What Are The Best Sunscreens For Oily Skin?

by Gio
5 best sunscreens for oily skin

“But I don’t want to wear sunscreen! It’s greasy, it turns me into a disco ball and it slides off my face within half an hour! Can’t I just skip it?”

I hear ya. If you have oily skin, finding a sunscreen that doesn’t turn your skin into a greasy mess can seem like an impossible feat.

Blame UV filters. A lot of them have thick, oily textures that are hard to dilute into a lightweight lotion your skin can tolerate – especially if you’re determined to avoid alcohol at all costs.

(Fun fact: the reason why you see alcohol in so many sunscreens is because it thins out their textures).

But going without sunscreen ain’t an option. Not if you’re serious about antiging. No sunscreens means more wrinkles and dark spots – sooner than you thought, too. Not to mention the risk of skin cancer…

But how to track down the few sunscreens that are a good match for your skin type? Fret not, I’ve done the work for you. Here are the best sunscreens for oily skin:

Best On A Budget: Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($9.32)

If you’re just looking for a basic sunscreen that gets the job done without leaving a greasy mess behind, Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is a good option to consider. It has stabilised avobenzone for UVA protection, plus a bunch of UVB filter that ensures you’re safe from the entire UV spectrum. The silky lotion is lightweight and sinks in quickly even on oily skin. Just don’t use it when you’re pregnant. Avobenzone is on the no-go list for anyone who is pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive.

Available at: Walmart

Related: Which Ingredients Should You Avoid When You’re Pregnant?

Best For Antiaging: Paula’s Choice Extra Care Non-Greasy Sunscreen SPF 50 For Normal To Oily/Combination Skin ($17.00)

Paula’s Choice Extra Care Non-Greasy Sunscreen SPF 50 For Normal To Oily/Combination Skin has a slightly thicker texture compared to the others in this list. If your skin is VERY oil, I wold give it a pass. Anyone else will love this. It uses synthetic UV filters that are less greasy than mineral ones and still provide excellent broad spectrum protection. Plus, in true Paula’s style, it’s loaded to the brim with antioxidants (including vitamins A, C and E) to fight off wrinkles. They help boost the sun protection of the sunscreen, too. Paula has really thought of everything!

Available at: Dermstore and Paula’s Choice

Related: Why You Should Add Vitamin C To Your Skincare Routine

Best For Sensitive Skin: EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47 ($25.00)

Prefer an all mineral sunscreen? Mineral UV filters titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are gentler on the skin, less likely to cause irritations and still provide excellent UV protection. You can find them in EltaMD UV Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47, one of the best mineral sunscreens for oily skin. Its silky texture is pretty lightweight and sinks in quickly without turning your skin into a greasy mess. Plus it’s water-resistant. The catch? It does leave a slight white cast on the skin, but if you don’t mind that, it’s worth checking it out.

Available at: Dermstore and Walmart

Related: 3 Reasons Why Mineral Sunscreen Is Better For Sensitive Skin

Best For Very Oily Skin: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 60 ($19.99)

If your skin is SO oily, you’ve lost all hopes of finding a sunscreen that doesn’t make you look even more of a shiny frying pan, give La Roche Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry Touch Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 60 a last try. The creamy texture dries down to a matte finish quickly and is enriched with oil-absorbents to soak up the excess oil on your skin. The UV filters are synthetic but then your skin doesn’t get along with mineral ones – they’re just too greasy for you. The best part? It can withstand heat and humidity better than most sunscreens and works well even in water for up to 80 minutes.

Available at: Blue Mercury, Dermstore and Ulta

Related: Mineral Vs Chemical Sunscreen: Which One Is Right For You?

Best For An Active Lifestyle: Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen + WetForce ($42.00)

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen + WetForce does leave a whiteish cast on the skin. It’s the price to pay for mineral sun protection. Mineral filters are gentler but you can see them a little. If that bothers you, wear foundation on top. Trust me, if you lead an active lifestyle and like running, outdoor activities or days at the pool, this is worth the effort. The “WetForce”, a mix of film-forming ingredients that swell when they come in contact with water, allow titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to spread evenly all over your skin even in the water or when you’re sweating buckets, increasing your sun protection. Told you it was worth the effort!

