Saturday, December 20, 2008

MAC Prep and Prime SPF 50

Since I used up all of my Oil of Olay Complete All Day Moisture Lotion SPF 15 sunscreen in mid-November, I've been on the prowl for a new sunscreen. The Oil of Olay sunscreen was my sunscreen staple since 8th grade. My mom actually bought me my first bottle (one day, she just randomly handed it to me and told me to start using it everyday--surprising, since she never had the skincare fanaticism I have since acquired). Growing up in Southern California, you get tan REALLY quickly, especially if your school is entirely outdoors. My skin didn't start becoming paler until 10th grade, when I chose an indoor PE elective. I have since discovered that the paler my skin is, the better I look, because my undertones are pretty sallow (when I tan, I look like the Crayola crayon "Maize"). So, it's important for me to use sunscreen to maintain my complexion.

However, since I have combination skin (oily T-zone, dry-normal cheeks), it's always been a challenge to find a high SPF sunscreen that won't turn me into an oilslick within 2 hours. Thus, I was attracted to MAC's Prep and Prime SPF 50. I've always wished that some company would have the genius and foresight to invite a primer with high SPF, which would eliminate an extra step (and layer of product) for us sleepyheads in the morning. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this Prep and Prime was the primer with the highest SPF I could find. It contains 16.10% zinc oxide and 7.50% octinoxate, along with oil absorbing powders, and the box indicates it's made in Japan, which is supposed to be on the cutting edge of sun care technology. Plus, everyone who tried it gave it rave reviews. I really could not find anything negative said about this product. So I thought I'd give it a try. But at $28.00 an ounce, compared to my $8-9 Oil of Olay (which was about 3.4 oz), it is appallingly more expensive. A third of the amount for three times the cost? You do the math.

The texture is hard to describe, but I'll do my best. It's white and super creamy--when I say "creamy," I don't mean it feels creamy like a normal face cream or lotion because it does have that sunblock texture. If you've ever used Coppertone Water Babies, for example, or Neutrogena Dry Touch Sunscreen, the MAC consistency has a similar "greasiness" that's creamy at the same time. I probably squeezed out a pea sized amount for each section of my face--one on each cheek, one for my forehead, one for my chin and upper lip, one for my nose and eyes. Strangely enough, when I was rubbing it into my skin, the creamy consistency disappeared fairly quickly, as if the heat was melting the prep and prime into a "greasy" coating on my face, which felt like silicon. What I didn't like was that I felt like I was just pushing silicon around on my skin, rather than smoothing on a lotion. Thus, I couldn't tell if the SPF was being evenly distributed. However, the sunblock dried to a matte finish after I let it sink into my skin for maybe 10 minutes. (which means you have to wait awhile before applying makeup.) Also, I thought my skin had a soft focus glow to it, which I liked. I've read that the primer has light reflecting properties, so this is probably what gave my face that matte glow.

Well, aside from the nice matte finish, I didn't like this sunscreen because it completely broke me out! When I started this blog, I had horrible skin. On a scale of 1 - 10, with 1 being flawless skin and 10 being skin with pitted acne, maybe I ranked a 5 or 6? I didn't have moderate to severe acne, but I could not get rid of the comedones on my T-zone. Also, my nose pores were so huge, they looked like craters. I couldn't even remove the sebum in my nose pores with nose strips because the sebum was too large for the strips to pull out. So I would also use a blemish extractor to force out the sebum plugs on my T-zone, and inadvertently create scabs or scars in the process, which no amount of makeup could hide. It was really gross.

After making some changes to my skin routine a couple months ago, I was amazed to see how much my skin was improving. My comedones disappeared, my pores shrank, and I wasn't breaking out anymore. Then, I started using MAC Prep + Prime shortly before Thanksgiving (sometime between November 22nd--24th maybe?). By December 2nd (when I wrote my Clarisonic 3rd week update), I felt like this sunscreen had completely reversed all the improvement my skin had made. After using this sunscreen, I started breaking out a little on my forehead, then these pimples I've had on my cheek for awhile became inflamed again, then I started getting clogged pores on my upper lip too. By the third week of usage, my skin was a minefield of clogged pores and comedones.

I was still a bit in denial. I wasn't really sure if the Prep and Prime was to blame, or if it was my new MUFE HD Powder, since they're both full of silicon/silica. So I stopped using the HD Powder, but nothing really happened. I then thought maybe the Clarisonic wasn't cleansing properly, so I washed it out completely and continued to use the MAC Prep and Prime for the next two days. My skin got a tad better, but I was still getting newly formed comedones on my forehead. When I flew home on Tuesday, I didn't put on any sunscreen (mostly because I didn't have time...I do not advise being in an aircraft without sun protection since everyone around you keeps the windows open). I also didn't use it for the the next few days that I was at home (and indoors); as a result, nearly all my comedones started clearing up within only 2 days. However I can also see that it's going to take a while for my skin to get back to normal, because as the comedones go away, I'm left with these blemish scars.

Another thing to watch out for is, if you have normal to dry skin, this sunscreen might also be too drying for you. Though I applied a thin layer of my regular moisturizer underneath the prep and prime, at the end of the day, my cheeks and chin felt uncomfortably dehydrated. It also didn't prevent my T-zone's oiliness, because I still needed to blot. So in the end, this product didn't work on my oily T-zone or my dry/normal cheeks.

The Clarisonic is supposed to be able to remove up to 6 times more makeup than normal cleansing, so I highly doubt that there was still SPF on my skin after I washed my face everyday. I was going to experiment and add another cleansing step, DHC Cleansing Oil, to see if it would solve the problem. However I'm too lazy and scarred (literally) from this experience to put myself through something again that just does not work for me.

Here's the ingredients list. I see a lot of silicon:

Water, cyclopentasloxane, butylene glycol, peg-7 dimehicone, cyclohexasiloxane, dimethecone, phenyl trimethicone, vinyl dimethicone/methcone, silsequioxane crosspolymer, methyl gluceth-10, glycerin, dimethicone/ vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, caffeine, tocepherol, sucrose, stearyl glycrrhetinate, cellulose acteate, glycyrrhetinate, cellulose acetate, methicone, PEG/PPG-19/19 Dimethicone, magnesium sulfate, silicia dimethyl silylate, silica, sorbic acid, phenoxyethanol, chlorphenesin

It's unfortunate that even though I exfoliate more than the typical person, I still broke out. I mean, I use the Clarisonic and the Clinique Turnaround...the pinnacle of cleansing and exfoliation. What more can I really do?
So, this post is really a counter to all those rave reviews out there. This product did seem to work for everyone else, so I'm not discouraging you from buying it. Just know that it has the potential to aggravate your skin. If you go to a MAC counter, ask for a sample, and test it on a small portion of your face for at least a week before committing to buy it.

1 comment:

fuzkittie said...

Oh no!! :[ That's terrible~ Well I'm glad to hear that your skin is getting better slowly without the use of this product! I always hear horrid stories about MAC's face products.