Avobenzone is a chemical sunscreen ingredient also known as Parsol 1789 or butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane that was introduced to the skincare market back in 1981. It is one of the few sunscreens, along with titanium oxide, zinc oxide and Mexoryl SX, that offers full spectrum UVA protection against sun damage. However, unlike the oxides named before it forms part of chemical sunscreens as opposed to physical sunscreens. Read our article on the difference between the two. In addition to being an active ingredient in sunscreen formulas, avobenzone can also be found in other skin and body care products, including hand creams, moisturizers, and makeup foundations.
While many sunscreens offer protection against UVB rays, the sun radiation that causes sunburn and contributes to skin cancer, they do not always provide adequate protection against UVA rays, which penetrate deeper into the skin, and contribute to both skin aging as well as cancer. Avobenzone provides this protection, and is typically combined with sunscreens such as octyl methoxycinnamate, which blocks UVB radiation, in cosmetic and sunblock formulas. Avobenzone differs from zinc oxide and titanium oxide in that it is a chemical sunblock that absorbs radiation before it can cause damage to the skin. Zinc and titanium oxide are physical sunscreens that actually reflect the sun’s rays from the skin rather than absorbing them.
There has been some controversy over the use of avobenzone, as some have argued that it degrades in sunlight, compromising its usefulness as a sunscreen and also producing by-products that can lead to Infertility. As we’ve discussed in our previous articles in this series, the chemical reaction which occurs as a result of its exposure to the sun once applied on the skin can be devastating to your fertility. Like the others first named above, it can lead to hormone fluctuations, poor egg quality and development, poor sperm mobility and motility in men, and in some cases, uterine conditions such as Endometriosis. Yes, there have been some researchers who have suggested that avobenzone can be modified, or combined with other ingredients, to make it more stable. However, since there is no clear cut answer as to its stability and safety, wouldn’t it be best to avoid all together?
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that people use a sunscreen that provides protection against a broad spectrum of sun rays, and that the sunscreen should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. The American Academy of Dermatology further recommends that sunscreen be applied on a daily basis, not just when someone is going to the beach or to an outdoor event, then reapplied at two-hour intervals, to all parts of the body that are exposed to the sun. Other skin care experts, including the medical staff at University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, advise the use of sunscreens with an SPF of at least 30. I personally use a physical sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 30 on a daily basis…rain or shine.
Nowadays, chemical sunscreens aren’t the only game in town. Consider using a physical sunscreen that not only meets but exceeds safety ratings in terms of safeguarding your fertility and with no confusion as to its fertility safeguarding.
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