Top positive review
133 of 152 people found this helpful
Sure beats skin cancer
on May 31, 2011
I've used this strength and other SPFs from Neutrogena with great results. As for another reviewer's caution, this is from the American Academy of Dermatology' web site:
1. What is oxybenzone and how is it used in sunscreen and personal care products?
Oxybenzone (also known as benzophenone-3 or BP-3) is one of 16 sunscreen active ingredients (compounds that absorb, scatter, or reflect ultraviolet (UV) radiation) regulated as over-the-counter (OTC) drugs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).1 Oxybenzone provides broad-spectrum protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays. It was approved by the FDA in 1978 and is one of the oldest active ingredients in use today.
The FDA has approved the use of oxybenzone in sunscreen in concentrations of up to 6 percent, which is less than what is allowed in both Europe and Australia (10 percent).2 Oxybenzone also is used to protect cosmetics and other personal care products from deterioration by UV exposure.
2. I've heard oxybenzone called a hormone disruptor. What does this mean and are there any data to support this?
Concerns have been raised that oxybenzone may be capable of altering/disrupting normal hormonal (endocrine) balance. Specifically, oxybenzone is suspected of having estrogenic activity, which is the ability to exhibit properties similar to the hormone estrogen.
There have been some published observations using in vitro (test tube) cell lines, as well as studies in rats fed oxybenzone, and in fish, where oxybenzone was added to the water, which have indicated oxybenzone or its byproducts can demonstrate some estrogenic activity.4-9 However, the observed estrogenic effects of oxybenzone often are considerably weaker when compared to the estrogen (estradiol) used in these experiments. In some studies, a much higher concentration of oxybenzone (1,000 to 1 million times higher than that of estradiol) was needed to achieve a comparable result.
Importantly, available literature does not support a link between oxybenzone use and estrogen or other hormonal alterations in humans to date.10-12
3. Are there any studies in humans that demonstrate hormone disruption or other potential to affect human health?
Similar to many topically applied agents, oxybenzone has been shown to be absorbed by human skin10, and can be detected in the blood and urine of sunscreen users and the population at large.13-15 However, results from multiple studies do not support a link between oxybenzone and any short- or long-term health problems, or the increased risk of adverse health effects.
Specifically, when oxybenzone was repeatedly applied to the skin of human volunteers, it has been determined that:
No biologically significant alterations in reproductive hormones (testosterone, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, or estradiol) have been detected;11
The concentrations of oxybenzone absorbed are not capable of disrupting normal thyroid hormone levels12, and;
The concentration of oxybenzone penetrating the skin is too low to cause epidermal cell damage.10
It should be noted that oxybenzone has been used as sunscreen ingredient since 1978, and aside from allergic or irritant reactions, such as photocontact and contact dermatitis, there has not been any report of systemic side effects of oxybenzone use.
Therefore, the proven benefits of sunscreen to prevent sunburn and reduce the risk of skin cancer outweigh any concerns of oxybenzone toxicity or health hazard.
4. What do the FDA or other agencies have to say about oxybenzone?
The safety of oxybenzone was originally reviewed and approved by the FDA in 1978, and it is one of the oldest active ingredients in use today.17
Since then, there have been additional reviews of oxybenzone by other regulatory agencies and expert panels with similar conclusions regarding its safety for use in consumer products. For example, in 2001 and again in 2006, the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) of the European Union (EU) developed an opinion paper based on a review of current scientific knowledge and stated "the organic UV filters used in cosmetic sunscreen products allowed in the EU market today have no estrogenic effects that could potentially affect human health."18
Also, the safety of oxybenzone for use in cosmetics and personal care products was also reviewed in 1983 and confirmed in 2002 by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) expert panel, which is an independent panel of scientific and medical experts who assess the safety of cosmetic ingredients in the United States.19-20
Read the AAD paper with references: oxybenzone_questions_aad