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Octisalate: Your Guide to This Common Sunscreen Ingredient

Discover the benefits, safety, and environmental impact of Octisalate, a key ingredient in many sunscreens. Learn how it protects your skin from UVB rays and why it's a popular choice for sun protection. Read more...



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When it comes to sunscreen, the ingredients matter. One commonly used ingredient is Octisalate, also known as 2-Ethylhexyl salicylate. This chemical sunscreen agent is known for its ability to absorb UVB rays, providing essential protection against sunburn and long-term skin damage. Let's delve into what Octisalate is, how it works, and its overall impact on health and the environment.

What is Octisalate?

Octisalate is an organic or chemical sunscreen filter that enhances the effectiveness of sunscreens. It primarily absorbs UVB rays, which are the rays that cause sunburn. It is considered a weak absorber of UVB and will often need to be combined with other ingredients. By doing so, it helps to protect the skin from immediate sun damage and contributes to the overall SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of sunscreen products. It is important to note that octisalate offers no UVA protection.

How Does Octisalate Work?

Octisalate works by converting UVB rays into less harmful energy, preventing these rays from penetrating the skin. It is often combined with other UV filters to ensure comprehensive sun protection. In fact a review of over 400 sunscreens performed by our teams in 2023 revealed that 63% of these products contained octisalate and not a single one of these formulations contained octisalate as the sole ingredient. Most products had octisalate combined with avobenzone, homosalate, octocrylene, and/or zinc.

Benefits of Octisalate

Octisalate, although a weak absorber of UVB, can offer some benefits in sunscreen formulations.

  • Enhanced Photostability: Octisalate helps stabilize other sunscreen ingredients, making the overall product more effective.

  • Skin Suitability: It is generally well-tolerated although there are case reports of contact dermatitis associated with use.

  • UVB Protection: Provides additional protection against the harmful effects of UVB rays to boost the SPF of sunscreen formulations.

Safety and Concerns with Octisalate

Octisalate is considered safe for use in cosmetics. There are studies that indicate the potential for absorption into the bloodstream after use with unclear impact on health. Also, like many chemical sunscreens, it has been scrutinized for its environmental impact. Research indicates that Octisalate may potentially contribute to water pollution and may be harmful to marine life. To mitigate these effects, it's advisable to use eco-friendly sunscreen options and avoid swimming in natural water bodies immediately after applying sunscreen.


Octisalate is a common ingredient in many sunscreens, offering additional protection against UVB rays to augment the SPF of sunscreens. However, considering its potential environmental impact, it's essential to use it responsibly. By choosing eco-friendly products and mindful application to limited body surface area you can protect your skin and the environment. Stay sun-safe and enjoy the sunshine responsibly!


Have you tried sunscreens with Octisalate? Share your experiences in the comments below and don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more skincare tips!



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