This exceptionally silky, fragrance-free sunscreen contains only titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as active ingredients. Both are gentle sunscreen agents that provide broad-spectrum sun protection, so this is a great option for sensitive or rosacea-affected skin.
This would earn a higher rating if the formula contained more than one antioxidant (it contains a form of vitamin C listed as ascorbyl palmitate) and also offered a range of skin-repairing and cell-communicating ingredients.
Because this formula is very water-resistant (it's actually quite difficult to wash off), it is an ideal option for long days outdoors or when you know you'll be swimming or perspiring. As with any sunscreen, routine reapplication is necessary to maintain the stated level of protection.
Unlike other EltaMD sunscreens, this one leaves a slightly discernible white cast. Its dry finish makes it best for normal to oily skin not prone to breakouts.
- Provides broad-spectrum sun protection and is very water-resistant.
- Exceptionally silky texture glides over skin.
- Suitable for sensitive or rosacea-affected skin and great for use around the eyes.
- Leaves a discernible white cast due to the amount of mineral actives.
- Would be better if it contained more than a small amount of one antioxidant.
Formulated with purely physical active ingredients which are photostable. Delivers broad-spectrum protection to protect against UVA (aging) rays and UVB (burning) rays. Gentle and lightweight lotion is very water-resistant and rubs in quickly.
Active: Zinc Oxide 10%, Titanium Dioxide 5.5%; Other: Purified Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Lauryl PEG-9 Polymethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Silica
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.