British Society of Cutaneous Allergy (BCSA)


What are the aims of this patient information leaflet?

This leaflet has been written to help you understand more about your contact allergy. It tells you what a contact allergy is, what causes this allergy and what you can do about it.

What is contact allergy?

Dermatitis, also known as eczema, describes a type of inflammation of the skin. Contact dermatitis or contact eczema is a term used when this inflammation is caused by direct or indirect skin contact with something in your environment. Allergic contact dermatitis occurs when your immune system causes allergy to a very specific chemical or substance that has been in contact with the skin.

What causes your specific allergy?

Your patch tests indicate that you have a contact allergy to octocrylene.

What is octocrylene?

Octocrylene is a sunscreen. This is a chemical which absorbs ultraviolet rays. It does not break down when exposed to light and therefore it is also used in products to help improve stability and so extend shelf-life. Usefully, it has water resistant properties.

What are some products that contain octocrylene?

  • Sunscreens eg. creams, lotions, gels, lip balms etc
  • Cosmetic products eg. foundation, nail varnish
  • Personal care products eg. moisturiser creams, eye creams, shampoo, conditioner, fragrances.

Remember, always check the label, these lists can never be complete and ingredients change.

How can I manage my allergy?

This means that you should avoid putting products containing octocrylene onto your skin in the future.

You should also avoid another sunscreen chemical called Benzophenone-3 and anti-inflammatory Ketoprofen gel/patches, as you may have cross reactions.

Octocrylene may also be labelled as:

  • Eusolex OCR
  • Uvinyl N 539T
  • 2-ethylhexyl-2-cyano-3,3-diphenylacrylate
  • 2-ethylhexl 2-cyano-3,3-diphenylprop-2-enoate
  • 2-Cyano-3,3-diphenylacrylic acid 2’ethylhexyl ester
  • 2’-ethylhexyl 2-cyano-3-phenylcinnamate.

For more information, please see:

Self-care (what can I do?)

Always check the ingredient listing on the product, package or package insert as these lists can never be complete and ingredients change. This is particularly important for any products purchased outside the EU where some allergens may not be banned.

Created: 2023