Paula's Choice Extra Care Non-Greasy Sunscreen SPF 50 Ingredients Explained

Published on July 13, 2020.

Overview

What it is

Sunscreen with 28 ingredients that contains exfoliants, retinoid, SPF, Vitamin C and Vitamin E

Cool Features

It is cruelty-free

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for fighting acne, anti aging, dry skin, brightening skin, sensitive skin, oily skin, reducing pores, scar healing, dark spots and better texture

Free From

It doesn't contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, fragrances, oils, parabens or sulfates

Fun facts

Paula's Choice is from United States. This product is used in 49 routines created by our community.

We independently verify ingredients and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Does this product need an update? Let us know.

You should know

Here's our breakdown of the notable ingredients, benefits, and concerns we determined from the ingredients in this product. Click any item to learn more.

Notable Ingredients

Chemical UV Filter (5)
Mineral UV Filter
Retinoid
Vitamin C
Vitamin E (2)
Exfoliators (3)

Benefits

Hydrating
Good For Oily Skin (2)
Redness Reducing (2)
Reduces Irritation
Skin Texture (2)
Reduces Large Pores
Anti-Aging (3)
Dark Spots (2)
Scar Healing (3)
Acne Fighting (2)
Brightening (3)

Concerns

Drying
Irritating (4)
Rosacea (3)
Eczema (2)

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and view relevant ingredients.
alcohol-free
silicon-free
fragrance-free
sulfate-free
paraben-free
oil-free
fungal-acne safe
reef-safe
eu-allergen-free
vegan
cruelty-free
spf rating
50

Ingredients Overview

Here's our quick-to-read summary of the ingredients in this product. Keep scrolling if you'd like to learn more about what each ingredient does!
Ingredient
Features
1
Skin Conditioning, UV Absorber, UV Filter
Chemical UV Filter IconNon-Reef-Safe Icon
2
UV Absorber, UV Filter
0 / 0
Chemical UV Filter IconMay cause irritation IconNon-Reef-Safe Icon
3
UV Absorber, UV Filter
0 / 0
Chemical UV Filter IconNon-Reef-Safe IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
4
UV Absorber, UV Filter
Chemical UV Filter IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
5
UV Absorber, UV Filter
Chemical UV Filter IconNon-Reef-Safe IconMay worsen Eczema Icon
6
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
7
Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
1 / 0
8
Humectant, Solvent
9
Abrasive
Exfoliant Icon
10
Abrasive, Absorbent
Exfoliant IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
11
Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
1 / 0
Silicon Icon
12
Astringent, Skin Conditioning
13
Antioxidant
Vitamin C IconAntioxidant IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin Icon
14
Skin Conditioning
1-3 / 1-3
Retinoid IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconGood for Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconNot safe for Fungal Acne IconHelps fight Acne Icon
15
Antioxidant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
0-3 / 0-3
Vitamin E IconAntioxidant IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconMay cause irritation IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin Icon
16
Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0
Vitamin E IconAntioxidant IconHelps brighten skin Icon
17
Cosmetic Colorant, UV Absorber, UV Filter
0 / 0
Mineral UV Filter IconNon-Reef-Safe Icon
18
Skin Conditioning
Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation Icon
19
Absorbent, Emulsion Stabilising
0 / 0
20
Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
21
Emulsion Stabilising
22
Absorbent, Emollient, Emulsion Stabilising, Skin Conditioning
23
Abrasive, Absorbent, Cosmetic Colorant
0 / 0
Exfoliant IconGood for Oily Skin IconHelps fight Acne Icon
24
Skin Conditioning
25
26
Buffering
27
Preservative
Preservative Icon
28
Antimicrobial, Preservative
Preservative Icon

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 28 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
1
What it does: Skin Conditioning, UV Absorber, UV Filter
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Homosalate is a chemical sunscreen filter that provides protection in the UV-B range (280nm - 320 nm), with a peak protection at 306 nm. It is internationally approved for use in sunscreens.

Homosalate is not photo-stable, meaning it's strength as a UV filter degrades over time with exposure to the sun. Because of this, it's often used in combination with other chemical sunscreen filters as avobenzone (which protects from the UV-A range). Homosalate also helps act as a solvent for harder-to-dissolve UV filters.

(Part of the reason that sunscreens need to be frequently re-applied is due to the photo instability of many chemical sunscreen filters)

Currently, homosalate is approved in concentrations up to 10% in the EU and 15% in the US. The FDA is currently doing further research on the effects of homosalate, and it is possible that these approved concentrations will change in the future.

Learn more about Homosalate
2
What it does: UV Absorber, UV Filter

You probably know Benzophenone-3 as Oxybenzone, a sunscreen ingredient. It is a broad-spectrum sunscreen ingredient, meaning it can protect the skin against UVB and short UVA rays. The absorption range is 270-350 nm with peak absorption at 288 and 350 nm.

This chemical ingredient protects your skin by using chemical reactions to convert UV rays into heat and energy. UV absorbers may absorb both UVA and UVB rays. It is often combined with other sunscreen ingredients to help with stability.

Ongoing research is looking into whether oxybenzone causes skin irritation and sensitivity. However, it has been shown to trigger contact dermatitis in some studies.

