Benzophenone-3 (oxybenzone) is used in many sunscreens and some other personal care products to protect skin from sun damage. Benzophenone-3 is also added to packaging and some consumer products, such as cosmetics and paints, to protect the products from sun damage.
- Benzophenone-3 (Oxybenzone) is part of the group of Environmental Phenols. Click here to learn more about this group of chemicals.
Benzophenone-3 is found in
- Many sunscreens.
- Sun-protective personal care products, such as some lotions, lip balms, and cosmetics.
- Some perfumes, shampoos, conditioners, and nail polish.
- Plastic packaging for some food and consumer products.
- Some protective coatings, such as varnish and oil-based paint.
Possible health concerns of benzophenone-3
Scientists are still studying how benzophenone-3 may affect people’s health. There is concern that benzophenone-3:
- May interfere with the body’s natural hormones.
Possible ways to reduce exposure to benzophenone-3
- Wash off sunscreen and sun-protective products once you are out of the sun.
- Eat more fresh food and less packaged food, which might help reduce exposure to benzophenone-3 from some plastic packaging.
Importance of sun safety
Sun exposure is known to damage skin and increase cancer risk. Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen is only one of the important ways to shield against the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. You should also:
- Reduce or avoid exposure to direct sunlight when UV rays are strongest, usually between 10 am and 4 pm. When possible, seek shade.
- Wear protective clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.