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Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane

Also-called-like-this: Avobenzone
What-it-does: sunscreen


The famous Avobenzone. It is a special snowflake as it is the only globally available chemical sunscreen agent that provides proper UVA protection (in the US, new generation sunscreen agents are not approved because of impossible FDA regulations). It is the global gold standard of UVA protection and is the most used UVA sunscreen in the world. 

It gives very good protection across the whole UVA range (310-400 nm that is both UVA1 and UVA2) with a peak protection at 360 nm. The problem with it, though, is that it is not photostable and degrades in the sunlight. Wikipedia says that avobenzone loses 36% of its UV-absorption capacity after just one hour of sunlight (yep, this is one of the reasons why sunscreens have to be reapplied after a few hours).

The cosmetic's industry is trying to solve the problem by combining avobenzone with other UV filters that enhance its stability (like octocrylene, Tinosorb S or Ensulizole) or by encapsulating it and while both solutions help, neither is perfect. Interestingly, the combination of avobenzone with mineral sunscreens (that is titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) is not a good idea. In the US, it is flat out prohibited as avobenzone becomes unstable when combined with mineral sunscreens.

As for safety, avobenzone has a pretty good safety profile. It counts as non-irritating, and unlike some other chemical sunscreens, it shows no estrogenic effect. The maximum concentration of avobenzone permitted is 5% in the EU and 3% in the US.

Show me some proof

  • Photochem Photobiol. 2001 Sep;74(3):401-6., Photostabilization of butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane (Avobenzone) and ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate by bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine (Tinosorb S), a new UV broadband filter.
  • Schlumpf, Margret, et al. "In vitro and in vivo estrogenicity of UV screens." Environmental health perspectives 109.3 (2001): 239.

Products with Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane

Alba Botanica Soothing Sunscreen Alba Botanica Very Emollient Kids Sunscreen Alba botanicals Hawaiian Spray Sunscreen Anthony Day Cream Spf 30 Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Daily Moisturizer Spf 30 Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Facial Moisturizer With Broad Spectrum Spf 30 Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Sunscreen 50 For Face Banana Boat Dry Balance Lotion Spf50 Beauty Blender Selfie Shield Broad Spectrum Spf 38 Dry Oil Primer Black Girl Sunscreen Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 CeraVe Ultra-Light Moisturizing Face Lotion With Sunscreen Spf 30 Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer Spf 15 Cetaphil Pro Oil Absorbing Moisturizer Spf 30 Clinique Superdefense Daily Defense Moisturizer Spf 20 Coola Classic Face Sport Spf 50 White Tea Coola Dawn Patrol Classic Makeup Primer Spf 30 Coola Makeup Setting Spray Organic Sunscreen Spf 30 Coola Moisturizing Face Spf 30 Organic Sunscreen Lotion Coola Organic Spf 30 Full Spectrum 360° Sun Silk Drops Coppertone Glow Lotion Spf 50 Coppertone Sport Continuous Sunscreen Spray Spf 50 Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Lotion Spf 50 Cover fx Total Cover Cream Foundation Spf30 DCL Essential Skin Protection Spf 30 Dermalogica Oil Clearing Matte Moisturizer Spf15 Dermalogica Pure Light Spf 50 - Powerbright Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster Spf 50 Differin Oil Control Moisturizer Broad Spectrum Spf 30 Dove Dermaseries Dry Skin Relief Spf15 Face Cream Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour® Cream Targeted Sun Defense Stick Spf 50 High Protection Pa+++ Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme+ Global Anti-Aging Cell Power Creme Spf 15 Exuviance Age Reverse Day Repair Spf 30 First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturizer - SPF 30 Fresh Sugar Sport Treatment Sunscreen Spf 30 Garnier Clearly Brighter Anti-Sun Damage* Daily Moisturizer Spf 30 Garnier Moisture Bomb The Antioxidant Super Moisturizer Spf 30 Glossier Invisible Shield Spf 35 Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Spf 30 Hourglass Equilibrium Day Fluid Spf 30 JAN MARINI Antioxidant Daily Face Protectant Spf 33 Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer Spf 20 Jack Black Intense Lip Therapy Spf 25 Jason Family Natural Sunscreen Spf45 Kiehl’s Super Fluid Uv Defense Spf 50+ Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream Spf 30 Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer Spf 30 L'oreal Loreal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Brightening Day Moisturizer Spf 30 L'oreal Revitalift Triple Power Anti-Aging Day Lotion Spf 30 La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Daily Anti-Aging Primer With Sunscreen Spf 50 La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk