What is oxybenzone?
Oxybenzone is an organic sun filter (from carbon). This filter mainly absorbs short UVA and UVB radiation, which are responsible for tanning but also for sunburn and skin cancer.
To find it in products, it appears on the list of ingredients on the packaging under the name "oxybenzone" in the United States and Canada, and as "benzophenone-3" in the rest of the world.
Where does it come from?
Oxybenzone is a synthetic organic compound (based on carbon, oxygen and hydrogen) that absorbs UV rays.
Why is it used?
Oxybenzone protects the skin from the sun’s harmful effects.
It mainly absorbs UVB radiation, which is responsible for sunburn and increases the risk of developing skin cancer.
It also absorbs short UVA rays, which are mainly responsible for skin ageing.
Oxybenzone remains stable in light and therefore effective during sun exposure.
Absorbs UVA and UVB rays
Protection against ageing
Why is it questioned?
Oxybenzone has an unfavourable environmental profile. It is namely suspected of being responsible for damage to corals. Some states such as Hawaii and the Palau Islands have banned its use.
It is also suspected of being an endocrine disruptor.
- The use and concentration of oxybenzone in our cosmetic products are carefully controlled and strictly limited, to avoid potential impact on the aquatic environment,
- Under the European Cosmetics Regulation, the European Commission has identified 28 substances suspected of being endocrine disruptors. The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) is responsible for examining their possible endocrine activity that is harmful to consumer safety. A first group of 14 substances will be treated as a priority in 2020. Oxybenzone is part of this first group. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) definition, oxybenzone is not an endocrine disruptor.
What is it used for in our products?
We formulate our suncare products with filters with a more favourable environmental profile than oxybenzone wherever we can.
In the United States and Canada, the number of solar filters authorised by the competent authorities is limited, and oxybenzone is one of them. This is why this sun filter is no longer used in only these two countries. In these suncare products, the concentration of oxybenzone is optimised to limit their impact on the environment.
As is the case with all our products, those containing oxybenzone are systematically subjected to a strict evaluation of their quality and safety for the consumer. This is a fundamental principle that we apply throughout the world.