This silky sunscreen lotion contains stabilized avobenzone for critical UVA (think anti-aging) protection and, combined with the other active ingredient, it helps defend your skin from multiple signs of aging. That’s great, which is why it’s disappointing to report that the formula includes a couple of citrus oils known to be irritating. They impart a fresh, clean scent, but this is yet another example of how fragrance isn’t skin care.
The citrus oils can be irritating on their own, but in this case your skin also must struggle against the irritation from fragrant lavender, sage, and clary oils, none of which have any established benefit for skin (see More Info for details on lavender oil). Lots of plant extracts provide benefits without the risk of irritation, so the question is: Why settle for a product whose plant extracts have known risks?
Note: that the inactive ingredients for this sunscreen are listed in alphabetical rather than in descending order. This is permissible because the FDA classifies sunscreens as over-the-counter drugs.
- Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Silky, lightweight lotion texture is workable for all but very dry skin.
- Contains several fragrant plant oils known to be irritating.
- The irritation from the fragrant oils hurts skin’s ability to look and act younger.
Research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application causes skin-cell death (Source: Cell Proliferation, June 2004, pages 221–229). Lavender leaves contain camphor, which is a known skin irritant. Because the fragrance constituents in lavender oil oxidize when exposed to air, lavender oil is a pro-oxidant, and this enhanced oxidation increases its irritancy on skin (Source: Contact Dermatitis, September 2008, pages 143–150). Lavender oil is the most potent form, and even small amounts of it (0.25% or less) are problematic. It is a must to avoid in skin-care products, although it’s fine as an aromatherapy agent for inhalation or relaxation (Sources: Psychiatry Research, February 2007, pages 89–96; and www.naturaldatabase.com).
A hydrating broad spectrum SPF 30 moisturizer to protect skin.
Active: Avobenzone 2.0%, Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 5.0%, Octocrylene 7.5%, Oxybenzone 5.0%, Other: Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Carbomer, Cetyl Alcohol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Citrus Aurantium (Bitter Orange) Flower Oil, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Leaf Oil, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycol Distearate, Isohexadecane, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, PEG-100 Stearate, Polysorbate 80, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Stearyl Alcohol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Titanium Dioxide, Tocopheryl Acetate, Water
Bioelements is a spa-and-salon sold skin-care line that was founded in 1991 by makeup artist turned aesthetician, Barbara Salomone. An interview with Salomone in the January/February 2006 issue of Renew magazine had statements from her indicating that aestheticians will soon be recognized as true skin-care professionals and her advice to newcomers is to get as much education as you can. To that end, Bioelements has seven education centers across the United States. However, if they're teaching established and upcoming aestheticians about Bioelements products, we are worried. Few spa lines subject skin to the irritating ingredients dispersed through well over half of the products this line offers. If that isn't bad enough, Bioelements ignores some fundamental aspects of skin care. That means no well-formulated AHA or BHA products (it's not a good formula if it subjects skin to needless irritation), and sunscreens rated below the standard SPF 15 recommendation (sun protection products are vastly outnumbered in this line by moisturizers and serums), not to mention the need to keep light- and air-sensitive ingredients, such as retinol, stable.
Company literature states that at Bioelements "We mean what we say. No gimmicks, no hype, and no false promises. We're professional skin care experts dedicated to keeping skin clean, clear, calm, and younger-looking." That sounds great but barely a word of it is true. This line definitely has its share of hype and false promises, from claiming that probiotics are a youth elixir, to regular references to what the line refers to as "Bioelements Adaptogens" and aromatherapist oils.
It's those very oils that causes havoc for skin, though in a spa experience their aroma can be pleasant. Skin-care experts would know better than to use any of Bioelements' numerous problem products, especially since, with so many irritants in most of the products, clear, calm skin is far from becoming a reality. Any company can establish its own education center, but what's key is the type of education provided and how the information is discussed. We have received countless letters from disheartened aestheticians bemoaning the "education" and classes they sit through, only to be spoon-fed information about skin-care products and practices they know are unhelpful and untrue. They ask me where to turn because they have a sincere interest in helping people take the best possible care of their skin, and are conscientious about the products they recommend. I hope this book helps such aestheticians, because Bioelements and many other spa-oriented lines are not creating products that epitomize state-of-the-art skin care, though they'd love for you to believe otherwise.
For more information about Bioelements, call 800.433.6650 or visit www.bioelements.com.