages 335-342

See UVA

Back to Ingredient Dictionary

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!