The Sunscreen Project, Part 15

/ Friday, November 30, 2012 /
Wow, it seems like I've gone through quite a lot of sunscreens.

Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 50 w/ Helioplex

I was fortunate enough to receive several samples of this product from an event held at my school.

Well, here we go.
What do I normally look for in a sunscreen?

  • Does not feel too thick or heavy
  • Doesn't cause me to break out
  • SPF 30 or higher
  • Affordable
  • Protects against UVA and UVB rays
  • Preferrably a physical sunscreen (zinc oxide, titanium oxide) rather than chemical (avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, homosalate, etc)
Ingredients, according to

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (12%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (2.35%), Oxybenzone (6%)

Inactive Ingredients: Water, Dimethicone, Triloxane, Diethylhexyl 2, 6 Naphthalate, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG 100 Stearate, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Behenyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Methicone, Ethyhexylglycerin, Pantothenic Acid, Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), BHT, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Hydrogenated Palm Glyceride, Styrene Acrylates Copolymer, Cetearyl Glucoside, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Methylisothiazolinone, Benzyl Alcohol

I've used this sunscreen for several weeks now. What did I think of it?

  • Protects against UVA and UVB rays
  • High SPF
  • Does not feel too greasy
  • Didn't seem to make me break out more than usual
  • Pricey ($14 for 1.7 oz, according to -> that's comparable to some high-end sunscreens!
  • Is a chemical sunscreen, so has problems associated with that (more time to absorb, perhaps negative side effects from avobenzone, etc)
In summary, what did I think of this? I think this product did its job, but I think there are also better products out there on the market that might be even better and more affordable. I would wait awhile and check out other products before considering buying the full-sized version of this one.

Still searching for that ideal sunscreen!

Source: 1 / 2
Past posts (this is getting too long!)

Review: Carmex Moisturizing Lip Balm, SPF 15 in Cherry

/ Wednesday, November 28, 2012 /
Quick review on a product for your lips!

-Price: 10 g for ~$2, available at most drugstores, Walmart/Target/Kroger/etc.
-Current use: at night and day (if it's a particularly dry day and my lips are chapped)

Ingredients (according to Walgreens): 

Active Ingredients 
Octinoxate - 6.4 %Sunscreen , Oxybenzone - 5.4 %Sunscreen

Inactive Ingredients
Beeswax , Camphor , Cetyl Esters , Flavor , Lanolin , Menthol , Paraffin , Petrolatum , Phenol , Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter (Cocoa)

-Very moisturizing/emollient
-SPF 15
-Use a little bit (a little goes a long way)
-Lasts a long time
-Very affordable
-Has cocoa

-Super sticky
-Has phenol - this is what is used in Gross Anatomy labs for preservation! (I believe it's used in this product as a preservative)

Would I repurchase this? As of now, it seems like a practical option. If someone is looking for something super emollient for lip moisturization, it's useful. However, I'm still looking around and trying out different products!

Source: 1 / 2

The Sunscreen Project: Part 13.1 (Update further)

/ Tuesday, November 27, 2012 /
This is an addendum to the original article posted about sunscreen and sunblocks. I've just looked at some articles and discovered errors that I'd like to correct, as well as add some new information. Hence version 13.1!

First: OTC Sunscreen is regulated by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration), not USDA (which is the United States Dept of Agriculture).

Here are some of the new regulations (in summary form):

  • Sunscreen should be reapplied every 2 hrs
  • "Broad spectrum" = covers both UVA and UVB
  • No more designation as "waterproof", "sweatproof", or "sunblock" - everything is now officially sunscreen only
  • Must be labeled as only "water-resistant" for 40 or 80 min before reapplying
  • This rule applies to OTC sunscreen as well as cosmetics and moisturizers with SPF
  • Maximum SPF value that can be labeled is 50+, because SPF higher than 50 has extremely low marginal yield (aka greater incremental protection)
  • Currently, the data about sunscreens in the form of spray isn't comparable to creams, lotions, etc

Other nuggets:

