UV filter

Octocrylene at a glance

  • Most often used to stabilise UVA filter avobenzone
  • Primarily provides UVB protection but kicks in some UVA screening
  • Globally approved up to a 10% concentration (Canada permits 12%)
  • Emollient texture helps moisturised skin
  • Highly stable in the presence of UV light

Octocrylene description

Octocrylene is a globally approved sunscreen agent that primarily protects skin from the UVB range of sunlight while providing a small amount of UVA protection. It also helps stabilise the UVA sunscreen ingredient avobenzone. Therefore, the two are often found in the same sunscreen formulas. This UV filter is highly stable in the presence of sunlight and can make it easier for chemists to incorporate other UV filters to achieve higher SPF ratings without worry that the filters will crystallize, which hinders their effectiveness. Octocrylene has been extensively reviewed and is considered safe as used in cosmetics and sunscreens. It does not have endocrine-disrupting properties and is considered a “rare sensitizer”, as are many other synthetic UV filters. *Note:* Octocrylene has a history of causing an allergic reaction on skin of people who are also applying the topical anti-inflammatory drug ketoprofen. If you use this medication, ask your health care provider about using sunscreens that contain octocrylene. This sunscreen active is one of several currently undergoing further safety testing under the purview of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This testing is to gain a better understanding of the systemic absorption, metabolism, and elimination of these sunscreen actives when small amounts enter the body via topical use. It’s important to know that the presence of this or other sunscreen actives in the body does not mean your health is at risk. It is anticipated that the additional testing being done will reaffirm the safety of these ingredients; however, those who remain concerned can choose sunscreens with mineral actives (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) which are not included in the FDA’s new call for additional testing.

Octocrylene references

  • Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, Supplement 7, November 2019, pages 25–33
  • Environment International, November 2019, ePublication
  • Pharmaceutics, May 2017, pages 1–24
  • Contact Dermatitis, January 2018, pages 224–225; April 2014, pages 193-204; and January 2003, pages 46-47
  • Quimica Nova, July 2014, ePublication

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.