Tissue deposition of the insect repellent DEET and the sunscreen oxybenzone from repeated topical skin applications in rats.
Int J Toxicol. 2010 Oct 19. Epub 2010 Oct 19. PMID: 20959613
Insect repellent N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET) and sunscreen oxybenzone are capable of enhancing skin permeation of each other when applied simultaneously. We carried out a cellular study in rat astrocytes and neurons to assess cell toxicity of DEET and oxybenzone and a 30-day study in Sprague-Dawley rats to characterize skin permeation and tissue disposition of the compounds. Cellular toxicity occurred at 1µg/mL for neurons and 7-day treatment for astrocytes and neurons. DEET and oxybenzone permeated across the skin to accumulate in blood, liver, and brain after repeated topical applications. DEET disappeared from the application site faster than oxybenzone. Combined application enhanced the disposition of DEET in liver. No overt sign of behavioral toxicity was observed from several behavioral testing protocols. It was concluded that despite measurable disposition of the study compounds in vivo, there was no evidence of neurotoxicological deficits from repeated topical applications of DEET, oxybenzone, or both.