Ultra Lightweight UV Defense Fluid SPF 50

by Algenist  
Price:
$38 - 1 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizer with Sunscreen
Last Updated:
11/18/2013
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
No

What a shame this fluid daytime moisturizer with sunscreen lists alcohol as its third ingredient! Although the alcohol helps keep this product's texture thin and its finish practically imperceptible, it can also be drying and pro-aging (see More Info for details).

The formula provides broad-spectrum sun protection and includes a high amount of zinc oxide (along with two other actives) yet it doesn't leave a strong white cast (always a plus). The smooth matte finish this leaves is ideal for oily skin, yet again, the alcohol presents its share of problems. Granted, taking the combined percentage of active ingredients into account, the amount of alcohol may be low enough to pose minimal risk—but that's a best case scenario guess.

We love that this daytime moisturizer contains a mix of antioxidants plus ingredients known to inhibit dark spots, not to mention the role sunscreen alone plays in preventing dark spots. The fragranced formula works well under makeup, too. In the end, this may be worth trying if other lightweight, fluid sunscreens you've used have felt too slick or heavy. Otherwise, you may want to check out SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50, which is tinted (to eliminate the white cast) and alcohol-free.

Pros:

  • Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
  • Silky, lightweight texture sets to a smooth matte finish.
  • Contains antioxidants and ingredients that discourage brown spots.
  • Works beautifully under makeup.

Cons:

  • Amount of alcohol is potential cause for concern.
  • Would be better without the fragrance, because fragrance can be a skin irritant.

More Info:

Alcohol in skin-care products causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs the skin's ability to heal. The irritation it causes damages healthy collagen production and can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, making oily skin worse (Sources: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1,410–1,419;  Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, January 2011, pages 83–90; “Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In,” Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).

This fast-absorbing, ultra lightweight fluid provides daily protection against broad spectrum UVA/UVB damage.

Active Ingredients: Octinoxate, 7.5%, Titanium Dioxide, 2.0%, Zinc Oxide, 17.1%, Other Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Water, Alcohol Denat., Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Algae Exopolysaccharides, Echinacea Purpurea Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Triethoxysilylethyl Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Hexyl Dimethicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Aluminum Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Hexylene Glycol, Fragrance (Parfum)

Algenist is a small, rather expensive range of skin-care products sold at Sephora with a focus on anti-aging. Like several other cosmetics companies, Algenist has based their brand on a single ingredient, an ingredient they claim has superior benefits for skin and that, therefore, is worth the steep price tag. In this case, it was the "accidental" discovery of a substance found in algae. As the story goes, a group of biotechnology scientists were looking for ways to use something called microalgae as a renewable source of energy when they stumbled upon a compound known as alguronic acid. Their research revealed that alguronic acid is one of the compounds responsible for regenerating and protecting algae cells.

Figuring they were on to something, the company did further in vitro testing (although the details of their tests are not available, so you only have a science-fiction style story, not facts) and, of course, found that alguronic acid had anti-aging benefits on skin, too. Aside from having no idea what their studies did or didn't really show, in vitro means this ingredient was examined in a petri dish, not directly on human skin. They did limited testing on human skin, but many key details of these "studies" are not available. Instead, we're asked to accept that their ingredient made a remarkable difference. At the time of this writing, there isn't a single published study attesting to the claims Algenist makes for alguronic acid—so you're taking an expensive leap of faith in buying these products!

Before you get seduced by Algenist's claims and their explanation about how algae reproduces, let us tell you—it has no relation to how human skin works. Algae is about as related to human skin as a 747 jetliner is to roller skates.

Whether the story about alguronic acid being the answer for your skin is true or not, it is critical to keep in mind that skin, and skin care, is far more complex than one allegedly miraculous ingredient. Think of it like your diet: As healthy as green tea is, if that's all you consumed, you'd soon be malnourished. Just like your diet should contain a healthy mix of nutritious foods, your skin (which is your body's largest organ) needs a wide array of helpful ingredients to become and remain smooth, healthy, and, yes, able to look and act younger.

To Algenist's credit, their products contain more than just alguronic acid. Most of them have a good blend of skin-repairing and antioxidant ingredients, although the ones they call out as key ingredients (such as apple stem cells) have no real published research proving their efficacy. Despite the fact that their products contain some tried-and-true anti-aging ingredients, Algenist makes the same mistakes as many other lines, such as using jar packaging (which won't keep any of the beneficial ingredients stable during use) and including fragrance or fragrant plant extracts to give the products an appealing scent. Fragrance isn't skin care and, in fact, more often than not, will cause irritation that hurts your skin's ability to look and act younger!

In the end, Algenist is not a must-have line, and it certainly isn't worth expanding your beauty budget to afford. There are some acceptable to impressive options for those who don't mind spending more than they need to for effective products, but you'll find a wider, often better range of options on our list of Best Anti-Aging/Anti-Wrinkle Products.

For more information about Algenist, call (877) 650-1837 or visit www.algenist.com.

Note: Algenist lists the alguronic acid in their products as algae exopolysaccharides, which is the accepted cosmetic labeling name for alguronic acid.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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