Other than having a higher SPF rating from its greater percentage of active ingredients, this sunscreen is similar to Aveeno’s Hydrosport Sunblock Spray SPF 50. That product is nearly identical to the Wet Skin Sunblock sprays from Neutrogena, which makes sense because both Neutrogena and Aveeno are owned by Johnson & Johnson.
The chief selling point of this spray-on sunscreen is that you can apply it to wet skin—no need to towel-dry first. The technology Aveeno uses allows the sunscreen ingredients to cling to wet skin without dripping off, which means that even when you’re soaked or perspiring heavily, you’ll get reliable sun protection.
The problem? Like many spray-on sunscreens, the formula contains a high amount of alcohol. The active ingredients provide broad-spectrum sun protection (and include stabilized avobenzone for critical UVA protection), but the alcohol puts your skin at risk for dryness and irritation that hurts healthy collagen production. However, if the convenience helps you reapply sunscreen after two hours when you’re outside doing sports or playing in the water, then go for it—getting sunscreen on is the most important thing!
• Inexpensive, so you’ll be encouraged to apply liberally, which is necessary to get the amount of protection stated on the label.
• Provides broad-spectrum sun protection in convenient, easy-to-use spray form.
• You can spray this on wet skin and the formula is water-resistant.
• Amount of alcohol (it’s the main ingredient) causes irritation that hurts skin’s healing process and its ability to produce healthy collagen.
• Amount of film-forming agents can feel somewhat tacky.
• Contains more fragrance than skin-defending antioxidants.
• The high amount of active ingredients needed to reach SPF 85 puts your skin at increased risk for irritation, which may discourage liberal application or ongoing use.
Exclusive spray formula provides long-lasting UVA/UVB protection and withstands wear off from water and sweat.
Active: Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (15%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (10%), Oxybenzone (6%), Other: SD Alcohol 40 B, Dimethyl Ether, Octyldodecyl Citrate Crosspolymer, Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer, Ethyl Methicone, Cetyl Dimethicone Bis Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, Fragrance, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Nelumbo Nucifera (Lotus) Flower Wax, Diethylhexyl 2 6 Naphthalate, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A)
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.