Sun Protection Anti-Aging Moisturizer SPF 15
This fragranced sunscreen contains stabilized avobenzone for UVA (think anti-aging) protection. It’s water-resistant and suitable for normal to slightly dry or slightly oily skin, but it would have been a lot better if Ahava had included more than its minimal SPF 15 and a token amount of vitamin E for an antioxidant boost. The Dead Sea minerals are barely present, but that’s fine, as they offer no hope of protecting skin from sun exposure, nor do they have an anti-aging benefit (that’s coming solely from the sun protection this product provides).
Sunscreens Rated SPF 20 or Lower: A growing body of current research has demonstrated that it's better to use a sunscreen rated SPF 20 or greater to ensure adequate defense against the sun's aging UV rays. SPF 20 or lower is an option—and certainly better than no sunscreen at all—but only if you’re willing to apply liberally and your skin will be seeing five hours of daylight or less.
While this sunscreen will provide the SPF number on the label and has UVA-protecting ingredients, no sunscreen with an SPF lower than 20 will rate higher than two stars in Beautypedia. For more information on our criteria for rating sunscreens, please visit the Best Sunscreens section of the site.
Applying an SPF 15-rated sunscreen under a foundation, tinted moisturizer, or BB cream that offers broad-spectrum SPF 25+ will take far better care of your skin. This layering approach ensures your skin gets sufficient sun protection even if you’re not applying liberally.
Sunscreens That Lack Antioxidants: While this sunscreen goes the distance in terms of providing broad-spectrum sunscreen protection, a high SPF rating and unique aesthetics (making it one you’ll actually wear and apply liberally every day), it lacks a comprehensive array of added antioxidants. Research has demonstrated that antioxidants, when formulated into a broad-spectrum sunscreen formula, boost its effectiveness in defending your skin against UV and other environmental free radicals (Journal of Long Term Effects of Medical Implants, 2004 and Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2012).
Thus, if you decide to try this sunscreen, we would strongly recommend you layer it over a well-formulated antioxidant rich serum. Serums are available in water-light textures for oily or combination skin, or hydrating formulas for normal to dry skin. Wearing one under your sunscreen every day will pay dividends in defending your skin against free-radical damage and inflammation that destroy the skin’s ability to heal, remain healthy and firm over time (Journal of Pathology, 2007 and Dermatology Research and Practice, 2012).
Don’t have a favorite serum yet? Check out list of top recommended serums to find one that suits your skin type and concerns.
When I head out for a day in the sun I spray on this intense shield of skin salvation. Its rich in Dead Sea mineral extracts and essential skin vitamins, so my skin is well hydrated. It meets Australian-approved UV protection standards and lets me enjoy myself without fear of skin aging.
Strengths: Most of the cleansers are good.
Weaknesses: Expensive; several of the daytime moisturizers with sunscreen do not list active ingredients; Dead Sea mud is not the cure-all for anyone's aging skin; disappointing toners;lackluster moisturizers and serums; jar packaging; no AHA or BHA products; no products to manage acne; no products to lighten skin discolorations; average masks; irritating men's products.
Ahava is the Hebrew word for love, and this group has adopted it for these skin-care products imported from Israel. Other than the endearing title, the point of difference for Ahava is that their products contain salts and minerals from the Dead Sea in Israel. So, you ask, is your skin going to love these products because they contain Dead Sea water? Supposedly, Cleopatra did, and, of course, she must have had skin to die for, or else Mark Antony wouldn't have risked everything for her. Is that a good enough reason to consider these products for your own skin-care routine? We hope not. Aside from the folklore, there is little truth behind the hype, why would anyone believe that Cleopatra knew any more about skin care than she did about computers or cell phones, and skin care in this millennium is indeed akin to rocket science.
Keep in mind the Dead Sea in Israel is called "dead" because nothing can live in it (technically, there are some bacteria and fungi that can). There are many environmental factors that contribute to making the Dead Sea one of the saltiest lakes in the world, but we won't get into that discussion. A comparison should give you an idea of just how salty it is. The seawater in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans has a salt content of 34%, while the Dead Sea has a salt content of 32%, as well as a large concentration of minerals such as sulfur, magnesium, calcium, bromide, and potassium. If you haven't been to the Dead Sea, we can tell you the aroma of the sulfur in the water is overwhelming. It is hard to imagine that anything so noxious would be considered a desirable beauty treatment.
Despite the smell and the high mineral content, there are no clinical studies or research showing that Dead Sea minerals have any effect on wrinkles, discolorations, sagging skin, or acne. There are, however, several studies demonstrating that Dead Sea minerals can have a positive effect on psoriatic skin, a practice known as climatotherapy (Sources: International Journal of Dermatology, October 2007, pages 10871091; Journal of Dermatological Treatment, May-June 2005, pages 308313; and Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, September 2003, pages 451457). Psoriasis is a skin condition characterized by rapidly dividing, overactive skin cells. How the Dead Sea minerals and salts affect psoriasis is still being debated. One of the more popular theories is that the mineral content of the water slows down the out-of-control cell division. Some research indicates that the benefit is cumulative and that the results can last for up to five months. Immersing psoriasis-afflicted skin in Dead Sea minerals is also a treatment that is better-tolerated than many conventional medical options.
Studies by the Department of Medicine and Department of Epidemiology and Dermatology at the Soroka Medical Center of Kupat-Holim in Israel and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev on psoriasis and other skin rashes noted that "improvement [in skin] was found when patients soaked in two pounds/one kilo for three baths per week, for a period of six weeks." Now that's a lot of Dead Sea water, and certainly not the amount you would get by using these products. Most important, however, if you are looking for Dead Sea water to heal wrinkles, think again, because wrinkles are completely unrelated to psoriasis or other skin rashes.
Even if Dead Sea salts could benefit normal skin in some way, the amount you'll find in the Ahava products and products from other Dead Sea-oriented lines are infinitesimally small in comparison with the amounts used in the published studies, and your skin deserves so much more than these one-note products can deliver. For more information about Ahava, call (800) 366-7254 or visit www.ahavaus.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.