NEOVA DNA Damage Control Sunscreen Everyday SPF 44

Skin Care
NEOVA DNA Damage Control Sunscreen

There aren’t many products that I absolutely adore — but NEOVA DNA Damage Control Sunscreen Everyday SPF 44 ($39.00, is one of them. Replete with amazing ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin E, sodium hyaluronate, ergothionene, DNA repair enzymes and my favorite sunscreen (zinc oxide), it’s a must-have for FutureDerm users!

Vitamins C and E: One of My All-Time Favorite Combinations

When vitamin C is combined with vitamin E, it creates a synergistic effect that ends up being more than the sum of its parts. That’s because vitamin C loses electrons as it encounters free radicals and neutralizes them, and vitamin E provides a source of electrons to replenish vitamin C. In fact, as one antioxidant is depleted it can essentially “borrow” an electron from the other and vice versa, helping both antioxidants work better (Cosmetic Dermatology).

Vitamin C as Ascorbyl Palmitate: Two Thumbs Up When > 1%!

Some companies make the mistake of including vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid in a sunscreen with a neutral-to-high pH, which doesn’t allow L-ascorbic acid to penetrate the skin as well as exfoliating acidic formulations do.

Luckily, the scientists at NEOVA know this, and they formulated NEOVA DNA Damage Control Sunscreen Everyday SPF 44 with an ample concentration of ascorbyl palmitate. Once the applied to the skin, ascorbyl palmitate may break into L-ascorbic acid and a fatty acid (palmitate/palmitic acid). Because only a portion of the compound is active L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate must be used in high concentrations to be effective. In fact, ascorbyl palmitate is only proven effective at concentrations of at least 1-2% (International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 2001). Fortunately, NEOVA DNA Damage Control Sunscreen Everyday SPF 44 has at least 1-2% ascorbyl palmitate from my best estimates, and I would honestly put that number at more like 4-5%, judging from its position on the ingredients list.

Sodium Hyaluronate: Holds 1000x Its Weight in Water

When I was a little girl, I used to like to go outside and watch ants. Once my grandfather told me that they could carry 8 times their weight, I was hooked on watching them.

Fast forward many years, and I’m admittedly not so stuck on watching ants anymore. But I do marvel at anything with superhuman strength. And sodium hyaluronate is one of those ingredients. A more stable sodium salt of hyaluronic acid naturally found within the skin, sodium hyaluronate is able to hold up to 1000 times its weight in water (Cosmetics & Toiletries, Cosmetic Dermatology).

Sodium hyaluronate functions as a humectant moisturizer, meaning it attracts water from the surrounding environment to hydrate your skin. Luckily, hyaluronic acid works in both high and low humidity environments, so your climate isn’t going to affect its effectiveness (Simple Skin Beauty).

In regards to its applications in skin care, there are plenty of studies that showcase its hydrating properties, although most call for further testing. In a study involving patients undergoing chemotherapy, a hyaluronic acid cream lessened skin reactions and sped up healing time (Radiotherapy & Oncology). In another study involving rats, hyaluronic acid sped up healing time from free radical damage, but the authors caused for further testing (International Journal of Tissue Reactions).


L-Ergothionene is like the quiet kid in the back of the class who grows up to be a WWF Wrestler or something — a strength completely unexpected from an unsung hero. In a 2007 study in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, L-ergothionene was found to be more protective from free radicals than idebenone (that ingredient in the Elizabeth Arden Prevage line), with far less risk of skin irritation.

Like L-ascorbic acid, ergothionene should be in the “L” formation in order to be the most efficacious for the skin. Thankfully, the scientists at NEOVA also figured this out, and put in only L-ergothionene.

DNA Repair Enzymes

NEOVA DNA Damage Control Sunscreen Everyday SPF 44 features DNA repair enzymes, photolyase and endosomes. Let’s look at these more closely.

Photolyase has been shown in company-related trials to reduce UVB radiation-induced dimers by 45% and to increase UV protection by 300% (source).  Photolyase is derived from plankton, and can be identified on skin care products as plankton extract from Anacystis nidulans.  Its job is to undo DNA damage in cells and prevent cell death caused by UV exposure.

