Kanebo ALLIE EX UV Protector Gel (Mineral Moist) N SPF 50/PA++++ Review
I’ve got great news for everyone who’s asked for more sunscreen reviews – I’m ready to start banging out posts for all the sunscreens I’ve been using over the past several months! I’ll be posting them in smaller bursts because if I don’t, this site will almost certainly turn into a sunscreen blog, and I’ll have to change the name to “Skin & Various UV Protectors,” which doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue the way “Skin & Tonics” does. I’m kicking off my sunscreen review series with a look at Kanebo ALLIE EX UV Protector Gel (Mineral Moist) N SPF50/PA++++, which I picked up because it’s one of the very few I could find with a PA++++ rating that didn’t seem like it would dry out my already dry skin.
For those wondering what the heck a PA is, here’s a little summary: The PA rating is a Japanese measurement for UVA protection used for any sunscreen sold in Japan, and is often used for other Asian brands as well. Until very recently, PA+++ was the highest UVA protection attainable . The PA++++ criterion was introduced at the end of 2012. We typically only see SPF ratings on American sunscreens, which only measures the UVB protection offered. The words “broad spectrum” are used on American sunscreens that also offer UVA protection. The issue with this is that although technically, a sunscreen claiming broad spectrum protection is supposed to offer UVA defense equivalent to the UVB protection stated, this is frequently not the case. It’s very difficult to assess exactly how much UVA assurance a standard American sunscreen offers, and because UVA rays are responsible for premature aging and skin cancer, I find this to be a huge deficiency in our labeling system.
The PA rating is based on the widely used PPD (persistent pigment darkening) method, a system of measuring UVA protection, which, interestingly, also originated in Japan. The PA system ranges from PA+ to PA++++, and each level corresponds with a range of PPD measurements. Here’s how the PA system works:
PA+ = 2-3 PPD
PA++ = 4-7 PPD
PA+++= 8-15 PPD
PA++++= 16+ PPD
For more information about UVA assessment in sunscreen, this is an excellent article published by BASF in September 2013: The Evolution of UVA Protection.
For anyone confused by the difference between UVB and UVA rays, the primary distinction is that UVB rays are responsible for sunburn, while UVA rays are responsible for cancer and premature aging. I find it helps to think of them as UVBurn and UVAge rays (I wish I could take credit for that device, but I actually read it a long time ago and can’t remember the source).
Now back to our regularly scheduled sunscreen review! Let’s take a look at how Kanebo ALLIE EX UV Protector Gel (Mineral Moist) N SPF50/PA++++ performed.
What is it?
Kanebo Allie EX UV Protector Gel (Mineral Moist) N SPF50/PA++++ is a combination chemical/physical, broad spectrum, sunscreen that promises waterproof sun protection with a light, non-sticky finish. It also promises to prevent dryness and is made for all skin types.
Zinc Oxide 9.2%, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate 7.5%, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate 2.5%, Octocrylene 0.2%
Water (Aqua), Alcohol, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Glycerin, Isohexadecane, Triethoxycaprylilsilane, Methicone, Polysorbate 80, Nylon – 1 2, Xanthan Gum, Polyglyceryl-10, Diisostearate, Sorbitan Oleate, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ectoin, Algae Extract, BHT, Soluble Collagen, Averrhoa Carambola Leaf Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Royal Jelly Extract, Coix Lacryma-Jobi (Job’s Tears) Seed Extract
This formula includes multiple moisturizing ingredients in the latter half of the list, which filled me with hope for the dryness prevention claim. Those ingredients include sodium hyaluronate, soluble collagen (which is not actually anti-aging, but it is moisturizing), and royal jelly extract.
Interestingly, though the official product name is Kanebo ALLIE EX UV Protector Gel (Mineral Moist) N SPF50/PA++++, I’ve noticed this sunscreeen listed in a couple of places (including Sasa) as “Kanebo ALLIE Whitening UV Protector Gel.” I imagine this is likely an older name for the product, but the “Whitening” part of this name is misleading, as the formula contains no ingredients that actively fade dark spots or hyperpigmentation.
Here’s a breakdown of this sunscreen’s active ingredients:
Zinc oxide is a mineral that provides physical protection against both UVB and UVA rays. Additionally, zinc is often used as an acne treatment due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects, as well as its ability to control sebum.
