Aveeno’s newest addition to its line, Aveeno Clear Complexion BB Cream ($17.85, amazon.com), claims to “even and conceal for a more flawless complexion.” The oil-free formula is designed to treat and conceal even acne-prone skin, like the rest of the Aveeno line. However, as our ingredient analysis shows, we like it better for those with mild to moderate hyperpigmentation than blemishes or acne. The reason? Aveeno Clear Complexion BB Cream’s main skin-benefitting ingredient is soy extract, which has been shown in independent scientific research to help even out skin tone. Yet soy extract or any of the other concentrated ingredients in the product haven’t been shown to help acne as much as, say, salicyclic acid or benzoyl peroxide.
One of the star components of soybean extract is genistein, which works as an antioxidant and also an anti-inflammatory agent. It’s been shown in studies to help increase the production of collagen in the skin (British Journal of Dermatology). Another in vivo study showed that genistein increased hyaluronic acid in human fibroblasts, which improves skin’s firmness, elasticity, and suppleness (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology).
It’s also been shown to reduce the number of hair follicles (dermal papillae) on the skin when used twice daily (Photochemistry and Photobiology).
Plenty of Hydration
Glycerin, urea, and sodium hyaluronate offer plenty of lightweight hydration in Aveeno Clear Complexion BB Cream. All of these are a class of moisturizers that are called natural moisturizing factors (NMFs). What is unique about NMFs is that they work even in low humidity environments (Baumann), so this product is suitable every climate from dry winters to humid summers.
Glycerin serves as an emollient, humectant, and occlusive agent. It actually beats out petrolatum in terms of hydration and has been shown to consistently be one of the best moisturizers in products (Ostomy Wound Management, Dry Skin and Moisturizers: Chemistry and Function).
Urea is a natural moisturizing factor that’s found naturally in human urine at about one percent. It helps bind water to skin and also in the production of keratin (Archives of Dermatological Research). It’s been shown to help reduce transepidermal water loss and also works as a skin penetration enhancer (Contact Dermatitis, Skin Research and Technology).
Lastly, sodium hyaluronate helps skin from losing water and aids in maintaining a smooth, supple appearance. That’s because it’s able to hold about 10,000 times its weight in water, hydrating skin particularly well (Baumann). This will also help to temporarily reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Why You Want AT LEAST SPF 30
A study done by the American Dermatological Association found that, in general, people tended to underestimate how much product they needed to get the listed amount of sun protection. Those who used SPF 100 in what people would regularly put on, actually only put enough on to get about SPF 27. So, you, at the very least, want SPF 30.
When Aveeno calls Aveeno Clear Complexion BB Cream “complexion clearing,” it sounds as though it might be beneficial for this with acne. In reality, it may help mild to moderate hyperpigmentation. Aveeno Clear Complexion BB Creamd will definitely keep your skin moisturized throughout the day, but it’s not going to do the same kind of work that products with ingredients such as salicyclic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and sulfur will do to treat acne. For those with acne, we prefer Clinique Acne Solutions Liquid Makeup, which contains a lot of treatment salicyclic acid that can significantly dry up blemishes while simultaneously concealing them.
Active Ingredients: Homosalate (5%, Sunscreen), Octinoxate (7.5%, Sunscreen), Octisalate (5%, Sunscreen), Oxybenzone (2%, Sunscreen)
Inactive Ingredients: Water, PPG 3 Myristyl Ether Neoheptanoate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Butylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Palm Kernal Glycerides, Silica, PEG 100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Isohexadecane, Bisabolol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Fragrance, Citric Acid, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Polysorbate 20, P Anisic Acid, Sodium C 14 16 Olefin Sulfonate, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Urea, Sodium PCA, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Polysorbate 60, Xanthan Gum, Tetrasodium EDTA, Hexylene Glycol, Trehalose, Polyquaternium 51, Triacetin, Methylisothiazolinone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Iron Oxides