Instant Radiance Sun Defense Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40
Instant Radiance Sun Defense Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40 has a lot going for it, but two issues keep it from earning a higher rating.
Wrapped up in a tinted moisturizing formula best for normal to dry skin, this provides broad spectrum protection from mineral ingredients. The light, hydrating formula is chockful of antioxidants and also contains an impressive mix of skin-replenishing ingredients.
Another plus is that the opaque tube packaging keeps this formula's best ingredients stable during use.
The brand offers two tints, one preferred for light skin tones and for medium to tan skin tones. While both shades are sheer and attractive in terms of the color they impart, the radiance reads as fairly obvious shimmer. It can look attractive when selectively and lightly applied (such as for highlighting or to achieve a sheer glow) but that's NOT how you should be applying sunscreen.
In order to get the amount of protection on the label, a sunscreen must be liberally applied all over the face. Skimping on this is hurting your skin, but in this case, liberal application will look almost glittery.
The other issue is the inclusion of orange flower extract and oil. Both are sources of fragrance ingredients that can trigger irritation. On the upside, Instant Radiance Sun Defense Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 40's fragrance is barely detectable; however, that doesn't mean the fragrance ingredients don't damage skin, as even small amounts can have a negative impact, whether the scent is synthetic or natural.
- Provides gentle, mineral-based sun protection.
- Light, hydrating formula is a rich source of antioxidants.
- Impressive mix of skin-replenishing ingredients.
- Opaque tube packaging helps keep the antioxidants stable.
- Both sheer shades are attractive.
- The shimmer finish can be overwhelming when applied liberally as a sunscreen should be.
- Orange flower extract and oil can trigger irritation.
Dr. Dennis GrossSkincare At-A-Glance
Strengths: Almost all of the products are fragrance-free; several serums and moisturizers contain a brilliant assortment of beneficial skin-care ingredients; all of the sunscreens contain sufficient UVA protection; almost all of the antioxidant-rich products are packaged to ensure stability and potency.
Weaknesses: Expensive; no effective AHA or BHA products (including the at-home peel the line is "known" for); problematic toner; incomplete selection of products to treat acne, and whats available is more irritating than helpful; a few "why bother?" products.
As you may have gleaned from the name, dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross created this skin-care line. Based in New York City, he claims that all of his products provide "maximum results without side effects," a statement any doctor should know better than to make. For instance, a consumer would logically assume, especially coming from a doctor, that "maximum results" means the products in question really will firm, lift, tighten, plump, or peel the skin. ButDr. Dennis GrossSkincare products don't provide maximum results, not in the least, and definitely not in any of the ways suggested by the marketing copy. In fact, although Gross includes some very impressive ingredients in his products, they cannot make good on the most enticing claims he makes for them.
As for the promise of "no side effects," that is easily refuted with a simple overview of his underachieving products. A quick summary: lavender oil can cause skin-cell death, sulfur is extremely irritating and drying to skin, ascorbic acid can be sensitizing, as can retinol, and the synthetic active sunscreen agents he uses can also present their share of problems. That's not to say that all of these ingredients are bad for skin (only the sulfur and lavender oil qualify for that description), but it's foolish to make a blanket statement that your cosmeceutical-type products are free of side effects. How could he possibly know what a person may react to?
Gross also asserts that he uses cutting-edge technology in his products, a point which I concede given the number of superior moisturizers and serums he offers, all of which compete nicely with other well-formulated products. His products are expensive, but if you're going to spend a lot of money on skin-care products, you should be purchasing state-of-the-art formulas, and these do rate. Of course, this technology (read: efficacious ingredients) doesn't extend to everyDr. Dennis GrossSkincare product, but overall this is one line whose formulas have improved considerably since the previous edition of this book, and that is excellent news!
Several of the products in this line contain emu oil. While there is research indicating that emu oil is a good emollient that can help heal skin, it is not that different from other oils that offer the same benefit, such as grape or olive or even mineral oil for that matter (Source: Australasian Journal of Dermatology, August 1996, pages 159161).
Last, please ignore the tired claim that these products are your alternative to surgical procedures and that they use medical-grade ingredients. Concerning the latter, there is no such thing; Gross uses the same cosmetic and over-the-counter active ingredients found throughout the cosmetics industry. And although his line offers some remarkable products, none of them can provide results equivalent to Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, or laser treatments (and definitely not a face-lift).
Note: Unless mentioned otherwise, all MD Skincare products are fragrance-free.
For more information about Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare, call (888) 830-7546 or visit the Web site at www.dgskincare.com.
NOTE: In Spring 2010, MD Skincare became Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare.
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.