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Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate

Also-called-like-this: Octinoxate, Octyl Methoxycinnamate
What-it-does: sunscreen
Irritancy: 0
Comedogenicity: 0


A clear, oil-soluble, "cosmetically-elegant" liquid that is the most commonly used chemical sunscreen. It absorbs UVB radiation (at wavelengths: 280-320 nm) with a peak protection at 310nm. 

It only protects against UVB and not UVA rays (the 320-400 nm range) – so always choose products that contain other sunscreens too. It is not very stable either, when exposed to sunlight, it kind of breaks down and loses its effectiveness (not instantly, but over time - it loses 10% of its SPF protection ability within 35 mins). To make it more stable it can be - and should be - combined with other sunscreen agents to give stable and broad-spectrum protection (the new generation sunscreen agent, Tinosorb S is a particularly good one for that).

Regarding safety, there are also some concerns around Octinoxate. In vitro (made in the lab not on real people) and animal studies have shown that it may produce hormonal (estrogen-like) effects. Do not panic, the studies were not conducted under real life conditions on real human people, so it is probably over-cautious to avoid Octinoxate altogether. However, if you are pregnant or a small child (under 2 yrs. old), choose a physical (zinc oxide/titanium dioxide) or new-generation Tinosorb based sunscreen, just to be on the super-safe side. :) 

Overall, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate is an old-school chemical sunscreen agent. There are plenty of better options for sun protection today, but it is considered "safe as used" (and sunscreens are pretty well regulated) and it is available worldwide (can be used up to 10% in the EU and up to 7.5% in the US).

Show me some proof

  • Couteau, C., et al. "Study of the efficacy of 18 sun filters authorized in European Union tested in vitro." Die Pharmazie-An International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 62.6 (2007): 449-452.
  • Couteau, Céline, et al. "Study of the photostability of 18 sunscreens in creams by measuring the SPF in vitro." Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis 44.1 (2007): 270-273.
  • Chatelain, Eric, and Bernard Gabard. "Photostabilization of Butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane (Avobenzone) and Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate by Bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine (Tinosorb S), a New UV Broadband Filter." Photochemistry and Photobiology 74.3 (2001): 401-406.
  • Janjua, Nadeem Rezaq, et al. "Systemic absorption of the sunscreens benzophenone-3, octyl-methoxycinnamate, and 3-(4-methyl-benzylidene) camphor after whole-body topical application and reproductive hormone levels in humans." Journal of Investigative Dermatology 123.1 (2004): 57-61.
  • Schlumpf, Margret, et al. "In vitro and in vivo estrogenicity of UV screens." Environmental health perspectives 109.3 (2001): 239.

Products with Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate

Benefit Dream Screen Benefit Total Moisture Facial Cream Blue Lizard Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Face Spf 30+ Bobbi Brown Bb Cream Broad Spectrum Spf 35 Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Spf 15 Boots No7 Stay Perfect Compact Foundation CeraVe Skin Renewing Day Cream With Broad Spectrum Spf 30 Sunscreen Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer Broad Spectrum Spf50, Fragrance Free Chanel Vitalumière Aqua Ultra-Light Skin Perfecting Makeup Spf 15 Clinique Age Defense Bb Cream Broad Spectrum Spf 30 Clinique Even Better Glow Light Reflecting Makeup Broad Spectrum Spf 15 Clinique Even Better Makeup Spf 15 Clinique Moisture Surge Cc Cream Hydrating Colour Corrector Broad Spectrum Spf 30 Clinique Repairwear™ Uplifting Firming Cream Broad Spectrum Spf 15 Clinique Fit Workout Makeup Broad Spectrum Spf 40 Coppertone Defend And Care Clear Zinc Spf 50 Dior Forever Skin Glow Erborian Cc Cream Estee Lauder Daywear Anti-Oxidant Beauty Benefit BB SPF 35 Estee Lauder Double Wear Nude Waterfresh Makeup Spf30 Estee Lauder Perfectionist Youth-Infusing Serum Makeup Spf 25 Hourglass Illusion® Hyaluronic Skin Tint Jack Black Oil-Free Sun Guard Spf 45 Sunscreen Kiss My Face Face Factor Spf30 Sunscreen Kiss My Face Sensitive Side 3In1 Sunscreen Lotion, Spf 30 La Mer The Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation Broad Spectrum Spf 20 La Roche-Posay Rosaliac Tinted Moisturizer Cc Cream Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Custom Highlighting Drops Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Foundation Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Foundation Stick Lancôme Teint Miracle Radiant Foundation Laura mercier Tinted Moisturizer Oil Free Laura mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 MAC Studio Waterweight Spf30 Foundation Milk Makeup Sunshine Skin Tint Spf 30 Murad Oil-Control Mattifier SPF 15 Pa++ Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint SPF 30 NeoCutis Journee Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer Sensitive Skin - Spf 15 Olay Complete Daily Defense All Day Moisturizer With Sunscreen Spf 30 For Sensitive Skin PCA Skin Protecting Hydrator Broad Spectrum Spf Physicians Formula The Healthy Foundation Spf 20 Purlisse Tinted Moisturizing Bb Cream Purpose Dual Treatment Moisture Lotion With Spf 10 Revision Skincare Intellishade Original Anti-Aging Tinted Moisturizer With Sunscreen SeneGence Senederm® Senesun™ Spf 30 Sunscreen Shiseido Syncro Skin Self-Refreshing Foundation Spf 30 Shiseido Urban Environment Uv Protection Cream Spf30 For Face & Body Skin Actives Sunscreen - Spf 30 Advanced Protection SkinCeuticals Ultimate Uv Defense Spf 30