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Last year, Algenist made headlines when they premiered a new antioxidant, alguronic acid, onto the skin care market. A onetime Sephora exclusive, Algenist quickly established their brand in the anti-aging sector. Now, for Summer 2012, the company is premiering their Algenist Ultra Lightweight SPF 50 ($38.00, Amazon.com).
- Suitable for all skin types
- Dermatologist tested
- Not tested on animals
The FutureDerm.com Analysis: Superior Sunscreen!
As mentioned in an earlier post, Which Is Better: Zinc or Titanium Dioxide in Sunscreen?, zinc oxide is the clear winner. This is because zinc oxide blocks a significantly longer portion of long-range UVA rays, which are responsible for many of the visible signs of aging (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2005).
Algenist Ultra Lightweight SPF 50 contains a whopping 17.1% zinc oxide and 2.0% titanium dioxide. Unlike many formulas from the 1990’s or early 2000’s that contain zinc oxide that dries thick and white on the skin, Algenist Ultra Lightweight SPF 50 dries sheer. This is mainly due to a lightweight solvent base that contains a large proportion of silicones and alcohol. The silicones keep the formula cosmetically appealing, while the alcohol “compresses” the silicones and other ingredients together, keeping it lightweight. [Read more: Is Ethanol in Skin Care Products Safe?]
Alguronic Acid: It’s Growing On Me
When alguronic acid first appeared on the market, I must admit, I didn’t like it much. This is mainly due to the way Algenist reported the results of their laboratory studies. Back then, the company’s press materials cited the percentage of women who experienced any change in fine lines and wrinkles and skin laxity, rather than the percentage of change in these signs of aging.
When a company presents results like this, a product could elicit a very small effect in 95% of women, and a company could report that an impressive-sounding 95% saw results. Not cool. [Read more: Algenist Review & Alguronic Acid Analysis]
However, in the past year, Algenist has employed third parties to conduct non-biased, measured studies with precise scientific instrumentation to determine the exact results of using their products. With nothing to hide, as you can see from the photos and the data, the results are impressive. I personally liken the results to an over-the-counter retinol (0.5%) or a mild (~10%) glycolic acid solution – certainly wonderful for a new ingredient!
In-house laboratory tests by Algenist have shown alguronic acid-treated cells increase regeneration by 55% – higher than hyaluronic acid, retinol, vitamin C, vitamin E, palmitoyl pentapeptide, palmitoyl oligopeptide and coenzyme Q10 (Algenist.com, 2011). These results are in vitro, or in cell culture, and are not as valuable as results in vivo, or applied topically to living organisms. Still, when taken with the third-party in vivo studies, these results affirm alguronic acid is a solid anti-aging ingredient, on par with a 0.5% retinol or 10% glycolic acid (in my own opinion).
Algenist Ultra Lightweight SPF 50 is a solid, impressive product. I love the fact that it contains one of the highest concentrations I’ve ever seen of zinc oxide, my favorite UVA/UVB sunscreen. I also have warmed to alguronic acid since seeing the new clinical third-party results released by Algenist. While it will be a few years before we know for sure if alguronic acid is indeed another retinol or glycolic acid-like skin saver, the results thus far show you can do far more good than harm for your skin by investing in Algenist Ultra Lightweight SPF 50 this summer. I’m a huge fan!
Product Rating: 10/10 (High or optimized concentration of key ingredients: 3/3. Unique formulation or new technology: 3/3. Value: 3/3. Sunscreen: 1/1).
Ingredients in Algenist Ultra Lightweight SPF 50
Cyclopentasiloxane, Water/Aqua/Eau, Alcohol Denat., Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Algae Exopolysaccharides, Echinacea Purpurea Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Triethoxysilylethyl Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Hexyl Dimethicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Aluminum Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Hexylene Glycol, Fragrance (Parfum).