Life update: My apologies to my readers for the lull in writing for the past 3 weeks! Not only did it snow nearly 5 feet in Pittsburgh so far this month, I have been very busy preparing for the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step I, which I will be taking in late April. Although I am already an allopathic medical (M.D.) student, I was also interested in enhancing my research training with a Ph.D., and so I was occupied with finishing the interviewing process this month for the University of Pittsburgh-Carnegie Mellon Medical Scientist Training Program, which culminates in the attainment of both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. I’m proud to say I found out recently that I was accepted! (I will not appear on the official website until May 2010). So although this means more school for me, it also means a lot more research training, and hence more thorough reviews and analysis for my readers in the future! 🙂
With that said, I did manage to get out recently, and off to the cosmetics counter I went! (I am nothing if not predictable). There, this Snow White fell in love with an amazing little dwarf: Clarins SPF 40 Plus Day Screen High Protection SPF 40 ($42.00, Amazon.com). The product’s active ingredient is micronized Titanium dioxide, which is an amazing ingredient I happen to love: the titanium dioxide provides an excellent physical barrier between your skin and harmful UV rays, while the fact that it is micronized makes it absorb easily into the skin, without any telltale white streaks. While some experts do not like micronized oxides, believing that they can traverse into the skin and cause oxidative damage, the fact that Clarins SPF 40 Plus Day Screen High Protection SPF 40 contains a high concentration of a silicone-based ingredient (cyclopentasiloxane) is likely to prevent oxidation from occurring. This theory, using cyclopentasiloxanes to protect the skin from oxidation, is backed up by a 1997 study by Gillies et. al.
I have been using Clarins SPF 40 Plus Day Screen High Protection SPF 40 for the past 3 days, and I must say, I love it. It absorbs into the skin quickly, leaving your skin ready for primer, foundation, or concealer. It also is light enough to be used over your daily moisturizer, which is an idea that I love! (One note: If your daily moisturizer has an SPF of 15, and you apply this SPF 40 over it, you will only still get a net SPF of about 40, not 55. Despite popular belief, sunscreen effects are not additive).
I’m adding this one to my beauty regimen! I love the ingredients, as well as the texture of the product. My only qualm about it is the fact that the company claims the product protects you from “environmental stressors” like electromagnetic rays. While Clarins SPF 40 Plus Day Screen High Protection SPF 40 certainly protects you from UV rays – perhaps the worst environmental stressor of all for skin – the truth of the matter is that the degree to which it could protect you from electromagnetism, or how much E&M affects your skin to begin with, is still up for debate. I personally would not buy a product on the basis of “electromagnetic protection,” nor would I normally trust a company that made such a claim. However, despite the lack of science currently behind the electromagnetism claims, Clarins SPF 40 Plus Day Screen High Protection SPF 40 is still a high-quality product, and I love it. Product Rating: 9/10 (High concentration of proven ingredients: 3/3. New technology or unique formulation: 3/3. Value for the money: 2/3. Sunscreen: 1/1).
Ingredients in Clarins SPF 40 Plus Day Screen High Protection SPF 40: Active Ingredients – Micronized titanium dioxide; Inactive ingredients – Cyclopentasiloxane, Aqua, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Alcohol, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Sodium Chloride, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, PEG/PPG-20/15 Dimethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Biosaccharide Gum-4, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Lapsana Communis Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.