You don’t need to wait a full 30 minutes to an hour for NEOVA DNA Damage Control Sunscreen Everyday SPF 44 to work: zinc oxide instantly protects the skin for the sun, unlike chemical sunscreens. However, the photolyase will take up to an hour to start increasing UV protection further. According to the text The New Science of Perfect Skin, liposome-encapsulated photolyase is delivered to the skin within an hour of application.  It requires light for its activation, though any mild indoor light that passes through sunscreen should be enough for it to work properly.

On the other hand, endosomes are liposome-encapsulated and derived from the marine microbe, Micrococcus lysate.  Extremely UV-resistant, endosomes intensify the skin’s reparative properties to speed recovery reaction and reduce the appearance of post-sunburn peeling.

Bottom Line

NEOVA DNA Damage Control Sunscreen

If NEOVA DNA Damage Control Sunscreen Everyday SPF 44 technology didn’t have a patent, I would be formulating it myself. This super powerhouse sunscreen features DNA repair enzymes (photolyase and endosomes), plus some of my favorite antioxidants (L-ascorbic acid and vitamin E), and sodium hyaluronate to boot. It’s a true winner!

Full Ingredients
Active Ingredients: Octinoxate 6.5%, Octisalate 2.5%, Zinc Oxide 8.5%.

Inactive Ingredients:  Allantoin, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Butylene Glycol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Citric Acid, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Ergothioneine, Ethyl Hexyl Isononanoate, Glycereth-26, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Lecithin, Micrococcus Lysate, Octyl Stearate, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Panthenol, PEG-7 Trimethylolpropane Coconut Ether, Phenoxyethanol, Plankton Extract, Polyether-1, Polyisobutene, Purified Water, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Hydroxide, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane.

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  • Nicki Zevola

    Hi @Maria —

    Octinoxate is a stabilizing sunscreen for avobenzone. You typically don’t see it away from avobenzone.

    Octinoxate will not affect the stability of zinc oxide.

    Hope this helps,

  • Nicki Zevola

    @matheus — That’s a great point. Here is the official ingredients list, sorry for the confusion above:

    Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 7.5%, Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 2.5%.

    Other Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Isopropyl Palmitate, Octyl Stearate, Ethyl Hexyl Isononanoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl Glucoside, Micrococcus Lysate, Plankton Extract, L-ergothioneine, Dimethicone, Glycereth-26, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Allantoin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Oleth-3 Phosphate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polyisobutene, PEG-7 Trimethylolpropane Coconut Ether, Lecithin, Polyether-1, Phenoxyethanol, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane.

  • Nicki Zevola

    Hi @Alex,

    I personally always like to have a concentrated form of vitamin C and E, since studies that prove efficacy of L-ascorbic acid typically use 15% or higher, and those with vitamin E as tocopherol acetate are usually 1% or higher. I am not saying this because I sell a Vitamin CE Serum of my own — truth be told, I like both.

    Hope that helps,

  • Alex

    Hi, I’ve been using this everyday for about 4 months on your recommendation. Do I need another source of Vitamin C/E or is just using this suffice?

    Many thanks


  • maria

    hi — John Su once posted that Octinoxate is not a good sunscreen and can downgrade effectiveness of other screens. I imagine this doesn’t effect the 8.5% zinc oxide since it’s a physical block but I’m still confused about octinoxate and try to avoid it. Any comments – thanks.

  • Matheus

    I think the ingredients list has alphabetical order, so the first ingredient may not be the most abundant. What do you think?
    Regards from Brazil

  • Matheus

    I think the ingredients list has alphabetical order, so he first ingredient may be not the most abundant. What do you think?
    Regards from Brazil

  • Maria

    Question for the other MARIA on this string: which Coffeeberry sunscreen do you use? Thanks

  • Maria

    Hi Nicki – I definitely appreciate all the thorough research you do and the information you provide. I use CE ferulic under my SPF and feel protected from the sun.
    One item though and of course studies differ etc so definitive results are probably hard to come by but John, one of your scientific bloggers, said that Octinoxate in a formulation actually reduces the effectiveness of a sunscreen — what do you think of that?
    Thx again…

  • Nicki Zevola

    Hi @Calraigh —

    Sorry, for some reason, I just saw and approved your comment! Yes, it is cosmetically elegant when applied with about a dime-sized amount under makeup. I use it under Laura Mercier Tinted Foundation daily and Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation for special occasions, and have not had a problem with either.

