Film-Forming Agent

Polyester-8 at a glance

  • Emollient film-forming agent
  • Improves the performance and adherence of sunscreens
  • Considered non-irritating
  • Made using synthetic polymer technology

Polyester-8 description

Polyester-8 is a synthetic copolymer (molecule composed of many repeating units) of adipic acid, octyldodecanol, and neopentyl glycol. Its primary role in skin care is film-forming and conditioning agent. A secondary but very important role of polyester-8 is in sunscreens, where it works to improve adherence to skin and resistance to coming off in water or with friction (as in rubbing of skin). This ingredient also helps stabilize avobenzone by “quenching” electrons generated when avobenzone is exposed to UV light, which would ordinarily lead to it breaking down. Some brands are using polyester-8 instead of octocrylene to stabilize avobenzone since the former is considered non-irritating while some people find octocrylene sensitizing around the eyes. Usage levels of polyester-8 in skin care is typically 1–3% when the goal is photostabilizing avobenzone; however, lower amounts may be used for its other properties. In some cases, polyester-8 may be used with octocrylene since it allows for a lower concentration of this ingredient, which is likely to improve tolerability.

Polyester-8 references

  • HallStar Polycrylene Product Information Sheet, accessed June 2022
  • Biomaterials, April 2010, pages 3,129–3,138
  • Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences, April 2010, pages 470–481

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.