I thought I had found it. The perfect mineral sunscreen.
After years of slathering on thick formulas that felt greasy on my skin and turned me into the female version of Caspar The Ghost, I was finally holding in my hand the superhero that put them all to shame.
Its name? Skinceuticals Mineral Matte UV Defense SPF30.
On paper, it has it all:
- A tinted pigment that keeps that horrible white cast away
- A lightweight formula that makes piling on the layers quick and easy
- A matte finish that leaves your skin shine-free for hours
What’s not to like? This HUGE flaw…
What’s In Skinceuticals Mineral Matte UV Defense SPF30?
Skinceuticals Mineral Matte UV Defense SPF30 only has ONE UV filter: nano Titanium Dioxide.
This white mineral is both a shield and an absorber: it absorbs most UV rays into a less damaging form of heat and scatters away the rest.
It’s also super gentle on the skin. If you usually stay away from sunscreens because they don’t agree with your sensitive skin, try one with titanium dioxide. You’ll be amazed.
Usually, Titanium Dioxide has a thick, greasy texture. But nanotechnology made this molecule so small, it’s become a lot more lightweight – and a pleasure to use.
Critics say these tiny molecules can penetrate the skin and cause all kinds of problems once inside the body. That’s not true. Science has found that these nanoparticles remain on top of your skin.
That’s where they should be to protect skin from the sun, anyway. If these particles got in, what would stop UV rays from penetrating as well?
The real problem is that Titanium Dioxide does NOT provide broad spectrum protection. It protects from ALL UVB rays, ALL short UVA rays but only SOME long UVA rays. That’s why it should be used with other UVA filters. But, there are none here.
Is it lying when it says it provides SPF 30? Nope. SPF only refers to UVB protection and this sunscreen covers that. It’s in the UVA protection that it falls short.
P.S. To add insult to injury, nanotechnology makes titanium dioxide less effective at fighting UVA rays. Coating them with silicones, like Skinceuticals did here, helps a bit, but doesn’t solve the problem completely.
Related: 6 Things To Look For In Your Sunscreen
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SILICONES TO MINIMIZE IMPERFECTIONS
The base of this sunscreen is made up of silicones. It’s not as bad as you think. Silicones do a lot of good things in skincare:
- Enhance texture: They allow the cream to glide on smoothly, without tugging or pulling.
- Fill in fine lines and wrinkles: It’s a trick to make them look temporarily smaller.
- Softens skin: It makes it feel silky soft to the touch.
They don’t even cause pimples: silicones have a particular molecular structure made up of larger molecules with wider spaces between each molecule. They create a barrier that keeps moisture in but still allows skin to perspire.
But if you use anything comedogenic before this moisturiser, then yes, silicones can trap them underneath their protective barrier and cause breakouts.
Bottom line: don’t use comedogenic ingredients in your skincare and you’ll be fine.
Related: 7 Skincare Ingredients With An Undeserved Bad Reputation
Souffle-like and fast-absorbing.
How To Use It
Apply it liberally in the morning and during the day as needed. Use together with a sunscreen that provides adequate UVA protection.
Performance & Personal Opinion
Skinceuticals Mineral Matte UV Defense SPF 30 has a souffle-like texture that’s a bit hard to squeeze out of the tube. Once you do, though, it goes on smoothly and feels so lightweight and comfortable on the skin.
I apply half a teaspoon without my skin looking greasy, shiny or white. The matte finish looks very natural on my skin and its tinted pigment doesn’t alter my skin colour. When it comes to aesthetics, you can’t fault this sunscreen.
But what about protection? I’ve never got a sunburn while wearing it. But, I didn’t expect one. Sunburns are caused by UVB rays and titanium dioxide protects well from all UVB rays, remember?
It’s the long UVA rays it can’t keep up with. Long UVA cause wrinkles. Unlike a sunburn, wrinkles don’t appear on your skin straight away.
You think your skin’s safe because it’s not burning and then, one day you look in the mirror and see those lines starting to creep up all over your face. And you’re not even 30, yet.
If Skinceuticals added a dollop of zinc oxide to this sunscreen to up the UVA protection, I’d be all over it. As it is, I’ll leave it on the shelf.
Who Is This For?
I don’t recommend this to anyone.
Who Is This NOT For?
Again, I don’t recommend it.
A small grey tube. Sleek and practical, but it won’t last you long.
Does Skinceuticals Mineral Matte UV Defense SPF30 Live Up To Its Claims?
|100% mineral, oilabsorbing mousse smoothes skin texture and minimises the appearance of pores.||True.|
|Enhanced with aerated silica technology, it is proven to maintain a long lasting matte finish even in hot, humid conditions.||True. The matte finish doesn’t last all day, but then you have to reapply it anyway during the day to keep up with sun protection.|
|The lightweight mousse texture dries to a powder finish, optimizing makeup application.||True.|
|100% mineral broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection.||It doesn’t protect from all UVA rays.|
Price & Availability
£40.00 at Look Fantastic
Do You Need It?
No! Get a sunscreen that protects from ALL UV rays.
Dupes & Alternatives
Dimethicone, Titanium Dioxide [Nano]/Titanium Dioxide, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Triethylhexanoin, Isohexadecane, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499/Iron Oxides, Aluminum Stearate, Silica Silylate, Alumina, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, PEG-8 Laurate, Aqua/Water, Laureth-4, Disodium Stearoyl, Glutamate, Tocopherol
I think you mean coating nanoparticals helps prevent the nearly impossible possibility of absorption and of free radicals, but does not increase UVA protection.
“The real problem with nanotechnology? It makes titanium dioxide less effective at fighting UVA rays. Coating them with silicones, like Skinceuticals did here, helps a bit, but doesn’t solve the problem completely.”
S, thanks for pointing that out. yes, that’s what I mean.
Finding the right sun screen can really be a pain. I am always looking for the perfect one with a high amount of zink oxide, that doesn’t make me look like a shiny ghost. I think maybe I have found it! Juice Beauty, spf 30 tinted mineral moisturizer. With 20% zink oxide. This only has zink oxide as active ingredients.
Is it correct that zink oxide will protect against both uva and uvb?
Suzanne, yes, it is correct That amount of zinc oxide will protect you from ALL UV rays. Great find!
A new question for you Gio.
How about the percentage of zink oxide. How high does it need to be to be truly effective in protection against all uv rays. I think 20% is quite high. But what about 10%, or 5%.?
Suzanne, 5% is the absolute minimum, but 10-20% is ideal.
Just found your blog. What a wealth of info!
I was crestfallen to see your review of this product, since a couple of months ago I shelled out big bucks for a SkinCeuticals sunscreen. But I see that it is not this one. It is the Physical Defense SPF 50 one (not matte; I got the tinted version). The label says titianium dioxide 6%, zinc oxide 5%. So am I correct that this product would be safe to rely on to protect from UV rays?
Gail, yes, the sunscreen you chose is good and can be relied on for sun protection. I like most of Skinceuticals products (even though they’re terribly overpriced!), but I guess every line has its dud.
Thanks for your kind words. 🙂
The US version seems to have an SPF of 50 and zinc oxide if I’m not mistaken.
Just Passing By, in that case, it’d work well. 🙂