Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Little Extra Protection is A Good Thing

For my recent shore vacation (the "shore" is what we southeast Pennsylvanians and southern New Jerseyans call the "beach") I purchased St. Ives Elements Protective Cleanser with SPF 10. This is a facial cleanser that, when you wash the cleanser off your face, is supposed to leave behind a layer of SPF 10 protection. Pretty cool, huh? Now, some people say this will help them skip a pesky extra step in their morning skincare routine by eliminating the application of SPF. I understand how one could feel this way, but c'mon ladies. SPF 10? From a cleanser you just washed off your face? I mean, really, how much protection can that really give you? Now, I'm not denying that the product does what it says, but we should all know by now that you need a lot higher SPF protection on your delicate face than a 10.My dermatologist said nothing less than 30 would do, and she herself wore, like, 75 (and she was probably late 40's/early 50's and her skin was porcelain-like).

Anyhoo...the cleanser, surprisingly, did not leave behind a greasy film that you might expect. The directions have you massage it into your face for one to two minutes, I guess to make sure the product really adheres to your skin. But it washes off just like any other cleanser. It's hard to believe that anything is truly left behind. I wrote to the company asking how this product worked, and, alas, I was told that "this technology is considered proprietary information". However, even though St. Ives didn't want to divulge their top-secret technology, apparently, someone else found out, because after only one search for "cleanser with SPF," I found out the following info from DailyBeauty:

This SPF 10 source works because it’s encapsulated in a positively-charged silica shell that sticks to the negatively-charged skin, so when the cleanser is rinsed off, the sun protection stays. In addition to protecting against 90% of UVB rays, Protective Cleanser also contains antioxidant vitamin E.

Really, was that soooo top-secret?! Also, this technology is not completely new to the St. Ives cleanser, as freeze 24.7 has a cleanser with SPF 15 called Ice Shield. However, the St. Ives cleanser is much less expensive -- I got it for $3.45 ($1 off coupon, and it was on sale) vs. $48. I, personally, can't see spending $48 for SPF 15 cleanser, but, seems like plenty of others will because Ice Shield is sold out on their website.

Basically, I think this is a good product, works as a cleanser (but do not get it in your eyes - it stings!), but not as your sole means of sun protection. Maybe if you work in an office all day long, eating lunch at your desk, never seeing the light of day, but in general, it's probably best to just use this cleanser as a supplement to your sunscreen routine - I like to think I'm adding yet another layer of protection, giving that sneaky sun one more barrier to have to break through before it can inflict any damage. But also keep in mind, layering SPF 10 under say, SPF 15 foundation does NOT equal SPF 25.

Now I wish I could say I was really dedicated to finding out if this cleanser truly protected, but I have to say I was not at all willing to go outside and offer up my already sun-damaged face to the harmful rays of the sun for research, knowing that I would never go out with a sunscreen that only contained SPF10. Like I said, I'll use this cleanser, but will keep in mind that the SPF10 I'm getting from it is just a little extra insurance, not my only source of protection.


lindsay weiss said...

hope you had a great "shore" vacation! (that is such a cute east coast term!)

Laura said...

I did, thanks Lindsay! I wish the weather had been better -- some days were really nice, but most of the week was a bit overcast, not great beach weather. Of course, I managed to gain about 20 pounds in a week, so that part was not good!