MDSolarSciences Daily Anti-Aging Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 with SolSci-X is marketed as an anti-aging moisturizer with sunscreen, and it was very nearly an excellent addition to their lineup.
Packaged in a pump-style bottle, this lightweight lotion has quite a few positives going for it—an array of antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients, anti-irritants, nonfragrant plant oils, and more.
Best for normal to dry skin (but workable for combination skin) due to the amount of moisture it provides, this sunscreen formula falls short of our recommendation due to its potent and potentially irritating fragrance mix.
The sunscreen actives are non-mineral, as opposed to most of the MDSolarSciences sunscreens that contain the mineral actives titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These non-mineral actives give this formula a much lighter texture and leave no white cast. The mix of actives—avobenzone, octisalate, and octocrylene—is stabilized and provides broad-spectrum protection.
For added assurance, MDSolarSciences included the sunscreen-stabilizing ingredient butyloctyl salicylate, which enhances the UVA/UVB protection of this formula further (and likely what they’re referring to with their “SolSci-X,” which is just their marketing name for this stabilizer).
Among the more notable beneficial ingredients, this contains niacinamide, caffeine, vitamin C, multiple peptides, and nonfragrant plant oils. MDSolarSciences also added skin-repairing ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid (as sodium hyaluronate). These ingredients help to defend skin against ongoing environmental free-radical damage, while simultaneously helping to repair signs of aging and reduce inflammation.
Given all of these positives, we were hoping this would earn a higher rating. Unfortunately, the mix of fragrance ingredients, including rosemary leaf extract, and the more concerning lavender oil, held this otherwise good formula back. While the research on irritation from rosemary extract isn’t compelling, the potential for irritation from lavender oil is well documented. See More Info for additional details on why this is such an undesired ingredient for skin.
The problematic ingredients aside, this is also pricey—at about $70 for less than two ounces, so this won’t last for long if you apply it daily (and daily UV protection is absolutely essential if treating or preventing skin damage and signs of aging is your goal). Rather than accept the negatives of this formula, look to any of the numerous well-formulated alternatives in the Best Daytime Moisturizers with Sunscreen section of Beautypedia.
Lavender Oil: In-vitro research indicates that components of lavender, specifically linalool and linalyl acetate, can be cytotoxic, which means that topical application of as little a concentration as 0.25% causes cell death (Cell Proliferation, June 2004). This study was conducted on endothelial cells, which are cells that line blood pathways in the body and play a critical role in the inflammatory process of skin.
As linalool and linalyl acetate are both rapidly absorbed by skin and can be detected within blood cells in less than 20 minutes, endothelial cells are an ideal choice for such a test (Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, 1992). The results of this research also demonstrated that lavender has a damaging effect on fibroblasts, which are cells that produce collagen.
The fragrance constituents in lavender oil, linalool and linalyl acetate, oxidize when exposed to air, and in this process their potential for causing an allergic reaction is increased (Contact Dermatitis, 2008).
If you’re wondering why lavender oil doesn’t appear to be problematic for you, it’s because research has demonstrated that you don’t always need to see it or feel it happening for your skin to suffer damage (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
Strengths: Excellent array of fragrance-free mineral sunscreens; products are packaged to protect ingredients from exposure to air and light; a very good eye-area treatment; water-resistant sunscreen formulas; nearly all sunscreens contain beneficial antioxidants and are suitable for sensitive skin.
Weaknesses: Some products are on the pricey side; some of the mineral sunscreens are difficult to remove; a few formulas contain irritating fragrant ingredients or fragrance.
MDSolarSciences specializes in mineral-based sunscreens, and you will find multiple variations of silicone-based, gel-cream formulas with a blend of the sunscreen actives titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Mineral sunscreens are particularly ideal for those with sensitive skin, including those with rosacea or eczema, as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are virtually non-reactive; that is, they have little to no ability to provoke irritation. To our delight, nearly every MDSolarSciences formula is free of fragrance, including their mineral sunscreen options.
While many love the scent of citrus, lavender, or spicy notes, such ingredients and compounds-whether natural or synthetic-are potentially irritating to skin (especially if you're dealing with issues like rosacea or eczema). A few of the newer MDSolarSciences formulas do include some degree of fragrance, which is a disappointing turn for the brand and one we hope doesn't continue as the brand's product lineup expands. Those that contain fragrance are noted as such in their respective reviews.
The polarizing aspect of mineral sunscreens is often aesthetic-and that's certainly no exception with the options offered by MDSolarScience. Any mineral-based sunscreen will have some degree of white cast-it's unavoidable-and whether a particular product's degree of such is suitable for you is subjective. The white cast and the texture of the MDSolarSciences mineral sunscreens have varying levels of intensity and thickness, all qualities that are noted in each review.
Another note: As all of their mineral sunscreens are water-resistant (at the time of this review), they are exceptionally tenacious. You may need to use a soft washcloth or cleansing tool (like the Clarisonic, etc.) with your cleanser, or consider using a few drops of nonfragrant plant oil before your cleanser to help aid the removal process.
For more information about MDSolarSciences, call 1-877-301-5355 or visit http://www.mdsolarsciences.com.
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