Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion SPF 85 contains stabilized avobenzone for sufficient UVA protection, but it has an SPF rating that, while accurate, may make you think that you can apply this once and be outdoors all day without a care. Of course, the “continuous protection” name doesn’t help because every sunscreen must be reapplied if you’re going to spend several hours in the sun.
Although this sunscreen contains some vitamin-based antioxidants and an anti-irritant, it also contains a preservative (methylisothiazolinone) that is not recommended for use in leave-on products due to its sensitizing potential (Source: Contact Dermatitis, October 2006, pages 227–229).
Without this problematic preservative, this could have been a good sunscreen for normal to oily skin. One more point: According to FDA regulations, Aveeno should not be labeling this “waterproof” because no sunscreen is impervious to water; you still must reapply every two hours after swimming or sweating. “Water-resistant” is the term that is permitted to be used to describe how sunscreens like this function on skin.
Please see more information as to why Aveeno’s claims about this product being hypoallergenic are meaningless.
- Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Lightweight, silky texture in a water-resistant (not waterproof) formula.
- SPF rating is overkill for most people (see More Info for details).
- Contains a sensitizing preservative that, coupled with the level of active ingredients, increases the odds of a sensitized reaction.
- Misleading claim about this product being hypoallergenic, when there are no standards or regulations regulating the use of this term.
If you’re applying sunscreen liberally as directed, then SPF ratings above 50 are overkill. Keep in mind that the SPF number is not about the quality of the sunscreen, but the length of time it protects. In this case, there simply isn’t that much daylight in any part of the world to warrant such extreme protection.
However, because most of us under-apply sunscreen, those with higher SPF ratings can be potentially helpful. For example, if you’re applying half the recommended amount of a sunscreen rated SPF 100, you could still potentially be getting SPF 50, which is great.
However, there’s another issue to consider, too: The high amount of active ingredients required to reach this kind of stratospheric SPF rating puts your skin at greater risk of irritation, even if you’re not applying it liberally. For best results, when you need sun protection for a longer period of time, we urge you to stick with sunscreens rated SPF 25 to 45, and be sure to apply, and reapply, liberally each and every time.
The Hypoallergenic Claim
“Hypoallergenic” is little more than a nonsense word meant to make products sound safer or somehow better for sensitive skin. There are no accepted testing methods, ingredient restrictions, regulations, guidelines, rules, or procedures of any kind, anywhere in the world, for determining whether or not a product qualifies as being hypoallergenic. A company can label their product “hypoallergenic” because there is no regulation that says they can’t, no matter what proof they may point to—and what proof can they provide given there is no standard to measure against? Given that there are no regulations governing this supposed category, which was made up by the cosmetics industry, there are plenty of products labeled “hypoallergenic” that contain problematic ingredients and that could indeed trigger allergic reactions, even for those with no previous history of skin sensitivity. The word “hypoallergenic” gives you no reliable understanding of what you are or aren’t putting on your skin (Sources: www.fda.gov; Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, May 2004, pages 325–327; and Ostomy and Wound Management, March 2003, pages 20–21).
Only Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock lotion with SPF 85 is formulated to provide superior, long-lasting protection against skin damage caused by the sun. This exclusive formula shield your skin from environmental damage. Oil free and noncomedogenic, it absorbs quickly for a sheer, lightweight finish, and is also hypoallergenic and waterproof.
Active : Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (15%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (10%), Oxybenzone (6%) Other: Water, Styrene Acrylates Copolymer, Silica, Diethylhexyl 2 6 Naphthalate, Beeswax (Apis Mellifera), Cyclopentasiloxane, Ethylhexl Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Acrylates/C10 30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Fragrance, Chlorphenesin, Triethanolamine, Disodium EDTA, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (Licorice Root), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), BHT, Butylene, Glycol, Methylisothiazolinone, Diethylhexyl 2 6 Naphthalate, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein
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.