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Lancôme Bienfait Multi-vital SPF 30 Sunscreen Cream Review

I recently read a product review of this product on Temptalia that gave me pause. In the post, Christine (the author) wrote that “For sun protection, the active ingredients are Avobenzone 3.0% (UVA I) Octisalate 5.0% (UVB), and Octocrylene 7.0% (UVB), so the formula does not protect against the UVA II portion of the spectrum… ideally, you’d get full coverage across both UVA and UVB ranges, but many sunscreens miss UVA II part of the UVA range.” Here’s what’s wrong with her statement:
  1. Avobenzone protects moderately well against UVA II rays (320-240 nm) AND well against most UVA I rays (340-400 nm).
  2. Octocrylene protects well against UVB rays (290-320 nm) AND UVA II rays.
  3. Therefore, the formula DOES protect well against UVA II rays.
  4. Most inadequate sunscreens actually miss the UVA I part of the UVA range, NOT the UVA II range. This is because there are many more ingredients available on the market that protect against UVA II rays rather both types of UVA rays.
Not only does octocrylene provide good protection against UVB and UVA II rays, it also significantly stabilizes avobenzone.
So in reality, the 3% avobenzone, 5% octisalate, and 7% octocrylene together provide very good overall protection. The octocrylene content stabilizes the avobenzone via triplet energy quenching, and compounds the level of UVA II protection of the latter. Similarly, the octisalate content boosts the overall level of UVB protection derived from octocrylene. Thankfully, there’s no octinoxate present. The presence of alcohol isn’t alarming, since it fluidizes the “would-have-been-rather-greasy” texture due to the high octocrylene content. And while the jar packaging does allow expedient degradation of the surprisingly decent amounts of antioxidants (in respect to Lancôme products as a whole), since I always recommend a separate daytime antioxidant product, its inclusion and utilization are acceptable. Now, does this sunscreen rank among the best? I don’t think so. But the main purpose of this post was to clarify the statements made by Christine and to endorse more accurate information in the hope that some of the readers will benefit from this correction. Speaking of Lancôme, be sure to enter my Lancôme- and Shu Uemura-based giveaway. Has anyone tried this product before? What were your experiences? If you read this review on Temptalia, what were your initial reactions? Ingredients: Active: Avobenzone (3%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (7%), Other: Water, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Sucrose Stearate, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Silica, Poly C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate, Black Currant Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Sodium Polyacrylate, Sodium Hydroxide, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Hydroxycitronellal, Phenoxyethanol, Stearic Acid, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Eugenol, Triethanolamine, Sunflower Seed Oil, Polycaprolactone, Dimethiconol, Panthenol, Xanthan Gum, Benzyl Salicylate, Linalool, Benzyl Alcohol, Oxothiazolidinecarboxylic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Geraniol, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Extract, Disodium EDTA, Castanea Sativa (Chestnut) Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Citronellol, Hexyldecanol, Hexyldecyl Laurate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Fragrance
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By: John Su
Date: December 13 2012 at 12:49 PM
  1. Tiffany Martin
    December 13 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Thanks for clarifying this for those of us who are trying to get good sunscreens. I'm also glad you mentioned that the alcohol in the formula wouldn't be drying, it's hard to tell what the alcohol does sometimes (in this case fluidizing the texture).

  2. Joe
    December 14 2012 at 4:28 AM

    Thanks John - good to know. I am often confused about the stability of avobenzone, and find conflicting information on this subject across the web. Question about the jar packaging - apologies if you have already discussed this before. I used to sell Lancôme (a looong time ago), and I know Lancôme is very big on liposome delivery systems for their active ingredients. The product I recall was the original Bienfait Total (long since discontinued), and in our training, it was communicated that Lancôme used a nanosome (they called it nanocapsule) delivery system for the vitamin E, which they claimed could deliver 30 times more vitamin E to the skin than a non-liposome emulsion. It was further explained that the liposome keeps the ingredient stable, as the lecithin 'shell' encapsulation guards it against breakdown to exposure of light and air - whether in the jar, or once rubbed into your skin. It sounded believable, at least according to Lancôme, but I know several people (including Paula Begoun) insist liposomes do not guard active ingredients against breaking down in jar packaging. But I am wondering - if the liposome can really deliver the active ingredient deeper into the skin, wouldn't it be stable, regardless of the packaging? I would like to know your thoughts and opinions on this. Thanks! Joe

  3. Arlon
    December 14 2012 at 7:38 PM

    I keep asking myself why cosmetic companies still use jars --'

  4. John Su
    December 15 2012 at 8:47 PM

    @Tiffany Martin Well, alcohol does basically does the same thing in all products; it's a solvent. It still can be drying for some people depending on the individual's skin type and routine. I'm just estimating that in the context of the rest of the ingredients, the alcohol content shouldn't be too big of a problem.

  5. John Su
    December 15 2012 at 8:53 PM

    @Joe It's not too difficult to make a liposomal delivery system. It's certainly not an exclusive characteristic. However, they can't protect ingredient sindefinitely, and they don't protect all ingredients equally. What I'm saying is ultimately in the long run, why would you use a product that degrades faster than if it were packaged in something that's airtight? As for the enhanced delivery; like I said, liposomes are not a rare trait. Why not use a properly-packaged product that also includes liposomes? And there are other types of delivery systems; liposomes embody just one of many. There are no benefits to using a jar, only potentially huge drawbacks. :( Does that make sense?

  6. John Su
    December 15 2012 at 8:53 PM

    @Arlon They look pretty? Haha.

  7. Sarah
    December 17 2012 at 9:24 PM

    Hi John, thanks for the clarification. I actually tried the lotion version of this. The texture on that is actually quite nice. It is smooth, light, slightly milky and absorbs quickly. I went through three bottles of this before switching to another brand. But honestly, the only reason why I kept on using it was because I got a L'Oreal employee discount and was able to buy it at 50% off. Otherwise, I think there are much better products out there. Cosmetically elegant, yes. But completely UVA protection, no.....But hey, at least the lotion is in a pump bottle.

  8. John Su
    December 17 2012 at 9:55 PM

    @Sarah Yeah, I also prefer the lotion version because of the packaging and the lighter texture. And 50% off?! Nice work! And all things considered, this really does provide good UVA protection. Oh and FYI, nothing can provide complete UVA protection. Sigh, if only!

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