Sep 10, 2012

Sunscreen...The Never Ending Search! Updated 09/09/12

Summer is finally coming to an end and throughout the intense heat of Phoenix Arizona I have tried and tested many SS on the continuous quest of finding the 'perfect' that will not only protect my skin from any further sun damage but also be non irritating, does not leave a white cast, non greasy and totally compatible underneath my makeup. Have I found this bottle of perfection yet......I think I just may have!
I have tried and tested quite a few sunscreens and the majority do not even warrant a mention due to the fact that they are usually either extremely heavy, irritating, greasy or totally ineffective. However there are some which deserve mentioning and in my opinion are worth trying.

#1 Pick for Face
SARA SARA UV Aqua Rich Watery essence Water base SPF 50+ PA+++                            Cost anywhere between $15.00 to $25.00 for a 50g bottle.

Key Ingredients:
Water (Aqua), Alcohol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Lauryl Methacrylate/Sodium Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Dimethicone, Acrylates/
C10-30 Acrylate Crosspolymer, Glyceryl Stearate, Agar, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum(Lemon) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Xylitol, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Fragrance (Parfum).
This has now taken the #1 spot as my all time favorite sunscreen which was previously held by Devita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30+
This is a very light weight gel like cream which turns into a water like consistency the moment you place it on your skin. It absorbs into to the skin within seconds (yes seconds) and I am left wondering if I have applied it due to it not leaving any residue at greasiness like most sunscreens, but also does not mattify leaving the skin feeling dry and parched....its is totally invisible to the eye and to the touch.
It works wonderfully underneath makeup as a primer and does not ball-up when applying foundation. This may all sound to good to be true but I promise you this is a Japanese water based sunscreen which I highly recommend you try.

Excellent protection. I live in the intense heat of Arizona and do not get any color when using this.
The most incredible base underneath makeup
I can apply my makeup within seconds of application as this sinks into to the skin with 'no' residue almost immediately
Leaves skin feeling silky smooth
Non greasy
Non drying
Non irritating
Cost effective
The only con I can think of is if you should be allergic to any of the ingredients

#2 Pick  for Face
Skin Aqua Sara Sara Skin Care UV Essence SPF 50+ PA+++
Cost $15-$25                                                          

This comes in as a close 2nd place to the above with identical advantages 'except' I find it does not perform as well underneath makeup hence I intend to use this on the days I do not wear makeup (which is very rare)!
Excellent protection. I live in the intense heat of Arizona and do not get any color when using this.
Leaves skin feeling silky smooth
Non greasy
Non drying
Non irritating
Cost effective
Can ball up under makeup (depends on application)

#3 Pick for Face Devita Solar Protective Moisurizer SPF 30+
Cost $25.95 2.5 oz

ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Micronized Zinc oxide 19%
I apply this sunscreen approximately 15 minutes before I apply my makeup allowing it to settle on my skin. I then apply a silicone base primer before applying my silicone base foundation. However I do want to add that on the occassions I have not used a primer before applying my foundation I do notice that my makeup will 'slide' a little throughout the day....hence why I 'always' use a primer after applying the sunscreen. After attempting to previously use the Devita Body Block for my face I have found this to be far less greasy. Yes, it has the same ingredients as the Body Block but minus the Shea Butter therefore making the greasiness nonexistent.
#1 Pick for Body
Allie EX UV Protector (Perfect Alpha) 50+ PA+++

Cost $34.00

Key Ingredients

Again I purchased this one to use on arms, hands and decolletage and have only been using it for the past couple of days so my opinion is a little premature as yet 'but' so far I am really liking the feel and texture of this SS. It doe not have that 'powdery' feel to it like the above SS with the advantage of it also being waterproof and sweat-proof and like all the above this also does not need any special treatment in regards to removal.
#2 Pick for Body
Devita Solar Body Block SPF 30+
Cost $27.95 for a 7 oz bottle

ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Micronized Zinc oxide 19%.
Originally this was the best sunscreen for body I had tried until it was superseded by Allie (review above) but this runs a very close 2nd to Allie and overall is more cost effective. 
It is a 'physical' sunscreen with the only active ingredient being Zinc Oxide at 19% which is incredibly high. Usually zinc oxide will alway leave a 'white cast' on the face, especially at 19% but his product does not do this.
This is a full spectrum sunscreen which is very light and absorbs very quickly and is Paraben free.

Cost effective
No white cast whatsoever
No irritation due to it being a'Physical' SS
None that I can think of

#3 Pick for Body
Biore' Sara Sara UV Perfect Milk for Face & Body SPF 50+ PA+++

Cost $14.00

Key Ingredients

I purchased this for use on my arms, hands and decolletage as I was aware that it would not be very compatible underneath makeup.
Again this works wonderfully in regards to sun protection as I have used this throughout the summer and have not got any tan at all 'but' I have found this to be a little drying on my skin so the jury is still out on this one until I can find something with the same protection but feels a little more 'comfortable' on my skin. However this may work well for the face if you have oily skin.

