3-Benzylidene Camphor

What Is It?

3-Benzylidene Camphor is an organic compound that absorbs ultraviolet (UV) light.

Why is it used in cosmetics and personal care products?

In Europe, 3-Benzylidene Camphor is an approved UV filter, which means that this ingredient can be added to sunscreen products that are designed to protect the skin from the sun. In Europe, sunscreen products are considered cosmetic products. In the United States, sunscreen products are Over-the-Counter (OTC) drugs and only certain ingredients have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in these products. In assessing sunscreen active ingredients, FDA reviews both the safety and efficacy of the ingredient. The safety and efficacy of 3-Benzylidene Camphor has not yet been reviewed for sunscreen use by the FDA and it cannot be used in sunscreen drug products in the United States. For cosmetics and personal care products in the United States, 3-Benzylidene Camphor can be used as a UV light absorber. In this case, the ingredient protects the product from deterioration by absorbing UV light.

Scientific Facts:

3-Benzylidene Camphor, also referred to as 3-Benzylidenebornan-2-one, is highly stable in ultraviolet light and absorbs UV rays. UV radiation is an important cause of premature aging of the skin and in the development of melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.

Safety Information:

The European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products Intended for Consumers (SCCNFP), conducted a safety evaluation of 3-Benzylidene Camphor. Based on their review, they concluded that use of this ingredient in cosmetic products as a UV light absorber at a maximum concentration of 2% would not pose a health hazard to the consumer.

More safety Information:

The European SCCNFP concluded that 3-Benzylidene Camphor was mildly irritating, not a sensitizer, not phototoxic and not mutagenic. The dermal absorption of the ingredient was found to be very low.

Link to the European Commission’s SCCNFP opinion concerning 3-Benzylidene Camphor (3-Benzylidenebornan-2-one):

3-Benzylidene Camphor is listed in the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union and may be used as a UV filter in cosmetics and personal care products at a maximum concentration of 2% (see Annex VII).

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation: 

More Scientific Information:

3-Benzylidene Camphor is a polycyclic organic compound. In cosmetics and personal care products, 3-Benzylidene Camphor functions as a UV light absorber. UV light absorbers, like sunscreen agents, have the ability to convert UV radiation into less damaging infrared radiation (heat).


Find out more about the regulation of over-the-counter drugs by the Food and Drug Administration

OTC Drug Home Page: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSa…

Information about OTC Drug monographs: U.S. Food & Drug Administration: Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drug Monograph Process

Search the Code of Federal Regulations http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm

EU Cosmetics Inventory http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cosmetics/cosing/