I’m obsessed with sunscreen. I wear it all the time – indoors, outdoors, rain or shine. Now you might think that’s nuts, but I used to be a sun worshiper as a teenager on the beaches of California (baby oil and peroxide anyone?). It probably wouldn’t have been such an issue, except that I’m half Irish and half German. My skin seems to lean more Irish, which means I’m really handicapped in the melanin department. Sometime in my early 20s, I saw the light and changed my ways. I’m so thankful for that as now that I’m in my 40s, I have pretty good skin and don’t look like a leather handbag.

So the lovely ladies over at Truth in Aging gave me the opportunity to test out ZenMed Oil Free Moisturizer with SPF 30 ($24.95). I have to say I initially completely loved this product. I’ve tried so many sunscreens and it was so much nicer than most. It has a nice texture and went on smooth like a good moisturizer. It easily soaked into my skin, and I didn’t have any white film or greasy or cakey feeling as some sunscreens can have. Haven’t we all put on some sunscreens and looked in the mirror with that horrible zinc oxide face… as if I needed to be any whiter than I already am!

The only downfall with ZenMed Oil Free Moisturizer with SPF 30 is that if I put on a stronger anti-aging product the evening before, my face (particularly closer to the eye region) would get a burning sensation after I put on the ZenMed sunscreen in the morning. Disappointingly, I tried this a few times and the reaction did repeat itself. However, I never had a similar reaction on my body. If someone from ZenMed is reading this, please just tweak the formula a bit – you’ve almost got a perfect product.

After some research, I found that the most likely culprits are the chemical sunscreens, especially in combination. Avobenzone is usually non-irritating, but because it is unstable and degrades in sunlight, it is combined with other sunscreen actives – in this case another three of them – and then has the potential to irritate the skin. It can lead to developmental and reproductive toxicity through enhanced skin absorption. Octinoxate is one of the other actives and it should be noted that it’s a penetration enhancer and is easily absorbed into the skin. It can produce estrogen-like effects and should not be used by pregnant women and children.

So what’s the litmus test here – would you buy it? Was there value in it? I’m somewhat on the fence. So many things about this product are superior to most sunscreens, but no one wants a burning sensation with any product they put on their face. I’d definitely choose it over the gross greasy, cakey sunscreens out there, but I can’t whole-heartedly recommend it either.

Ingredients: Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Octisalate, Oxybenzone, Purified Water, Vegetable Glycerin, Octyl Palmitate, Green Tea Extract, Certified Organic Aloe Vera Juice, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Methyl Gluceth-20, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetyl Phosphate, Vitamin E, Vitamin D3, Vitamin A, Rose Ether, Propylene Glycol, Allantoin, Vitamin B5, TEA Carbomer, Ethylhexyl Glycerin