The name for this sunscreen may make you think it’s an all-natural product, but that’s not the case. Although the active ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are naturally sourced, what’s needed to make these ingredients useful in sunscreens is anything but natural!
That’s not bad (no question this sunscreen is an effective option), it just makes the name misleading. Besides, the formula contains a mix of natural and synthetic ingredients, just like the majority of sunscreens on the market.
This sunscreen has a lightweight, silky texture that leaves a slight white cast and a somewhat drying matte finish. Those with normal to oily skin that’s also sensitive will do best with this fragrance-free sunscreen.
Aveeno included some notable anti-irritants to help calm sensitive skin, although the amounts of each are lower than what we’d like to see, thus keeping this sunscreen from earning our top rating.
- Provides gentle, mineral-based broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Silky, lightweight lotion is easy to apply.
- Matte finish can help keep oily shine in check and works well under makeup.
- Amount of anti-irritants is likely too low to offer much benefit for sensitive skin.
- Leaves a subtle but visible white cast.
Aveeno natural protection sunblock lotion with SPF 30 contains mineralblock technology with 100% naturally-sourced active ingredients, a more natural alternative. Developed in partnership with leading dermatologists, this extra gentle formula is specially designed for sensitive skin.
Active: Titanium Dioxide (4.3%), Zinc Oxide (3%), Other: Water, C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetyl Dimethicone, Styrene Acrylates Copolymer, Trisiloxane, Dimethicone, PEG-8, Beeswax (Apis Mellifera), Dimethylimidazolidinone Rice Starch, Polyamide 5, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Benzyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Alcohol, Dipropylene Glycol Dibenzoate, Caprylyl Glycol, PPG-15 Stearyl Ether Benzoate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Behenyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Citric Acid, Bisabolol (L-Alpha), Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Arachidyl Glucoside, Chlorphenesin, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (Licorice Root), Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Sodium Citrate, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Polysorbate 60, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract (Oat)
Beginning with its first product in 1945, Soothing Bath Treatment, still sold today as part of the company's Baby line of products, Aveeno has prided itself on using natural ingredients. In some ways, they were a pioneer in the field, though for years the only natural ingredient of note in their products was oatmeal. Consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson purchased the brand in 1999, and wasted almost no time expanding it. A handful of bar cleansers and bath products were spun off into complete collections of facial-care products and an ever-growing number of body lotions and washes, not to mention shaving gels (Aveeno is one of the few companies whose shaving gels are truly fragrance-free).
Not surprisingly, many of the facial-care products from Aveeno are similar to those from Johnson & Johnson–owned Neutrogena. The differences typically lie in the natural ingredients each brand promotes. A cornerstone ingredient for Aveeno is soy, while Neutrogena has experimented (with varying degrees of success) with copper, retinol, salicylic acid, and melibiose. Overall, Neutrogena has a much larger and more comprehensive selection of products, though their formulas are also more problematic. Aveeno would do well to diversify a bit, or at least acknowledge that it takes more than a single star ingredient to provide superior skin-care products. As is, most of their anti-wrinkle products don't compete favorably with the more well-rounded options, not just from Neutrogena but also from Olay, Dove, and, in some respects, L'Oreal.
Getting back to the issue of soy, you'll see from the reviews it is indeed a helpful ingredient for skin—just not in the same multifaceted, does-everything manner Aveeno touts on each soy-containing product's package. A big proponent for Aveeno's use of soy is dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf. She is quoted on Aveeno's web site, stating that "It is now clear that the ability of natural soy to deliver multiple benefits to skin plays a lead role in high performance skin care." That sounds great but it doesn't explain why Aveeno ignores research on countless other antioxidants, skin-identical ingredients, or cell-communicating ingredients, all elements Dr. Graf uses in her separate, namesake product line. Interestingly, with Graf's own products relying on a blend of efficacious ingredients, including soy, it's a good question why she decided to endorse Aveeno's one-note soy products.
The bottom line is that when it comes to shopping for skin-care products at the drugstore, Aveeno, for all its talk of being a leader in "Active Naturals," doesn't have the all-inclusive product assortment needed to take the best possible care of your skin. However, paying attention to their top offerings is time (and money) well-spent!
For more information about Aveeno, owned by Johnson & Johnson, call (866) 428-3366 or visit www.aveeno.com.