Those who prefer their sunscreen in a convenient spray likely will appreciate this lightweight, silky option. It provides broad-spectrum sun protection with an in-part zinc oxide sunscreen, and does not leave a telltale white cast on skin.
The silicone-enriched formula is very silky and easy to blend, making this an excellent option to consider for those with normal to combination or oily skin.
This sunscreen isn't “"ideal for extra sensitive skin" as claimed. Like many EltaMD sunscreens, the zinc oxide is joined by the synthetic sunscreen active octinoxate. Although octinoxate is a great sunscreen ingredient, like all "chemical" sunscreens it can be sensitizing. Those with extra-sensitive skin should stick with sunscreens whose only active ingredients are titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide.
It's a shame the formula is void of antioxidants, as the research is clear that adding these ingredients to sunscreen not only boosts their effectiveness but also provides additional protection for your skin. However, we can't deny that it is a very pleasant texture for skin, and when worn over an antioxidant rich moisturizer or other treatment, it is certainly an effective option that provides an excellent amount of sun protection.
Inactive Ingredients Listed in Alphabetical Order: The list of inactive ("other") ingredients in this sunscreen are listed in alphabetical order rather than in descending order of content. This is permissible by U.S. regulations because sunscreens are classified by the FDA as over-the-counter drugs, not cosmetics. We’re not sure why EltaMD used this approach for some sunscreen ingredient lists and lists others in descending order, because the latter makes it easier for consumers to differentiate a worthwhile product from a less exciting formula.
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.
Instantly get sun protection with Elta MD UV Spray SPF 46, a convenient and quick spray sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection. This water-resistant formula makes it easy to shield hard-to-reach areas, so you’re fully covered, from head to toe. Spraying on white so you can ensure complete coverage, it rubs in clear, for a seamless application. This paraben-free, non-comedogenic and fragrance-free sunscreen is gentle and ideal for those with extra sensitive skin.
Active: Zinc Oxide (9.3%), Octinoxate (7.5%) Other: Butylene Glycol, Cyclomethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Lauryl PEG-9 Polymethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Purified Water USP, Sodium Chloride, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Undecylenoyl Glycine.
Strengths: Most products are fragrance-free; all sunscreens provide broad-spectrum protection with zinc oxide; cosmetically elegant sunscreens that are easy to apply and do not leave a telltale white cast; good eye gel.
Weaknesses: Some of the sunscreens are pricey, which may discourage the liberal application necessary to achieve the level of sun protection stated on the label; all of the sunscreens would be better if they contained a greater range of antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients; the post-procedure products and body lotion are stunningly basic and would not be a "best" option for post-wound care.
Texas-based EltaMD is a small line of skin-care products that specializes in sunscreens. If you're like most of the women who've asked us to review this line, you most likely came across it at your dermatologist's office. EltaMD is a "physician-dispensed" line, but despite that professional allure, their products are not "medical" in the least. In fact, they are widely available for purchase online, and nothing about their skin-care formulas requires a prescription or your doctor's sanction. In fact, we're fairly certain many doctors wouldn't know how to decipher the ingredient list on the label of these products
Without question, EltaMD takes the necessity of daily sun protection seriously. They offer several sunscreens and moisturizers with sunscreen, each providing broad-spectrum protection from either zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. In short, this line gets its sunscreens right, and the fact that all of them are fragrance-free is an added bonus for your skin.
Perhaps most exciting is that almost all of EltaMD's sunscreens with zinc oxide (often joined by the synthetic sunscreen active octinoxate) apply beautifully and do not leave a noticeable white cast, despite their mineral base.
The company maintains that they use micronized zinc oxide, and you can tell. These sunscreens are easy to apply and most have cosmetically elegant textures that feel more like moisturizers than traditional "beach" sunscreens. They also work great under makeup, although some may find the mineral finish not to their liking, just based on personal preference.
Of course, EltaMD isn't the only company to offer a good selection of sunscreens that provide broad-spectrum protection. Nor are they the only game in town when it comes to using micronized zinc oxide; lots of other companies use it because it's effective and aesthetically pleasing. However, EltaMD's formulas are quite good and compete favorably with others, especially for women with normal to dry or combination skin that's not prone to breakouts.
Where EltaMD's sunscreens could improve is by providing a greater array of antioxidants. Some of their sunscreens contain none, while most have only one, typically vitamin E. That's not bad, but given the research proving how antioxidants boost the efficacy of sunscreens and offer additional protection for your skin, it's good medicine to include several antioxidants in effective amounts rather than just one.
EltaMD also offers a small range of facial-care products, most of which are fragrance-free, although if they are from a "physican's" line, as this one is, they should all be fragrance-free because fragrance is not skin care and is almost always damaging to skin. The facial-care products are decent options, but for the most part they are ordinary and not preferred over hundreds of others. Sun protection is where it's at for this brand.
For more information about EltaMD, call (800) 633-8872 or visit www.eltamd.com.
Note: The Beautypedia Research Team wishes to extend a special thank you to EltaMD. When we contacted the company to request information and assistance (something we do for every brand reviewed on this site) they graciously sent us every product along with helpful information on each. It is not often a cosmetics company assists us at all, let alone so willingly, and we sincerely appreciate it.
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