Back in February I was contacted by a gentleman from 21st Century Formulations asking me if I wanted to try (and perhaps review) their star product Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion. Naturally, I did, so he sent me a box containing the full size (120 ml / 4 oz) product, and some very generous (3 ml) samples: 2 packets of their Shielding Lotion and 1 packet of the SL with added SPF.
Since then, I've had ample time and opportunity to try and test these products under both normal and extreme skin conditions (so to speak), and I can now claim that they have passed the test I put them to with excellent results.
What follows is a thorough review of both products, and the announcement of my first ever giveaway: it'll provide one of my readers with the opportunity to receive the same package I got and evaluate Skin MD's concoctions for herself (or himself :-)). Go for it people!
Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion
Skin MD Natural's Shielding Lotion is everything I've ever wanted a lotion to be. (I purposefully didn't use the expression "body lotion' here, because it's much more than that: besides your body, you can also use it on your face and hands.) It's light, has a gel-like consistency, doesn't really have a scent (aside from a very faint medicinal fragrance that disappears quickly), sinks in insanely fast, doesn't leave a sticky layer on my skin, and moisturizes really well.
Now let's break it down a bit, shall we? :-)
It comes in a slightly flat, 120 ml (4 oz), white, plastic bottle that has a red flip top cap. The first few times I opened it, I also inadvertedly squeezed the bottle too hard and had a bit of the product fly through the room and land on the carpet. :-) I've been more careful ever since and haven't had any problems at all.
The design is clean and simple, and further enhances the message conveyed by the product's name, it being that the product is meant to be a treatment for dry skin and is widely recommended by doctors. All in all, the packaging is sturdy but sleek, and perfectly gender neutral (as is the product itself), so it's perfect for men as well.
Consistency and Ingredients
The lotion is thin, semi-opaque and it's easy to spread on my skin, which allows me to use the minimal amount of product to cover an area. It has a pleasant, barely-there scent that reminds me of a pile of freshly washed clothes, but even that disappears fast and is most likely just the scent of the ingredients.
Upon application the lotion has a cooling effect, as if I were applying aloe vera gel over my body, which is pretty much the case, as Aloe Barbadensis leaf extract is second on the ingredients list. (I imagie this product is ideal for treating sunburns or just cooling your skin after spending some time under the sun.)
Deionized water (Aqua) * Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract (Aloe Vera) * Cyclopentasiloxane * Dimethicone * Methyl Gluceth-20 * Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) * Arnica Montana Flower Extract (Arnica) * Symphytum Officinale Leaf Extract (Comfrey) * Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Extract (Chamomile) * Achillea Millefolium Extract (Yarrow) * Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer * 1,2 Hexanediol * Caprylyl Glycol * Butylene Glycol * Aminomethyl Propanol * Phenoxyethanol
Knowing me you'll probably wonder why I still like this product when it has two kinds of silicones in it. Well, for one I've never had a problem with putting silicones on my body, though I do tend to avoid them whenever possible. For another, I used this lotion on my face for an extended period of time and didn't experience any breakouts. That, however, can be a result of me having used tretinoin on my face for almost two months now: it has changed my skin dramatically (for the better) and seems to have built up a greater tolerance for silicones in it.
In any case, my skin seems to like this lotion and practically drinks it up whenever I use it. Skin MD's Shielding Lotion sinks in amazingly fast (almost immediately upon application) and leaves my skin with a wonderfully soft texture without any sticky residue. That's especially important to me, because I handle paper documents a lot at work and at home, and hate having to wait to infinity for it to sink in.
