Visible Difference Gentle Hydrating Cream Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 15

Price:
$39.50 - 1.7 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizer with Sunscreen
Last Updated:
3/22/2013
Jar Packaging:
Yes
Tested On Animals:
Yes

This daytime moisturizer with sunscreen deserves credit for its ability to provide reliable broad-spectrum sun protection—the #1 way to reduce and prevent signs of aging. Avobenzone provides critical UVA screening, so in terms of sun protection, you're covered. We also like that the formula is rich in skin-repairing ingredients and antioxidants, but these benefits are countered by several missteps.

One disappointment is the choice of jar packaging, because it won't keep the numerous light- and air-sensitive ingredients in the formula stable once opened (see More Info for details).

Another problem stems from some of the plant extracts, such as narcissus, which has no known benefit for skin, but whose fragrant components put skin at risk of irritation. Given that the active sunscreen ingredients can be sensitizing on their own, it's unwise to combine them with fragrant ingredients that can be irritating as well. It's too bad Arden's revamping of their Visible Difference line didn't result in fragrance-free products and better packaging.

See our list of Best Moisturizers With Sunscreen for today's top options.

Pros:
  • Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
  • Contains a good mix of skin-repairing ingredients and antioxidants.
Cons:
  • Jar packaging won't keep key ingredients stable once opened.
  • Contains a potentially irritating amount of the fragrant plant narcissus.
  • Fragrance ingredients may further the potential for a sensitized reaction from the sunscreen ingredients, especially when applied around the eyes (and the eye area needs sun protection, too).
More Info:

The fact that it's packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria, which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818–829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271–288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314–321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197–203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1–32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).

Helps your skin maintain its own ideal moisture level and leaves your face feeling fresh and smooth with no tightness. SPF 15 helps protect your skin from UV damage.

Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Avobenzone 3.0%, Oxybenzone 3.0%. Inactive Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Isononyl Isononanoate, Dimethicone, Cetearyl Glucoside, Pentylene Glycol, Butyl Stearate, Tridecyl Salicylate, Cetyl Ricinoleate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Narcissus Tazetta Bulb Extract, Trifolium Pratense (Clover) Flower Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol, Tocopherol Acetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetearyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Glyceryl Stearate, Sodium PCA, Trehalose, Urea, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Lecithin, Phospholipids, Polyphosphorylcholine Glycol Acrylate, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, PEG-100 Stearate, PEG-8 Laurate, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sodium Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, Polyquaternium-51, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Hexylene Glycol, Isododecane, PEG-8, Xanthan Gum, Nylon-12, BHT, Disodium EDTA, Mica, Tin Oxide, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Parfum/Fragrance, Benzyl Salicylate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, Linalool, Benzoic Acid, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Propylparaben, Sorbic Acid, Chlorphenesin, Titanium Dioxide.

Former nurse Elizabeth Arden was a pioneer in the beauty industry. At the turn of the 20th century, Arden began her legacy when she opened her first salon, with the now-familiar red door. Over the next several years she introduced new products and services to women unaccustomed to such choices, and almost single-handedly made it acceptable for modern women to wear makeup. And while Arden understood and met these beauty needs, she was also adept at self-promotion and packaging, helping to solidify the idea that what holds the product should be as beautiful as the woman who uses it. She was the front-runner in the cosmetics industry for quite some time, until another young go-getter by the name of Estee Lauder began her own empire—one that would eventually lead to the Elizabeth Arden line being almost an afterthought in the mind of many consumers.

Not only has Arden's image been diminished over the years due to odd distribution patterns (consumers were getting mixed messages as this prestige line began showing up in drug and discount chain stores), but also through their own formulary mistakes and seeming unwillingness to pay attention to current research. Given the history of this line and several outstanding products they've produced in the past, it's very frustrating that what's offered today is such a mishmash of good and bad, with a hefty dose of average. Arden still has several sunscreens that fall short by leaving out sufficient UVA protection. In contrast, Estee Lauder and the Lauder-owned lines have their sunscreen acts together and consistently impress by including other state-of-the-art goodies to amplify the environmental protection of their moisturizers.

Many of Arden's products also contain potentially problematic ingredients or are packaged in a way that puts the light- and air-sensitive ingredients at risk of breaking down shortly after the product is opened. Given Elizabeth Arden's (the woman) pioneering, innovative spirit, we can't imagine her being completely pleased with the state of her namesake skin-care line (Arden passed away in 1966). Having the gorgeous Catherine Zeta-Jones as a spokesmodel for most of the early 2000s may have raised more interest in this brand than in years past, but a pretty face and eye-catching ads don't always translate to good skin care, as evidenced by the reviews on this site. There are some very impressive products in this line, but it's definitely one that demands careful attention to what you're buying lest you put your skin at risk.

For more information about Elizabeth Arden, call (800) 326-7337 or visit www.elizabetharden.com.

Elizabeth Arden Makeup

Cosmetics trailblazer Elizabeth Arden may have been single-handedly responsible for bringing modern makeup to American women (she opened the famous Red Door Salon in 1910 and formulated the first blush and tinted powders in 1912), but today's lineup of Arden makeup has far more disappointments than its pioneering namesake would have liked. Most of the Arden foundations with sunscreen either leave out the five prime UVA-screening active ingredients or because their SPF numbers are unnecessarily low. Either way, only one of the foundations with sunscreens can be relied on as your sole source of facial sun protection.

In contrast to the mostly disappointing foundations, you'll be pleased with what Arden offers for concealer, eyeshadow, lipstick, and mascara. Each of these categories has some brilliant products to consider, and they serve to prove, at least to a modest extent, that Elizabeth Arden makeup is not to be counted out just yet. The remaining products have little to extol, either because they are truly ineffective or because the competition has Arden beat by a mile. A continual bright spot for Arden is that their tester units are typically well organized and the colors are grouped so it's easy to zero in on what you like.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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