Prep + Prime Face Protect Lotion SPF 50 once earned our highest rating, but its most recent reformulation turned out to be a downgrade. Why? While it still provides reliable broad-spectrum sun protection and some beneficial ingredients, those are now combined with potentially irritating, fragrant ingredients that can actually pro-age skin.
That's a shame considering the blend of antioxidant-rich plant extracts and beneficial kukui oil that this has to offer (and more to love, the opaque squeeze tube packaging helps keep them stable). The formula also has anti-inflammatory properties to help calm skin, but then things go awry…
What soothing benefit Prep + Prime Face Protect Lotion SPF 50 could have had is largely negated by a handful of fragrant irritants in the formula. Although the scent isn't overpowering, it's particularly concerning that this contains a problematic component of lavender oil, linalool. (See More Info to find out why linalool is bad news for skin.)
Though linalool is present in a small amount here, the fact that it is combined with other fragrance ingredients (lavender flower water) emphasizes its risk for provoking inflammation and free-radical damage in skin.
Otherwise, this daytime moisturizer has a thin, breathable lotion texture that absorbs comfortably into skin. It isn't overly emollient nor is it too drying—just somewhere nicely in between for those with normal to combination/dry skin.
FYI: The formula does have a slight sheen from the inclusion of mica, and though it's subtle, it's something those with oily skin should avoid if they want a truly shine-free complexion.
In the end, Prep + Prime Face Protect Lotion SPF 50's combination of good and bad ingredients amount to a gamble for skin. Instead, look to our list of Best Daytime Moisturizers with Sunscreen for skin-friendly options.
- Provides broad-spectrum protection.
- Feels breathable on skin, not thick or heavy.
- Contains antioxidant-rich plant extracts and kukui oil.
- Contains fragrant irritants, including linalool, that put skin at risk.
In-vitro research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool and linalyl acetate, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application of as little a concentration as 0.25% causes cell death (Cell Proliferation, June 2004). This study was conducted on endothelial cells, which are cells that line blood pathways in the body and play a critical role in the inflammatory process of skin.
As linalool and linalyl acetate are both rapidly absorbed by skin and can be detected within blood cells in less than 20 minutes, endothelial cells are an ideal choice for such a test (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, 1992). The results of this research also demonstrated that lavender has a damaging effect on fibroblasts, which are cells that produce collagen.
The fragrance constituents in lavender oil, linalool and linalyl acetate, oxidize when exposed to air, and in this process their potential for causing an allergic reaction is increased (Contact Dermatitis, 2008).
If you're wondering why lavender oil doesn't appear to be problematic for you, it's because research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it happening for your skin to suffer damage (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).