Available at: John Lewis, Nordstrom, Sephora and Ulta

Shop Best Sunscreens For Oily Skin

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42 comments

Beate May 7, 2013 - 5:40 pm

Great post. Unfortunatly none of those are in my shops. Here are two brands for oily skin from apothecaries from Germany:
Eucerin Sun Fluid matt SPF 30 and 50, leaves no whiteness on the skin
Vichy Capital Soleil Dry Touch SPF 30 and 50, really mattifiying for me and leaves a hint of whiteness on the face
both for about 16€ for 30ml

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beautifulwithbrains May 7, 2013 - 9:24 pm

Beate, what a shame! Can’t you get them online? In any case, I’m glad you’ve found some sunscreens that work well you, and that aren’t too expensive. Thank you for sharing them.

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Beate May 9, 2013 - 11:19 am

Oh, I made a mistake! 😀 They are both 50 ml. And as others have mentioned below, I use them only in the face.
I have found a really good working dead cheap hight street shop product for 3-4€ from the drugstore Müller. Lavozon SPF 30, no perfume, no greasiness on skin. I use it not for sunbathing (which I don’t do), but for normal day life, on exposed skin.

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beautifulwithbrains May 9, 2013 - 8:40 pm

Beate, what a great find! And so affordable!

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Trisha May 7, 2013 - 5:41 pm

Well, I just learned about brands I’ve never heard of! So, that’s always good! 😉

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beautifulwithbrains May 7, 2013 - 9:29 pm

Trisha, don’t you just love discovering new brands? 😉

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Stephanie May 7, 2013 - 5:46 pm

Oily skin is usually only a problem on the face. So I’d say my favorite sunscreen for oily skin is mineral makeup with titanium dioxide and zinc. On the rest of my body, it doesn’t matter what I wear.

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beautifulwithbrains May 7, 2013 - 9:34 pm

Stephanie, I agree. The rest of the body is rarely as oily as the face and so it’s much easier to find a sunscreen that works for it.

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Mayette May 7, 2013 - 9:30 pm

Great list! I swear by BurnOut Ocean Tested for my oily, sensitive skin. 🙂

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beautifulwithbrains May 7, 2013 - 9:40 pm

Mayette, that’s a very good sunscreen too. I’m glad it works well for you. 🙂

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Becca @ The Beauty Sample May 8, 2013 - 7:55 am

I LOVE Elta MD’s UV Clear Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF46–it doesn’t leave my super oily skin greasy or oily, doesn’t break me out, has a decent level of SPF and the texture is *gorgeous*. I think it probably has the best texture/consistency of any sunscreen I’ve tried–it’s just so light and silky without feeling slippery and silicone-y. I’ve also had really good luck with Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunblock. I like the watery, fluid consistency and it keeps my skin pretty matte. Same with Shiseido’s Urban Environment sunblock, though it’s pricier and does sting my eyes just a tiny bit if I apply it to close to the eye area.

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beautifulwithbrains May 10, 2013 - 8:45 pm

Becca, thank you for sharing your recommendations. I was very tempted to add the Elta MD’s UV Clear Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF46 to the list too, but from the reviews I’ve read (I haven’t tried this one yet), it leaves an obvious white cast on the skin. Everything else about it sounds amazing though, and it’s definitely a great option for people with oily skin.

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Icaria May 9, 2013 - 12:20 pm

None of these are available in my area. We have Neutrogena but I haven’t seen this one. It seems my skin has turned on me and it’s back to being oily. Could be a Summer thing only, we’ll see. The ones I’ll be looking at are from Shiseido which are apparently light & mattifying. I was doing ok with Ombrelle Special Face SPF45 and LRP SPF 60 but this week it was a disaster. *fingers crossed* 🙂

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beautifulwithbrains May 9, 2013 - 9:13 pm

Icaria, what a shame! All Neutrogena sunscreens are good in terms of UV protection, but I chose this one because it is one of the few which doesn’t contain the harsh preservative Methylisothiazolinone. But if you don’t react badly to it, you can give them a go. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face Sunscreen SPF 45 is another one that doesn’t contain that preservative, and should be a good option for oily skin as well.