After having sank in, the product makes sure that my skin stays soft and moisturized for long hours, practically until I wash my hands again. I was battling a particularly nasty case of the flu when I got the package, and my hands were dry, cracked and scaly from washing them every fifteen minutes. It was the perfect time to put this lotion to a test and see how it would fare in such unfavorable circumstances. See for yourselves:
Please excuse the embarrassingly poor condition of my hands in the first picture: like I said, all that hand-washing with antibacterial soap can do that to ones shakers... However, I find they're in a much better shape in the second picture, wouldn't you agree with me? :-)
A few paragraphs earlier, I mentioned that I've been using tretinoin for about 7-8 weeks, and I have also raved about it in several posts already. What I haven't told you yet is that it hasn't always been a joyride, especially in the beginning when my face was a big angry warning sign, telling me in no uncertain terms that it doesn't appreciate being the guinea pig and the poor victim of my newest beauty-obsession. That, and the fact that for a while my skin was drier than the Gobi Desert, and there were lines under my eyes the size of the Grand Canyon... Well, I had to do something, and my little bottle of Shielding Lotion was nearby so I thought "Why not?". I applied it to the tortured area around my eyes and felt immediate relief as my wrinkles disappeared (okay, diminished greatly) and heard my skin slurp it up with great delight. After that, I couldn't help myself and applied it to my entire face. I got the same results: I could practically hear my skin giggling from giddiness and was able to leave the house without looking like a monster straight from a cheap horror movie. :-)
This lotion is also an excellent make-up base, as it sinks in very fast so you don't really have to wait between moisturizing your face and applying make-up. It gives your face a lovely, smooth finish and makes it the perfect canvas to put make-up on. (Yup, that's the handiwork of the silicones.)
The gist of it all is that this is an excellent moisturizer and if you're treating your skin with any kind of harsh stuff (benzoyl peroxide*, tretinoin, tazarotene, Roaccutan, etc...) and your skin tolerates silicones in general, you should give the Shielding Lotion a try.
*As someone who had used BP for almost two years before I came to my senses, I'll never again understand why someone would want to put it on their face. Having my face hurt constantly during those two years and knowing what I now know about BP, I wouldn't touch that stuff with a twelve foot pole...
On Skin MD's website you can purchase this product for 18 USD per bottle, and according to the information I found there, it should be enough for 1-2 months with daily use. I don't know about that, because I haven't used mine regularly (I save it for emergencies, when nothing else works to soothe and moisturize my skin), but since the product has great slip and is thus easy to spread on your skin, that might just be true.
The price is a bit steep (for me anyway), but check back soon, and Skin MD and I might just be able to do something about that. *hint-hint*
+ Sunscreen SPF 15
Okay folks, now this is seriously good stuff if you can forgive it for having an SPF of only 15.
If you're indoors most of the time though and absolutely can't suffer a greasy sunscreen on your face, this is the product to turn to. For example, if you spend almost your entire day in an exhibition hall with no natural light-source whatsoever, and don't have time to touch up your face with blotting paper because you have potential customers to catch with a lasso, well then Shielding Lotion SPF 15 and you were just meant to be. :)
As opposed to the plain Shielding Lotion, this product is totally opaque because of the following sunscreens in it:
- Octinoxate 7%
- Octisalate 5%
- Homosalate 3%
The above are chemical suncreens, so you don't have to worry about the product leaving a white cast on your face. Even though the lotion itself is white, it applies totally transparent, and though it feels a bit less moisturizing than the plain Shielding Lotion, it has the added benefit of doubling as a very effective mattifying product. When I used this at home and in Nuremberg, I couldn't stop wondering how it managed to keep my face matte for long hours before I needed a touch-up. (It's one of the reasons why I packed this to take with me to Nuremberg: I'd known I'd need as many multi-functional products as possible to save space and this fit the bill perfectly.)
All in all, this is a great product in itself, but our knowledge of how the sun affects our skin would call for a much higher SPF (and PPD, while we're at it) than what this has. If it had an SPF of at least 30, I'd buy it for it's 25 USD price in a heartbeat, because aside the SPF issues, it's an excellent product.
My Mum who has extremely sensitive skin has tried the plain Shielding Lotion and has only good things to report back: her skin didn't react, didn't flare up like it usually does when it hates a product. Her cheeks didn't burn and itch, and she felt immediate relief upon applying the lotion to her skin. She says it moisturizes really well, and that's really something coming from my Mum who has the driest, most dehydrated skin ever. The bottom-line: if your skin tends to be finicky about products, you too might want to give this lotion a try.
As a conclusion to my review, I can only recommend these two products: their greatest assets are how fast they sink in and how well they moisturize, but each has its own benefits as well. Sun protection is not one of their strong ones, and the silicones they contain might not work for everybody, but if you need some serious moisturizing action and want your skin to feel silky smooth, then these two are the best for the job.
Also, stay tuned for a giveaway on Binary Star sponsored by 21st Century Formulations, through which you'll get the chance to win the exact same package I got and test their products for free!