I’m writing this ad hoc post in reponse to the overwhelming positive feedback and accompanying questions that I received in my post on the complexation interaction between niacinamide and L-ascorbic acid that I wrote a few days ago.
One of the most prevalent concerns brought up was about the fact that many of the readers absolutely love the EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 sunscreen, which contains a high amount of niacinamide, and refuse to discontinue use because it’s so fantastic. And I agree that it’s an excellent option, as I recommended it in the final part of the series that discussed whether inorganic sunscreens were better than organic ones.
However, because the UV Clear contains a lot of niacinamide, it should not be used with L-ascorbic acid because the interaction between the two may produce the very pro-oxidative compound hydrogen peroxide (as I indicated in the previous post). Despite my many recommendations and other potential workarounds, most people seem dead-set on using this product. And I don’t blame them, it sits really well on the skin and/or underneath makeup!
So for the past two days, I’ve been racking my brain and surfing through various skin care databases to find a suitable replacement. I think I’ve finally found a very, VERY close dupe that doesn’t contain niacinamide and can certainly be used with L-ascorbic acid products!! Without further ado, here we go!
Behold, the PCA skin Weightless Protection SPF 45 sunscreen!
Let’s compare the ingredients side-by-side to determine how similar the two products are.
EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46: Zinc Oxide 9%, Octinoxate 7.5%. Purified Water, Cyclomethicone, Niacinamide, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polyisobutene, PEG-7 Trimethylolpropane Coconut Ether, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lactic Acid, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Phenoxyethanol, Butylene Glycol, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane.
PCA skin Weightless Protection SPF 45: Zinc Oxide (9.0%), Octinoxate (7.5%). Water, Cyclomethicone, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polyisobutene, PEG-7 Trimethylolpropane Cocnut Ether, Sodium Hyaluronate, Silybum Marianum Extract, Caffeine, Tocopheryl Acetate, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Butylene Glycol, Lodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Phenoxyethanol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane.
As you can see, the ingredients are virtually identical, and they’re also listed in the same order. This may be because the two brands have the same manufacturer and have just had the same product rebranded and customized for private-label use. These characteristics lead me to believe that the texture, finish, and longevity of the two sunscreens should be pretty much the same. Another interesting similarity: the prices are almost the same ($30 vs $29; both contains 1.7 oz), which further substantiates that the two products are made by the same manufacturer; not to mention that the SPF ratings are just a single point off (45 vs 46).
The only notable difference is that the EltaMD features niacinamide as the beneficial non-sunscreen ingredient, while the PCA skin features silybum marianum extract. And that’s good news! Not only does the PCA skin product NOT contain niacinamide (so there won’t be any interaction with L-ascorbic acid, not to mention that niacinamide doesn’t have any notable photoprotective properties against UV light), it instead contains the powerful Silybum marianum extract, which DOES have notable photoprotective properties including: the prevention of UV-induced pro-inflammatory and immunosuppressive cytokine synthesis and the reduction of oxidative stress from hydrogen peroxide and nitric oxide expressing cells. This ingredient will definitely enhance the photoprotective capacities of vitamins C, E, and any of the other ones typically used.
I hope this post helps the many of you guys who have fallen in love with the EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 sunscreen, but have upon reading the previous post, entertained the idea of finding a replacement product, though without success. So please give the PCA skin Weightless Protection SPF 45 sunscreen a try! I think it will be a very worthy successor!
John Su describes himself as eccentric—you might find him having a conversation with himself. He’s a stickler for accuracy, so you might find him correcting one thing or another! His goal is to answer questions and provide unbiased, meaningful, and insightful information when it comes to skin care. His underlying motivations stem from a need to inform people who have doubts, questions, or even prayers for solutions to their problems. He has his own skin care blog, The Triple Helixian.View all John Su posts.
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