I'm a sunscreen addict. I don't go out in the sun often. Pretty much, my exposure is limited to driving in the car and walking through parking lots, plus the occasional miraculous occurrences when I get really ambitious and walk around my neighborhood for what I consider exercise. So I'm not in need of that much sun protection. However, as you all have probably guessed by my collection of 257,312 red lipsticks, I tend to overdo things so I always go for an SPF of over 30.
I've tried probably, I don't know, 40 or 50 sunscreens at this point. You would think something like sunscreen would be easy, but noooooo. Some are too greasy, some are too thick, some make my face sting, and some leave a white cast even on my pale-as-concrete skin. I've tried and tried, but have found very few that really work for me (see my reviews of Chanel and Shiseido, and Clarins makes a great one as well). All of these come in very small bottles and are typically pretty expensive, although the Shiseido is a better deal than the others. So I go through a lot of sunscreen and I'm always on the lookout for something better and less expensive.
I'd heard of Elta MD UV Physical SPF 41 for quite some time. Reviews are great, and it's recommended by dermatologists. So why did it take me so long to try it? Because I'm big on instant gratification, and I couldn't find it anywhere other than online. Since I'm also a procrastinator and like to wait until I've wrung the very last drop of product out of the tube before I head off to buy more, I always ended up hitting Macy's for my next sunscreen fix. Therefore, no Elta MD for me.
However, I recently got a $25 gift certificate to Dermstore, and guess what they sell? Yup. Elta MD. Yippee! It's like the Fates were finally telling me it was my time to try it. That, or my big ol' wanter decided to go into hyperdrive and insist that I purchase it. Regardless, I now have this fabulous product in my possession, and I couldn't be happier.
Elta MD UV Physical SPF 41 is a brilliant sunscreen. It's actually a physical sunblock, which means the sun filters are Titanium Dioxide (7%) and Zinc Oxide (9%). This is great for me for a few reasons. First off, I tend to react badly to chemical sunscreens...they cause my skin to itch and burn. Second, chemical sunscreens may be harmful to your skin, causing potential carcinogenic effects and hormone disruption. Third, chemical sunscreens don't last as long as physical blocks. Since I get to work at 6:45 am and leave at 3:00, I need something that will last longer than 4 hours. Finally, I've found that chemical sunscreens tend to go very greasy on even my dry skin, while physical blocks dry down to a satiny matte finish.
The biggest drawback to physical blocks is the whiteface syndrome. They typically leave a distinct white cast on the skin, making them a no-go for many people. However, Elta MD solved this problem by adding a tint to theirs, which makes it the color of foundation. It even gives light coverage...good enough that on my better skin days, I don't follow up with foundation, just a light dusting of powder.
I find that this sunscreen lasts well throughout the day without drying my skin or puddling in pores, and it doesn't leave that telltale greasy finish. It hasn't caused any sensitivity reactions, either. I've worn it out for walks late in the day and noted that I still get NO sun exposure when I'm wearing it, even when my arms get color. I know you should reapply every few hours, but this one does seem to last.
Bottom Line: Elta MD UV Physical SPF 41 is currently, by far, my favorite sunblock. It's lightweight texture and soothing qualities feel good on my skin, the light coverage is great on its own or as a boost to my foundation, and the finish is beautiful. It lasts all day without interfering with my makeup or drying my skin. At Dermstore, it's $27 for 3 oz, which in the world of truly good sunscreens is a real bargain. I can see myself using this one forever.
Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 9.0%, Titanium Dioxide 7.0%. Aluminum Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Dimethicone/Methicone Copolymer, Hydrated Silica, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Lecithin, Linoleic Acid, Octyl Stearate, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Perfluoronyl Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Polyacrylate 13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Purified Water, Quercitin, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Selenite, Soft Tex Yellow Iron Oxide-C337773, Soft Tex Red Iron Oxide-C337775, Soft Tex Russett Iron Oxide-C337721, Soft Tex Black Iron Oxide-C337751, Thioctic Acid, Triethoxycaprylylsilane.