Daily Defense SPF 15
3.4 fl. oz. for $36
Last Updated:09.24.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

This daytime moisturizer with sunscreen contains several forms of lavender, including lavender oil. 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).

If that weren't bad enough, this also contains eucalyptus oil, which also a potent skin irritant due to its chemical components, some of which are toxic and can be fatal when ingested. Truly a mixed bag, because this oil, like rosemary oil, is one that has benefits and risks. Because the risks are primarily with topical application to skin, eucalyptus oil is an ingredient to avoid (Sources: www.naturaldatabase.com; Basic Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, June 2006, pages 575-581).


Non-greasy, non-chalky, fast-absorbing day defense. Don’t face the day without this multi-tasking daytime lotion. Lightweight formula helps condition and promotes skin recovery while defending against skin-aging UV rays. Beats dryness and leaves a shine-free finish. Everyday use means healthy, great-looking skin. Contains no artificial fragrance or color.


Active ingredients: Avobenzone (3%), Octinoxate (6.5%), Octisalate (3%), Oxybenzone (3.5%) Other ingredients: Water/Aqua, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Phosphate, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Polyglyceryl-2 Stearate, Dimethicone, Lactamide MEA, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Dimethyl Capramide, Mahonia Aquifolium Root Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia, (Lavender) Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Hydrolyzed Opuntia Ficus Indica Flower Extract, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Extract, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Lavandula Spica (Lavender) Flower Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Sodium DNA, Tocopherol, Lecithin, Allantoin, Panthenol, Palmitoyl Hydroxypropyltrimonium Amylopectin/Glycerin Crosspolymer, Glycerin Crosspolymer, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Carbomer, Polyquaternium-10, Cetyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Aminomethyl Propanol, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol.

Brand Overview

Dermalogica At-A-Glance

Strengths: Good eye-makeup remover; a unique skin-lightening product; a couple of commendable moisturizers, one with stabilized vitamin C.

Weaknesses: Expensive; almost every category has one or more products that contain irritating ingredients with no established benefit for skin; Clean Start and MediBac lines are particularly disappointing; the SPF products tend to be mediocre to poor.

Dermalogica's name implies a logical relationship to dermatology, which makes it sound as if you are getting serious skin care. The subtitle on their products is even more commanding: "A Skin Care System Researched and Developed by the International Dermal Institute." But what is the International Dermal Institute, you ask? Are there any dermatologists there? Apparently not: The International Dermal Institute is a Dermalogica-owned school for aestheticians who want an education beyond what is required for their cosmetology license, and the classes are taught by aestheticians.

Does the professional atmosphere of the school associated with Dermalogica mean better products? The proof is in the pudding, and this pudding is, for the most part, just Jell-O, not chocolate mousse. A company so concerned with skin-care education should be ashamed of itself for offering so many products that damage skin with known irritants and, more egregiously, offering so many sunscreens that lack sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients. Dermalogica's education-oriented, serious-minded, and clinical positioning doesn’t mesh with the majority of their products, and is on par with tobacco company executives teaching an aerobics class.

According to company history, the reason Dermalogica products came to be was that founder Jane Wurwand could not find a spa-oriented skin-care line that met her criteria. She was dismayed that so many skin-care lines aimed at the aesthetics market had products that contained alcohol, artificial colors, fragrance, mineral oil, and lanolin, ingredients that she believed had a well-documented history of problems. That's true for fragrance and alcohol (and artificial colors to a lesser extent), but mineral oil and lanolin have no documented history of causing skin problems. If anything, quite the opposite is true. Further, if Dermalogica's founders were so concerned about potentially or definitively harmful ingredients, why do their products contain so many of them? Where is the research proving that lavender oil, camphor, balm mint, arnica, ginger oil, and citrus oils are helpful for skin?

For more information about Dermalogica now owned by Unilever, call 1-800-345-2761 or visit www.dermalogica.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Stings, smells foul

Even the sample I received is going to my product graveyard. Couldn't wouldn't finish it. It smells unpleasant and stung my whole face.

Reviewed by
Avery W.
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