    Hope that helps,

  • Nicki Zevola

    Hi @Valentine and @Maria —

    There is a lot of controversy surrounding vitamin C and its derivatives in skin care research. The founding father of vitamin C in skin care, Dr. Sheldon Pinnell, M.D. (and man behind L-ascorbic acid product Cellex-C) and his supporters regularly write reviews and touts studies stating that vitamin C as L-ascorbic acid is the most effective (if not the only effective) form of vitamin C on the market. Here is one where he specifically talks about how ascorbic acid-6-palmitate is not L-ascorbic acid:

    Don’t get me wrong — I respect Dr. Pinnell, as well as his supporters, research, and work. But I am simply pointing out there is a lot to lose if L-ascorbic acid is taken out of the limelight as the must-have form of vitamin C. For one, L-ascorbic acid is unstable. It breaks down in the presence of light, heat, and air. It is undesirable to work with. For another, L-ascorbic acid needs to be formulated in a formulation that is acidic in order for it to work, which makes ingredients like ascorbyl palmitate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and ascorbyl glucoside seem very attractive.

    However, there is research to demonstrate that other forms of vitamin C are effective and do benefit the skin. With regard to ascorbyl-6-palmitate, there is research to demonstrate they are similar when ingested and in vivo (in the body):

    With regard to the study you cited about ascorbyl 6-palmitate, this was conducted in cultured keratinocytes (skin cells), not within the body and without the concurrent use of sunscreen, so it is not necessarily something that occurs when the ingredient is applied to living skin cells when sunscreen is used.

    Furthermore, I am skeptical of the study in general, as this is a similar controversy to the one the Environmental Working Group tried to put against retinyl palmitate in 2010, only to be called out in droves by the dermatological and scientific community:

    In the end, I am not supportive of the research study you cited, but I do appreciate your response!

    Let me know if you have more questions.

  • valentine

    Isn’t the ascorbyl palmitate sort of completely problematic in a sunscreen?

    This report includes a surprisingly extreme word (for assumptively dispassionate science-y people) to describe the level of cell death when skin cells absorb ascorbyl palmitate and then are exposed to UV: “massive.” What the hell happened in that experiment for scientists to use that kind of descriptor?

    strongly promotes cytotoxicity:
    “Ascorbic acid-6-palmitate strongly promoted ultraviolet-B-induced lipid peroxidation, c-Jun N-terminal kinase activation, and cytotoxicity, however.”

    toxic to skin:
    “The lipid component of ascorbic acid-6-palmitate probably contributes to the generation of oxidized lipid metabolites that are toxic to epidermal cells.”

    intensifies UV damage:
    “Our data suggest that, despite its antioxidant properties, ascorbic acid-6-palmitate may intensify skin damage following physiologic doses of ultraviolet radiation.”

    What am I missing? Other than its stability in formula, wouldn’t the ascorbyl palmitate make a sunscreen only useful at night?

    • MARIA

      Valentine, thank you. After further researching this ingredient, ascorbic acid-6-palmitate, it is not a good, nor stable sunscreen at all for daytime use. Thank you for giving your opinion, it would have been money down the drain. I’ll stick with my coffeeberry sunscreen, and my Dermablend, as it is doing a great job helping to keep my melasma from returning. Nikki, you need to do more research on your products you review.

  • Nicki Zevola

    @Marina — It does not leave a white cast. It definitely works for normal skin.

    Whether or not it will work for oily skin depends on just how oily your skin is. If it is normal/oily, you should be fine. If it is oily to very oily in the summer months, you can still use this sunscreen, but you may find that you want to carry some oil-blotting sheets with you during the day as well. It is a very high-quality, highly-recommended product on my part, but at the same time, it does not contain oil-absorbing ingredients like aluminum starch octenylsuccinate or clay.

    Hope that helps,

  • Marina

    Please let me know if this leaves a white cast and whether it’s appropriate for normal/oily skin. Thank you

  • Calraigh

    Is this a facial sunscreen? If so,how does it apply ( white cast, thick) or is it “cosmetically elegant”. Have you tried it under makeup?

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