It’s not quite Summer yet, but the days are getting longer, and the sun, a bit brighter, and anyone who reads my What Works Beauty, Cosmetics & Fashion Review Columns (online for a decade this year) knows that I believe protecting your skin against the sun’s damaging rays every single days is an absolute must. Doing so at an early age can help prevent the signs of premature aging. A skin cancer the size of a dime can kill you, so protecting your skin with sunblocks can also potentially save your life as well. But what you can’t see is something many people feel they can ignore. Such is the problem with the sun’s UVA/UVB rays. Unless you get a sunburn (and by then the damage is done) you don’t really know they’re out there, sabotaging your skin. Furthermore, most people simply don’t want to put out the extra effort to add a sunblock to their skincare routine, or they don’t like the smell, the texture or myriad other things.
A product just arrived for review in my next What Works Beauty, Cosmetics and Fashion Review Column that addresses this problem, and I simply can’t wait for May/June to review it *the March/April “What Works” review column is live at the end of this week at http://www.advicesisters.net/whatworkscol3.html . So I’m making it the PRODUCT OF THE WEEK in this blog, so you can learn about it and get it now.
What is this special product? It’s not only interesting, it’s really inexpensive. The product is the Elements Protective Cleanser $6.99 4 fl. oz by St. Ives. A cheerful yellow bottle with frosted pump top holds a cleanser that multi-tasks to also provide SPF protection (SPF 10) as you wash. Key ingredients are avobenzone (oil-soluable ingredient used in sunscreens to absorb the full spectrum of UVA rays); octinoxate (compound that absorbs UVB rays); octocrylene (aborbs ultraviolet ligh); and Vitamin E (anti-oxidant). The slightly fruity scented cleanser is more like a very creamy lotion that you are supposed to massage it into your face for 1-2 minutes (it isn’t clear if you get more effective SPF protection if you work in into your skin longer but it would make sense) and then wash it off. The sunscreens in this product are encapsulated into a positively-charged silica shell so it sticks to your skin, which is negatively charged, and it won’t rinse off. The product did clean leftover makeup and dirt off our skin, of course. But they key is what it leaves ON your skin. When I tried this one, after drying my face there was a feeling of a light coating on my skin. This, I assume, is the sun protection…and I didn’t have to do a single extra thing to get it!’
The downside, if there is one, is that SPF 10 is at best, marginal sun protection which isn’t meant to protect you against a full day of sun exposure (like the skin you get while spending a day at the beach). However, since incremental (every day) type sun exposure (the type you get just walking around doing errands or stepping out for lunch) accounts for 80% of sun damage over a lifetime, it’s a good thing to protect yourself every which way you can.
The press literature claims that the microencapsulated sun screen in St. Ives Protective Cleanser blocks 90% of UVA/UVB rays, but even so, it is important to note you still need a decent sunblock with SPF 15 or higher, if you are planning to anything more than walk from your house to your car in the driveway. Layering products with SPF can help as well, so this one will be even more effective if you cleanse with this product and then layer other products with higher SPF in them such as moisturizers or foundation (or better still, a dedicated sunblock).
The real benefit to this product (as I see it) is that it forces you to add at least some protection to your skincare routine with no excuses, no effort, and virtually no expense. If you are the type of person who absolutely refuses to use sunscreen on a daily basis (or you have children or spouses who don’t use it regularly) this product could be the breakthrough you are seeking…and at an amazingly low price!
The product will be available beginning March 2008 at drug, mass retailer, and grocery store outlets. Visit http://www.stives.com/ for more info!