Benzophenone-12: What Is It, Cosmetic Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: March 1, 2024
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Understanding the world of cosmetics can often feel like trying to decipher a foreign language, especially when you’re faced with a long list of scientific names on the back of your favorite products.

One such ingredient that you might have come across is Benzophenone-12. It’s not uncommon to find this ingredient listed on the labels of various cosmetic products.

In this article, we’re going to dive deep into the world of Benzophenone-12, exploring what it is, why it’s used in cosmetics, and what you need to know about its benefits and potential side effects.

What is Benzophenone-12?

Benzophenone-12, also known as 2-Hydroxy-4-Octyloxybenzophenone, is a common ingredient used in the cosmetic industry. It’s a chemical compound that’s primarily used as a UV absorber. This means it helps to protect your skin and the product itself from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

It’s typically synthesized in a lab setting, using a process that involves the reaction of 2-hydroxybenzophenone with 1-chlorooctane in the presence of a base. The result is a compound that’s able to absorb UV light and convert it into less damaging heat energy.

As for its presence in products, Benzophenone-12 is usually not sold as a standalone product. Instead, it’s more commonly found as part of a wider formulation of ingredients within a product’s formulation, such as in sunscreens, moisturizers, and makeup products.

Who Can Use Benzophenone-12?

Benzophenone-12 is generally suitable for all skin types. It’s a non-irritating ingredient that can be used even by those with sensitive skin. However, as with any skincare ingredient, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test first to ensure you don’t have any adverse reactions.

When it comes to dietary preferences, Benzophenone-12 is suitable for both vegans and vegetarians. This is because it’s synthesized in a lab and doesn’t involve the use of any animal-derived ingredients or by-products.

As for its use during pregnancy or breastfeeding, there’s currently no evidence to suggest that Benzophenone-12 is unsafe. However, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist if you have any concerns.

Benzophenone-12’s Cosmetic Benefits/Uses

The benefits and uses listed in this section are strictly the cosmetic benefits and uses of Benzophenone-12. This ingredient may have applications in multiple different industries, which are beyond the scope of this article.

  • UV Absorber: Benzophenone-12 is primarily used in cosmetics as a UV absorber. It has the ability to absorb ultraviolet (UV) light, which is harmful to the skin. When applied to the skin in the form of a lotion, cream, or other cosmetic product, Benzophenone-12 can help to protect the skin from the damaging effects of UV radiation. This includes premature aging, such as wrinkles and age spots, as well as more serious conditions like skin cancer. The ingredient works by absorbing the UV light and converting it into a less harmful form of energy, such as heat. This prevents the UV light from penetrating the skin and causing damage.

Potential Side Effects/Adverse Reactions

Side effects and reactions to the topical application of Benzophenone-12 can vary significantly from person to person. It’s important to understand that everyone’s skin is unique, and what may cause a reaction in one person may not in another.

Some potential side effects and interactions related to the topical application of Benzophenone-12 include:

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Burning sensation
  • Skin irritation

If you experience any of these side effects while using Benzophenone-12 or a product containing it, discontinue use immediately and consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist. They can provide guidance on how to treat the reaction and suggest alternative products that may be better suited to your skin type.

Adverse reactions to Benzophenone-12 are not common, but they can occur. It’s always important to monitor your skin’s response when introducing a new product or ingredient into your skincare routine.

One of the best ways to minimize the risk of an adverse reaction is to perform a patch test before fully applying the product. This involves applying a small amount of the product to a discreet area of skin and waiting 24-48 hours to see if a reaction occurs. This can provide a good indication of how your skin will react to the product on a larger scale.

Comedogenic Rating

Comedogenicity refers to the potential of a substance to cause comedones, which are skin blemishes often known as blackheads and whiteheads. This is a crucial factor to consider when evaluating cosmetic ingredients, especially for individuals with acne-prone skin.

Benzophenone-12 has a comedogenic rating of 1. This means it has a very low likelihood of clogging pores and causing acne breakouts. The rating is based on its molecular structure and how it interacts with the skin. It is not known to accumulate within the pores, which reduces the risk of comedones forming.

Given its low comedogenic rating, Benzophenone-12 is generally suitable for individuals who are prone to acne or breakouts. However, everyone’s skin is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Therefore, it’s always recommended to patch test new products containing this ingredient.

Conclusion

Benzophenone-12 serves primarily as a UV absorber in cosmetic formulations. This means it helps to protect the skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation, which can lead to premature aging and skin cancer.

Despite its beneficial properties, Benzophenone-12 is not as popular as some other UV absorbers. It is similar to ingredients like Oxybenzone and Avobenzone, which are also used for their UV-absorbing properties. However, Benzophenone-12 is less commonly used, possibly due to its higher cost or other formulation considerations.

In terms of safety, Benzophenone-12 is generally considered safe for use in cosmetics. Its low comedogenic rating means it is unlikely to cause acne or breakouts. However, as with any ingredient, it’s important to use products containing Benzophenone-12 as directed and discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur.

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