  • Don't apply adult sunscreens on kids and babies! Their skin is more sensitive to ingredients...
  • Don't store sunscreen in places that have direct sunlight, such as your car, open in the bathroom, near a window, or in the fridge with your food. It will make the active ingredients (and potentially other ingredients) break down faster.
  • The sunscreen ingredients that provide considerable protection against BOTH UVA and UVB rays are: dioxybenzone, menthyl anthranilate, oxybenzone, sulisobenzone, titanium dioxide.
  • The sunscreen ingredients that provide extensive protectino against BOTH UVA and UVB rays are zinc oxide, tinosorb M, and tinosorb S. 
  • These two tinosorbs (listed in the previous bullet point) are actually both physical and chemical sunscreens - best of both worlds! Unfortunately tinosorb M and S are not yet approved by FDA so products with these are sold only in Europe and Asia. You can get them in certain sunscreens by Avene and Eucerin.

Here are some links that will explain things better:
FDA - Sunscreen
FDA - New OTC Sunscreen Product Requirements

Articles from Viva Woman:
Tips on Sunscreen Protection & Application
Zinc oxide vs Titanium oxide protection
New FDA Sunscreen Labeling
Alcohol in sunscreens
Sensitive vs Sensitized skin
Adults using kid + baby sunscreens
Places not to store your sunscreen
Vivawoman's opinion on eye sunscreen
Effective active ingredients in a sunscreen
The best & safest sunscreen ingredients

Best Facial Sunscreens -

Past posts:

Review: Puristics Totally Ageless Advanced Skin Rejuvenating Lotion

/ Sunday, November 25, 2012 /
Puristics Totally Ageless Advanced Skin Rejuvenating Lotion

I found this line of skincare in the clearance aisle of my local grocery store a few weeks ago. I had been looking for a new nighttime moisturizer so I decided, why not?

The original price of the product is about $22 at the grocery store for 1.7 oz, $16.50 on I bought it for $2.

And now I know why it was so heavily discounted.


Purified Water, Squalane (Olives), Octyl Palmitate (Skin conditioner), Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride (Coconut/palm), Saccharomyces Ferment Extract (Hexapeptide-11 [natural collagen builder), Glycerin, Sucrose Distearate (Sugar), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Wax, Palm Butter, Safflower (Carthamus Tinctorius) Seed Oil, Sucrose Stearate, Citric Acid, Ethylhexl Glycerin (Skin emollient), Glyceryl Stearate SE (Plant based), Tapioca Starch, Hydrogenated Lecithin (Soybeans), Xanthan Gum (Fermented sugar), Rosewood (Aniba Rosaeodora) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Panthenol (pro-Vitamin B5), Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid) (Natural skin conditioner), Polylysine (Natural preservative), Honeysuckle Extract (Natural preservative)

THERE ARE SO MANY OCCLUSIVE AGENTS HERE! All of those oils and stuff. Sure, they are moisturizing ingredients, but at the same time, they definitely will not be good for my acne-prone skin. No wonder why I started breaking out afterward.

I just want to say "tsk tsk tsk" to myself for doing this. Lolz.

Anyway I've got to say:

-Very moisturizing on face and neck
-Has lots of vitamins for more nourishment

-Price ($20 for 1.7 oz, especially at the drugstore, that's approaching high-end product prices)
-Very comedogenic for most skin types, especially oily/combination/acne-prone/etc.

Bottom line? This would be a good product probably for people with dry skin. But for me, with combination, acne-prone skin, this was a definite mistake. You can probably tell this won't be a repo for me.

Source: 1


/ Friday, November 23, 2012 /

Vest: Wet Seal, ~$10
Belt: Unknown
Shirt: Target, ~$10
Fingerless gloves: Ebay, $2
Dark skinny jeans: Forever 21, $11
Socks: Organics, $7 (gift)
Big chunky statement necklace: Unknown

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!

/ Thursday, November 22, 2012 /
Thanksgiving Day
© Lyubkina

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!!!!

~Med School Girl

Influenster College VoxBox!

