Beach Defense Sunscreen Spray Broad Spectrum SPF 30

by Neutrogena  
Price:
$9.49 - 6.5 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Sensitive Skin Products > Sun Products > SPF 30-49 Sunscreen
Last Updated:
8/12/2013
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
Yes

This water-resistant, spray-on sunscreen (which does spray from any angle, as advertised) provides broad-spectrum protection that includes stabilized avobenzone for critical UVA screening.

Despite the name, there's nothing especially beach-worthy about this sunscreen that makes it worth considering over lots of others that provide broad-spectrum protection in spray form. Neutrogena sells so many different types of sunscreens it's nearly impossible to keep track of them, and the Beach Defense line, while able to protect skin from sun damage, isn't an improvement over the other sunscreens they sell.

What keeps this from earning a better rating is the amount of alcohol, which poses a risk of irritation. It also lacks an array of antioxidants that would boost the skin's defenses when it's exposed to the sun. This contains a tiny amount of vitamin E (tocopheryl acetate), but your skin needs more than that for a day in the sun—although that's less of an issue for skin from the neck down than on the face because facial skin is always exposed to the elements.

The alcohol allows this spray-on sunscreen to dry quickly, but the formula doesn't have the same high-tech abilities as Neutrogena's alcohol-based Wet Skin sunscreen sprays, all of which are better choices for active days outdoors, whether at the beach or elsewhere. The key distinction is that the Wet Skin sunscreens work even when sprayed on wet skin, and the alcohol is a part of the formulary process necessary for that to happen.

Pros:
  • Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
  • Water-resistant.
  • Sprays from any angle so is easy to apply (and reapply, which is necessary if you're outdoors for more than a couple of hours).
Cons:
  • Amount of alcohol poses a risk of irritation and dryness.
  • Formula contains only a tiny amount of the antioxidant vitamin E.
Beach Defense™ Sunscreen Spray provides beach strength broad spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection in a lightweight, fast absorbing mist, ideal for outdoor skin protection of the active family.
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 8%, Octisalate 4%, Octocrylene 2%, Oxybenzone 5%. Inactive Ingredients: Alcohol Denat., Isobutane, Dimethicone, Acrylates/Octylacrylamide Copolymer, Trisiloxane, Diethylhexyl 2, 6-Naphthalate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Fragrance.

Johnson & Johnson–owned Neutrogena has been around for over 50 years, and they've come a long way since they launched their first transparent, bronze, detergent-based bar soap (it also contains tallow). The bars are still sold, and while we still don't recommend them (they are too drying for all skin types), the good news is that Neutrogena has come a very long way from where they started. In fact, several of their products represent truly state-of-the-art options.

Strolling the skin-care aisles of any drugstore or mass-market store reveals that Neutrogena vies for shelf space and prominence with only one other brand, Procter & Gamble's Olay. For the most part, both companies offer a similar assortment of products, with Olay being slightly more focused on anti-aging products and Neutrogena going for broader appeal, offering a nearly equal amount of antiwrinkle and anti-acne products. Regrettably the latter category presents few viable options.

Where Neutrogena really excels (and has for years) is with water-soluble cleansers, AHAs, retinol, and sunscreen products. Their Healthy Skin lineup offers some beautifully formulated moisturizers with glycolic acid, and the sunscreens offer something for everyone, including some ingenious options for those with oily skin (or anyone who finds the texture of high-SPF products as unappealing as slathering your skin with Crisco).

A recent self-proclaimed advance in sun protection came with Neutrogena's Helioplex complex. It is not the superior breakthrough Neutrogena makes it out to be. It's a good system to keep avobenzone stable for longer, but Helioplex isn't the only way to get the most out of this important UVA sunscreen. If it were, why didn't Neutrogena scrap all of their other sunscreens that don't use Helioplex technology? And why do they still offer a handful of SPF-rated products that leave skin vulnerable to UVA damage? Although they offer a proportionately greater number of sunscreens that provide excellent UVA protection, it's hard to unequivocally deem them a sun-care leader when they still sell inadequate sunscreens.

It's common to see commercials and magazine ads for Neutrogena's plethora of products designed to combat breakouts and blackheads. It's nothing short of amazing that, after all these years, the majority of these products, while well intentioned, still don't get it right. Far too many of them contain irritating ingredients such as alcohol, witch hazel, and menthol, none of which are the least bit helpful for someone struggling with breakouts. If your dermatologist recommends these products for acne without reservation, definitely consider a second opinion! Even Neutrogena's on-the-spot benzoyl peroxide product contains some potentially problematic thickening agents. Despite this, if you choose carefully, there are some great products (including a BHA lotion) that can make a positive difference.

What's most frustrating and, frankly, surprising, is that Neutrogena's enormous assortment of products represents both the best and the worst the cosmetics industry has to offer. Given their worldwide distribution and research capabilities, they really should be offering a consistent range of effective, irritant-free products to address a variety of skin types and conditions. As things stand now, healthy, protected skin is only assured if you know which Neutrogena products to look for and which ones to never put in your shopping cart.

For more information about Neutrogena, owned by Johnson & Johnson, call (800) 582-4048 or visit www.neutrogena.com.

Neutrogena Makeup

Neutrogena's "beautiful and beneficial" pronouncement is a great tag line, but most of their makeup doesn't live up to that assertion. This line was lacking in several key areas when it first hit store shelves in 1999, and although some things have improved, the number of problematic products is a bit startling. (I'm not aware of any cosmetic line that uses menthol or its derivatives as often as Neutrogena.) Each product carries on about the vitamins it contains, yet compared to the leading roles played by cosmetic staples like silicones and thickening agents, the vitamins have mere cameo roles, and as such have little to no impact.

There are a few key items to seek out, especially if you're looking for makeup with excellent sun protection. We also found their lip gloss to be one of the best at any price, and a few of their foundations successfully bridge the gap between skin care and makeup.

The most frustrating aspect of this line is that almost all of it is packaged so you cannot see the color. Even worse, the color swatch on the box is a poor representation, not only of how the color looks in the compact, but also how it looks on your skin. What would truly be beneficial is for Neutrogena to offer more revealing packaging or provide testers or offer trial sizes. Their overall collection and in-store displays aren't nearly as tempting as most other drugstore makeup lines, so in most cases they're relying on their constant magazine and television ads to drive shoppers to explore the world of Neutrogena makeup, or they're relying solely on those who don't mind guessing what color they are really buying. It's obviously working, because despite the problematic elements, this is a line that has survived and is very well distributed.

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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