Girls whose skin doesn’t tolerate silicones, listen up! I’ve found the perfect sunscreen for you. :-D
(That is, unless you happen to be allergic to any of its other ingredients, in which case my heart really goes out to you in sympathy.)
I’d been searching for the perfect sunscreen for more than a year now, and I finally found it a few weeks ago.
My criteria for above mentioned sunscreen were as follows.
- not contain silicones of any kind, nor any mineral ingredients, such as titanium-dioxide, zinc-oxide or silica,
- provide a broad spectrum protection against sunrays of various wavelengths,
- employ the most advanced form of protection using Tinosorb M and Tinosorb S molecules,
- have an SPF of 50 and as high a PPD as possible,
- not leave a white cast and make my skin very greasy,
- be unscented.
- I also would have preferred it to be a product from a reliable manufacturer of sun-protection products, such as Bioderma or Avene. (As much as I like natural brands, I don't trust them when it comes to sunscreens, as I highly doubt they can produce anything as reliable as brands found in pharmacies.)
I was ready to make some compromises of course, but I was adamant about it not containing any silicones, as they all make my skin break out in little zits that eventually turn into full-blown cystic acne. I was ready to put up with some whiteness unless it made me look like someone who had just seen a ghost, and since Tinosorb molecules are inherently oily ones, I didn’t mind some shine either as that can at least be taken care of with some mattifying powder.
Having tried and hated a ton of sunscreens from various brands (you’ll find a full list at the end of this post), I came across Bioderma Photoderm Sensitive and was ecstatic to see silicones missing entirely from its INCI list. Another thing that I noticed immediately was the lack of any added fragrance: the stuff only smells of its ingredients, and before you scrunch up your noses in distaste, let me tell you it's not unpleasant at all.
Items 1, 6 and 7: check.
All Bioderma sunscreens (including of course Sensitive) contain Tinosorb molecules as well as some chemical filters and Sensitive has an SPF of 50+ in Europe and an SPF of 100 everywhere else in the world. (In the EU manufacturers are not permitted to claim that the SPF of a product is higher than 50.) It’s PPD (the number indicating how strong a protection it gives against UVA rays) is the highest I’ve come across so far: 40. Additional chemical filters it contains are octocrylene and avobenzone which in each other’s presence remain stable and offer additional protection.
Items 2, 3, and 4: check.
About that white cast: it’s there, but it’s a lot less noticeable than what AKN or any other Bioderma sunscreens leave on my skin, and I certainly don’t mind a little in return for all the other benefits of the product. See the product in action (sort of...):
A word of warning though: because of its high Tinosorb content, it’s very heavy and greasy if you wear it on its own. Then again, given the choice between an oilier-than-average complexion and skin cancer, it is obvious which one I’d rather be willing to live with. There is a trick though, and that is to use some sort of mattifying powder over it, one you’ve already tried, tested, and that you feel works best for you. The best such powder for me is Silk Naturals’ Oil Control Primer: no other product has been so effective at keeping the oilies at bay for me as this one, and wearing this over Photoderm Sensitive makes all the difference in the world. I’ve been using the two together ever since the beginning, but for the sake of testing both products (and to see what the other girls were talking about when they bemoaned Sensitive’s greasiness) I omitted my Oil Control Primer one day, and by the time I arrived to Budapest after an hour long journey, my face was a complete oil-slick (it was a real scorcher though). It was really surprising to see how greasy this stuff can get without a proper mattifying product, so I strongly advise everyone with oily skin not to use this on its own, but to cover it with a really effective loose powder.
Try not to put anything underneath it though: it might interfere with the product’s sun protection capability by reducing it considerably. I use it as my daily moisturizer as it contains a significant amount of anti-oxidants and other beneficial ingredients.
So much about the drawbacks, but let me just tell you: I. Do. Not. Care. One. Bit. About. Them. I couldn’t be happier now that I have this really cool silicone-free sunscreen, and I’m not about to complain about things that can’t be helped.
Item 5: check.
Seeing how excited I was about this stuff, one of my friends was awesome enough to give me a sample that lasted more than a week and that made me realize that Bioderma’s Photoderm Sensitive and I were meant to be. Besides the diet I’m on and the medication I take to treat my Insulin Resistance, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and thus my acne as well, I still had some zits on my face that cleared up during the week I used Sensitive. Now that I have my own tube courtesy of another two lovely ladies I know, I can safely say that I’ll never ever be without it again. At least I’ll try not to be, as yet again it is not available in Hungary and has to be ordered and shipped from abroad. Yay… But hey: at least it exists!
For more information, please visit Bioderma International, and check out their product specification page.
WATER (AQUA), DICAPRYLYL CARBONATE, OCTOCRYLENE, BUTYLOCTYL SALICYLATE, METHYLENE BIS-BENZOTRIAZOLYL TETRAMETHYLBUTYLPHENOL, BUTYL METHOXYDIBENZOYLMETHANE, BIS-ETHYLHEXYLOXYPHENOL METHOXYPHEBYL TRIAZINE, C20-22 ALKYL PHOSPHATE, DIPROPYLENE GLYCOL, GLYCERYL STEARATE, PEG 100 STEARATE, TOCOPHERYL ACETATE, MANNITOL, XYLITOL, RHAMNOSE, FRUCTOOLIGOSACCHARIDES, LAMINARIA OCHROLEUCA EXTRACT, CREATINE, GLYCYRRHETINIC ACID, NIACINAMIDE, HYDROLYZED SOY PROTEIN, HYDROLYZED WHEAT PROTEIN, TOCOTRIENOLS, TOCOPHEROL, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, ORYZA SATIVA (RICE) BRAN OIL, EPIGALLOCATECHIN GALLATE, C20-22 ALCOHOLS, DECYL GLUCOSIDE, XANTHAN GUM, HYDROXYETHYL ACRYLATE/SODIUM ACRYLOYLDIMETHYLTAURATE COPOLYMER, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, CITRIC ACID, CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, SODIUM, HYDROXYDE, DISODIUM EDTA, PHENOXYETHANOL, CHLORPHENISIN.
Stuff I’ve tried so far that didn’t work from the Bioderma Photoderm line (in extremely unempirical terms):
- AKN: white as hell, heavily scented, and despite being a specifically anti-acne product it managed to cause me some more zits.
- Spot: stung like crazy…
- Max Fluid: Not bad, pretty matte for a while, but it was still too white and broke me out.
- Max Cream: Well, whaddaya know! It was even more matte than the Fluid version. Still, broke me out, made me look like a ghost, yadda, yadda…
- AR: Why the hell did I even try this? It's not like it's even meant for my skin type... Oh, yeah, it’s Mums. Whatever… Tinted, but of course it’s beige (and I’m olive-skinned, yippee), too oily, and all in all it just didn’t feel right.
- Anti-Age: not bad, the mattest of them all (sure, it only has an SPF of 30 so it contains the smallest amount of Tinosorb), and for once Bioderma didn’t overdo on the silicones, but still not good enough.
Kanebo Allie PSF 50: incredibly matte, skin absorbed it instantly, scores relatively low on the whiteness factor, but as it turns out its PPD is laughably low. Also, it’s full of silicones, and the worst kind for me (dimethicone) is high up on the list. Toss...
Avene: Why bother? They all have some sort of silicone somewhere in their ingredients list…