/ Monday, November 19, 2012 /

I recently got a box of goodies from Influenster. For those who don't know, Influenster is an online community, quote unquote the website, "where tastemakers and trendsetters come to share the latest and greatest news, places, products, and reviews with each other."

Basically, it's a site where you one can rate products, talk about their reviews, and do other things like this.

After reading about this on hannahfyed's blog, I decided to create a profile for this and see what happened.

I guess all of those reviews and other stuffs I do here and on Influenster got me a Voxbox - a box filled with products that are pretty darn awesome, that pertain to particular users. Here, I got the College VoxBox for 2012. I've got to say that even though I've graduated from undergrad, I'm still in college (after all, my med school has "College" in its name). So I've got to say "thank you" to Influenster for giving me the chance to get this box!


imPress Press-On Manicure
NYC New York Color Show Time Glitter Eyeliner Pencil in Black
Necco Tropical Wafers
Energy Sheets
Pentel EnerGel-X

I'd just like to say thank you to Influenster for giving me the chance to try these products. We'll see what happens!

Winter skincare tips

/ Sunday, November 18, 2012 /
Image courtesy of dan /
Whoo-hoo, it's finally winter!


Seriously I've been waiting for it for quite awhile.

Where I live, it is basically a sauna 8-9 months in the year. It doesn't get "cold", as in the mid 50s, until about this time of the year. And it stays like this for ~2 months until it gets way hot again. Seriously. I remember days in December where it was 80 degrees. Isn't that crazy?

Anyway wintertime brings in lots of skin issues. Meaning, dry skin issues.

These are some of the tips/ideas I've gleaned/adopted:

1. Use a lot of emollient skin products for body moisturization.

Like I stated in my Fall post, I use the following products:

Coconut oil
NOW Foods Virgin Coconut Oil
C.O. Bigelow's Lemon & Pomegranate Lip Cream (will review later):

Beauty product

2. Drink lots of water, tea, but less coffee. Seriously hot tea from Starbucks has saved me whenever I go there to study (and it's also a cheap thing on the menu... lolz).

3. Shampoo your hair every other day, and do a co-wash (conditioner-only wash) if you really want to was your hair. (This is more of a thing that I preach rather than do currently... because of anatomy lab and stuffs. I'll probably do this more often after I finish lab)

4. Carry a chapstick and little hand lotion with you just in case.

I carry a SPF15 chapstick by Chapstick brand, and a Nivea hand cream tin (1 oz) with me. Just in case. It really helps.

Nivea Hand Cream

5. Always moisturize your face morning and night.

In the morning I always put on a sunblock or sunscreen. At night, I put on a face moisturizer. Currently I am testing several products, some of which are:

Puristics Advanced Skin Care Rejuvenation (review is still under process, still testing):

Clean & Clear Dual Action Oil-Free Moisturizer (recently finished)
Clean & Clear Oil-Free Dual Action Moisturizer


6. Use facials! All of those DIY facials with lemon/lime juice/cucumber/honey/oatmeal/aspirin/etc. They all are pretty good. Even coffee grinds (already filtered through) or used tea leaves/tea bag remnants work well. They are all good for you and cost very little! Just remember to moisturize afterward ;)

7. Get a good night's sleep. Once again this is one of those things I preach but don't always practice well (sorry).

Ta-ta for now!


Sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

The Sunscreen Project, Part 14

/ Thursday, November 15, 2012 /
Here we go again.

Next sunscreen/sunblock.

Neutrogena Sunblock Lotion, Sensitive Skin, SPF 30 - 4 oz
Photo source
Like I stated in my previous post, sunblock is something that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Since I would like a product with full coverage that can make sure that I can have both types of ray protection, I decided to go for a product like this.

Hence, Neutrogena's Sensitive Skin Sunblock Lotion SPF 30.

I received this product during a health fair sponsored by my school about a month ago. I really liked it ostensibly because (1) it seemed to be targted toward sensitive skin and (2) it had an SPF of 30.

