Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50 is a lightweight, very fluid sunscreen with only titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as the sole active ingredients. You must shake it before using it to disperse the mineral actives.
When applied liberally, as sunscreen should be, this is absolutely not transparent on skin, despite the claims, unless you have extremely white skin. The thin texture and soft matte finish make this best for normal to oily skin, but titanium dioxide and zinc oxide can be a problem for blemish prone skin in large amounts, as is the case here. Still, the texture is light, and not everyone with breakout-prone skin will have a problem with higher amounts of these mineral actives, so experimentation is in order.
The only unique thing about this product is the SPF rating. Most mineral sunscreens are not rated higher than SPF 30 because the amount of active ingredients needed to surpass SPF 30 leads to a formula that's aesthetically undesirable, although, depending on your skin color, you might find that not to be the case.
As for the artemia extract mentioned in the claims, it is indeed a plankton, but more accurately, it's a species of brine shrimp that, as far as skin care is concerned, has no documented benefit. SkinCeuticals must not think too highly of it anyway because the amount of it in this sunscreen is barely a dusting. It is disappointing that antioxidants are practically absent from this formula, but perhaps SkinCeuticals expects their customers to use this with one of their antioxidant serums.
A groundbreaking first-to-market mattifying fluid with transparent finish, this paraben-free, all-physical filter sunscreen provides increased protection in an ultra-sheer texture for all skin types, even very sensitive. Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50 offers the photoprotection of trusted broad-spectrum, physical filters, zinc oxide (Z-COTE®) and titanium dioxide, and is enhanced by artemia salina, a plankton extract, to increase the skin’s defenses and resistance to UV and heat stress. The unique ‘shake then apply’ action assures even distribution of active ingredients in this silky sheer fluid that dries quickly and leaves no residue.
Active: Titanium Dioxide (5%), Zinc Oxide (6%), Other: Water, Dimethicone, Isododecane, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Undecane, Triethylhexanoin, Isohexadecane, Nylon-12, Caprylyl Methicone, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Phenethyl Benzoate, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Silica, Tridecane, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Talc, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Aluminum Stearate, Pentylene Glycol, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Alumina, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Magnesium Sulfate, Caprylyl Glycol, PEG-8 Laurate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Tocopherol, Propylene Carbonate, Artemia Extract, Benzoic Acid, PEG-9
With a strong presence in the professional (meaning spa and aesthetics) skin-care market, SkinCeuticals has a mostly well-deserved reputation for producing serious-minded, research-driven products, several of which are centered on L-ascorbic acid. Company founder Dr. Sheldon Pinnell began the line after a falling out with the folks behind Cellex-C, a company for which Dr. Pinnell once served as spokesperson. The falling out had to do with both Cellex-C and Dr. Pinnell holding patents on L-ascorbic acid; Cellex-C held the patent on a formula with L-ascorbic acid (the original Cellex-C serum) while Dr. Pinnell's patent (now conspicuously absent from SkinCeuticals products) was only for the ingredient. The drama continued as, years later, the doctor who joined Pinnell to work on SkinCeuticals' vitamin C products began his own company, also selling products with vitamin C. Who needs Desperate Housewives when we have desperate doctors racing to be the authoritative word on the anti-aging properties of vitamin C?
The good news is that copious research has demonstrated that L-ascorbic acid (despite its stability issues, which, formula-wise, SkinCeuticals products do address) is a good, potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. It has also been shown to provide photoprotective benefits when skin is exposed to UV light and is capable of stimulating collagen production - though don't take that to mean it is a cure for wrinkles (Sources: International Journal of Toxicology, 2005, supplement, pages 51–111; Experimental Dermatology, June 2003, pages 237–244; Dermatologic Surgery, March 2002, pages 231–236; Bioelectrochemistry and Bioenergetics, May 1999, pages 453–461; and International Journal of Radiation Biology, June 1999, pages 747–755). Of course, other forms of vitamin C have equally impressive research, and some forms, such as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, have better stability profiles (Source: Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, March 1997, pages 795–801).
As we've mentioned before, vitamin C is but one of many good antioxidants, and it's not the best approach to select any one or two antioxidants and bank on them alone to provide every conceivable skin-rejuvenating benefit. Instead, go for products that offer a cocktail of antioxidants because you'll get a greater range of benefits. Plus, some antioxidants in combination have a synergistic effect that surpasses what occurs when any of the ingredients are used alone. SkinCeuticals clearly knows this, because their vitamin C products also contain the antioxidant ferulic acid, and some add vitamin E to the mix as well. Above all, remember that as multifunctional as antioxidants are, they cannot stop aging, they won't eliminate wrinkles, and they do not replace the need for daily sun protection.
L'Oreal purchased SkinCeuticals in May 2005, and, for the time being, seems to be letting them stay on their course. That's a good thing, because despite L'Oreal’s considerable financial reserves and global R&D team, the skin-care products their brands produce consistently lag behind what current research indicates are state-of-the-art options. As long as they continue to let SkinCeuticals retain its stature, there are many good reasons to shop this line; however, that said, this line is far from perfect in terms of being able to assemble a complete skin-care routine. Focusing on what they do best (which is serums, sunscreens, and specialty products) will be money well spent for visible results. Those who find the SkinCeuticals price tags to be a deal-breaker need to know that despite several notable products, they're hardly the only game in town; you can find equally superior products for less money, though not all of them follow the impressive concentration protocols of SkinCeuticals.
For more information about SkinCeuticals, call 1-800-771-9489 or visit www.skinceuticals.com.