Pure Light SPF 50

1.70 fl. oz. for $ 60.00
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Pure Light SPF 50 has some pretty significant strikes against it, not the least of which is a price that could discourage liberal application. It’s certainly not the most expensive daytime moisturizer with sunscreen, but you should be mindful of investing in pricier SPFs if you think doing so may prompt you to skimp on application so you don’t  have to buy the product as often. Without liberal application, you won’t be getting good enough protection against multiple signs of aging.

The biggest problem this product has is a particularly high amount of fragrant oils known to irritate skin. They include lavender, eucalyptus, and ylang ylang (Canaga odorata) oils, all of which smell nice but their effects on skin can be anything but! Of particular concern are the lavender oils, which we explain in the More Info section, but eucalyptus isn’t great for anyone’s skin either. We can’t imagine why Dermalogica added those when the active ingredients in this daytime moisturizer can end up being sensitizing on their own—why increase the risk to skin?

On the plus side, this will provide broad spectrum sun protection and, coinciding (at least somewhat) with Dermalogica’s claim, there is research showing that the safflower oleosomes present in this product play a supportive role in helping skin recover from sun damage (Source: Rejuvenation Research, October 2013, pages 404–13).

One more comment: Getting back to the problematic fragrant oils present, it’s disappointing these non-beneficial ingredients are present in amounts greater than the truly helpful ingredients (beyond the sunscreen actives) such as sodium hyaluronate, peptides, and a licorice-derived anti-irritant.


  • Provides broad spectrum sun protection.
  • Safflower-rich formula.
  • Contains some proven anti-aging ingredients.


  • The price may discourage liberal application.
  • Contains an unusually high amount of fragrant plant oils known to irritate skin.
  • Lavender oil presents numerous problems for skin.

More Info:

Research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application causes skin-cell death (Source: Cell Proliferation, June 2004, pages 221–229). Lavender leaves contain camphor, which is a known skin irritant. Because the fragrance constituents in lavender oil oxidize when exposed to air, lavender oil is a pro-oxidant, and this enhanced oxidation increases its irritancy on skin (Source: Contact Dermatitis, September 2008, pages 143–150). Lavender oil is the most potent form, and even small amounts of it (0.25% or less) are problematic. Although it’s fine as an aromatherapy agent for inhalation or relaxation, it is a must to avoid in skin-care products. (Sources: Psychiatry Research, February 2007, pages 89–96; and www.naturaldatabase.com).

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

Pure Light SPF 50 by Dermalogica is an advanced daytime treatment moisturizer that shields the skin from pigment-inducing UV light. This medium-weight treatment contains Dermalogica's exclusive PowerBright TRx Shield to simultaneously protect against future discoloration, while fortifying the skin's natural moisture barrier. Hyaluronic Acid bonds to essential skin hydration to guard against trans-epidermal water loss, while oleosome technology dramatically boosts broad spectrum protection against UV-induced hyperpigmentation.

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3.0%; Octinoxate 7.5%); Inactive Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Polysorbate 80, Dimethyl Capramide, Cananga Odorata Flower Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Lavendula Spica (Lavender) Flower Oil, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Palmaria Palmata Extract, Oligopeptide-34, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Fruit Ferment Filtrate, Niacinamide, Zinc Glycinate, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Polysorbate 60, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Butylene Glycol Behenate, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol.

Dermalogica At-A-Glance

According to company history, Dermalogica products came into being because founder Jane Wurwand could not find a spa-oriented skin-care line that met her criteria. She was dismayed that so many skincare lines aimed at the aesthetics market had products that contained alcohol, artificial colors, fragrance, mineral oil, and lanolin, ingredients he believed had a well-documented history of problems. That's true for fragrance and alcohol (and artificial colors to a lesser extent), but mineral oil and lanolin have no documented history of causing skin problems.

The line is positioned as a no-nonsense, no frills take on skincare, with clinically-inspired packaging that does protect its beneficial ingredients from light and air. Speaking of ingredients, Dermalogica does include a lot of beneficial ones in its skincare, though there are a number of formulas in the line that also make the misstep of including potentially-irritating fragrance ingredients.

For more information about Dermalogica now owned by Unilever, call 1-800-345-2761 or visit www.dermalogica.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.

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