Ingredients, according to

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (9.1%)

Inactive Ingredients: Water, C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, Neopentyl Glycol Dioctanoate, Glycerin, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Isopropyl C12 15 Pareth 9 Carboxylate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Steareth 21, Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B5), Camellia Olefifera (Green Tea) Extract, Panthenol, BHT, Neopentyl Glycol Diisostearate, Aluminum Hydroxide, Iron Hydroxide, Steareth 2, Stearic Acid, Trimethylolpropane Triethylhexanoate, Acrylates/C10 30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Disodium EDTA, Carbomer, Butylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben

Thus, I used this product for a week before making judgment on it. 

So, how did I think of it?

  • Provides UVA and UVB protection
  • Provides lightweight coverage
  • Didn't feel heavy
  • SPF 30 - meets minimum FDA suggestions
  • Gives a WHITE CAST. Meaning, that I turned about 2-3 shades lighter. I swear I thought I was a vampire from a Twilight movie!
  • Kind of peeled off if I touched my skin with water during the first 15-20 min after application.
  • Stung my eyes when doing eye makeup.
  • Is titanium dioxide, which doesn't provide as much protection as zinc oxide.
Overall, I believe this is an ok product, but I would not buy the full-sized version of it.

Still searching for that new great sunscreen!

Past posts:

I guess I might just have to resign myself to the fact that life is the way it is.

/ Monday, November 12, 2012 /
Health changes so drastically in relation to our surroundings.

In high school, I didn't really know how to manage my weight, appearance, etc well. (or at least I believe relative to now). I was taking 7 AP classes, President of x club, Treasurer of Y club, volunteering on the weekends, studying, playing the violin, everything. Life was pretty hectic, and I didn't pay much attention to my appearance.

Then came in college.

I got more time to myself and could devote more time to myself, choosing things I felt that were interesting to participate in and choosing classes that were super fun to be in as well. Dance classes even! My skin got a lot better and my complexion seemed brighter. I also learned a lot more about skincare (websites, blogs, primary literature articles, Youtube, etc) and learned how to better take care of myself. Dress in clothes that fit my body type, all that stuff. Yada-yada. I got more sleep, was more well-rested, and was happier in general.

Hooray! Blossomed out of the shell. College is definitely the place where I truly grow up.

Medical school changed things. I underwent a surgery shortly after college graduation and spent the summer recovering. (Yeah, definitely one of the least fun summers I've ever had.) Now life is so much more different. I'm taking the bus or rail to school instead of walking or going via a yellow school bus; I carry my books around campus, read them on the computer, etc instead of just leaving them at home or in a locker; I even have a car that I can use on the occasion that I drive. My life seems more structured, but at the same time, more hectic. I'm learning things that I have never even fathomed of learning; at the same time, I'm trying to absorb so much more stuff than I've ever really tried to absorb anytime before.

According to the University of Richmond, the national acceptance rate for medical schools is 46% for first-time applicants. For second-time, third-time, etc applicants, the rates are even lower. I guess there is a reason why it's so hard to get in. It's hard just to get through, just to pass. One has to make quite a decent effort to pass everything.

Anyway, back to the health business. I've noticed things regress in my health because of this whole medical school thing. I'm sleepy a lot of the time, not perhaps due to lack of sleep, but because I have to concentrate so hard during the time I study that my brain "farts out", literally. I break out a lot more as well, to the amount that I broke out during my peak acne phases in my late middle school/early high school years. And I guess my time spent indoors/use of sunscreen/use of DIY facials has made my skin a lot paler, apparently, according to people who've known me for awhile.

However, I think still this is just a small price to pay for the incredible stuff I'm learning right now. Hearing patients' stories while they explain to me why they got to where they are today, hearing those heartbeat sounds on different parts of the chest, testing reflexes, being able to feel the liver and spleen, understanding why people have acid reflux and how to prevent it, understanding how medications work and why certain med combos don't work -> this opportunity is so incredible.

I will eventually get used to the life of a medical student, fully get into "the swing of things". I might not be a savant but I will learn things and work hard. I am so grateful for this opportunity and am humbled by the patients every time I go into the hospital. It is my pleasure to learn to take care of them. And eventually, perhaps my skin will get used to it too!

