Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Zinc Oxide Sunscreen SPF 50 for Face
Aveeno’s Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Zinc Oxide Sunscreen SPF 50 for Face is a reformulation of Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Lotion Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 50. The major change involves the switch from low levels of two mineral actives to a high level of one (that being zinc oxide). This version earns a lower rating due to the inclusion of a fragrance ingredient and the slight white cast it leaves; however, it’s still a worthwhile option.
Packaged in an opaque squeeze tube that includes a dispensing cap, this thicker cream sunscreen spreads surprisingly well. What’s not as surprising is the slight white cast this leaves (which will be more apparent the darker your skin is) thanks to the 21.6% zinc oxide it contains. Simply put, it’s nearly impossible to avoid a white cast using this much zinc oxide--but at least it softens after the sunscreen absorbs (it’s still visible, just less so) and babies probably won’t mind!
The zinc oxide provides broad-spectrum protection and the water-resistant formula is well suited to use on babies or kids playing in or around water. As with any water-resistant sunscreen, reapplication at regular intervals (this one is 80 minutes) and after toweling off is necessary to maintain protection; “water-resistant” does not mean “waterproof”.
We wish this were fragrance free, as that’s distinctly preferred for everyone’s skin, especially babies. The fragrance comes from the ingredient phenethyl alcohol, which imparts a subtle rose scent. On the upside, the scent isn’t strong and doesn’t linger on skin, which means less risk of a sensitized reaction.
The other letdown is the low amount of calming ingredients doesn’t adequately support Aveeno’s “skin-soothing” claim. You get a tiny amount of oat flour (which isn’t the most soothing part of that plant) and feverfew, listed by its Latin name of Chrysanthemum parthenium. See our list of best water-resistant sunscreens for options that provide great protection like this one, minus the caveats.
- Provides pure mineral sun protection.
- Creamy formula applies easily and quickly.
- Water-resistant formula.
- Contains fragrance in the form of rose-scented phenethyl alcohol.
- Soothing ingredients are in short supply.
- Leaves a slight white cast.
Keep your little one smiling in the sunshine. As mild as water, this tear-free mineral sunscreen provides broad spectrum SPF 50 sun protection. The skin-soothing formula with oat helps lock in moisture and nourishes your baby’s skin, while naturally sourced zinc oxide provides strong sun protection as they enjoy the day.
Strengths: A few good cleansers and sunscreen products; fantastic Skin Relief Healing Ointment and soothing bath wash products; a handful of well-formulated baby-care products.
Weaknesses: Well-intentioned but ineffective anti-acne products; reliance on a single showcased ingredient (typically soy) that makes their anti-aging products less enticing than the competition; ineffective products to address hyperpigmentation; formulas packaged in a jar wont remain stable.
Beginning with its first product in 1945, Soothing Bath Treatment, still sold today as part of the company's Baby line of products, Aveeno has prided itself on using natural ingredients. In some ways, they were a pioneer in the field, though for years the only natural ingredient of note in their products was oatmeal. Consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson purchased the brand in 1999, and wasted almost no time expanding it. A handful of bar cleansers and bath products were spun off into complete collections of facial-care products and an ever-growing number of body lotions and washes, not to mention shaving gels (Aveeno is one of the few companies whose shaving gels are truly fragrance-free).
Not surprisingly, many of the facial-care products from Aveeno are similar to those from Johnson & Johnson-owned Neutrogena. The differences typically lie in the natural ingredients each brand promotes. A cornerstone ingredient for Aveeno is soy, while Neutrogena has experimented (with varying degrees of success) with copper, retinol, salicylic acid, and melibiose. Overall, Neutrogena has a much larger and more comprehensive selection of products, though their formulas are also more problematic. Aveeno would do well to diversify a bit, or at least acknowledge that it takes more than a single star ingredient to provide superior skin-care products. As is, most of their anti-wrinkle products don't compete favorably with the more well-rounded options, not just from Neutrogena but also from Olay, Dove, and, in some respects, L'Oreal.
Getting back to the issue of soy, you'll see from the reviews it is indeed a helpful ingredient for skin, just not in the same multifaceted, does-everything manner Aveeno touts on each soy-containing product's package. A big proponent for Aveeno's use of soy is dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf. She is quoted on Aveeno's web site, stating that "It is now clear that the ability of natural soy to deliver multiple benefits to skin plays a lead role in high performance skin care." That sounds great but it doesn't explain why Aveeno ignores research on countless other antioxidants, skin-identical ingredients, or cell-communicating ingredients, all elements Dr. Graf uses in her separate, namesake product line. Interestingly, with Graf's own products relying on a blend of efficacious ingredients, including soy, it's a good question why she decided to endorse Aveeno's one-note soy products.
The bottom line is that when it comes to shopping for skin-care products at the drugstore, Aveeno, for all its talk of being a leader in "Active Naturals," doesn't have the all-inclusive product assortment needed to take the best possible care of your skin. However, paying attention to their top offerings is time (and money) well-spent!
For more information about Aveeno, owned by Johnson & Johnson, call (866) 428-3366 or visit www.aveeno.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.