When it's time to get out my beach towel, I head to the nearest drugstore or superstore to pick up a bottle of sunscreen. Usually I end up getting what's on sale; I'm pretty equal opportunity about brands. Recently I had the chance to try Kiehl's Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen - Broad Spectrum SPF50 which just hit the shelves this June 2012. At twenty-three dollars a 5 oz. bottle, it begs the question: what are the merits of this high end sunscreen?
First, Kiehl's Activated Sun Protector offers broad spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. You can see from the active ingredient list I've typed below that there are quite a number of different chemical sunscreens present in the formula. It is worth noting that there is no Titanium dioxide, a physical sunblock agent. The actual sunscreen ingredients in the formula are typically found in other sunscreens, however Kiehl's claims that the specific levels they've used increase the photostability of the formula. I can't attest to the veracity of that statement, so I'm neutral as to whether this is a merit since generally most sunscreen formulas tend to work anyway.
Second, Kiehl's included three antioxidants thought to provide protective effects against sun-related aging: Goji Berry (traditional Chinese medicine), Vitamin E, and Einkorn wheat (trivia: one of the earliest cultivated forms of wheat ~7500BC). The introduction of antioxidants does seem like cool idea, and is part of what adds to the 'higher end' nature of this sunscreen.
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 15%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 5%, Oxybenzone 6% Ingredients: water, dimethicone, isododecane, styrene/acrylates coplymer, propanediol, silica, isononyl osononanoate, inulin lauryl carbamate, nylon-12, caprylyl methicone, sucrose tristearate, lycium barbarum fruit extract, tocopherol, hydrolyzed triticum monococcum seed extract, phenoxyethanol, stearyl alcohol, PEG-8 laurate, triethanolamine, polymethyl methacrylate, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/steareth-25 methacrylate crosspolymer, dimethiconol, xantham gum, disodium EDTA, glycerin
Third, the formula is supposed to be non-comedogenic and safe for sensitive skin. The formula is described as ultra lightweight, oil-free, and paraben free. This is where we can observe an actual (instead of theoretical as above) difference. The sunscreen has a lighter lotion-like feel when compared to your average sunscreen. It's very comfortable going on and lacks a lot of the greasy shininess that typical formulas might have. It is indeed lightweight as claimed, and is a big practical plus. I was curious as to the 'safe for sensitive skin' and 'dermatologist and allergy tested' statement, since I am someone who is sensitive to most sunscreens, particularly chemical sunscreen. I wore Kiehl's Activated Sun Protector Sunscreen on my arms and legs for a day of shopping. Most of the day passed without notable events (which is typical for me when using sunscreen on my body), however toward the end, I did notice some irritation. This is unsurprising considering the high levels (SPF50) of chemical sunscreen. Those with known chemical sunscreen sensitivities like me may still have to pass. That said, the majority of people shouldn't encounter that problem if you regularly wear sunscreens without issue.
Overall, I think Kiehl's Activated Sun Protection Sunscreen SPF50 is a nice sunscreen. The addition of known skin antioxidants and the very light lotion-like formula makes it a bit more luxurious than your typical sunscreen. It's worth a peek if you're looking to upgrade your skincare this summer. Have you tried a higher end sunscreen? What are your thoughts? Do you have any favorite Kiehl's products on your vanity?
Disclosure: This post contains product(s) sent to Cute and Mundane for consideration by PR. The ideas and opinions in this post are genuine and my own.