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Is octisalate safe?

It feels like there’s a new article about sunscreen every few weeks. If you’re like us and trying to cut down our exposure to toxic chemicals and on a journey to a more sustainable life, let’s talk about another chemical often found in common chemical sunscreens called Octisalate.

You’re probably wondering if octisalate safe in sunscreens? Let’s breakdown this answer through these three areas:

  • What is octisalate?
  • Risks of octisalate exposure.
  • Is octisalate safe in sunscreens?


What is Octisalate

Octisalate is an oil soluble, colorless, chemical sunscreen ingredient used to supplement the absorption of UVB rays — it does not protect against UVA. It is often added to chemicals sunscreens to reduce photodegradation of other ingredients (such as oxybenzone and avobenzone). Octisalate also helps sunscreen adhere to the skin, even during swimming.

Other names for octisalate found on sunscreen labels: ethylhexyl salicylate, octyl salicylate, 2-ethylhexyl salicylate and/or ethyl hexyl salicylate.


Risks of Octisalate Exposure

Octisalate will likely cause a skin sensitivity or rash for children/babies and people with sensitive skin. Studies have shown some chemical sunscreen ingredients are absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream, including octisalate. And although scientists are not sure if this is something to worry about, we don’t want sunscreen chemicals in our (or children’s) bloodstream.

Environmental Working Group (EWG) says octisalate is “suspected to be an environmental toxin” and categorizes as a moderate allergy risk. Sunscreens containing octisalate are not reef safe and may contribute to coral bleaching.


Is Octisalate Safe?

Although the FDA has approved octisalate for a maximum concentration of 5% in sunscreens and skincare products, the risks outweigh the benefits. When you can use effective sunscreens without octisalate, why would you buy chemical sunscreens with a potentially harmful ingredient?

If you want to avoid octisalate, read the ingredient list on your sunscreen labels. In the active ingredient area, you may see octisalate, ethylhexyl salicylate or octyl salicylate.

Instead look for an active sunscreen ingredient of non-nano zinc oxide.


All Waxhead sunscreens and skincare products are octisalate-free.


1. Know your ingredients — Flip over your sunscreen and read the ingredients. We want everyone to know what good ingredients are, regardless of whether they use our products or not. Your health is worth it.

2. Buy safe sunscreen — Waxhead is dedicated to using only the healthiest, safest, most effective ingredients in our sunscreens. Shop Safe Sunscreen here.

3. Teach a friend — If you know someone who might still be buying sunscreen with questionable ingredients, please share this post with him/her.



is Octisalate safe

Use Non-Octisalate Sunscreen

Our travel-friendly, pocket size field tins contain the thickest, toughest, healthiest, eco-friendliest sunscreen you'll find.

Stays on face to defend and nourish skin through through saltwater, pool water and sweat.





Is octisalate safe in sunscreens?

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