The clinical effects of zinc as a topical or oral agent on the clinical response and pathophysiologic mechanisms of acne: a systematic review of the literature
Journal of Drugs & Dermatology, May 2013
This is a chemical UV protector that is often listed in products as Octinoxate. In addition to protecting against UV rays, it also helps stabilize light sensitive product formulations, so it’s sometimes seen in non-sunscreen skincare products (Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair is one example). Of the chemical sunscreen agents, this is one of the gentlest, but like most chemical sunscreen ingredients, it can still cause a photoallergic effects or photosensitization in some people.
Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate
This is a chemical sunscreen agent that effectively absorbs and breaks down UVA. It’s one of the safest chemical sunscreen agents available – a study published in 2008 by the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (a scientific European Committee that reviews cosmetic safety) showed this ingredient does not pose any phototoxicity, photoallergenic, photomutagenicity, or photoclastogenicity risks. It’s a very effective UVA absorber, and works well with other sunscreen agents. It does not protect against UVB, but pairs well with those that do.
Octocrylene is UVA/UVB protector. On its own, it’s not terribly effective, but it prevents the breakdown of other UV protectors, as well as boost their performance. It’s mostly safe, but has been known to cause irritation in some people, particularly those with a ketoprofen (a prescription anti-inflammatory) photoallergy. Additionally, there is some speculation that it could promote the generation of free radicals when exposed to light, but more studies are needed to assess this.
There’s a great article on The Beauty Brains exploring the concerns associated with Octocrylene.
According to CosDNA, alcohol scores a 3 out of 5 as a potential irritant, and sorbitan oleate gets a 3 out of 5 as a potential acne trigger.
Kanebo ALLIE EX UV Protector Gel (Mineral Moist) N comes packaged in a sleek, white, plastic tube with blue foil lettering. It’s a 90g tube, nearly twice the size of the typical 50g packaging I find with other Japanese sunscreens I’ve tried. The dispenser is a typical squeeze tube dispenser.
The product itself is an opaque, ivory cream.
Kanebo ALLIE EX UV Protector Gel (Mineral Moist) N smells primarily like alcohol with a hint of something vaguely plant like. The alcohol smell disappears almost immediately upon application, but the plant-like smell lingers for a few minutes application. It’s not overwhelming, but it is distinctive.
I apply Kanebo ALLIE EX UV Protector Gel (Mineral Moist) N in the morning after I’ve applied all of my skincare products, but before I apply any sort of primer, BB cream, or foundation. As with all sunscreens, you need about a ¼ teaspoon to get the full SPF protection listed on the front of the bottle. To make this process easier, I’ve been doing a double 1/8 teaspoon application instead of attempting the whole ¼ teaspoon at once. Once applied, I let it absorb for about 20 minutes (though it does dry at around the 10 minute mark) before applying any makeup.
This sunscreen dries to a non-sticky but slightly shiny finish. There is a very, very faint (it’s almost not even there) white cast, which is not at all visible under makeup, including makeup with a sheer finish.
When I bought Kanebo ALLIE EX UV Protector Gel (Mineral Moist) N, I used it daily for just under 4 weeks. I did not experience any irritation or breakouts as a result of using it. As promised, it was not sticky once it dried, which happened fairly quickly, but it wasn’t as moisturizing as I’d hoped. I found that the top layers of my skin dried out about an hour after application. The dryness was very superficial, and not at all severe, but it did affect the texture of my makeup, especially on my nose. It wasn’t horrendous – I don’t believe it was visible at a normal talking distance from my face, but I knew it was there.
I was really hoping Kanebo ALLIE EX UV Protector Gel (Mineral Moist) N would be my new HG sunscreen. It did provide great protection, and I liked the non-sticky finish, but the dryness and makeup texture interference were big turnoffs for me. I do think this might perform better on oilier skin types, and possibly any other skin type that isn’t characterized as dry. My search for the perfect PA++++ sunscreen continued after my trial run with Kanebo ALLIE EX UV Protector Gel. I did find one eventually, and I promise to tell you all about it, but that’s a story for next time!
Pros & Cons
Skin & Tonics Rating
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Where to Buy
|Jaipfe (eBay seller)
|CiaoTaurus (eBay seller)