I’ve Been Using the Most Derm-Recommended SPF for a Decade—Until I Tried Dermalogica’s New Formula

Photo: Getty Images/ The Good Brigade
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Mere days ago, I shed a tear as my EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46 ($39)—which you may know as the sunscreen derms cant' stop recommending—gave its last breath (or, erm, pump). While the door was open to infinite replacement options (I’ve been testing dozens of sunscreens for months), I was especially excited to open up a box of one I’ve never tried before: Dermalogica’s Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50 Moisturizer ($77).

The bottle and pump are similar to EltaMD’s (both are offered in 50mL), as is the formula's lightweight consistency and its translucent, melts-into-skin finish. The biggest difference, though, is that while Elta's UV Clear is geared toward oily and acne-prone skin, Dermalogica's Skin Recovery focuses on healthy aging.

With a power-packed list of actives in the mix, the formula is just as much skin care as it is sunblock. It contains peptides and tripeptides (for collagen synthesis and firming), protective polyphenols (antioxidants that protect against free-radical damage), plus hydrating, soothing, and skin-tone evening ingredients. Glucosamine HCL, another active in the formulation, even helps to stimulate hyaluronic acid and collagen in the skin, almost like it’s teaching your face how to be healthier—All while offering SPF 50 and replacing both the sunscreen and moisturizer steps in your routine.

Unlike EltaMD UVClear, which is a mineral formula, Demalogica Skin Recovery is a chemical sunscreen—it absorbs into the skin (vs. a physical sunscreen, which sits atop the skin and reflects UV rays). In a recent interview with Well+Good, board-certified dermatologist Christina Lee Chung, MD, FAAD, told me that chemical sunscreens are just as effective and safe as their physical counterparts — it comes down to preference, sensitivity, and skin tone (chemical SPFs blend more easily with more melanated skin without leaving a white cast, while mineral formulas tend to be more suited for sensitive skin).

All in all, Dermalogica Skin Recovery is super hydrating and non-irritating (coming from an author with dry, slightly sensitized skin), and it's fragrance-free (which is a huge win for those of us in the sensitivity squad). At $77, it’s definitely at a luxury price point, but it really feels like a luxury product. If it fits in your budget, you have dryer skin, and you’re hoping to give your face a little age support, this stuff is a must.

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Our editors independently select these products. Making a purchase through our links may earn Well+Good a commission.

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