I also wanted to include Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream SPF 55, but I’ve found out that it was recently reformulated and it now contains a huge amount of alcohol, which is bad for skin, and the texture isn’t easy to work with either.

I’m sorry those sunscreens aren’t working for you anymore. I hope you’ll soon find one that does. 🙂

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Janessa May 20, 2013 - 11:38 pm

I recommend Shiseido’s sunscreens in their cream or lotion (the lotion a bit more) because it keeps the skin matte and feel lighter than other sunscreens I’ve tried with the same SPF. I love BurntOut for the body and I have only tried their Kids and regular one. I’m interested in how the Ocean Tested one differs.

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beautifulwithbrains May 22, 2013 - 9:54 pm

Janessa, thank you for your recommendations. I’ve never tried Shiseido sunscreens, but I’ve heard some great things about them. I’m glad they work well for you too.

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Janessa May 24, 2013 - 5:22 am

Would you like to try them? 🙂 I received something super special today!! It has cool stamps on it. Lots, in fact. It’s made my day!!

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beautifulwithbrains May 24, 2013 - 9:15 pm

Yes, but I need to finish the few bottles of sunscreen I already have in my cupboard first, before they expire. I would hate for them to go bad. 🙂 And yay! That’s wonderful! 🙂

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Melissa February 1, 2015 - 5:11 am

I’m surprised you don’t screen out those with oxybenzone, which is hazardous according to the Environmental Working Group.

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Gio February 1, 2015 - 9:35 pm

Melissa, everything is hazardous according to the EWG, And every time it comes out with a scary report, scientists quickly dismiss and rectify their claims. It’s just not a reputable source of information. If you need more proof the EWG shouldn’t be believed, check out this website: http://personalcaretruth.com/?s=EWG

Oxybenzone shouldn’t be used by women who are pregnant or nursing, but there is no proof it is bad for everyone else. Check out this post for more info on oxybenzone: https://www.futurederm.com/2014/07/30/oxybenzone-really-hormone-disruptor/

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H January 12, 2016 - 5:26 am

It isn’t just the EWG saying oxybenzone is bad for your health. One article promoting oxybenzone and not talking much abot what research has found the risks are is biased. I take the stance oxybenzone is bad. I have to admit, though, not all chemicals are dangerous, but many are so it is smart to try to go more natural (although not everything natural can good, too.). Did you know that over 1,000 ingredients are banned in other countries but only 11 are banned in the USA? Did you know that nearly half of all drugs that the FDA has given the stamp of approval have been removed from the market because later on we have learned that they were a lot worse than originally “thought.” Did you know that pharmaceutical companies including Bayer helped the Natzi’s,and without them, WW2 couldn’t have happened. It was them providing the gas for the gas chambers and drugs for “experiments” on the jews in the camps.

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H January 12, 2016 - 5:27 am

Yikes! I left out punctuation and misspelled a word. Sorry.

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Gio January 13, 2016 - 10:21 pm

H, no worries about the mistakes, they happen. 🙂

I don’t think oxybenzone is that bad in the small concentrations used in sunscreens. But I still prefer mineral sunscreens. They are gentler and more effective. You really can’t beat them.

About the 1000 ingredients banned in Europe, did you know that most of them aren’t used in cosmetics anyway? There is not much point in banning something that’s not being used. Banning them may make people feel safer, but that’s it.

