Benzophenone-3 (Oxybenzone)

Black and white chemical structure of benzophenone-3
CAS Number: 131-57-7

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.

Fact Sheet

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.

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