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There is a sea of products for curly girls now that can be found within an arm’s reach. Whether you buy them online or up the street, they are easily accessible and promising everything from bounce and shine to no more frizz. It is a wonderful time to have curls but that does not mean that every product or every ingredient is great or even safe. We are still learning about what each ingredient will do and how it will affect not only our hair but also our skin and scalp as well. We are forever learning. Elliee  is doing her best to be knowledgeable about some of the ingredients we see in our favorite products so she asked about one in our Curly Q&A.

Question

Does benzophenone-4 build up on hair? The conditioner I use while co-washing includes benzophenone 4. I have learned that it's just an UVB absorber but not sure if it's safe for the CG Method and soluble in water.

Answer

Benzophenone-4 is a water-soluble UVA and UVB filter. According to Making Cosmetics, it is also readily soluble in propylene glycol, glycerin, ethanol, and isopropyl alcohol.

Read more: Protect Your Hair from the Sun

What is Benzophenone-4?

Benzophenone-4 is within a group of aromatic ketones that contain both UVB and UVA absorbing properties that filter block out harmful UV rays. They are often used in sunscreens but can be found in lip balms, perfumes, nail polishes, hair sprays, dyes, and even shampoos. While the water-soluble component may be good for using in a curly girl regimen, there are some other concerns about this ingredient. It also prevents the integrity of other ingredients from deteriorating under the sun.

Pros of Benzophenone-4

The FDA has approved the use of benzophenone-4 as a safe and effective OTC sunscreen ingredient for concentrations up to 10% while the EU Cosmetics Directive has said it was safe to use in OTC in concentrations up to 5%. It is quite effective in not only filtering out UV rays but also preventing other ingredients from being degraded by the sun. It does not penetrate the skin to a large degree but allows for other ingredients to do so.

Cons of Benzophenone-4

This chemical ultraviolet UV filter was tested over a 3-year period for allergens in patch tests. It showed to produce not only more positive patch test results than other UV filters but it also was the third most frequently positive result overall. Those experiencing an allergic reaction saw redness, swelling, itching, and fluid-filled blisters. They could develop immediately or over several days.

This ingredient may or may not work well for you in the Curly Girl Method, but unfortunately you will have to make that determination by using it to see how it fares with your CG routine. Of course if you notice swelling, itching, or redness, discontinue use.

Read more: Top 15 Products with UV Protection