I agree, though, that a more rigorous approval process for drugs would be helpful. But I doubt it’ll happen. It’s very expensive and time-consuming as it is, and brands would oppose any attempts to make it stricter. *sighs*

H January 14, 2016 - 5:17 pm

True, that that number of banned chemicals aren’t completely including ones for cosmetics, but as far as makeup goes the average woman absorbs 515 chemicals on their faces on average per day. Those chemicals accumulate. Think of this; if you are getting about 515 chemical on your face per day x that by 365 days in a year x let’s just say seventy years for a person lifespan, that equals a total number of 13,158,250 chemicals, and that isn’t even including shampoo… Your body filters some of these out through your kidneys, but some are very difficult to and build up. Your skin is your largest organ.Many scientists think that changes in our health – such as the increase in long-lasting diseases like cancer, puberty starting earlier, or reproductive problems in adult women – may be partly caused by all of the chemicals that we are exposed to every day.
I find the fact disturbing that there really is a lack of regulation of cosmetics.Companies can use just about anything from mercury to formaldehyde. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration places no restrictions ( besides 9 ingredients) on the use of formaldehyde or formaldehyde-releasing ingredients in cosmetics or personal care products. Yet formaldehyde-releasing agents are banned from these products in Japan and Sweden while their levels — and that of formaldehyde — are limited elsewhere in Europe. In the U.S., Minnesota has banned in-state sales of children’s personal care products that contain the chemical. Now you don’t find that troubling? In food alone, there is over 10,000 chemicals that are allowed in foods you can buy at the supermarket.

According to ABC News: As the list of chemicals in everyday beauty products has grown, U.S. oversight has been nonexistent, according to Janet Nudelman, spokeswoman for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition that advocates for safer cosmetics and hygiene products. The headlines over the years have really told the story of the problem of unsafe cosmetics,” Nudelman said. “The problem is that there is no one minding the store. There is no federal regulation or law that says companies have to make safe products.” Link:http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2012/04/fdas-regulation-over-cosmetics-nears-despite-industry-backlash/

Asbestos, Benzidine, Progesterone, and Lead are several things allowed in our cosmetics but not in Europe! Companies are also allowed to not reveal their ingredients to consumers if the choose. Don’t we have a right to know what we are putting in our bodies even if we don’t drop down dead? Don’t you think? Read this:
More than 80,000 chemicals available in the United States have never been fully tested for their toxic effects on our health and environment.
The country’s main chemical safety law — the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) — makes it nearly impossible for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take regulatory action against dangerous chemicals, even those that are known to cause cancer or other serious health effects.

When TSCA became law in 1976, the goal was to ensure the safety of chemicals from manufacture to use and disposal. But weaknesses in the law have left the EPA largely unable to act on known health dangers or require testing on specific chemicals that may be unsafe. Other laws, such as those setting air, water, and workplace safety standards, do not adequately regulate exposure to most chemicals, nor do they address the hazards a chemical may pose over its lifecycle.

To protect public health and allow the law to work as originally intended, we need new legislation that will reform and strengthen TSCA by shifting the burden of proof from the federal government to the chemical industry.

Legislation to reform TSCA — the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (S.1009) — was recently introduced into the U.S. Senate. Although the bill has an impressive list of bi-partisan co-sponsors, it would be in many ways as ineffective as current law and in some regards even worse. While some individual provisions are improvements over the current law, other provisions would mute or erase their impact and the bill as a whole could leave the public with less protection.

Gio January 14, 2016 - 6:40 pm

H, those figures sound alarming indeed, but the situation isn’t as dire as it seems. Skin isn’t as permeable as scaremongers like the EWG make it out to be. Its job is to keep substances OUT of the body and does that pretty well. That’s why there are only a handful of medicines that can be administered topically, such as nicotine patches. Most come in the form of pills because their ingredients can’t penetrate skin. Likewise, most ingredients used in creams stay on the surface, and are washed off when you cleanse your skin. If more nasty chemicals end up in our bodies is because of the food we eat and the air we breathe. Both the soil, water, and air are very polluted.

Cosmetics are regulated. Brands can’t put anything they want in cosmetics. Heavy metals like lead and mercury aren’t put in cosmetics on purpose, but they’re present in trace amounts in the dyes, usually naturally-derived, used to make them. That’s because in nature heavy metals are mixed with pretty much everything else. But there are restrictions on the amount of these traces, and formaldehyde too, that can be used in cosmetics. Other countries may have banned them altogether, but they’ve done so more out of fear for the potential dangers, not because they have proof the minuscule amounts used in cosmetics are lethal.

