There is no doubt that the sun is a source of health, since it improves mood and allows the body to synthesize vitamin D. However, if taken without attention, the sun can also cause a lot of damages to the skin. This is why, when we expose ourselves to the sun, it is always a good choice to rub sunscreens into our skin. However, we should also be careful when we read the label on the sunscreen cream in order to prevent a beneficial product from becoming a problem for the health of our body. Today we talk about a substance, often contained in sunscreens, that may become dangerous to us and, for this reason, should be avoided, Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate.
Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, what it is and why it is better to avoid it
Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, also indicated with the name Octyl methoxycinnamate, is one of the most used ingredients in sunscreens. It doesn’t cause irritation or contact allergies and is generally well tolerated. However, not all that glitters is gold. In fact, scientists are warning against the use of this substance that does not seem so harmless. First of all, UV radiation interacts with Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate by breaking it. In this way the solar filter loses its effectiveness but sub-products are also released that are toxic to the skin and can also cause oxidative damages (Duale et al, Toxicol Sci, Apr 2010 - Necasova et al, Environ Toxicol, Feb 2017). To avoid this problem some sunscreens add to their formula other substances such as titanium dioxide or Octocrylene that help Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate to stay intact. Then, it seems that Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate may act as an endocrine disruptor, which means that it affects the body's hormones. In particular, Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate is supposed to be able to alter the functioning of the thyroid and in addition it shows a stimulating action on the estrogen hormones (Klammer et al, Toxicology Sep 2007). According to a scientific study (Schlumpf et al, Environ Health Perspect, Mar 2001), it even seems able to stimulate the proliferation of breast cancer cells. The problem is that Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate shows also a high degree of absorption through the skin and this substance has also been found in breast milk (NIH Database). Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate is not only in cream with sunscreen but also in lipsticks, nail polish and other cosmetics for hair and skin that protect against UV rays. Given all these dangerous effects and the harmful action on hormones, observed by scientific studies, the advice is to avoid cosmetic products with Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate.