Friday, July 19, 2013

Product Review: Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Sunscreen

Why spend lots of bucks on different anti-aging serums or creams if you can simply prevent the culprit (that is, the sun's harmful UV rays) of premature aging by investing on a sunscreen? Sunscreen is indeed a basic skin care product that every woman (and man) should have. Many women may simply gear toward the SPF-containing cosmetics for their sun protection, but a heavy-duty sunscreen is still the best way to go.

I had been looking for a sunscreen that is affordable, noncomedogenic, has UVA and UVB protection, and has at least SPF 30. The Skin Cancer Organization provides a list of suncreen brands bearing the Seal of Recommendation, meaning the sunscreen is very photostable (doesn't break down under the sun, thus offering an effective layer of protection). The list shows some familiar brands yet only a few are accessible in the malls I frequently visit in Manila. I was glad to find Alba Botanica in the list, which I knew was being sold in Healthy Options stores. So off I went to the store and among a small range of Alba Botanica sunscreens, I chose Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Sunscreen because it contains moisturizing ingredients - which means I can simply skip my moisturizer during my daytime skin regimen. 

Product Name: Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Sunscreen
Price and Availability: Php375.00 (Healthy Options), Amazon
Active Ingredient: Homosalate 7.5%, Octocrylene 7.5%, Ethylhexyl Salicylate 5.0%, Titanium Dioxide 2.0%
Inactive Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethicone, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract*, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract*, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract*, Gingko Biloba Leaf Root Extract, Myrtus Communis Leaf Extract*, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Cetearyl Olivate, Polysorbate 60, Silica, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Sorbitan Olivate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum, Alcohol*, Benzyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate
*Certified Organic Ingredient 
(Comedogenic ingredients: Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, and Glyceryl Stearate SE, Irritant: Alcohol)

SPF 30
100% Vegetarian Ingredients
No Animal Testing
won't clog pores
water resistant (40 minutes)
paraben free

Alba Botanica Sunscreen has emollient properties, meaning it has a double function of sunscreen and moisturizer rolled into one. I am particularly concerned about the interaction among different skin care products and sunscreen ingredients. So as much as possible, I avoid using my skin care products simultaneously with a sunscreen. Since Alba Botanica has moisturizing properties, I need not worry about ingredients interaction because I can simply use my sunscreen solely during my daytime regimen.

Yet, I'm not sure if this is the right choice for my oily face, at least in the aesthetic department. The sunscreen is very greasy. I could already see my oil slick face as soon as I apply the sunscreen. Applying less might do the trick, but sunscreens aren't meant to be applied sparingly. Well, at least the sunscreen claims to be noncomedogenic, which my acne-prone skin would be thankful for.

Speaking of comedogenicity, database returned a result of three ingredients of the product garnering a medium to high scale of comedogenicity, namely: Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, and Glyceryl Stearate. It's quite puzzling, since the product is supposed to be noncomedogenic as per claim. Despite having a careful look at the ingredient list before buying, I still pushed through with my purchase to give this product a chance. And so far, it didn't break me out. But of course, to be on the safe side, I still have to remove the sunscreen completely at home to prevent possible clogging of pores.  It may be a bit of a challenge to remove the product, because it's water-resistant, but so far my Happy Tea Time Foaming Cleanser is doing a good job.

I'm not exactly looking for a water-resistant sunscreen, but it's also a bonus given the very hot weather in the Philippines. I sweat a lot in the face, so by having a water-resistant sunscreen, I am certain that I can stay protected.

As I've mentioned earlier, Alba Botanica is very greasy, yet I also love how it glides across my skin. It's very easy to spread, and it took me less time applying it in the morning as compared with other brands. Aside from the greasy appearance, the cosmetic finish of the sunscreen is very nice - no white residue. 

noncomedogenic (so far)
easy to spread
no white residue
broad UV protection
has moisturizing properties

very greasy
contains alcohol
may be lacking in UVA protection (check the table below)

Screen capture from database.

Will I buy this again? Perhaps not. I will be trying out other products within the Alba Botanica Natural Sunscreen Line which my oily skin will prefer. On the other hand, I highly recommend this to people with dry skin.

Alba Botanica Natural Sunscreens:
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