Safety Information


The FDA reviewed the safety of avobenzone and approved its use as an active ingredient in OTC sunscreen products. 

Sunscreens are regulated by the FDA as non-prescription, OTC drugs. 

In February 2019, the FDA published a proposed rule requesting additional data on certain currently used sunscreen ingredients, including avobenzone.

Importantly, FDA emphasized in a Sept. 27, 2021, announcement that sunscreens made with these ingredients are not considered unsafe and will remain on the market to be used as part of consumers’ sun-safe practices while more data are collected. 

According to the FDA, “Sun safety is important for everyone and all skin tones, and consumers can reduce risks from sun exposure with continued use of sun protection measures, including sunscreen.” 

These filters are approved around the globe and have been used in various formulations in the U.S. for decades.

The Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) and its member companies that manufacture sunscreen products have been working closely with the FDA to collect additional data that will address FDA’s request.

Expert Panel for Cosmetic Ingredient Safety

The Expert Panel for Cosmetic Ingredient Safety (Expert Panel) has deferred evaluation of this ingredient because the safety has been assessed by the FDA. This deferral follows the Expert Panel’s procedures.

Avobenzone is listed as 1-(4-tert-butylphenyl)-3-(4-methoxyphenyl) propane-1,3-dione in Annex VI, entry 8 (which specifies the UV filters cosmetics products may contain) of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union. It may be used at a maximum concentration of 5% in cosmetics and personal care products, including sunscreens products.

Avobenzone is approved as a safe and effective sunscreen ingredient in Canada and Australia.



What Is It?

In cosmetics and personal care products, avobenzone (also known as butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane) is used in the formulation of bath, skin, cleansing, hair, nail and fragrance products. It is also used as an active ingredient in over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreens products.

Why Is It Used?

Avobenzone is approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as a sunscreen agent in products that are applied to the skin to absorb, reflect or scatter UV rays. Exposing unprotected skin to UV light can result in sunburn (primarily from UVB rays) and promote premature aging of the skin, as well as skin cancer (primarily from UVA rays).

Because avobenzone absorbs and dissipates UV radiation, it can also protect cosmetics and personal care products from deterioration due to exposure to UV light. When used to protect the product, it is listed on the label with its INCI chemical name, butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane. 

Scientific Facts

Avobenzone can absorb UV light over a wide range of wavelengths and convert it to less damaging infrared radiation (heat).