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Moisturizers with built-in sunscreen

Is a Solution for:
Sun Protection for Face
November 6, 2008 Reviewed by Marta 9 Comments
Requests for recommendations for moisturizers with sunscreen have recently risen to a clamor and, slightly against my better judgment, I went in search of answers. Frankly, the exercise has only confirmed my theory (don't you like it when you prove yourself right) that a good moisturizer and sunscreen combo is an oxymoron. The reason I keep them separate is simple: I can choose a good non-irritant mineral sunscreen (SPF 50), apply it whenever I feel the need and get the best moisturizer I can find (sans chemical crap).

I get that a combo is convenient, but it seems to me that there is a cost. And that is that something will be compromised, such as good moisturizing ingredients getting mixed up with nasty chemical sunscreens. My criteria for this selection was that the SPF should be no less than 30 and that the moisturizing ingredients had to be more convincing than glycerin mixed with a few silicones. So far (and I'll keep scanning), I've come up with a couple of good ones (Juice Beauty for example). Others, such as Dermaquest's illustrate the compromise theory.

Juice Beauty SPF 30 Mineral Light Moisturizer SPF30 ($28). With titanium dioxide as the mineral sunscreen, the rest of this product is as you would expect of a Juice Beauty moisturizer (which is mostly a good thing). As well as the signature apple juice there is antioxidant pomegranate and green tea. Organic plant oils of sunflower, avocado and jojoba plus sodium hyaluronate provide the moisturizers. Usual suspects in the preservative department, but otherwise a good product for the price.

Dermaquest Solar Moisturizer SPF 30 ($50). This has some good moisturizers such as aloe, oleate and sodium hyaluronate. There are even some anti-aging ingredients in the form of a peptide, antioxidant tea and CoQ10. There are also some interesting botanicals such as bearberry, a skin brightener that contains a natural form of hydroquinone called arbutin. However, some of the chemical sunscreen ingredients are potentially hazardous. Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate is a UV filter that produces excess reactive oxygen species that can interfere with cellular signaling, cause mutations and lead to cell death. A paper showing it causes allergic reactions was published in Contact Dermatology. Benzophenone is an known irritant and is off-limits in Sweden.

Devita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF30 ($25). A couple of months ago, Anna posted a review of Devita's Body Block. The facial version doesn't have the best moisturizing ingredients in the world (aloe, tryglycerides from coconut oil, hyaluronic acid and vegetable oil glyceryl. But at least it will do no evil with its micronized zinc oxide sunscreen. It also has antioxidant grape seed extract and comfrey (which is good against sunburn should you forget to replenish on a blazing day, as well as an anti-irritant).

DDF Organic Sun Protection SPF30 ($28). Amongst the bigger brands, DDF's moisturizing sunscreen is pretty good (if it weren't for a couple of silicones). I like the inclusion of acetyl cysteine; the amino acid cysteine helps form the antioxidant glutathione. Then there is genistein, an isoflavone. This is an antioxidant that can prevent cancer. Thioctic acid is an alpha lipoic acid and antioxidant. Anthocyanins are another interesting antioxidant. Responsible for the pigments in plants, it is a flavonoid that one study found to have the strongest antioxidizing power of 150 flavonoids.

Ingredients in Juice Beauty SPF 30 Mineral Light Moisturizer SPF30

Titanium dioxide, organic juice solution of pyrus malus (apple) juice, vitis vinifera (white grape) juice, punica granatum (pomegranate) juice & aloe barbadensis leaf juice, organic cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, organic camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract, organic cera alba (beeswax), octyl palmitate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, glycerin, cetearyl alcohol, cetearyl glucoside, organic plant oils of helianthus annuus (sunflower), persea gratissima (avocado) & simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin E), sodium pca, sodium hyaluronate, retinyl palmitate (vitamin A), phospholipids, panthenol (vitamin B5), ascorbyl palmitate (vitamin C), xanthan gum, tetrasodium edta, phenoxyethanol, methylisothiazolinone, mica & iron oxides (mineral tints), citrus aurantium (petitgrain), cinnamomum camphora (ho wood) & citrus reticulata (mandarin) pure essential oils.

Ingredients in Dermaquest Solar Moisturizer

Sunscreen actives: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (7.5%), Benzophenone-3 (6.0%), Ethylhexyl
Salicylate (5.0%), Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (Parsol 1789) (2.0%).

Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Butylene Glycol, Octyl Dodecyl Neopentanoate, Cyclomethicone, Octocrylene, Actinidia Chinensis (Kiwi) Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Algae Extract and Artemisia Vulgaris Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract (and) Echinacea Purpurea Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Carbomer, Caprylyl Glycol, Yeast Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Triethanolamine, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Sorbitan Oleate, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-4, Darutoside, Micrococcus Lysate, Arabidopsis Extract-Lecithin, Plankton Extract, Hydroxydecyl Ubiquinone (Idebenone), Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract and Mitracarpus Scaber Extract, Ubiquinone (Co-Enzyme Q10), Disodium EDTA.

Ingredients in Devita Solar Protection

Active ingredient: micronized zinc oxide: 14% (transparent). Purified Water, Certified Organic Aloe Vera Gel,
Capric/Caprylic Triglycerides (derived from Coconut Oil), Stearic Acid, Vegetable Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate (from vegetable oil), Lecithin, Vitamin E (Acetate), Allantoin, Comfrey Root Extract, Grape Seed Extract.

Ingredients in DDF Organic

Zinc Oxide 6%, Titanium Dioxide 3.2%.
Inactive Ingredients:
Water, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Sodium Acrylate/sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer And Polyisobutane And Caprylyl/capryl Glucoside, Glyceryl Stearate And PEG-100 Stearate, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Polysorbate
80, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetyl Alcohol, Polyglyceryl-6 Isostearate, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Levulinate, Allantoin, Disodium EDTA, Panthenol, Fragrance, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Camellia Japonica Leaf Extract, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Tocopherol, Acetyl Cysteine, Genistein, Pinus Pinaster Bark Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Thioctic Acid, Zinc Gluconate, Anthocyanins, Tagetes Erecta Flower Extract, Ubiquinone.

  • June 1, 2009

    by Jolie

    I disagree on your suggestion for the Juice beauty sunscreen. I used it for 2 weeks, and my face broke out in all sorts of places. The consistency wasn't smooth, instead it was kind of chalky. It may be that under the hot lamp in sephora, it changed the consistency?

  • November 7, 2008

    by Marta

    <p>Good point about the zinc oxide and thank you for the suggestions, which I will follow up on.</p>

  • November 7, 2008

    by Nimue

    <p>Typo: that's supposed to me "Mexitan" sunscreen.</p>

  • November 7, 2008

    by Nimue

    <p>Expanding on my previous post:</p>

    <p>Keys Solar: 18.5% zinc oxide, (27$ for 3.4 oz)<br />
    Epicuren Zinc: 17% zinc oxide (34$ for 2.5 oz)<br />
    MyChelle Sun Shield: 11.6% zinc oxide, .67% titanium dioxide (20$ for 2.3 oz)</p>

    <p>Of course, there's the Devita:</p>

    <p>Devita (body): 14% zinc oxide, (28$ for 6 oz)</p>

    <p>For the truly budget conscious, there's also Mextain. I'm sure there are other good sunscreens out there, I'm just not aware of them yet.</p>

    <p>Main reason for rejecting the Juice Beauty and DDF for me is that there's not enough zinc oxide. Titanium dioxide does not protect as well against UVA rays, so zinc oxide is necessary for broad spectrum protection.</p>

  • November 7, 2008

    by Nimue

    <p>Here's a couple of physical sunscreens that could be comparable with my beloved Devita and are worth trying:</p>

    <p>Keys Solar<br />
    Epicuren Zinc<br />

  • November 7, 2008

    by Marta

    <p>I've only come across it with SPF 15. Anyway, I don't like the silicones or aluminum.</p>

  • November 7, 2008

    by Marta

    <p>We posted on Avene: <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a></p>

    <p>The sunscreen active is tinsosorb, which looks impressive.</p>

  • November 7, 2008

    by ash

    <p>Marta, have you had any experience with Garnier's "Nutritioniste Skin Renew Anti-Sun-Damage Daily Moisture Lotion with SPF 28 ( a mouthful I know). I was recommended this by a couple of friends, but am not too sure about the ingredients. Thanks. </p>

  • November 6, 2008

    by Angela

    <p>Marta, although you have to register (for free) to access this info, these links provide a lot of great info about sunscreens that I have found particularly useful:</p>

    <p><a href="" rel="nofollow"></a><br />
    <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a></p>

    <p>The Avene sun care line (2007 reformulation) with Tinosorb(only available through import in the U.S.) seems to be particularly good. Do you have any experiences with Avene?</p>

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