Ultra Sun Protection SPF 50 PA+++ Anti-Glycation Primer

1.30 fl. oz. for $ 88.00
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Let’s address the claims for this primer one by one: the sunscreen includes avobenzone for reliable UVA protection, though it’s chemical base may prove irritating, especially when used around the eyes (see More Info for details).

Second, the amount of antioxidants in this expensive primer is on the low side; you’re definitely not getting your money’s worth in that regard and what’s worse, this product contains a high amount of fragrant rose water plus lesser but potentially concerning amounts of fragrance ingredients (like eugenol) known to be irritating.

Last, this contains a tiny amount of carnosine, an ingredient composed of amino acids that’s known to help inhibit the glycation process. Chantecaille claims this ingredient can protect skin from glycation, but it cannot. Glycation can come from several sources, and research has shown that the different sources of glycation tend to respond better to varying ingredients; there isn’t one anti-glycation ingredient that does it all. More to the point, we don’t know (nor do we have any reliable way to measure) how topically applied anti-glycation ingredients may work. What can be shown in a lab on cultured skin cells may not translate to tiny amounts of these ingredients being used in skin-care products.

After the discussion above, you may be wondering what glycation is. Essentially, it’s a process in skin whereby glucose (a sugar) reacts with proteins (such as collagen and elastin), causing them to malfunction and harden over time. When these substances interact in a fashion that cannot be controlled by the body’s defense systems, substances named advanced glycation end-products (AGEs for short) are generate. It is these AGEs that wreak havoc on skin’s support structure, leading to loss of firmness and changes to skin texture. Controlling this process is believed to help delay signs of aging, but AGEs are just one aspect of why and how skin ages. At this point there isn’t a lot of evidence that we can control this process from the outside in, but research is ongoing.

Ultimately, this isn’t worth strong consideration due to its price, high amount of fragrance (which isn’t skin-caring in the least) and lack of an impressive amount of anti-aging ingredients (beyond the sunscreen actives). If you decide to try this, its thin, lightweight texture is best for normal to oily skin.

More Info

It is worth mentioning that, with the exception of the mineral-based sunscreens which only contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, synthetic sunscreen ingredients can pose a risk of irritation. This is especially true as the SPF number increases because it requires more of those ingredients to reach the higher SPF rating. Sunscreens using synthetic actives can be a problem for use around the eyes or if you have sensitive skin. In contrast, sunscreens whose only active ingredients are titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide rarely if ever pose a risk of irritation. Irritation from synthetic active ingredients (such as avobenzone, homosalate, oxybenzone, or octinoxate) won’t happen to everyone; rather, it’s a potential issue to pay attention to when applying sunscreens in general but in particular those with higher SPF ratings.

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

This truly invisible shield increases skin's natural ability to protect itself from UVA and UVB rays by 50-fold.

1. The formula contains a combination of three highly effective, stabilized, non-penetrating screens: avobenzone, octisalate, octinoxate.

2. Cherry blossom, lemon balm and white tea extracts deliver powerful anti-inflammatory properties, protecting DNA from internal (ROS) and external (UVA) oxidation.

3. Carnosine, an effective and well-known anti-glycation ingredient, ensures that skin is protected from the internal threat of sugar glycation (AGE). Advanced Glycation End Products are the spontaneous result of sugar metabolism in the body. Carnosine intercepts excess sugar AGEs before they are able to attack and degrade healthy collagen.

Active Ingredients: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate 7.5% (Octinoxate), Ethylhexyl Salicylate 5% (Octisalate), Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane 3% (Avobenzone); Other Ingredients: C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Butylene Glycol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Glycerin Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Pentylene Glycol, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tocopherol, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate, Carnosine, Lecithin, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Cyclodextrin, Citronellol, Geraniol, Eugenol, Citral, Farnesol, Linalool

Chantecaille At-a-Glance

Strengths: The makeup far surpasses the skin care, but is not without its problems; one good serum; a skin brightening product with arbutin; excellent range of foundation, concealer, and powder shades for light to medium skin tones; beautiful powder blush and eyeshadows; some impressive eye and lip pencils (if you don't mind routine sharpening).

