Reviewed by Ann

As a person who spends quite a bit of time outside in the sun, regardless of the heat and humidity, a hardworking, multi-tasking sunscreen is an essential tool. This has been a particularly hot and sunny summer, so perfect for putting these products through their paces.

What has proven most effective for me so far is Boscia’s BB Cream with SPF 27 ($38), but I would prefer something without the glitter this seems to have, and I would like more anti-aging benefits. (Am I asking for too much?)

It seemed like serendipity to have the opportunity to try out M.A.D. Skincare’s On Guard Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30 ($38).

The product is from M.A.D.’s Environmental line. It is a physical sunscreen using 10% titanium dioxide and 6% zinc oxide. The box claims that it has an “amino acid complex to repair UV-induced DNA damage” as well as “wrinkle smoothing action,” all while remaining lightweight.

The ingredients are fairly good. Toward the top of the list is acetyl tyrosine, an amino acid complex, and adenosine triphosphate, which gets rave reviews as a “cell communicator” and promising, if not completely researched, age fighter and skin repairer. Ceramide 2 helps to hold water and moisture in your skin and repair its natural barrier. The formula also includes a peptide – palmitoyl oligopeptide – and superoxide dismustase, an enzyme believed to be a potent antioxidant.

This seemed to be just what I was looking for.

There’s nothing to really take issue with. It’s preserved with phenoxyethanol, but this is way at the end of the list. However, there are many solvents, emulsifiers and surfactants. There are six different dimethicones or methicones. It seems like overkill on the smoothers and stabilizers, but I suppose zinc oxide is thick and stiff.

The cream is indeed lightweight and has easy spreadability. There is no noticeable odor. There is a tint, but I didn’t notice any effect on my skin. It seems to neutralize the chalkiness of the zinc oxide, but it doesn’t provide any coverage nor does it even out skin tone.

Upon first usage, on top of my day serum and light moisturizer, it did not feel like it absorbed and was quite sticky and greasy. The next day I didn’t use the moisturizer, and it was not quite as sticky, but still didn’t absorb as well as I would have liked. I don’t like product to rub off on my cell phone or get under my fingernails if I scratch my nose.

The following day I used it by itself. It was not nearly moisturizing enough. The skin around my mouth felt tight and dry.

Over the next few weeks I tried out many different combinations utilizing samples and bottles from my skincare collection (please tell me I’m not the only one with a collection!). I never felt like this would absorb. It was like makeup, but without any of the benefits of makeup.

And if I started sweating, look out! It would sting like crazy if it got into my eyes and then it would seem to melt and settle in every nook, like the corner of my eyes and mouth. I prefer a natural look, not that of a melting wax figure.

Since using my skincare brush to cleanse, I have been blackhead free and my pores are tight and nearly invisible. But after a few weeks of using this product, the quality of my skin seemed to diminish. I noticed enlarged pores and blemishes. My complexion was getting sallow and uneven and my hands were getting freckly. My decollete got sunburned, so I don’t think the SPF was working that well.

I didn’t like this product at all. It felt like a rubbery mask and didn’t repair any of my UV-induced DNA damage. (Although I did feel that claim was a bold one for a $38 cream to make, so I won’t hold that against it).

My search continues. I am now trying out Arcona’s Re-Ozone ($28) and having much more success, but I’m open to suggestions.

Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Caprylyl Methicone, Dimethicone/ Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Butylene Glycol, Isohexadecane, Acetyl Tyrosine, Proline, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Adenosine Triphosphate, Camellia sinensis Extract, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbat, Ceramide 2, PEG 10 Rapeseed Sterol, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Superoxide Dismutase, Methicone, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Hydroxyethylacrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Tribehenin, Alumina, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Triethoxysilylethyl Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Hexyl Dimethicone, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Silica, Laureth 7, Polysorbate 60, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Iron Oxides (C.I. 77492), Iron Oxides (C.I. 77491), Iron Oxides (C.I. 77499)