Approved in: United States, Australia, Europe
Banned in: None; restricted use in Japan
Best for: Sun damage prevention
Coral safe? Detectable levels but no harm found
Found in chemical sunscreens
Avobenzone is commonly used to block the full range of UVA rays and is reported as ‘unstable’ in physical sunscreens.
On its own, the ingredient destabilizes when exposed to light. To combat this, it’s often paired with other ingredients (such as mexoryl) to stabilize avobenzone.
In many countries, avobenzone is used in combination with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide specifically, but in the United States, the combination isn’t permitted.
While it’s found in broad-spectrum sunscreens, it’s often combined with other chemicals because avobenzone by itself will lose 50 to 90 percentTrusted Source of its filtering abilities within an hour of light exposure.
In the U.S., the FDA deems this ingredient safe but restricts the concentration amount to 3 percent in sunscreen formulations.