SkinCeuticals Advanced Brightening UV Defense SPF 50 – Review

In my last review of Skinceuticals’ serum, I said that I wasn’t planning to review more products from this brand this year, but I hadn’t had any idea they would release such an exciting product. 

This sunscreen contains a mix of titanium dioxide and chemical filters including L’Oréal’s proprietary Mexoryl XL. The formula also includes 2% niacinamide and 1% tranexamic acid, which makes this product similar to the cream tested in this study. The only difference being that the analysed cream contained 2% tranexamic acid. However, this shouldn’t be a worry since sunscreens are applied at least three times a day and more generously than face creams. Without a doubt, you will get the full benefits of the tranexamic acid and niacinamide combo.  

We usually don’t apply a face cream three times a day,  just twice a day. And contrary to suggestions of a few bloggers and beauty journalists, I don’t recommend washing your face to reapply a product. Each time you wash your face, you remove some of the skin’s lipids, and over-washing can result in the damage of the skin barrier. Wash your face two times a day at most, or more if your work/lifestyle requires it, but not to reapply a face cream. If something works, it should work when applied once or twice daily. Another exception would be prescribed medicine, but your prescribing physician will explain to you how to use it. 

 Back to the sunscreen, there aren’t any other thrilling ingredients. The formula includes alcohol, but the product isn’t drying at all, it’s slightly on the greasy side which is something intrinsic to most of new L’Oréal’s sunscreens, and I have discussed it many times before (Vichy, Lancôme, La Roche-Posay). The formula is free of fragrance. The product is intended for oily, mixed, normal, and dry skin types. Ideal for use after procedures and for combating or preventing hyperpigmentation. 

This sunscreen is pretty good, it didn’t win me over, but I enjoyed using it. I had expected it to be more light-weight and less greasy. It doesn’t look terrible when I apply a quarter of a teaspoon; the shininess is acceptable but requires some powder. The problem arises when I use a half a teaspoon (to my face only). With a half of a teaspoon, it’s rather greasy, so I would recommend applying only a quarter of a teaspoon, which is a pretty good amount, and blotting or tissuing off the excess before reapplying. One thing that I didn’t like is that over time it dribbled into my eyes, it didn’t irritate them, but it felt uncomfortable, so I had to wipe it off. Usually, it happened after about over an hour of wearing the sunscreen, so just in time to reapply. Actually, it’s a good reminder. The other thing that I didn’t particularly appreciate while testing the product is that it caused breakouts, not a lot a spot here and there, but it’s a bit disappointing given that it’s recommended for oily skin. 
The product leaves some white cast, with a smaller amount it only gives the brightening effect, but with more copious quantities it may come across as white cast, especially on deeper skin tones. Usually, I don’t mind the ‘brightening’ effect in sunscreens, but here it’s bothersome because it doesn’t come from mineral filters but silica and mica. The latter is a highly unethical ingredient, due to the way it’s extracted (AlJazeera’s reportage on the issue). SkinCeuticals could’ve opted for zinc oxide, which would have given a similar effect to mica and improved the anti-UV properties of this product. L’Oréal hardly ever use zinc oxide, outside the US, in their sunscreens. As for makeup, it would only work if you apply a small amount of it, so not the best option if you only use sunscreen once a day.  

I can’t say if this product’s tranexamic and niacinamide mix works, as I was using it along with Shiseido’s serum which also contains tranexamic acid. I trust SkinCeuticals and studies that it does.  

Overall, it’s a decent sunscreen. It offers proper anti-UV protection and includes fantastic ingredients for decreasing hyperpigmentation. I wish it were more light-weight, but I still like it. I don’t think I will return to this product though, because it contains mica which is utterly redundant in the formula. There is no need to use such unethical ingredients in sunscreens or other types of products for that matter. There are many far better ingredients that SkinCeuticals could’ve added instead of it. 

Ingredients:

WATER, ALCOHOL DENAT., ETHYLHEXYL TRIAZONE, DROMETRIZOLE TRISILOXANE, ISONONYL ISONONANOATE, ISOPROPYL LAUROYL SARCOSINATE, BUTYL METHOXYDIBENZOYLMETHANE, DIISOPROPYL SEBACATE, BIS-ETHYLHEXYLOXYPHENOL METHOXYPHENYL TRIAZINE, NIACINAMIDE, DIMETHICONE, METHYLENE BIS-BENZOTRIAZOLYL TETRAMETHYLBUTYLPHENOL [NANO]/METHYLENE BIS-BENZOTRIAZOLYL TETRAMETHYLBUTYLPHENOL, OCTOCRYLENE, PROPANEDIOL, ETHYLHEXYL SALICYLATE, CETEARYL ALCOHOL, SILICA, TRANEXAMIC ACID, TOCOPHEROL, PHENOXYETHANOL, PEG-10 DIMETHICONE, CI 77891/TITANIUM DIOXIDE, POLYGLYCERYL-10 LAURATE, SODIUM STEAROYL GLUTAMATE, CAPRYLYL GLYCOL, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, CETEARYL GLUCOSIDE, MICA, GLYCERIN, PEG-20, AMMONIUM ACRYLOYLDIMETHYLTAURATE/VP COPOLYMER, TRISODIUM ETHYLENEDIAMINE DISUCCINATE, CARBOMER, INULIN LAURYL CARBAMATE, T-BUTYL ALCOHOL, D241104/1 (skinceuticals.it)

The Advanced Brightening UV Defense SPF 50 retails for €45, available from SkinCeuticals’ stockists. 

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