(Still working on everything!)

~Med School Girl

Such a good DIY face mask.

/ /
I've always liked using DIY products because I know what ingredients go into them, and what preservatives/chemicals with long names/etc are left out. One of the main things I like to DIY is face masks. I'm always searching for an ideal combo of ingredients that would help out my skin - brightening, cleansing, scar-lightening, etc.

Lately I've been using lime juice (freshly squeezed) with my compressed face masks but they seemed to be just too irritating. Therefore I started trying something new and ended up with something of a wholesome amalgamation.

Hence, a recipe that I concocted, taken for multiple years of research and blog-searching and fact-finding and everything:


  • 1 tablespoon dissolved aspirin tablet granules (extra strength aspirin pills dissolved originally in witch hazel)
  • 1 oz honey
  • 1 tablespoon oatmeal
  • 2 key limes
  1. In a small microwaveable bowl, mix the aspirin tablet granules, honey, oatmeal, and 1 key lime's squeezed out juice.
  2. Heat in microwave for 1 minute.
  3. Take out, mix again, and place in the other key lime's squeezed out juice.
  4. Apply the mask using your fingers or a foundation brush onto your face.
  5. Leave on mask for 15 min.
  6. Rinse off.
The mask should dry off afterward. It felt SO GOOD afterward.
Uses of each of the materials:
Aspirin: For reducing inflammation and for exfoliation
Honey: For exfoliating, brightening, softening, toning of skin
Oatmeal: For soothing purposes, for moisturizing and basically placating the skin, and neutralizing the lime
Lime: For brightening, (even whitening), lightening (acne) scars, etc.

(I'm not going to post a picture of the face mask on my face on here, because it looks like I have throw-up on my face! But trust me, it feels SOO good afterward. And my face was not stinging at all from the lime juice.)

If you try this recipe, lemme know how it goes! Peace out!

The Sunscreen Project, Part 13: Articles (Updated)

/ Saturday, November 10, 2012 /
In this part of the Sunscreen Project, there will be an intermission my reviews. This post will focus more on the different scientific aspects of sunscreen, its properties, risks, advantages, etc.

Note: This article will take more of a scientific purpose. I will try my best to define any terms that are "super scientificky" or are delved deep jargon of medical language. If you are confused by any of the terminology or have any questions about anything I've written (or would like to dispute me/have any comments/concerns/etc over the facts) please feel free to comment. All constructive comments/questions/criticisms/etc are welcome!

I have cross-referenced my comments with many sources, ranging from articles I've read from other professionals and/or skincare specialists/aficionados. I will not link any primary literature in my sources (primary literature = scientific articles), because (1) if I did this post would be twice as long, (2) not everyone has PubMed access to the articles listed, due to subscription issues, and (3) many of the articles I will cite already have primary literature citations.

Disclaimer: As the time of this published post, I am a first-year medical student. I am in no way a licensed medical professional. Please take my writings with an educational intent. This is in no way a replacement for consultations from licensed medical professionals. Please note that, should you decide to follow my advice, you bear full responsibility for your decisions.


Okay. Enough of that jargon and legal disclaimer. Let's get down to the gist of it. Note: I am not going to be writing a super lengthy article about exactly how the mechanisms of things work during sunscreen; I will just be summarizing facts. I have linked articles at the bottom of this page about sunscreen/sunblock/etc and how it helps.

I first really got down into the facts of sunscreen from articles about SPF.

Facts about sunscreen in general:
  • There are actually 3 main types of sun rays: UVA, UVB, and UVC.
  • UVC rays are mostly shielded by the Earth's ozone layer.
  • The SPF factor measures a form of protection of UVB rays only. UVA ray protection measurements are in other systems, such as the Japanese PA+ rating system
  • UVA rays cause long-term aging damage, UVB causes tanning/burning
  • Must be reapplied every 40 or 80 min (according to FDA guidelines) - wears off eventually
  • Recent FDA regulation changes: no SPF factor can be above 50, sunscreen cannot be labeled as "waterproof" or "sweatproof", and must be listed as providing 40 or 80 min of protection
  • Sunscreen is the EXACT SAME THING as "moisturizer with SPF". Sunscreens/sunblocks are extremely emollient, and are notorious for being very greasy. 
  • For "non-comedogenic" labels: non-comedogenic means not causing acne/breakouts. However, depending on the size of each person's pores, it is different. Thus, what may be non-comedogenic for one person may cause another person to break out completely.
Facts specifically about SPF:
  • SPF measures protection against UVB rays
  • Measures percentage of UV rays protected against
  • SPF 15: 93%, SPF 30: 97%; if SPF > 30, then remains in 97-98% range
  • Above SPF 30 (or even 50), increased protection is minimal.
  • Recently, FDA changed regulations for writing about sunscreen SPF labels: maximum value that can be posted is SPF 50.
  • FDA recommends people to use sunscreen with ratings of 30 or more.
  • What matters more than SPF rating is the AMOUNT of sunscreen that is used. General rule of thumb: a tablespoon amount should be used for the head/neck, and a shotglass full should be used for entire body, from head to toe.
Sunscreen vs sunblock:
  • Sunscreens: protect by absorbing and filtering UV rays after penetrating the skin (whether UVA, UVB, or both)
  • Sunblocks: protect by reflecting both types of rays, so no penetration occurs
  • Sunscreen: uses chemical method to absorb/filter. Chemicals include avobenzone (for UVA rays), oxybenzone, octisalate, homosalate, octocrylene, oxtinoxate, menthyl anthralate, oxtocrylene. As a result, is often called "chemical sunscreen
  • Sunblock: physical barrier ingredients, sit on top of the skin, including titanium dioxide and zinc oxide
  • Sunscreen: needs to be absorbed in the skin for 15-30 min before starts becoming effective
  • Sunblock: takes effect immediately upon application
Sunblock specifically:
  • Often called "physical sunscreen" because of its physical barrier properties
  • Zinc oxide provides a better spectrum of protection (wider range of protection) when combined with other ingredients than titanium oxide
  • Causes "white cast" on the skin when applied (thus chemical sunscreens have an aesthetic factor advantage as compared to sunblocks). However, companies have been getting better about this by microionizing particles (aka reducing their size to the order of magnitude of 10-100s of nanometers, aka 10^(-9) meters). Just for reference, a red blood cell (diameter = 7.5 micrometers) is about 75 times bigger than one of these particles! 

UVA rating system (PA+ rating system):
  • Use the PPD (Persistent Pigment Darkening) rating, after 2-4 hours of sun exposure
  • PA+ provides some UVA protection with a factor of PPD 2-4
  • PA++ provides moderate UVA protection with a factor of PPD 4-8
  • PA+++ provides good UVA protection with a factor of PPD > 8
  • Generally, the more the "+"s, the better it is
  • A lot of Asian and European sunblocks have this system on this rating, and display it on their bottles
USA vs Asian vs European sunscreens/sunblocks:
  • USA considers sunscreen/sunblock as a over-the-counter drug and is regulated under FDA (US Food & Drug Adminstration).
  • Europe and Asia consider sunscreen/sunblock as a cosmetic item, so it is regulated under different terms.
  • Result? There are sunscreen ingredients that have made it into European and Asian skincare products that haven't made it into USA products yet. 
  • As of July 06, 2012, (quoted from, "in the US, there are only 17 approved active sunscreen ingredients. In Europe, there are 28. In Japan, there are more than 40."
  • Example: Tinsorb - a new ingredient used in chemical sunscreens, is a chemical that is highly stable, protects against UVA and UVB rays, and does not have any long-term exposure damage, according to current studies. It has been used for several years on the European market but has just recently hit hit US stores. Another example would be CC creams.
Miscellaneous about sunscreen/sunblock:
  • Makeup with sunscreen doesn't contain the optimum amount of sunscreen protection
  • Coconut oil has inherent SPF 4 protection
  • Your lips need protection too - use a chapstick/lip balm with spf
  • Even on cloudy days, UVA/UVB rays are pushing through
  • UV rays are even emitted from computer screens, although the effects of them are minimal compared to what you're exposed to out in the sun
  • It's a really good habit to put on sunscreen/sunblock every morning - especially to incorporate it into your morning routine.
  • Search for the best sunscreen/sunblock for your skin - reviews are opinions of different people with different skin types. You can look at reviews for directions for products to try, but ultimately, what works best for your skin depends on you!

