Review of the safety of octocrylene used as an ultraviolet filter in cosmetics

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2019 Nov:33 Suppl 7:25-33. doi: 10.1111/jdv.15945.


Octocrylene or octocrilene is an organic ultraviolet (UV) filter which absorbs mainly UVB radiation and short UVA wavelengths. It is used in various cosmetic products to either provide an appropriate sun protection factor in sunscreen products or to protect cosmetic formulations from UV radiation. There is no discussion that UV filters are beneficial ingredients in cosmetics since they protect from skin cancer, but octocrylene has been recently incriminated to potentially induce adverse effects on the endocrine system in addition to having allergic and/or photoallergic potential. However, the substance has the advantage to work synergistically with other filters allowing a beneficial broad photoprotection, e.g. it stabilizes the UVA filter avobenzone (i.e. butylmethoxydibenzoylmethane). Like all chemicals used in cosmetics, the safety profile of octocrylene is constantly under assessment by the European Chemical Agency (ECHA) since it has been registered according to the European regulation Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals. Summaries of safety data of octocrylene are publicly available on the ECHA website. This review aims to present the main safety data from the ECHA website, as well as those reported in scientific articles from peer-reviewed journals. The available data show that octocrylene does not have any endocrine disruption potential. It is a rare sensitizer, photocontact allergy is more frequent and it is considered consecutive to photosensitization to ketoprofen. Based on these results, octocrylene can be considered as safe when used as a UV filter in cosmetic products at a concentration up to 10%.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acrylates / adverse effects*
  • Acrylates / pharmacokinetics
  • Acrylates / toxicity
  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Biological Availability
  • Cosmetics / adverse effects*
  • Cosmetics / chemistry
  • Dermatitis, Allergic Contact / etiology*
  • Endocrine Disruptors / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Reproduction / drug effects
  • Skin Absorption
  • Sunscreening Agents / adverse effects*
  • Sunscreening Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Sunscreening Agents / toxicity
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Acrylates
  • Cosmetics
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Sunscreening Agents
  • octocrylene