Please, don’t listen to anything the EWG and Campaign For Safe Cosmetics say. They’re always manipulating science to prove that harmless things kill us and tell half truths so people will give them money. Case in point, the woman in the article mentioned that brands aren’t required by law to list all their ingredients. This is false. Only fragrances are considered trade secrets, and their ingredients not revealed. BUT, when they contain irritating substances, these must clearly be written on the label. See how easy it is to warp the truth to scare people?

If you want to read more about why I don’t trust the EWG, read this: http://personalcaretruth.com/?s=ewg

H January 19, 2016 - 3:06 am

You are only 50% correct when you say that creams and such don’t absorb and that our skin protects us from things. 60% of all ingredients in the stuff you slap on your face get absorbed with 40% that don’t, like silicones. Also, if “nothing gets absorbed” how would you ant-aging creams work? If you look up the definition of “topical medication” you will see that,”A topical medication is a medication that is applied to a particular place on or in the body, as opposed to systemically. (The word topical derives from Greek topikos, “of a place”.) Most often this means application to body surfaces such as the skin or mucous membranes to treat ailments via a large range of classes including but not limited to creams, foams, gels, lotions, and ointments.” You tried to use the argument that,”That’s why there are only a handful of medicines that can be administered topically, such as nicotine patches, ” but who new? Lotions and that fun stuff is also classified as a “topical medication”. Here is one place you can see (you can also see someplace else if you don’t really trust Wikipedia like me, but here is one randomly picked source, anyway): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topical_medication

If you research formaldehyde in personal care products you can see for yourself that they add it in on PURPOSE to be like a preservative.

P.S. I have not gotten my knowledge from EWG, but use a varity of sources from search engines (I have 6!) and reputable sites, including the one you sent a link to above. Awhile ago I got some good info from them. What I do is to compare everything I read, and look into and compare the research, and then make a consensus for myself.

Gio January 19, 2016 - 7:34 am

H, how did you arrive at the 60% figure? I’m sorry, but I find that highly unlikely. It’s very difficult for substances to penetrate the skin. At most, they penetrate the outermost layer, which is dead, but they never reach the blood stream. As for anti-aging lotions, well, most of them aren’t anti-aging at all. Just a mix of silicones and other emollients that moisturize the surface of the skin and fill in wrinkles. But their ingredients stay on top of the skin. Even when they contain ingredients that can penetrate skin, it’s only those that get inside. Vitamin C is one of them, but it must be added in a high enough dose, and formulated at the right ph, to be able to penetrate skin. Again, for most creams, this simply isn’t the case.

Formaldehyde itself isn’t added on purpose. Preservatives, like DMDM Hydantoin, that can release minuscule amounts of formaldehyde, are. That’s because they’re very effective at killing bacteria, fungi, and all that crap that can grow in your cosmetics, and cause some serious infections. If you want your beauty products to be safe, preservatives must be included. Having said that, I much prefer parabens, and try to avoid those that release formaldehyde whenever I can. But I don’t believe they can kill us.

I applaud you on your way of doing research. Taking your info from various sources and making up your mind is the best approach. But, please, check the credentials of those who make claims, and their sources. The folks behind the EWG and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics aren’t scientists and toxicologists, and don’t know how to read scientific studies properly. Admittedly, I’m not a scientists either, but I know a few I turn to for help when researching ingredients for this blog. I also only take information from people with a scientific background that have been researching this stuff for years, and aren’t trying to scare me into buying their products or funding their campaigns (and lifestyles).

H January 22, 2016 - 2:52 am

Just posting answer to response in email that got up in the comment section,somehow. How did our comments get up here? I thought it was only going through private email. Kinda confused.

