2-Ethylhexyl salicylate

From WikiMD's Food, Medicine & Wellness Encyclopedia

2-Ethylhexyl salicylate Structural Formula V1

2-Ethylhexyl salicylate is an organic compound used primarily as an ingredient in sunscreens and cosmetics to absorb ultraviolet (UV) light. It is a colorless oily liquid with a slight floral odor, known for its ability to filter UVB rays, thereby protecting the skin from harmful effects of the sun. This compound belongs to the class of chemical compounds known as salicylates, which are derivatives of salicylic acid. 2-Ethylhexyl salicylate works by absorbing ultraviolet light, converting it into a less harmful form of energy, such as heat.

Chemical Properties[edit | edit source]

2-Ethylhexyl salicylate, with the chemical formula C15H22O3, is a lipophilic (oil-soluble) compound, which makes it an effective ingredient in sunscreen formulations, allowing it to blend well with other components and maintain stability under sunlight. Its molecular weight is 250.33 g/mol, and it has a boiling point of approximately 320°C (608°F).

Applications[edit | edit source]

The primary application of 2-Ethylhexyl salicylate is in the formulation of sunscreen products, where it serves to absorb and filter UVB radiation, protecting the skin from sunburn and other types of sun damage. It is also used in various cosmetic products for its UV-absorbing properties, including lip balms, hair care products, and moisturizers. Beyond its role in sun protection, it can act as a fragrance ingredient in some cosmetic formulations.

Safety and Regulation[edit | edit source]

The safety of 2-Ethylhexyl salicylate has been evaluated by various regulatory bodies around the world. In the United States, it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in over-the-counter sunscreen products. The European Union also permits its use in sunscreens and cosmetics, subject to concentration limits as defined by the European Commission on cosmetic ingredients.

Despite its widespread use and regulatory approvals, there is ongoing research into the potential health effects of chemical UV filters, including 2-Ethylhexyl salicylate. Concerns have been raised about the possibility of hormonal disruption and other adverse effects with prolonged exposure. However, current evidence supports its safety in approved uses and concentrations.

Environmental Impact[edit | edit source]

The environmental impact of 2-Ethylhexyl salicylate, as with other chemical sunscreen ingredients, is a subject of research and discussion. Studies have indicated that some UV filters can accumulate in aquatic environments, potentially affecting marine life. Efforts are ongoing to assess the full environmental impact and to develop sunscreen formulations that are both effective and environmentally friendly.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

2-Ethylhexyl salicylate is an important UV filter used in sunscreens and cosmetic products to protect the skin from UV radiation. Its effectiveness as a UVB absorber, combined with its stability and compatibility with other sunscreen ingredients, makes it a valuable component in sun protection formulations. Ongoing research into its safety and environmental impact continues to inform its use in consumer products.


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Contributors: Prab R. Tumpati, MD