Whew! Yep, that was definitely a lot of facts. I hope this was a useful, overall comprehensive lesson on sunscreen protection. We definitely need protection from the sun - skin cancer definitely something that is good to prevent.

Articles from Futurederm:
Articles from LiveStrong:

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

Other (just for references, and to cross-reference, along to see a source that a lot of people read):

The Sunscreen Project, Part 12

/ Tuesday, November 6, 2012 /
Like I've written in my last post, I'm trying out new sunscreens in order to find a really good sunscreen  to use for the upcoming months/perhaps even years. I have been using an eye cream with sunscreen for a long time and didn't even realized I had been using such an SPF product for such a long time. Thus I will review it.

Avon Anew Rejuvenate 24-hour eye cream, SPF 25 (for my eyes)

Now, according to one of John Su's articles from Futurederm, eye creams aren't really necessary, but I wanted to try this product out anyway because I wanted to see the exact difference between an eye cream with SPF versus just a normal SPF product on the eye area.

Well, there are actually two parts to this product - as you can see - the bluish cream as a nighttime cream and the white cream as a day cream with SPF 25.

I wanted to try it.

Ingredients (source):

Ingredients for A.M. Eye Cream:

Active: Octinoxate (7.5%), Octisalate (5%), Avobenzone (2%), Homosalate (2%), Other: Water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Peg-8, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Isodecyl Isononanoate, Phytol, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Tinospora Cordifolia Root/Stem Extract, Pinus Taeda Bark Extract, Retinol/Saccharomyces Polypeptide, Phaeodactylum Tricornutum Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Plankton Extract, Hydrolyzed Milk Protein, Sodium Hyaluronate, Andrographolide, Panthenol, Tocopherol, Kaempferia Galanga Root Extract, Oryzanol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol, Carbomer, Tromethamine, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium Edta

Ingredients for P.M. Eye Cream:

Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, C30-45 Alkyl Cetearyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Isocetyl Stearoyl Stearate, Isodecyl Isononanoate, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Phytol, Tinospora Cordifolia Root/Stem Extract, Pinus Pinaster Bark/Bud Extract, Phaeodactylum Tricornutum Extract, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Plankton Extract, Hydrolyzed Milk Protein, Lagerstroemia Indica Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Andrographolide, Panthenol, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Oryzanol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Magnesium Sulfate, Lauryl Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium Edta, Chromium Oxide Greens

Now, the original price of this product is $38 for 0.66 oz of product. I actually got it for about $6 on Amazon. Lolz. (And it was a new product!)

AM Cream first::

  • Very emollient and hydrating
  • Did not sting my eyes
  • Protects against UVA and UVB rays
  • Saw slight firming of eye skin
  • Lasts a long time
  • Jar packaging
PM Cream:
  • Very emollient and hydrating
  • Saw slight plumping of skin
  • Felt really greasy
  • Jar packaging
The overall fact is that I do not like the jar packaging. It is not good and makes the product susceptible to contamination more quickly than usual. Not cool.

Currently I have finished the night cream but am still working on the day cream, which has lasted me about 6 months already, with nightly use! Can you imagine that? 6 months of use and still going strong?

Anyway, I don't think I will repurchase the product because (1) jar packaging and (2) eye creams aren't really that necessary. However, I do think the use of this product was a good experience.

Source: 1

Past posts:

The Sunscreen Project: Part 11

/ Friday, November 2, 2012 /
For those of you who just recently started following me, I did a series of posts on different sunscreens this past spring/summer, in pursuit of a good, affordable sunscreen that I could use throughout the year. After trying many, many different ones (see my pasts posts below), I decided on Coppertone's Oil-Free Sunscreen Lotion in SPF 30.

