This Would Be The Perfect Sunscreen (If It Weren’t For This One Flaw)

by Gio

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 superhero 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?

The Problem With Skinceuticals Mineral Matte UV Defense SPF30

Skinceuticals Mineral Matte UV Defense SPF30 harnesses the power of titanium dioxide to protect you from UV rays.

Titanium dioxide 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. So gentle, even babies (after they’ve turned 6 months old) can safely use it. 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.

The catch? Titanium dioxide protects from ALL UVB rays, ALL short UVA rays but only SOME long UVA rays. It comes close to providing broad spectrum protection, but not quite.

That’s why it should be used with other UVA filters. But, there are none here.

What’s The Deal With Nanotechnology?

Titanium dioxide is pretty thick. How the heck did Skinceuticals manage to make it so thin?

Nanotechnology. You take a big molecule and make it so tiny, it becomes invisible. The new tiny molecule also has a much lighter texture, making it a lot more pleasant 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 the 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 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.

Let’s Put It To The Test: Personal Use And 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.

Price & Availability: £40.00

Ingredients: 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

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S May 25, 2017 - 5:33 am

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.”

Gio May 27, 2017 - 5:02 pm

S, thanks for pointing that out. yes, that’s what I mean.

Suzanne May 26, 2017 - 8:09 pm

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?

Gio May 27, 2017 - 5:07 pm

Suzanne, yes, it is correct That amount of zinc oxide will protect you from ALL UV rays. Great find!

Suzanne May 31, 2017 - 1:09 pm

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%.?

Gio June 3, 2017 - 3:25 pm

Suzanne, 5% is the absolute minimum, but 10-20% is ideal.

Gail June 26, 2017 - 5:46 am

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?

Gio July 7, 2017 - 11:29 am

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. 🙂

Just passing by September 24, 2017 - 12:46 pm

The US version seems to have an SPF of 50 and zinc oxide if I’m not mistaken.

Gio September 29, 2017 - 12:12 pm

Just Passing By, in that case, it’d work well. 🙂


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