Hey guys! So a while back I went to Zion National Park, and I decided to get a big pack of sunscreen for my family from Costco. Per usual, Costco pulled through with the elite deals, and I got a 5 fl oz + a 3 fl oz pack of the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen (linked here at your own risk). You might be wondering why it’s taken me so long to write this review, and honestly, it’s because I don’t like being too negative about products. I’m a firm believer in everything works for someone‘s lifestyle, skin type, etc. However, I just can’t stay silent on this one anymore.
Our best-selling Ultra Sheer® line provides powerful sun protection you will love to wear. It goes on easily and absorbs quickly for an invisible, light-weight feel on your skin. Formulated with Helioplex® Technology, it offers superior broad spectrum protection from aging UVA rays and burning UVB rays.
- Non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores)
- Lightweight, non-greasy feel
- UVA/UVB SPF 55 broad spectrum sun protection
Overall, these claims seem great. They seem to have all these trademarked technologies, and who doesn’t love a sunscreen you can’t see or feel? The only problem is that I can fully see and feel this product.
Active ingredients: Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (10%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (10%)
Inactive ingredients: Water, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Silica, Dimethicone, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Benzyl Alcohol, Beeswax, Caprylyl Methicone, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetyl Dimethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Behenyl Alcohol, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Polyacrylate, Chlorphenesin, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Tocopheryl Acetate, BHT, Trideceth-6, Jojoba Esters
Starting with the active ingredients, we have Avobenzone. According to EWG, it’s a widely organic filter that protects skin from UVA rays. It is usually paired with other ingredients that prevent it from breaking down in the sun. If avobenzone does end up breaking down, it can cause allergic reactions. It’s also been found to disrupt the endocrine system and block the effects of testosterone. Next, Homosalate is another organic UV filter that is commonly used in U.S. sunscreens. It has been found to penetrate the skin, disrupt hormones and produce toxic breakdown byproducts. The FDA allows sunscreen manufacturers to use it in concentrations up to 15% while the European Commission recommends a maximum concentration of 1.4%. Take that as you will. Octisalate absorbs through the skin at 10 times the amount of the FDA’s cutoff for systemic exposure. This cutoff indicates the maximum concentration found in blood before there are potential safety concerns. Although there is insufficient data proving Avobenzone’s safety or ineffectiveness, it has been linked to contact dermatitis. Finally Octacrylene absorbs through the skin at 14 times the amount of the FDA’s cutoff for systemic exposure. Additionally, it has high potential to harm coral health, so definitely not great for our oceans :(.
Ingredient Analysis word vomit aside, the TL;DR is that these ingredients all need further analysis before we can deem them to be safe or dangerous. You might be wondering, then what active ingredients are safe? With sunscreen it gets tricky, but one super common one is Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. The FDA has classified them as safe and effective, and evidence shows that the zinc and titanium particles are very effective at blocking out UV rays. I do want to note that in my experience, sunscreens with Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide have a sort of white cast, which is not cute sometimes. It really depends on the product formulation. A lot of asian skincare utilizes chemical sunscreens, which do not give off a white cast.
8 oz or 240 mL total
Walmart: $19.99 (Free Shipping)
Costco: $16.00 (Free Shipping)
This is an extremely inexpensive sunscreen, even for a drugstore brand. There’s so much of it, that I often use it as my body sunscreen too.
THE RUN DOWN:
After going on a rather long run 2 days ago, I was sweating quite a bit because it’s pretty hot in Chicago right now, and the Neutrogena sunscreen began immediately streaming down my face. It was all good, even though a weird white cast came out, like my pores were literally rejecting the sunscreen. However, after the sunscreen began dripping into my eyes, I began crying while running. It burned my eyes so bad, and I literally could not see. My eyes were also swollen for a solid hour after my run due to all of the intense irritation. Maybe I should have seen this coming because every time I put this on, my skin literally tingles and burns. My mom has also told me that she gets the same burning sensation after applying. One might be thinking, oh then why would you wear this product if you know you’re going to sweat? The problem is that in the summer, when I need my SPF the most, I sweat all the time. Moving from room to room makes me sweat. Cooking makes me sweat. This sunscreen is literally unwearable for me in the summer. I have yet to test it in the winter.
However, even if we’re disregarding the fact that it’s a painful sunscreen to apply and to sweat in, the general sensation of wearing this sunscreen is u n c o m f y. It clings to the skin like a residue and really just sits on top of the skin. Neutrogena claims that it has a satin finish, and appearance wise, I do think it’s sort of mattifies the skin, but the surface of my skin feels rough. For example, when I drag my finger across my skin after using this moisturizer, there’s a lot of friction… I get that this sensation may be in part due to the fact that it is a physical sunscreen, but so many other sunscreens are much more comfortable and just as effective (both cost wise and protection wise).
Also, this is kind of a small pet peeve especially in the face of the BURNING EYES AND TEMPORARY BLINDNESS problem, but the sunscreen bottle itself has very little pressure, so as soon as you open the cap, the sunscreen comes out very quickly. This often leaves me with way too much sunscreen on my hand.
Pros and Cons:
- Cheap and effective
- Does not break me out
- Burns eyes and feels icky on skin
- Does not have the safest UV blocking agents
- When you sweat, a white cast comes out
- Strong sunscreen fragrance
Who Should Use:
I don’t particularly want to recommend this to anyone, but if you don’t sweat a lot or maybe it’s dry and cold where you are, this could possibly work for you. Personally, I will reluctantly continue to use it on areas of my face below my eyes and likely on the rest of my body when I go to the beach etc.
I gave them an extra star because of the pretty insane price point, but I’m definitely not excited to use this again.
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One thought on “Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen (Warning: RANTING)”
I bought this sunscreen some ten years ago now when I was still living in Australia, after it was being touted as great for acne prone skin and that it did double duty as a makeup primer.
Like you, I found that this is a terrible sunscreen. I wanted to wipe it off as soon as I put it on as my skin was suffocating. At the time, I blamed it for breaking me out, although in all fairness my stress levels were high, I wasn’t eating well etc, so the sunscreen might not have been at fault.
One of the worst I’ve ever tried!