PM Therapy Facial Moisturizer
1.7 fl. oz. for $30
Last Updated:03.16.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

This is essentially a thicker version of EltaMD's AM Therapy Facial Moisturizer, but it has a significant problem not found in the AM version. This does have a creamy texture that feels protective and supplies normal to dry skin with a good mix of barrier-repair ingredients, such as niacinamide, lecithin, and fatty acids, but it applies poorly, tending to ball up when massaged into the skin or mixed with other products. From time to time, you'll encounter a couple incompatible products that ball up when applied together, but it is rare for a product to ball up and roll like this when it's applied by itself. You'll notice this effect when applying makeup, too. This issue keeps this from earning a higher rating despite its overall good roster of ingredients.

  • Fragrance-free and suitable for sensitive skin.
  • Creamy texture supplies a good range of skin-repairing ingredients to improve skin's barrier function.
  • Niacinamide offers multiple benefits for all skin types.
  • Formula tends to ball up and roll as it is being applied, by itself or when other products are applied over it.
    Could benefit from a greater range of antioxidants.

Elta MD PM Therapy Facial Moisturizer restores youthfulness while strengthening your skin's natural moisture barrier. Niacinamide blends with antioxidants to boost your skin color and tone, as it speeds up your skin's repair processes. Rice protein peptides aid in encouraging cell growth, promoting collagen formation and improving elasticity.


Purified Water, Ethylhexyl Isononanoate, Niacinamide, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/ Sodium Acryloyl Dimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Linoleic Acid, 1-3-Bis (N-2-(Hydroxyethyl) Palmitoylamino) -2- Hydroxy Propane, C10-30 Cholesterol/Lanosterol Esters, Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycereth-26, Cetearyl Glucoside, Thioctic Acid, Distearyldimonium Chloride, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Butylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Bisulfite, Sodium Hydroxide

Brand Overview

EltaMD At-a-Glance

Strengths: Most products are fragrance-free; all sunscreens provide broad-spectrum protection with zinc oxide; cosmetically elegant sunscreens that are easy to apply and do not leave a telltale white cast; good eye gel.

Weaknesses: Some of the sunscreens are pricey, which may discourage the liberal application necessary to achieve the level of sun protection stated on the label; all of the sunscreens would be better if they contained a greater range of antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients; the post-procedure products and body lotion are stunningly basic and would not be a "best" option for post-wound care.

Texas-based EltaMD is a small line of skin-care products that specializes in sunscreens. If you're like most of the women who've asked us to review this line, you most likely came across it at your dermatologist's office. EltaMD is a "physician-dispensed" line, but despite that professional allure, their products are not "medical" in the least. In fact, they are widely available for purchase online, and nothing about their skin-care formulas requires a prescription or your doctor's sanction. In fact, we're fairly certain many doctors wouldn't know how to decipher the ingredient list on the label of these products

Without question, EltaMD takes the necessity of daily sun protection seriously. They offer several sunscreens and moisturizers with sunscreen, each providing broad-spectrum protection from either zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. In short, this line gets its sunscreens right, and the fact that all of them are fragrance-free is an added bonus for your skin.

Perhaps most exciting is that almost all of EltaMD's sunscreens with zinc oxide (often joined by the synthetic sunscreen active octinoxate) apply beautifully and do not leave a noticeable white cast, despite their mineral base.

The company maintains that they use micronized zinc oxide, and you can tell. These sunscreens are easy to apply and most have cosmetically elegant textures that feel more like moisturizers than traditional "beach" sunscreens. They also work great under makeup, although some may find the mineral finish not to their liking, just based on personal preference.

Of course, EltaMD isn't the only company to offer a good selection of sunscreens that provide broad-spectrum protection. Nor are they the only game in town when it comes to using micronized zinc oxide; lots of other companies, including SkinCeuticals, Peter Thomas Roth, and Paula's Choice, use it because it's effective and aesthetically pleasing. However, EltaMD's formulas are quite good and compete favorably with others, especially for women with normal to dry or combination skin that's not prone to breakouts.

Where EltaMD's sunscreens could improve is by providing a greater array of antioxidants. Some of their sunscreens contain none, while most have only one, typically vitamin E. That's not bad, but given the research proving how antioxidants boost the efficacy of sunscreens and offer additional protection for your skin, it's good medicine to include several antioxidants in effective amounts rather than just one.

EltaMD also offers a small range of facial-care products, most of which are fragrance-free, although if they are from a "physican's" line, as this one is, they should all be fragrance-free because fragrance is not skin care and is almost always damaging to skin. The facial-care products are decent options, but for the most part they are ordinary and not preferred over hundreds of others. Sun protection is where it's at for this brand.

For more information about EltaMD, call (800) 633-8872 or visit www.eltamd.com.

Note: The Paula's Choice Research Team wishes to extend a special thank you to EltaMD. When we contacted the company to request information and assistance (something we do for every brand reviewed on this site) they graciously sent us every product along with helpful information on each. It is not often a cosmetics company assists us at all, let alone so willingly, and we sincerely appreciate it.

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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PM formula

If your going to give the AM 4 stars, this deserves it too. I've used this product for months. Sensitive/dry skin. It has never rolled up. I use it over vitamin C, serum and sunscreen mixed. Very affordable for what's out there and quality product.

Reviewed by
Douglas, G
Doesn't ball up for me

I love this moisturizer. It's never "balled up" for me and I use it with Tretinoin cream, toners, and Essences. I wonder if Beautypedia tested authentic EltaMD?

Reviewed by
Scarlett A.
Beautypedia Team Response

Hey there!  Thanks for your feedback.  The one we tested was authentic :)

My fave night moisturizer!!!

There is no balling up for me! Not greasy at all which I appreciate since I am outbreak or acne prone. I am actually sensitive to alot of skin care products but no bad reaction with this one!

Reviewed by
Holy Grail Evening Moisturiser

Totally love this stuff. Full of great ingredients for the skin and hydrates nicely. I also do not experience any balling up, whether applying this directly to skin or after other products, so I'm inclined to think that the experience Paula had was the exception, not the norm for this item. It's a little pricey for me because I need to order it internationally, but worth the money.

Reviewed by
Lexie B.
My favorite moisturizer.. no balling up for me!

I love this lightweight moisturizer. I have tried many moisturizers for my oily, acne-prone, dehydrated skin. Almost all of them have clogged my pores, except for this one. I don't experience the "balling up" that is mentioned by Paula's review. The directions on this product say to apply to damp skin. I wonder if when they tested this product they did not follow directions? I apply a tiny amount to slightly damp or dry skin. Love it! This is probably not moisturzing enough for dry skin.

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