This is a fragrance-free, spray-on sunscreen that contains a good amount of zinc oxide to ensure broad-spectrum sun protection. Because the zinc oxide is joined by sunscreen active octinoxate, this isn’t an ideal option for extra-sensitive skin; those with extra-sensitive skin are more likely to react to the “chemical” sunscreen actives, though not everyone with sensitive skin has this issue. On balance, this is best for normal to combination or slightly dry skin.
Although this provides great sun protection, take note that the sprayer’s opening needs to be kept clean or you may experience some clumping from buildup of zinc oxide, which results in a messy, uneven application.
EltaMD claims the zinc oxide goes on transparent, but that’s not the case. This doesn’t leave a strong white cast, but requires thorough blending before setting to what’s best described as a subtle white cast. We would rate this sunscreen higher if it contained some antioxidants for additional environmental protection and repair. As is, it’s expensive for what you get.
- Fragrance-free, convenient spray-on application.
- Provides broad-spectrum sun protection and is water-resistant.
- Does not leave a strong white cast.
- Not an ideal choice for extra-sensitive skin.
- Sprayer opening can clog if not wiped down between uses.
- Would be better if it also included a range of antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients.
EltaMD® UV Aero Broad-Spectrum SPF 45 continuous spray sunscreen with transparent zinc oxide sprays on white so you can be sure of coverage then dries clear. It provides fast and convenient sun protection for children and adults and makes it easy to protect hard-to-reach places.
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 9.3%, Oxtinoxate 7.5%, Other Ingredients: Isobutane, Propane, Butylene Glycol, Capryloyl Glycine, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Purified Water, Sodium Chloride, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Undecylenoyl Glycine
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.