I have that classic clog/acne prone complaint: almost all sunscreen – or sunscreen containing products – make me look greasy, clog my pores and cause tons of obnoxious breakouts. Protecting the skin from the sun, sure, but at the cost of stressing it out and inflaming it in a different way – there has to be a better way, right?
Now, I’ve since had my eyes opened to the wonders of Asian sunscreen formulas, but prior to that discovery I was pretty much only looking at products I could obtain locally. I’d narrowed my possibilities to either SPF powder or a serum, as those two delivery systems seemed to be the least likely to contain some of the more clogging ingredients found in most sunscreens – after all, I figured, my issue was most likely with ingredients in the product base, not the actual SPF actives, so perhaps changing the format of my SPF would make it more tolerable to my clogs-at-the-speed-of-light skin type.
With that in mind, I purchased Peter Thomas Roth’s Oily Problem Skin Instant Mineral SPF 30 Powder. With ingredients like willow bark (known for helping to soothe irritated/inflamed skin, and an ingredient that I know works very well for me personally) and kaolin (to help control oil), I had high hopes for this product to be the solution for my sunscreen woes.
Here are the precise ingredients, courtesy of Peter Thomas Roth – Clinical Skin Care:
TITANIUM DIOXIDE 13.65%, ZINC OXIDE 14.70%.
ILLITE, SILICA, BARIUM SULFATE, TAPIOCA STARCH, ALUMINUM STARCH OCTENYLSUCCINATE, ALUMINUM HYDROXIDE, STEARIC ACID, SALICYLIC ACID, SALIX ALBA (WILLOW) BARK EXTRACT, RETINYL PALMITATE (VITAMIN A), ASCORBYL PALMITATE (VITAMIN C), TOCOPHERYL ACETATE (VITAMIN E), DIMETHICONE/VINYL DIMETHICONE CROSSPOLYMER, MAGNESIUM MYRISTATE, KAOLIN, MALTODEXTRIN, TRIETHOXYCAPRYLYLSILANE, WATER (AQUA), BUTYLENE GLYCOL, CHLORPHENESIN, POTASSIUM SORBATE, TETRASODIUM EDTA.
MAY CONTAIN: MICA, BISMUTH OXYCHLORIDE, IRON OXIDES, MANGANESE VIOLET, CHROMIUM OXIDE GREENS, CHROMIUM HYDROXIDE GREEN, FERRIC FERROCYANIDE, ALUMINUM POWDER, CARMINE.
There are a few possibly problematic ingredients here.
First off is Stearic Acid, netting a 2 on the acne trigger scale. I’ve known a few people who are sensitive to anything with stearic acid involved, so be aware that if this is one of your acne instigators, you probably don’t want to try this particular product.
Other risky ingredients are Retinyl Palmitate (antioxidant, 2 for acne, 1 for irritation – also the victim of a lot of misguided bad press circulated by well-meaning bloggers, allow Paula Begoun to dispel some myths for you), Ascorbyl Palmitate (antioxidant, 2 for acne), and Butylene Glycol (a solvent/conditioning agent with some bad rep circulating the internet, but still generally considered safe, 1 for acne).
In regards to the SPF actives, Zinc Oxide protects from both UVA and UVB rays and rates a 1 as a possible acne trigger; Titanium Dioxide handles UVB and some UVA and doesn’t bring up any warning rating.
So how well does this sunscreen powder work? Read on!