Visible Difference Skin Balancing Lotion 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:
5/28/2014
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
Yes

If you are in the market for a facial moisturizer with sunscreen, this is one you can cross off your list! Arden's formula doesn't measure up because the active sunscreen ingredients do not supply sufficient UVA protection, leaving your skin vulnerable to signs of aging. You can always use it under a well-formulated sunscreen but why use two products one great one that does both can suffice.

Aside from the sunscreen Arden makes special effort to call out other "key ingredients", namely retinyl linoleate, sodium hyaluronate, and the a form of vitamin C called tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. While there are excellent ingredients for skin, what Arden doesn't call out are the fragrant and potentially irritating sage leaf extract (see More Info for details) it contains. While sage does have antioxidant properties (like many plant extracts), it also has enough potential problems for skin that the benefit isn't worth the risk—not when so many plant extracts only serve to help skin.

This product also contains something Arden calls an "Alpha/Beta Hydroxy Compound" that is meant to exfoliate skin. These two ingredients are tridecyl salicylate and sodium lactate. Tridecyl salicylate is a salt form of salicylic acid, and has extremely limited exfoliation benefits. Sodium lactate is a salt form of lactic acid, and while it does have some moisturizing benefits for skin, this side of the "Alpha/Beta Hydroxy Compound" has little to no exfoliation abilities. Neither of these ingredients are worth getting out your credit card, especially when measured against the well-research trio of lactic acid, glycolic acid, and salicylic acid.

Unfortunately, the only Visible Difference you are likely to find is that you're out $40 if you were hoping to "refine and retexturize" your skin and get superior sun protection. If you are drawn to this product for its exfoliant claims, you are better off skipping this product and checking out one from our list of Best Exfoliants.

Pros:
  • Lightweight texture ideal for combination to slightly dry skin.
  • Contains a few beneficial ingredients.
Cons:
  • Provides inadequate UVA protection, leaving skin vulnerable to more signs of aging.
  • Contains a fragrant plant extract plus numerous fragrance ingredients that pose a risk of irritation (and negates the "gentle" claim on the label).
  • Claims about exfoliation are limited.
More Info:

Irritation from Fragrance

Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).

Insufficient UVA Protection

This does not include the ingredients needed to shield your skin from the sun's entire range of damaging UVA rays, which is essential for anti-aging benefits. The sun's UVB rays are what cause sunburn, and the SPF number reflects that protection, but there is no rating for the sun's silent, though more penetrating (and in many ways more damaging), UVA rays. Any SPF-rated product should contain one or more of the following UVA-protecting ingredients listed as "active" to ensure you are getting UVA protection: avobenzone, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, Mexoryl SX (ecamsule), or Tinosorb (Sources: Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences, December 2011, pages 81–90; Cosmetic Dermatology, Second Edition, Baumann, Leslie MD, McGraw Hill, 2009, pages 246–252; American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, Supplement, 2009, pages 19–24; The Encyclopedia of Ultraviolet Filters, Shaath, Nadim A., Allured Publishing, 2007; and Photodermatology, Photoimmunology, and Photomedicine, October 2003, pages 242–253).

This gentle, oil-free lotion helps protect skin from UVA/UVB rays while providing the right amount of hydration all day long. Our special Alpha/Beta Hydroxy Compound also works to refine, and retexturize skin.

Active: Octinoxate 6%, Oxybenzone 3%. Inactive: Water, Dimethicone, Isononyl Isononanoate, Glycerin, Tridecyl Salicylate, Steareth-21, Isostearic Acid, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Lactate, Retinyl Linoleate, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopherol, Glyceryl Stearate, Propylene Glycol, Panthenol, C12-20 Acid PEG-8 Ester, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-100 Stearate, Trilaureth-4 Phosphate, Steareth-2, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Ethylene/VA Copolymer, Sclerotium Gum, Triethanolamine, BHT, Disodium EDTA, Parfum/Fragrance, Benzyl Salicylate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Limonene, Linalool, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Propylparaben.

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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