A sunscreen that also repairs sun damage? That's just what the new Cloud Sunscreen is asking you to try. This revolutionary sunscreen utilizes an ingredient most sunscreens bury way down in their ingredient list. So does it work?
Cloud Sunscreen is a new Canadian boutique skincare line based out of Vancouver, BC. Headed by dermatologist, Dr. Gordon Telford, Cloud produces a line of topically applied vitamin based creams to protect and repair skin.
Cloud claims that while most sunscreen protect against some of the sun's rays, Cloud sunscreen protects against 93% of UVA/UVB rays. They also claim that with regular use, this SPF 23 sunscreen can actually reverse previous sun damage, such as sun spots! Yes, I was positively quivering with excitement too at this claim.
The primary ingredients of this product are:
- Purified water
- Mineral oil - although a much maligned ingredient (and I fell for it too!), recently I have heard and read other evidence pointing to the contrary and that mineral oil is in the majority of cases, moisturizing and not harmful in any way. Some people with oilier skin may wish to avoid this still, but for most it's fine.
- White petrolatum - has effects similar to mineral oil, which is also petroleum derived.
- Retinyl palmitate - a.k.a vitamin A, this ingredient works similar to the more familiar Retinol. Acts as a sunscreen
- Cetomacrogol 1000 - an emulsifying agent
The star ingredient of this product, retinyl palmitate, has a questionable and checkered past, but is it just a big misunderstanding?
Retinyl palmitate is a combination of retinol (vitamin A) and palmitic acid. This ingredient may sound familiar to you as it appears near the bottom of most sunscreen's ingredient lists. Through his research, Dr. Telford discovered that high concentrations of this ingredient could help protect the skin from sun damage and even repair it!
However, the future isn't all rosy for retinyl palmitate. A 2010 unpublished study associated with an FDA study on mice claimed that exposure of animals coated in retinyl palmitate had a higher incidence of cancer because the retinyl palmitate released harmful free radicals into skin. This study is the basis for EWG's high warning rating of 8/10 for this ingredient.
It's worth noting though, that as alarming as this study sounds, there has not been other supporting studies with conclusive results that retinyl palmitate is harmful on human skin, in the form of a sunscreen. Since the studies citing its harmful effects were done using isolated retinyl palmitate and without any stabilizing ingredients that would be present in actual products, the results could be over-exaggerated.
Price & Packaging
One tube is $48 and comes in a pump... squeeze... tube? Seriously, this is the oddest packaging ever. It's a squeeze tube with a pump top, which means I will just be very frustrated later once I hit the bottom of the tube.
To use, you need to apply this sunscreen daily first thing after washing while your skin is still slightly damp. 1-2 pumps is all that you need to cover your face. Now, I knew NONE of this at first as the packaging didn't include any detailed instructions and of course I promptly recycled it after opening. Luckily, Angela went to the Cloud knowledge session, so she filled me in. A lack of instruction though is a big peeve of mine with products. I've had many a PR rep tell me that my review was incorrect because I'm using their product incorrectly, but my argument is, if your product has specific instructions, then PRINT THEM. You can't expect people to research!
IF applied as directed, this sunscreen spreads easily and dries down to a very slightly sticky texture. Unlike regular sunscreens, it didn't leave my face shiny and oily, which I LOVED.
After 4 weeks of daily use, I have to say, well I *think* it works? And I kinda like it?
As a sunscreen, the effects are inconclusive. I went about my daily life, which is wearing a hat and sticking to the shady side of the street where I can and I didn't notice my skin suddenly tanning or burning compared to my usual sunscreen. On the few days where I knew I was going to be outdoors for awhile, I did apply a regular sunscreen on top, which is recommended by Cloud. This product is designed to not break down as quickly as a regular sunscreen, but it's also not meant for heavy-duty use. I think this sunscreen would be great for most of the year in Vancouver's cloudy weather. If you don't wear a lot of makeup, you could probably even reapply safely throughout the day over top of light powder.
As a skin repairer, I found more success - my dark spots actually looked better! I think longer term use is needed to be sure this isn't just some placebo effect, but I really believe that they look fainter as it's been easier to cover them up with foundation lately than before.
Buy - great as a daily, light protectant and for use as a dark spot reducer.
Buy Cloud sunscreen here.
Update Aug 5: This post was updated to reflect Cloud's SPF rating.