Sheer Fluid Sun Shield SPF 30 is a remarkably light, water-like formula that uses a robust combination of mineral and synthetic sunscreen actives (octinoxate and zinc oxide) to provide broad spectrum protection. Unfortunately, those protective ingredients are formulated in a base of denatured alcohol. If that weren't sufficiently concerning due to the skin-damaging nature of alcohol-based formulas, there is also a concerning amount of irritating ginger and nasturtium flower (tropaeolum majus) extracts.
Alcohol-based products feel pleasant on skin due to this ingredient's ability to create a thin, lightweight texture, but in the long term it takes a heavy toll on skin. See More Info for details on alcohol-based products and irritation from fragrance extracts (like those included here).
Although this sunscreen contains a few antioxidants and moisturizing agents, they aren't enough to redeem this formula. It's also important to mention that at this price (and quantity), you may easily be discouraged from applying a liberal amount to achieve the full SPF 30 protection stated on the label.
We suggest skipping this and considering any of the alternatives from other brands recommended in our Best Moisturizers With Sunscreen section, where you may also sort results by skin type.
Irritation and Skin: Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
Alcohol in Skin Care: There is a significant amount of research showing alcohol causes free-radical damage in skin even at low levels. Small amounts of alcohol on skin cells in lab settings (about 3%, but keep in mind skin-care products contain amounts ranging from 5% to 60% or greater) over the course of two days increased cell death by 26%. It also destroyed the substances in cells that reduce inflammation and defend against free radicals—this process actually causes more free-radical damage. If this weren't bad enough, exposure to alcohol causes skin cells to self-destruct. The research also showed that these destructive, aging effects on skin cells increased the longer their exposure to alcohol; for example, two days of exposure was dramatically more harmful than one day, and that's at only a 3% concentration (Sources: Journal of Investigative Dermatology, August 2009, pages 20–24; "Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In," Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; Alcohol, Volume 26, Issue 3, April 2002, pages 179–190; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Critical Reviews in Clinical Laboratory Sciences, April 2001, pages 109–166; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).
For more on alcohol's (as in, ethanol, denatured alcohol, and ethyl alcohol) effects on skin, see our article on the topic, Alcohol in Skin Care: The Facts.
This weightless fluid sunscreen protects skin from UV light while delivering a complex of anti-aging ingredients that help protect skin cells and enhance cellular function. Ideal as a make-up primer, it leaves a smooth, even finish with no greasy or heavy after feel.
Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 7.5%, Zinc Oxide 17.1% Inactive Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Water (Aqua), Alcohol Denatured, Glycerin, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Cell Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Tropaeolum Majus Extract, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Sprout Extract, Bisabolol, Tocopherol, Lecithin, PEG-9, Polydimethicone, Benzylidene Dimethoxydimethylindanone, Isomalt, Hexylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol
Strengths: Has a good option for 10% vitamin C treatment; Their 10% AHA moisturizer is a worth considering for those who have dry skin.
Weaknesses: Expensive; some products with light- and air-sensitive ingredients are packaged in jars; overly abrasive scrub.
Dr. Harold Lancer is a Beverly Hills dermatologist with celebrity clientele, two credentials that pique the interest of many women interested in skin care. His specialty is cosmetic rejuvenation and, like many dermatologists before him, Lancer has his own line of products: Lancer Dermatology Skincare.
Lancer's skin-care line is built around four steps: polish, cleanse, nourish, and protect. According to Lancer, these steps work for every skin type or aging concern. The polish (i.e. scrub) step involves applying a fairly abrasive, alkaline scrub before cleansing. Lancer's idea is that the polish loosens soil and cellular debris, which the cleanser you apply next will easily wash away.
After you cleanse, you're supposed to nourish skin with an anti-aging moisturizer. During the day, you're advised to protect your skin with sunscreen and, occasionally, if needed, you can apply a treatment product (such as a vitamin C cream).
Although Lancer's method is being hailed as unique or somehow different, it's ultimately nothing new to the skin-care industry: Exfoliation is necessary for younger-looking skin (but scrubs aren’t the best way to get this benefit), sun protection is vital, and a moisturizer loaded with skin-repairing ingredients helps replace what young skin produces naturally before it becomes damaged.
The polish (scrub) before the cleansing step is a new twist, but it's actually a problem if you're wearing makeup. Scrubbing skin before you remove your makeup will grind the makeup deeper into your pores, making it harder for the cleanser to remove. If anything, you should cleanse first, polish second.
Although Lancer's method is being hailed as unique or somehow different, it's about as interesting as white bread. If anything, it's a mix of dated and modern concepts built on information that researchers have known about for years: Exfoliation is necessary for younger-looking skin (but scrubbing isn't the best way to get this benefit), sun protection is vital, and a moisturizer loaded with skin-repairing ingredients helps replace what young skin produces naturally before it becomes damaged.
Unfortunately, Lancer’s scrubs are all alkaline (high pH) and contain overly abrasive scrub ingredients and fragrance extracts that skin doesn’t need. The nighttime moisturizers are all packaged in jars (exposing their beneficial ingredients to air), and the one sunscreen in the line is alcohol based (which isn’t a good thing for skin, as we’ll discuss in the product review).
There are some highlights in the line, such as good options for a 10% vitamin C treatment and AHA exfoliant, but ultimately you don’t need to spend this much to have healthy, younger-looking skin. In fact, because many of Lancer's products contain one or more problematic ingredients, you may end up thinking, “why bother?”
For more information about Lancer Dermatology Skincare, call (310) 278-8444 or visit http://www.lancerskincare.com/.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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