Octinoxate Side Effects

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Octinoxate is most commonly known as an ultraviolet light absorber and UV filter. Currently, octinoxate is the most popular product for blocking UVB, which the primary cause of sunburn. There are several products that utilize octinoxate as their active ingredient. As with any medication, product or supplement, some side effects may be experienced while using octinoxate.


Octinoxate, also known as octyl methoxycinnamate, is an active ingredient used in many brands of sunscreen and in a variety of cosmetics, including certain lipsticks, foundations, moisturizers and lip balms. It is most often employed to absorb UV-B rays and protect the skin from incurring sun damage.

Side Effects

There are several side effects associated with octinoxate use. Severe side effects linked with the use of octinoxate include but are not limited to contact dermatitis, acne, rash, inflammation of hair follicles and skin irritation. A common, less severe side effect that may result from using octinoxate is dry skin. Some people have been known to have allergic reactions to octinoxate. If signs of an allergic reaction occur, use of octinoxate should cease, and a doctor or pharmacist should be contacted immediately.


Through skin absorption, octinoxate can lead to reproductive as well as developmental toxicity. It is also known to damage the immune system in rare cases, impairing a person's ability to fight disease and repair tissue damage. Women who are pregnant should not use octinoxate because it produces estrogen-like effects. Use of octinoxate can cause endocrine disruptions. It can also interfere with signaling between cells resulting in mutations or even the death of cells.


Before using products that contain octinoxate, there are a few issues that consumers should consider. This material can linger in a person's tissue for several years after initial exposure. It can also negatively affect the liver if used in excessively high doses. It is recommended that octinoxate be kept out of reach of children.


Octinoxate is known to absorb quickly and easily into a person's skin. Upon exposure to sunlight, octinoxate converts into a lesser ultraviolet absorbent form, which can be partially prevented with the addition of other ultraviolet blockers like bemotrizinol. In Japan, use of octinoxate is limited in certain cosmetics.