This is the sunscreen EltaMD recommends for athletes and children, although the formula isn't too different from many of their other options. In addition, a couple of the synthetic active ingredients in this formula (octinoxate and octisalate) are not the best for use on children; the mineral actives titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are preferred because they cause no irritation.
Among the EltaMD sunscreens and facial moisturizers with sunscreen, this entry feels the heaviest and most like a traditional sunscreen. You get great broad-spectrum protection in a water-resistant formula, but the tradeoff is a somewhat heavy feel and a slightly greasy finish, which makes it best for normal to dry skin not prone to breakouts.
The waxes and silicones in this sunscreen help ensure it stays in place, while zinc oxide is fairly tenacious on its own. Considering that this formula is marketed to those most likely to spend a lot of time outdoors, it is disappointing that the only antioxidant is a tiny amount of vitamin E (tocopheryl acetate). The research is clear that multiple antioxidants added to sunscreens help boost their efficacy, while also protecting skin from environmental damage. Everyone, especially outdoor enthusiasts, should look for sunscreens that provide broad-spectrum protection and also include several antioxidants.
- Provides broad-spectrum sun protection and is water-resistant.
- Does not leave a noticeable white cast.
- Feels heavier than EltaMD's other sunscreens.
- Two of the three active ingredients make it not the best option for use on children.
- Would be better if it also included a range of antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients.
The list of inactive ("other") ingredients in this sunscreen are listed in alphabetical order rather than descending order of content. This is permissible by U.S. regulations because sunscreens are classified by the FDA as over-the-counter drugs, not cosmetics. We're not sure why EltaMD used this approach for some sunscreen ingredient lists and lists others in descending order, because the latter makes it easier for consumers to differentiate a worthwhile product from a less exciting formula.
A high-powered SPF 50 sun block ideal for outdoor athletes, EltaMD's UV Sport is durable, waterproof formula that won't wear off or run. This incredible formula brings you long-lasting UVA and UVB protection with a unique blend of effective, active ingredients including Z-Cote, a form of micronized zinc oxide. The moisturizing lotion formula leaves the skin feeling soft with no greasy residue. Great for athletes and children.
Active: Zinc Oxide (9%), Octinoxate (7.5%), Octisalate (5%) Other: Beeswax, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl Dimethicone, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Disodium EDTA, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Purified Water, Sodium Chloride, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane
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.