Coppertone Ingredients

Mother applying sun cream to son's (8-10) face, smiling, close-up

Maria Teijeiro/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Sunburns are painful and unpleasant as well as bad for your skin and overall health. Since 1944, products manufactured by the Coppertone Company help keep you happy and sunburn-free. Products the company manufactures today include sunscreens and sun blocks in stick, lotion and spray formulas. While each contains distinguishing ingredients, all share ingredient categories and some specific ingredients in common.


Although water is an inactive ingredient, all products, whether liquid or sold, contain water as the ingredient with the largest percentage. Inactive ingredients are added to improve the feel of the Coppertone product and enhance its cosmetic, or consumer, appeal.

Active Ingredients

All Coppertone products contain one or more sunscreen or sunblock ingredients. These work in differing ways to protect your skin from the suns damaging ultraviolet rays. Sunscreen ingredients do not prevent UV rays from penetrating the skin but they do prevent these rays from causing damage to underlying cells. Sunblock ingredients prevent UV rays from penetrating the skin by scattering them backward (See References 1). The formula concentrations of these ingredients determine the sun protection factor, or SPF, of the product.

Sunscreen ingredients used by Coppertone include broad-spectrum chemicals such as avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone and zinc oxide. Most Coppertone sunscreen products combine a minimum of three of these active protection ingredients. Sunblock ingredients used in Coppertone products include stronger concentrations of the sunscreen ingredients avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate and oxybenzone, as well as octyl salicylate and octinoxate.


Moisturizing ingredients soften your skin and prevent drying that can result from exposure to the sun. Examples include sorbitol, known for giving your skin a velvety feel, dimethicone, a moisturizing ingredient with water repellant properties, aloe vera leaf juice, good for both cooling and moisturizing your skin and tridecyl stearate, another ingredient known for producing velvety feeling skin.


Stearic acid, carbomer, sorbitan isostearate, palmitic acid and laurel alcohol are examples of ingredients Coppertone includes to ensure there is no separation of ingredients, such as water and oil-based ingredients. Emulsifiers give a lotion or spray its smooth texture.


Without preservatives, oil-based ingredients can become rancid. In addition, microbe mitosis can lead to the formation of germs and bacteria in the product. Ingredients such as benzyl alcohol, disodium EDTA and methylparaben prevent contamination from bacteria, yeasts and mold and make it safe to use.

Other Ingredients

Additional inactive ingredients Coppertone adds depend on the product type and can include oils such as mink, jojoba and coconut oil. These work to further soften and the skin and add a nice texture to the product. Adding vitamin E helps protect your skin and aloe provides a cooling effect (See References 3-inactive ingredients).