HL January 24, 2016 - 12:31 am

I arrived at the 60% figure from doing research. Here are some good sources you can look at: http://www.rollcall.com/issues/57_118/Lawmakers_Want_Food_and_Drug_Administration_to_Regulate_Cosmetics-213514-1.html?pg=2&dczone=influence

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/fda-official-says-cosmetics-industry-is-trying-to-undercut-government-regulations/2014/03/06/3961bae2-a55b-11e3-8466-d34c451760b9_story.html

Under the law, cosmetic products and ingredients do not need FDA premarket approval, with the exception of color additives.Neither the law nor FDA regulations require specific tests to demonstrate the safety of individual products or ingredients. The law also does not require cosmetic companies to share their safety information with FDA. Neither the law nor FDA regulations require specific tests to demonstrate the safety of individual products or ingredients. The law also does not require cosmetic companies to share their safety information with FDA.FDA is not authorized to order recalls of cosmetics
About formaldehyde and mercury straight from FDA’s website+ you can find other articles about formaldehyde in makeup:http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Products/ucm127068.htm

Also, I have always expected anti-aging creams to be a waste of $ and all hype. All they really usually really do is moisturize, and any lines that seem to have been diminished is because when skin is moisturized, it plumps up. You can get the same result from any regular moisturizer. Diet pills are the same way. They take advantage of the placebo effect, because the directions will tell you to avoid sugar…eat a healthy diet and to exercise. Doing all these things help somebody to lose weight but there is really nothing in the pill to do that. The pill is just the incentive to do those things because you are tricking your body into thinking that the pill will work. Man…the power of the mind! For this info, I’d recommend watching: Can We Believe the Science: Part 1 Diet Clinic (has Professor Regan from St. Mary’s Hospital)

I’m not over weight, very skinny actually, but I watched this because I was interested.

There is a lot of controversy about parabens.

Why do you think our government always tells us the truth when there is so much corruption? Our world seems to revolve around $$ instead of doing the right thing. The USA allows gmo’s in our food and don’t even tell us (you don’t have to worry about gmo’s, though, because you are in London and they have been banned in Europe.

I’d rather be safe than sorry. That’s why my family buys organic food and natural skincare/hair care products like moisturizers, and shampoos…I always read labels anyways because companies are allowed to deceive people by saying “natural” when the product really is loaded with chemicals. As far as my makeup goes, I do go for the drugstore and department store. I just am aware of what is in them and try to avoid products that seem to be the ones I consider bad compared to the rest, health-wise. I comparative shop.

P.S. The website you gave me a link to I wouldn’t trust on its own. I would also get info from other sources and then judge for yourself. Like you said about EWG, that website you promote seems to give half truths, one side of the story, and seems hell-bent on bashing the idea that it might be better to try more “natural” products. I think that it is run by the pharmaceutical industry, so I am not too surprised. Chemicals are a big $$$ industry,and people are willing to do anything that gets their agenda across. I think the best thing is to look at information from both sides. You know how in the 70’s and possibly the 80’s how mothers were to it was bad to breastfeed, but later on we found out that was incorrect, and breastfeeding was the best thing? Also the scare about fat? Later on we found out certain types are healthy for you, like coconut. Your body needs fat. It just depends on the kind of fat that dictates whether it is good for you. I think the chemicals thing will be the same. More people will find out that companies didn’t have their health in mind. Like why else are so many more people getting cancer?

HL January 24, 2016 - 12:32 am

Gio,I think I accidently posted the samething twice. Sorry!

Mel March 28, 2015 - 5:06 am

Just recently I’ve been looking for a sunscreen for my super oily skin! The one I currently use is terrible. I’m most keen to check out the Paula’s Choice Extra Care Non-Greasy Sunscreen SPF 50 for Normal to Oily/Combination Skin you suggested.

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Gio March 28, 2015 - 8:06 pm

Mel, that’s a great sunscreen for oily skin. I’m sure you’ll like it. Let me know how it goes if you try it.

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Gio January 22, 2016 - 12:28 pm

H, I’m replying here, cos we’ve run out of space up there.

Frankly, I have no idea. I saw you (at least I thought it was you) posting your email replies here, and I thought you had made a mistake. That you wanted to talk on here, rather than email so were copying and pasting everything in this thread. So, I did the same, copying and pasting my replies here too.

