There are many organic compounds on the market today that can be used with several pharmaceuticals, food preparation, cosmetics, and injectable medicines. One of those which has become popular today is octyl salicylate.
Octyl salicylate is an organic compound used as an ingredient in sunscreens and cosmetics to absorb UVB (ultraviolet) rays from the sun. It is an ester formed by the condensation of a salicylic acid with 2-ethylhexanol. It is a colorless oily liquid with a slight floral odor. The salicylate portion of the molecule absorbs ultraviolet light, protecting skin from the harmful effects of exposure to sunlight. The ethylhexanol portion is a fatty alcohol, adding emollient and oil-like (water resistant) properties.
Many of the sunscreens that are on the market today use this compound as a way of not only protecting the skin, but also being waterproof for longer application. There has been a lot of research into sunscreens and skin cancer over the years and salicylate has been shown – but not proven – to be effective in minimizing the risk of skin cancer through exposure to the sun’s rays.
That does not mean it is completely safe. The FDA approves of octyl salicylate in amounts no larger than 5%, but others worry the chemicals may break down and become absorbed into the skin. If the chemical did break down and soak into the skin through the pores, it could cause a rash or other skin reaction, or raise the risk of cancer. Currently, there is little evidence of this happening, and the chemicals are still widely approved and accepted for safe use in general sunscreens.
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