Healthy Skin Firming Cream SPF 15

by Neutrogena  Healthy Skin
Price:
$12.99 - 2.5 fl. oz.
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Category:
Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizer with Sunscreen
Last Updated:
8/12/2013
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
Yes

For all intents and purposes, this daytime moisturizer with sunscreen is similar to many others from Neutrogena, including "regular" sunscreens you'd apply from the neck down. Critical UVA (think anti-aging) protection is supplied by stabilized avobenzone, and this has a lightweight lotion texture best for normal to slightly dry or combination skin.

Antioxidants, which can stimulate collagen production for firmer skin, are in short supply, but at least the formula has a few of them. Please see More Info below for a discussion of Neutrogena's Tetrol-E anti-aging ingredient.

All told, this isn't an exceptional anti-aging daytime moisturizer. The price is enticing, but there are better options to be found without having to spend a lot more. Please see our list of Best Moisturizers with Sunscreen for examples.

Pros:

  • Provides broad-spectrum sun protection and includes avobenzone for UVA protection.

  • Lightweight lotion texture works well under makeup.

Cons:

  • Lacks a sophisticated blend of the anti-aging ingredients that are proven to help skin look and act younger.

  • Contains only a dusting of antioxidants, and your skin needs more if the goal is firming.

    Fragrance gets more prominence than all the anti-aging ingredients except the sunscreen actives.

The Tetrol-E this product is supposed to contain most likely refers to tetrahydroxypropyl ethylenediamine. This ingredient doesn't firm skin; it's a chelating agent. Chelating agents bind to metals or metallic compounds to keep them from binding to another surface (such as the surface of your skin or hair).

There is no research proving this allegedly special ingredient has any benefit for aging skin. Neutrogena may be making the association because this ingredient can elicit an electric charge in skin, but the amount of energy released is so small as to be almost inconsequential in terms of firming or tightening skin.

Visibly firms skin and improves the look and feel of skin’s elasticity for younger-looking skin in just four weeks. Tetrol-E™, a powerful anti-aging ingredient, helps tighten the look of skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Broad-spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 15 sunscreens help prevent premature signs of aging caused by everyday exposure to the sun’s damaging rays.

Active: Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (12%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (5%), Oxybenzone (3%) Other: Water, Butylene Glycol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Tetrahydroxypropyl Ethylenediamine, Silica, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Benzyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Steareth-2, Glyceryl Stearate, Steareth-21, Phenoxyethanol, Citric Acid, Polyacrylamide, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Fragrance, Arachidyl Alcohol, PEG-100 Stearate, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Behenyl Alcohol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Propylparaben, Pentaerythrityl Tetradi-t-butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Arachidyl Glucoside, Laureth-7, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Pantothenic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid

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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