Sun Shield Matte Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion
3 fl. oz. for $50
Last Updated:03.25.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This daytime moisturizer with sunscreen is generously sized and contains an in-part zinc oxide sunscreen to ensure broad-spectrum protection. The base formula is lightweight, silky, and easy to apply (which is good because the easier a sunscreen is to apply, the more likely you’ll be to use it daily).

The main drawback, especially given this product’s price, is the low amount of antioxidants. Those helpful ingredients should be present in greater amounts, and it would also be nice to see some repairing and cell-communicating ingredients (Obagi is an anti-aging line, after all, and those types of ingredients are essential for anti-aging benefits).

One more caution is the preservative methylisothiazolinone. Although it’s not present in a high amount, it is known to be sensitizing and generally not recommended for use in leave-on products (Source: Contact Dermatitis, October 2006, pages 227-229). Between the problematic preservative, paltry amount of antioxidants, and the price, this SPF 50 sunscreen with a soft matte finish is difficult to recommend with enthusiasm.


A high-performance, award-winning sunscreen with a sheer, non-greasy, PABA-free & fragrance-free formula. Offers a high level of protection against harmful UVA & UVB rays. Combats & prevents signs of photo-aging. Gives a matte finish. Perfect for all skin types.


Active: Octinoxate 7.5%, Zinc Oxide 10.5%. Other: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Pentylene Glycol, Stearyl Alcohol, Phenyl Trimethicone, PEG-40 Stearate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/sodium Acryloydimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Soidum Dihydroxycetyl Phosphate, Citric Acid, Squalane, Ceteareth-20, Polysilicone-11, Dimethicone, Crosspolymer-3, Sorbitan Ester, Xanthan Gum, 1,2-hexanediol, Benzoate, Polysorbate 60, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Disodium EDTA, Methylisothiazolinone, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Ubiquinone, Tropolone

Brand Overview

Obagi At-A-Glance

Strengths:Selection of good water-soluble cleansers; some effective skin-lightening and tretinoin products.

Weaknesses: Expensive; some products available only via prescription, which can be inconvenient; disappointing anti-acne products; moisturizers should contain more state-of-the-art ingredients.

Obagi is a skincare line which got its start back in 1988, spearheaded by Beverly Hills-based dermatologist Dr. Zein Obagi, who has since left the brand. Choosing to focus on the skin issues that plague many aging adults (chiefly, skin discolorations from sun damage and other sources and wrinkles), Obagi offers a mixed bag of cosmetic and prescription products sold only through authorized physicians, plastic surgeons, and accredited medical spas. That exclusivity may increase this line's cache with consumers, but let me assure you that most of what's offered isn't all that exceptional—and what's available by prescription can be prescribed in other forms by any dermatologist, so you don't need to seek one that retails Obagi's products. The highlights of this line are actually the prescription products. Several options with 4% hydroquinone are available as well as two products with tretinoin. There is a significant amount of research demonstrating that 4% hydroquinone, especially when combined with tretinoin, has a high success rate for persons dealing with stubborn skin discolorations or the skin condition melasma (Sources: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2007, pages 36–39; Cutis, January 2005, pages 57–62, and March 2006, pages 177–184).

The skin-care products Obagi sells to support the prescription-only options are either standard or below-average formulas that are easily replaced by less expensive options from other lines. Beware: This is a line whose proponents are adamant about the products being used as a system, so expect pressure to purchase an entire routine rather than cherry-pick what you really need. Savvy shoppers will find some viable options from Obagi, including a very gentle, fragrance-free sunscreen for someone with sensitive skin.

For more information about Obagi, call (800) 636-7546 or visit www.obagi.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Good for oily skin

I used this sunscreen all last summer. It is hands down my favorite. I just refuse to pay so much for this line of skincare and stopped using obagi altogether. I am sad to say I have yet to find a sunscreen that blocks like this one does and stays matte all day. I got great results from the nuderm line. But again the cost is outrageous. I hope paula's choice can come out w a sunscreen as good as this one. I am going thru the process of trying them and have been disappointed. Search conts

Reviewed by
Gina L.
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