Most easily available
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 55 with Helioplex
Cost $9.50 for a 3.0 oz bottle
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3.0%, Homosalate 10.0%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 2.8%, Oxybenzone 6%

This without doubt gives great protection from the sun. I tried and tested this product whilst spending a week in Panama City Beach Florida and my skin did not even turn the slightest bit pink and I was very impressed. This sunscreen is also non-comedogenic (will not clog pores).
However, I was under the impression that due to the product having the description of 'Dry Touch' in its title that there would be very little 'shine' or 'greasiness' but this was not the case. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch is very shiny and greasy when applied to the skin. I found it impossible to use underneath makeup and no matter how long I gave this product to absorb into my skin (which it never did) foundation was impossible to apply. However, I highly recommend this sunscreen and will continue to use this for outdoor protection but feel it is totally incompatible for using underneath makeup.
Excellent protection
Very cost effective
Totally incompatible underneath makeup
Very greasy and shiny
Leaves a faint white cast

#1 Disappointment
La-Roche Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid
Cost $23.00 for a 1.7 oz bottle.

Key Ingredient's

Avobenzone 3% (sunscreen)
• Homosalate 15% (suncreen)
• Octisalate 5% (sunscreen)
• Octocrylene 5% (sunscreen)
• Oxybenzone 6% (sunscreen)

What I loved most about this sunscreen was just how light it was on my skin. It has a very 'watery' consistency and absorbs into the skin within minutes. It is also non-comedogenic (won't clog pores). It did not leave a greasy residue and the protection was first class as I did not experience any increase in pigmentation issues which is fantastic considering I live in Phoenix Arizona where the sun shines with intensity for 365 days each year!
Why oh why did I not continue to use this wonderful product? unfortunately around day 10 I started to notice some irritation which slowly increased with noticeable redness on my skin with me reluctantly having to conclude that I was allergic to one of the ingredient's which also cause sensitivity to my eyes causing them to sting and constantly run.
First class protection
Very light consistency 
Non greasy 
No white cast
Balled up under makeup
Stings eyes no matter how careful I was with application
Caused my skin to be irritated becoming dry and blotchy


  1. Like your blog! Nice review :).
    I love La Roche Posay too! Can't go wrong with it; highest PPD available. Although the LRP dermo pediatrics has the highest PPD (39, whereas the regular LRP 50+ has a PPD of 31, if I remember it correctly) I prefer the regular one. Dermo Pediatrics sticks like a thick white layer on your skin :(. I still give it a try every now and then though as the high PPD is tempting.
    Will continue reading your blog, love to read about the vitamin C serum, as I've had some trouble finding a stable serum.

  2. I am interested in the Devita. I have been using Skinceuticals Physical Fusion 50 which is awesome ! But $30 for only 1.7 oz.

  3. Hi your quote "Dermo Pediatrics sticks like a thick white layer on your skin" that made me smile. I also have sunscreens that I have purchased due to the high PPD and try to convince myself that knowone will notice the "thick white paste" on my face...nut then I come to my senses and go back to what works:-)

  4. Hi Anonymous!email me with your full name and mailing address and I will send you a small sample of the Devita so as you can give it a try.
    Would love to know more about Skinceuticals Physical Fusion 50....any white cast?

  5. I have a question about skin lightners. I have Melasma right above my lip. I have just completed a Jessner/TCA combo. It has been 1 week, & I am worried that I made the situation WORSE. Maybe the skin is not completely peeled yet? Can you tell me what skin lightners you would recommend? Does lemon juice really work? I'm willing to try/buy anything.I am Hispanic with an olive skin tone. This melasma is devastating me. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  6. Hi Jessica
    First, do not panic! When doing any peel things usually look worse before they look better and full results are not achieved until a course of peels are done (please take a look at the Jessner peel review on the sidebar link in the February heading).
    The best thing I have done for my skin, along with the Jessner peel, has been the Obagi Nu-Derm system. I have a link in the sidebar which you may find interesting under the heading 'Obagi Update'. Hopefully you are aware that the most important thing you can be doing at this time in reagrds to skincare is to use a good sunscreen as no matter what investment you put into your skin in regards to treatments they will only be temporary if sunscreen is not used.
    I am sorry to hear this is causing you so much stress at this time but hang in there as I am confident that you will get the results you are looking for once you find the right system that works for you.
    If you would like any additional advice and do not wish to place your questions on the blog click on the 'Contact' link and you will find my email address.
    I look forward to hearing from you:)