If that makes you uncomfortable, I can delete them. I also have your latest email reply queuing up in my moderation panel. Do you want me to post that here as well or delete it? I won’t do anything until I know your wishes.

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Gio January 24, 2016 - 12:25 pm

HL, no worries about the double comment. I deleted it. I take it, though, you’re ok with posting our email conversation here? If not, let me know, and I’ll remove it.

H, thank you for the links. I think it’s great you’re doing your own research, but I don’t think most of those links are reliable. You accuse me of only looking at sources “promoted” by the pharmaceutical industry, but you’re paying too much attention to scaremongers like the spokespeople for the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics. Even when the writers of those articles use reputable sources, they’re quoted in a way that supports their view that cosmetics are bad. Let’s take the Cinco Vidas blog. They write:

“Chemicals can be absorbed through skin and into the blood stream, causing toxic effects,” says the Extension Toxicology Network (EXTOXNET). The Chemical Hazards Handbook from the London Hazards Centre Trust has similar information: “Although the skin acts as a protective barrier against many micro-organisms and chemicals, some chemicals can penetrate the skin and enter the blood stream.”

They say that “some chemicals penetrate”. But they don’t say which ones. They could be talking abouit vitamin C, not arsenic. And they don’t mention quantity. Had they been asked, “do the chemicals in cosmetics penetrate skin enough to enter the blood stream and cause health problems?”, they may have given a very different answer.

They continute:

Researcher Linda Chaé, writing for thehealthytruth.net, agrees, citing the danger to unborn children: “Recent studies by dermatologists at the University of California and a multiple university cooperative team confirm that skin absorption is the major route of entry [for chemicals from skin or hair products getting into the womb].” Of course chemicals from skincare products enter the body through topical absorption. We don’t eat or breathe creams! But, again, this doesn’t mean that all chemicals in our creams penetrate the body, or that those that do are harmful!

But, written in this way and in this particular context, both quotes make the situation look a lot worse than it is!

About the FDA,

“The FD&C Act prohibits the marketing of adulterated or misbranded cosmetics in interstate commerce.
“Adulteration” refers to violations involving product composition–whether they result from ingredients, contaminants, processing, packaging, or shipping and handling. Under the FD&C Act, a cosmetic is adulterated if–

“it bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to users under the conditions of use prescribed in the labeling thereof, or under conditions of use as are customary and usual” (with an exception made for coal-tar hair dyes);”
So no, companies can’t put arsenic in your cosmetics. I’m pretty sure that’s a poisonous and deleterious substance and so forbidden by this act.

“Under the law, cosmetic products and ingredients do not need FDA premarket approval, with the exception of color additives. However, FDA can pursue enforcement action against products on the market that are not in compliance with the law, or against firms or individuals who violate the law.” And, ” FDA is not authorized to order recalls of cosmetics, but we do monitor companies that conduct a product recall and may request a product recall if the firm is not willing to remove dangerous products from the market without FDA’s written request.” So, the FDA is not as powerless as it is seems.

All this is true for COSMETICS only, not drugs. If something can penetrate the skin deep enough to cause mutations or alterations, it’s classified as a drug, and those need to undergo rigorous testing before they can be sold. It’s true that companies try to bypass this law by labelling drugs as cosmetics, and I agree they should be punished in a harsher way when they do.

But, if companies were required to do all these tests for cosmetics as well, they’d have to spend a fortune. Giants like L’Oreal will be able to comply, but those small natural companies you love so much would disappear overnight. They don’t have the budgets to comply with all these extra tests and regulations you and the Campaign For Safe Cosmetics are so keen to implement. That means 1) less choice and options for the consumers 2) a rise in unemployment. And for what? These products are already safe! You know what’s not regulated? Food and supplements. We actually ingest those in large amounts, and, if they contain toxins, they’d kill us much faster than any cosmetics can do (even taking their accumulation into account!).

As for formaldehyde, its amount is strictly regulated. Not more than 0.2%. In that amount, they don’t cause problems. Only Brazilian blowouts contain a lot of it, and I agree those should be banned. But they aren’t not even in London. I’ve seen lots of salons offering them, but I stay well away.