Well, it was a great sunscreen and all, but I used up an entire bottle. Lo and behold, 8 ounces of sunscreen used over a period of 6 months. Just about every day - face and neck. I think I've been pretty consistent about using it.

After I finished the bottle, I thought, I could just buy another bottle of it. After all, it was pretty good. However, I've gotten several other samples of sunscreen from different places, so I thought perhaps I could try and look around to find potentially even better sunscreens. Also, because of John Su's posts on Inorganic vs Organic sunscreens in September-October of this year, I've decided to look more into inorganic sunscreens, which are supposed to be more stable and better for the skin (in the long-term) than chemical sunscreens, which have ingredients such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, and octinoxate. I won't go into the details of how/why inorganic sunscreens are superior to chemical sunscreens in many ways (John goes into a lot of detail about it, and did an extremely thorough analysis), but I will say that the article series has changed my perspective on sunscreens.

(I will link his articles below for those who are interested).

Anyway I decided to start up this series again, season 2 style, to test out new sunscreens and see how they are like.

So, thus, after that long introduction, behold, part 11 of this series.

Now, introducing...

MAC Studio Moisture Fix SPF 15

Studio Moisture Fix SPF 15
Photo source

I received a sample of this product from a local M.A.C. store awhile ago. And how did I rate it?

First, ingredients list, according to Beautypedia:
Active: Zinc Oxide (6.7%), Octinoxate (3.5%)

Other: Water, Dimethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Butylene Glycol, Silica, Isononyl Isononanoate, Glycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cholesterol, Astrocaryum Murumuru Butter, Caffeine, Sodium RNA, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phytosphingosine, Barley Extract, Chinese Mushroom Extract, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Polygonum Cuspidatum Root (Chinese Root) Extract/Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Yeast Extract, Wheat Germ Extract, Sucrose, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Polysorbate 20, Polysorbate 80, Squalane, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Steareth-21, PVP, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Cetyl Esters, Hexylene Glycol, Polyethylene, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Caprylyl Glycol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Linoleic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Fragrance, BHT, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin

A cursory look reveals that the active ingredient is zinc oxide, deeming the sunscreen an inorganic sunscreen. Good.

Now, just as a review, here are the qualities that I look for in a sunscreen:

  • Does not make me break out (my skin is combination oily)
  • Doesn't feel greasy/cakey - even better than Coppertone's Oil-Free SPF 30
  • Glides on smoothly
  • Has a relatively high spf (30+)
  • Affordable price
  • Stable ingredients

  • Glides on very smoothly
  • Stays on the skin very well - for a long time
  • Did not feel greasy or cakey
  • Seems like a good primer - good for layering other makeup on top
  • Did not melt off
  • Has zinc oxide - a stable inorganic sunscreen
  • Smelled pretty nice, similar to many of MAC's other skincare products (including its creme face wash)
  • Did not make me break out
  • Low SPF rating (only SPF 15)
  • Cost ($31 for 1.7 oz)
  • Smelled similar to MAC's cremewash (my review here)
Overall, what do I think of this sunscreen? Well, although I did not like MAC's cremewash (see my review here), I do think I like this sunscreen. It felt so natural, even, even more natural than the Coppertone SPF 30 that I liked a lot. The only concerns I have are about the low SPF rating (the United States FDA recommends a sunscreen with SPF 30 or above) and the cost ($31 for 1.7 oz). No wonder why MAC is a high-end makeup company and is considered to sell rather luxurious products. Well, I guess I won't be purchasing the full version of this product, at least as of now.

Have you guys/gals used this product before? If so, how did you like/dislike it? Leave a comment below!

John Su's articles on FutureDerm:
Are Inorganic Sunscreens Better Than Organic Ones? Part I: Irritation Potential and Aesthetics
Part II: Photostability, Permeability, and Photoreactivity
Part III: Toxicity
Part IV: Level of Protection & Practicality
Part V: Conclusions and Product Recommendations

Past posts:


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