Weaknesses: Unjustifiably expensive; several products contain problematic plants or fragrant waxes and oils; no sunscreens; no effective anti-acne products; no AHA or BHA exfoliants; none of the products advertising an SPF rating contain active ingredients or any other ingredients capable of shielding skin from sun damage; the Luminous Eye Liner; boring mascara.

Created by Sylvie Chantecaille, this line of makeup and skin-care products, sold at Neiman Marcus and some salons and spas, draws on Chantecaille's 20 years of experience as an employee of Estee Lauder Corporation. The fact that she worked for Lauder and helped to create and launch the Prescriptives line is impressive. Experience means a lot in the crowded, complicated cosmetics industry and it's as good a reason as any to start your own product line.

Not surprisingly, she claims her products are known for their "uniquely high concentration of natural botanicals" and their organic origins, though it takes only a cursory look at the ingredient list to see that isn't true; did she really think no one would notice propylene glycol, polyvinylpyrrolidone, methylparaben, butylparaben, phenoxyethanol, triethanolamine, and PEG-8, which are about as natural as polyester? What is true, however, is that most of the plants in these products are present in very small amounts, often listed after the preservative.

What almost every cosmetic company knows (we can't think of one that doesn't) is that you can't brag about the synthetic ingredients your products contain, even if they are the backbone of every product you make. Selling skin-care products is far easier when you use terms such as "pure," "holistic," or "wellness." Chantecaille takes this faux information one step further by saying (and we're not kidding about this) that her products are "endowed with a potent life force." Ooo-la-la! But once you pull off the rose-colored glasses and probe beneath the hyperbole, all you are left with is a bouquet of fantasy that won't help your skin.

Even more bewildering than the natural claims is that Chantecaille asserts that their emphasis on anti-aging focuses primarily on addressing the causes of inflammation. Without question, inflammation plays a role in how the skin and the body age, and recent research is showing that it probably plays a greater role than previously suspected. Any cosmetic company that is trying to make products that reduce inflammation and its effects is a good thing, but for all their talk, Chantecaille's formulas don't inhibit inflammation; instead, many of them increase inflammation thanks to the numerous fragrant plant oils and waxes they contain. While these ingredients create lovely aromas, scent isn't skin care. Most of these fragrant plant ingredients contain volatile chemicals that create the scent; it is these chemicals (e.g., eugenol, limonene, citronellol, and linalool) that cause skin irritation that leads to, you guessed it, inflammation (Sources: Rapid Communications in Mass Spectronomy, November 2008 pages 35933598; Chemical Research in Toxicology, May 2007, pages 807814; and The British Journal of Dermatology, May 2006, pages 885888).

In contrast, there is little more than anecdotal research indicating that the problematic plant ingredients Chantecaille uses are actually healing, as the company claims.

The chief reason to explore Chantecaille is their makeup. Although there isn't a single item that doesn't have an equally good counterpart in other lines for far less money, if you're curious about Chantecaille, color is where it's at. Their foundation shade range has improved and is beautifully neutral. The textures and finishes for foundation, powder, blush, eyeshadow, and lip glosses are outstanding, as are the finishes. In short, Chantecaille has made it very easy to assemble a makeup wardrobe that makes skin look smooth, polished, and radiant, although their foundations and powders are geared toward those with normal to dry skin.

One more comment: Chantecaille has a penchant for attributing sun-protection claims and SPF ratings to various products. They do so in violation of FDA regulations on sunscreens because the company does not list active ingredients on their label. If a cosmetic company can't even get that right, then much of what they do is called into question, aside from just looking askance at their claims. Considering the price of their products, this omission is nearly unforgivable; please don't rely on the claim for sun protection, because it assuredly puts your skin at risk for sun damage. By the way, none of the natural ingredients in these products provide sun protection on their own, either. Ingredients such as vitamins C and E can, to some extent, help skin defend itself against sun damage and boost the longevity of sunscreen actives, but by themselves they're not capable of providing sun protection on a par with what's required to earn an SPF rating.

For more information about Chantecaille, call 877-673-7080 or visit www.chantecaille.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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