No, I don’t think governments tells us the truth all the time. And I agree that most companies put $$ before anything else. BUT I don’t believe they are trying to kill us. It simply does not make sense. Let’s say company A puts a poisonous substance in cosmetics. The people who use them will start getting sick and maybe even die. That means a lawsuit and lots of bad publicity for company A. People would stop buying their products. It’ll lead to a huge financial loss and maybe even closure. Why risk that when there are lots of safe ingredients they can put in cosmetic instead?

If so many more people are getting cancer is becauise we are living longer. In the past, you were lucky if you reached 50. So many accidents and other diseases killed you before you had the time to develop cancer. Also, the air, soil, and waters are very polluted. Then there’s crime. In Italy, where I come from, criminal organizations have infiltrated the waste disposal business. They bury toxins underground near towns and villages and the people living there get sick. It has nothing to do with cosmetics. If anything, they’re the only thing that has become safer during the years. In the past, they contained high concentrations of lead and mercury on purpose. Now, that’s not the case anymore.

Remember, it is the dose that makes the poison. And those you eat are much more dangerous than those you put on your skin.

Having said that, I applaud you for comparatively shopping. And if you want to use natural products, go ahead. So many natural brands are stepping up their game and creating products that can compete with traditional alternatives. I just hope unnecessary and expensive regulations won’t put them all out of business soon.

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julina August 1, 2016 - 6:00 pm

Hi, None of thse I have seen in my neck of the woods but I will try o buy online.

I have some sunscreen questions,
how often in a day should we reapply sunscreen?
do we use it on our back of hands too?
if we refresh our skin now and then with a splash of water, does it mean we should re apply sunscreen more often?

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Gio August 2, 2016 - 8:58 pm

Julina, I hope you can track down one of these. Skinceuticals also has a mineral sunscreen I discovered recently that is very lightweight too. Just in case that’s easier to find for you.

1. That depends. Sunscreens must be reapplied because UV filters degrade overtime when exposed to sunlight (ironic, isn’t it?). So, if you’re at the beach or outdoors for long periods of time, definitely reapply every 2 hours. If it’s a rainy winter day and you barely spend any time outdoors, you may get away with never reapplying it that day (but do wear it because UV rays can penetrate through the glass of your car and windows too). Basically, the more time you spend outside (especially on hot summer days), the more often you need to reapply it.

2. Yes. You should use it on any area of your skin that is exposed to sunlight.

3. Yes, it does. Anything that can make sunscreen rub off, melt away, etc will make the protection the sunscreen provides disappear faster.

Hope this helps. Let me know if you have more questions.

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Sarah March 7, 2018 - 4:08 pm

Hi, just recently discovered your site and am trying to revamp my skincare routine. Previously I had been using a oil free moisturiser with SPF 17 but now I understand this isn’t as effective, as using suncream separately. I’m considering purchasing either La Roche-Posay Anthelios Anti-Shine Sun Cream Fluid SPF30 or Dr. Andrew Weil’s, Mega-Defense Advanced Daily UV Defender SPF 45. Would these be suitable?

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Gio March 16, 2018 - 4:36 pm

Sarah, yes, those are both great options. 🙂

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Wemmy May 31, 2018 - 11:53 am

Do any of these sunscreens leave white cast when worn with makeup?

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Gio June 2, 2018 - 3:04 pm

Wemmy, Elta MD can leave a white cast but the other sunscreens should be fine.

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Maria Latorre April 5, 2019 - 8:37 am

Hi Gio, I’m sorry but is this list up to date? I don’t know what date these posts are from as I can’t find any date – I’ve noticed some really old comments so I was wondering, that Paula’s Choice one you mentioned, I couldn’t find it at PC site. Is there any of the PC new range you know about? Or maybe other brands?

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Gio April 12, 2019 - 3:26 pm

Maria, I don’t put a date because I update this list every few months. The Paula’s Choice sunscreen is still available, but the brand has changed its packaging lately. So maybe that’s why you can’t find it?

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