This lightweight daytime moisturizer with sunscreen has a lot going for it, but it also has just as many drawbacks. The price is probably the major issue because sunscreens must be applied liberally to get the stated level of sun protection on the label, and you are unlikely to apply a product that retails for almost $50 liberally.
Even if the price doesn't faze you, the formula is a mixed bag of good and potentially irritating ingredients. On the plus side, you'll get broad-spectrum protection that includes avobenzone for reliable UVA (think anti-aging) screening. Solar Defense also contains some very good antioxidants, which are essential to any well-formulated sunscreen.
On the downside, this contains some problematic fragrant plant extracts and lavender oil, which, despite its calming aroma, isn't skin caring (see More Info for details). Without the troublemakers, this would be a product we'd review favorably, but as is, you can find superior formulas that cost less and omit the problematic ingredients.
- Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Lightweight, hydrating formula.
- Expensive, which may discourage liberal application.
- Contains fragrant plant extracts known to be irritating.
- Lavender oil is a problem in any amount, especially in a leave-on product.
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).
Protects your skin with broad-spectrum sunscreens for the prevention of sunburn and sun damage that can lead to premature aging. It also features antioxidants to defend the skin against free-radical damage associated with sun exposure. The lightweight lotion formula absorbs quickly into the skin for complete coverage.
Active: Avobenzone (3.0%), Octinoxate (7.5%), Other: Water, Butylene Glycol, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Polysorbate 80, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate /VP Copolymer, Dimethyl Capramide, Nylon-12, Centella Asiatica Extract, Echinacea Purpurea Extract, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Allantoin, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Sorbitan Sesquicaprylate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Squalane, Carbomer, Sodium DNA, Polysorbate 60, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Benzoate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol , Titanium Dioxide (CI77891).
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, call 1-800-345-2761 or visit www.dermalogica.com.