Benzophenone-9: What Is It, Cosmetic Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Priya Singh
Fact-Checker: Priya Singh
This article was last updated on: March 6, 2024
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Understanding the world of cosmetics can often feel like trying to decipher a complex scientific equation, especially when you start to look at the long list of scientific names on the back of your favorite products.

One such ingredient that you might come across in your cosmetics is Benzophenone-9.

In this article, we’re going to dive deep into Benzophenone-9, 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-9?

Benzophenone-9, also known as Disodium 3,3′-Carbonylbis[4-Hydroxy-6-Methoxybenzenesulphonate], 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 the skin and other ingredients in a product from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light.

Creating Benzophenone-9 involves a complex chemical process, but in simple terms, it’s made by combining certain organic compounds in a specific way. Once it’s been created, it’s added to a product’s formulation where it works by absorbing UV light and converting it into less harmful heat energy. This helps to prevent sun damage and premature aging of the skin.

As for how it’s sold, you’re more likely to find Benzophenone-9 as part of a wider formulation of ingredients within a product. It’s not typically sold as a standalone product, but rather, it’s one of many ingredients that work together to create a final product.

Who Can Use Benzophenone-9?

Benzophenone-9 is generally suitable for all skin types. It’s a non-irritating ingredient that’s often used in products designed for sensitive skin. However, as with any ingredient, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test first to make sure you don’t have an adverse reaction.

If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you’ll be happy to know that Benzophenone-9 is a synthetic ingredient, which means it’s not derived from animals or animal by-products. So yes, it’s suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

As for pregnant and breastfeeding women, there’s currently no evidence to suggest that Benzophenone-9 is unsafe. However, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before using any new products during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

The Cosmetic Benefits/Uses of Benzophenone-9’s

The benefits and uses listed in this section are strictly the cosmetic benefits and uses of Benzophenone-9. This ingredient may have applications in multiple different industries, but those are beyond the scope of this article. The benefits of Benzophenone-9 are based on its official function as a UV absorber.

  • Protection against UV radiation: Benzophenone-9 is a potent UV absorber. It works by absorbing the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and converting them into less damaging heat. This prevents the UV rays from penetrating the skin and causing damage such as premature aging, sunburn, and even skin cancer. By incorporating Benzophenone-9 into cosmetic products, it provides an added layer of protection against the sun’s harmful rays.
  • Prevention of color fading: In addition to protecting the skin, Benzophenone-9 also helps to protect the color of cosmetic products. UV rays can cause colors to fade over time, but Benzophenone-9 absorbs these rays and prevents them from reaching the colorants. This helps to maintain the color and appearance of the product, making it more appealing to consumers.
  • Enhancement of product shelf life: By absorbing UV rays, Benzophenone-9 also helps to extend the shelf life of cosmetic products. UV radiation can degrade certain ingredients and cause them to lose their effectiveness over time. However, by blocking these rays, Benzophenone-9 helps to preserve the integrity of the product and ensure that it remains effective for a longer period.

Potential Side Effects/Adverse Reactions

Side effects and reactions to the topical application of Benzophenone-9 can vary significantly from person to person. It’s important to understand that while some individuals may not experience any adverse reactions, others may be more sensitive to the ingredient.

Potential side effects related to the topical application of Benzophenone-9 include:

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

If you experience any of these side effects while using a product containing Benzophenone-9, it’s recommended to discontinue use immediately and consult with a healthcare professional or dermatologist. They can provide guidance on how to manage these reactions and suggest alternative products that may be better suited for your skin type.

Adverse reactions to Benzophenone-9 are not common, but they can occur, especially in individuals with sensitive skin or those who are allergic to the ingredient. It’s always important to monitor your skin’s response to any new product or ingredient.

One of the best ways to prevent adverse reactions is by conducting a patch test before fully incorporating a new product into your skincare routine. This can help identify any potential sensitivity or allergic reaction to Benzophenone-9 or any other ingredient in the product.

Comedogenic Rating

Comedogenicity refers to the potential of a substance to cause comedones, which are skin blemishes often associated with acne. This is a crucial factor to consider when evaluating cosmetic ingredients, as those with high comedogenic ratings can clog pores and exacerbate skin issues.

Benzophenone-9 has a comedogenic rating of 0. This means it is non-comedogenic and does not clog pores or contribute to the formation of acne. This rating is based on the molecular structure and properties of Benzophenone-9, which allow it to be easily absorbed and processed by the skin without causing blockages.

Given its non-comedogenic nature, Benzophenone-9 is suitable for individuals prone to acne or breakouts. It can be used in skincare and cosmetic products without the risk of causing or worsening these conditions.

Conclusion

Benzophenone-9 serves primarily as a UV absorber in cosmetic products. It protects the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays, thereby preventing sun damage and premature aging.

Despite its beneficial properties, Benzophenone-9 is not as popular as some other cosmetic ingredients. It is similar to ingredients like Octinoxate and Oxybenzone, which also serve as UV absorbers. However, unlike these ingredients, Benzophenone-9 does not have any known adverse effects on the skin or overall health.

In conclusion, Benzophenone-9 is a safe ingredient to use in cosmetic products. Its non-comedogenic nature makes it suitable for all skin types, including those prone to acne. Furthermore, its ability to absorb UV rays makes it an effective ingredient in sun protection products.

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