Octinoxate is a chemical ingredient known best for its sun-blocking abilities. It is made through chemical processes and is obtained from petroleum. Therefore, octinoxate contains no animal-derived compounds and is vegan.
Although octinoxate is very well known in the world of sun protection, it has its downsides. But let’s find out more about it now.
What Is Octinoxate? What Is Octinoxate Made Of?
Octinoxate is a synthetically produced organic ingredient that absorbs UV rays. It does not include animal-based products and therefore, is vegan. To make octinoxate, manufacturers mix sulfuric acid with methanol, a petroleum by-product.
After heating the mixture, the ingredients have a permanent chemical reaction creating a water-insoluble compound. It is also known by the scientific name ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate. However, it is mostly referred to as octinoxate.
Why Is Octinoxate Used In Skincare?
Octinoxate is used in skincare because it is an organic carbon-based UV filter. It absorbs UV rays, which are responsible for tanning but also sunburn as well as skin cancer.
In personal care products and cosmetics, octinoxate is primarily used as a sunscreen. It blocks both UVA and UVB rays. However, it offers much better protection against the latter.
As octinoxate prevents the skin from sun damage, which might help prevent changes in the DNA that could lead to skin cancer. Still, there is no scientific proof of its protective features against melanoma.
Naturally, sunscreens are also anti-aging products. They reduce the formation of wrinkles and fine lines. Octinoxate also prevents dark spots, freckles, and other signs of sun damage and aging.
Skincare brands add octinoxate to the majority of sunscreen products on the market. Including lotions, creams, and sprays. Sometimes, it is also included in cosmetics. For example, to protect lips from sun damage.
Although octinoxate offers effective sun protection, it also has some health risks. However, octinoxate still remains a widely used ingredient in mainstream sunscreen products.
Is Octinoxate Harmful?
Despite its many benefits, octinoxate also comes with some disadvantages. Some studies show connections between hormonal imbalance and octinoxate. In addition, chemical sunscreens are not considered reef-safe.
Like other petroleum-based sunscreens, this compound can build up in the body. Once smeared on the skin, the chemical ends up in the bloodstream a short time later. That might lead to future health problems.
Octinoxate is a hormone or endocrine disruptor. So, it alters the body’s normal functioning. Some studies suggest that octinoxate exerts estrogenic, antiandrogenic, antiprogestin, and anti-thyroid activity. Also, it might cause impairment of fertility.
Moreover, octinoxate poses a threat to wildlife. It might disrupt the hormonal balance in sea animals, too. In the long term, this could lead to reproductive problems in fish and other marine creatures.
In addition, chemical filters such as octinoxate impair coral defenses. Coral reefs are living organisms. When their immune systems are weak, they become sensitive to infections. As well as pollution and temperature differences.
Sunscreen plastics also bleach corals. As a result, the reefs look pale and even die. In 2018, Hawaii actually became the first country to ban the use of chemical sunscreens because of their impact on marine life.
As an alternative, experts recommend using sunblocks with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These mineral aka physical sunscreens are equally effective in terms of UV protection.
FAQ About Octinoxate
Octinoxate is a synthetically produced organic ingredient that absorbs UV rays. It is made through chemical processes and is mostly obtained from petroleum.
To make octinoxate, manufacturers mix sulfuric acid with methanol, a petroleum by-product. After heating the mixture, the ingredients have a permanent chemical reaction creating a water-insoluble compound. It is also known by the scientific name ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate. However, it is mostly referred to as octinoxate.
Yes. Octinoxate is considered to be harmful to health as well as marine life.
Yes. As a petroleum-derived compound, octinoxate is vegan.
Octinoxate is a chemical compound that protects the skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation. It mostly absorbs UVB rays and therefore keeps the skin from getting sun damage.
Octinoxate is a vegan ingredient. However, some studies have shown it is harmful to health as well as marine life. So, to protect the wildlife and your health, experts recommend mineral sunscreens.
A lot of vegan skincare brands have good quality reef-safe sunblocks. We have put together a list of the best vegan sunscreens of 2022, so you would not have to spend time on research.
Remember, sunscreen is one of the most important skincare elements. Do not skip it, even on rainy days.