Oxybenzone is allowed in certain concentrations by many countries. It is allowed up to 6% in the US, and Canada, 5% in Japan, and 10% in Australia. Other countries and regions of the US have banned this ingredient to protect coral reefs and marine ecosystems. These places include Hawaii, Key West, US Virgin Islands, marine parks in Thailand, Aruba, and Palau.

The EU currently allows the following maximum concentrations:

Studies show conflicting results about oxybenzone being absorbed into the human body. The Swedish Research Institute has advised careful use of this ingredient by pregnant women and children. We always recommend speaking with a professional if you have concerns about this ingredient and your health.

Learn more about Benzophenone-3
3
What it does: UV Absorber, UV Filter
Community Rating: Disliked

Ethylhexyl Salicylate is an organic compound used to block UV rays. It primarily absorbs UVB rays but offers a small amount of UVA protection as well.

Commonly found in sunscreens, Ethylhexyl Salicylate is created from salicylic acid and 2-ethylhexanol. You might know salicylic acid as the effective acne fighter ingredient and BHA.

The ethylhexanol in this ingredient is a fatty alcohol and helps hydrate your skin, similar to oils. It is an emollient, which means it traps moisture into the skin.

According to manufacturers, Ethylhexyl Salicylate absorbs UV wavelength of 295-315 nm, with a peak absorption at 307-310 nm. UVA rays are linked to long term skin damage, such as hyperpigmentation. UVB rays emit more energy and are capable of damaging our DNA. UVB rays cause sunburn.

Learn more about Ethylhexyl Salicylate
4
What it does: UV Absorber, UV Filter
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Also known as Avobenzone, this ingredient is a chemical sunscreen filter that provides protection in the UV-A range.

Avobenzone is globally approved and is the most commonly used UV-A filter in the world.

Studies have found that avobenzone becomes ineffective when exposed to UV light (it is not photostable; meaning that it breaks down in sunlight). Because of this, formulations that include avobenzone will usually contain stabilizers such as octocrylene.

However, some modern formulations (looking at you, EU!) are able to stabilize avobenzone by coating the molecules.

Avobenzone does not protect against the UV-B range, so it's important to check that the sunscreen you're using contains other UV filters that do!

The highest concentration of avobenzone permitted is 3% in the US, and 5% in the EU.

Learn more about Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane
5
What it does: UV Absorber, UV Filter
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Octocrylene protects skin from sun damage. It absorbs UV-B with peak absorption of 304 nm. It is a common sunscreen ingredient and often paired with avobenzone, a UVA filter. This is because octocrylene stabilizes other sunscreen ingredients by protecting them from degradation when exposed to sunlight. Octocrylene is a photostable ingredient and loses about 10% of SPF in 95 minutes.

Octocrylene also acts as an emollient, meaning it helps skin retain moisture and softens skin. It is oil-soluble and hydrophobic, enhancing water-resistant properties in a product.

Those who are using ketoprofen, a topical anti-inflammatory drug, may experience an allergic reaction when using octocrylene. It is best to speak with a healthcare professional about using sunscreens with octocrylene.

The EU allows a maximum of these concentrations:

Learn more about Octocrylene
6
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Loved

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

So why is it so popular? Water most often acts as a solvent - this means that it helps dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

You'll also recognize water as that liquid we all need to stay alive. Talk about multi-purpose! If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
7
What it does: Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Mixed

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

  • It is a solvent, meaning that it helps to dissolve other ingredients. This also enhances the absorption of the product into one's skin.
  • It is a humectant, which means that it helps attract moisture into the skin.
  • It helps improve product application.

Overall, Butylene Glycol is a safe and well-rounded ingredient. It is unlikely to irritate skin, and works well with pretty much all other ingredients.

8
What it does: Humectant, Solvent
Community Rating: Very Disliked

PEG-8 is a synthetic polymer used as a humectant and solvent.

This ingredient is able to help dissolve active ingredients, including water. This gives it humectant properties.

It is soluble in water. The number '8' stands for the molecular weight of the ingredient.

Learn more about Peg-8
9
What it does: Abrasive
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Polyethylene is a synthetic ingredient that helps the skin retain moisture. It is a polymer.

Polyethylene is also typically used within product formulations to help bind solid ingredients together and thicken oil-based ingredients. When added to balms and emulsions, it helps increase the melting point temperature.

10
What it does: Abrasive, Absorbent
Community Rating: Disliked

Silica is a mineral naturally found in our skin. It helps to thicken and smooth the texture of a product. It also acts as an agent for other ingredients by increasing the absorption of other ingredients into the skin.

Silica is often used for absorption and can help reduce shine when products are applied. Silica occurs in naturally in materials like clay and sandstone, and it can also be produced synthetically.

Silica is present naturally within the skin during collagen production and when reducing inflammation.

Learn more about Silica
11
What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Dimethicone is a silicone used for making products smooth and silky. It also has the added benefit of sealing in hydration. The amount of dimethicone found in beauty products is considered safe and non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog pores.

Dimethicone has been found increase absorption in skin, boosting the benefits of other ingredients. While there is concern for the safety of dimethicone, the levels used in skincare are safe for use.

12
What it does: Astringent, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Picrasma Excelsa Wood Extract.

13
What it does: Antioxidant
Community Rating: Liked

Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate is a form of Vitamin C. It is the salt of ascorbic acid.

This ingredient is more gentle than ascorbic acid. It is also more stable when exposed to light and oxygen.

Vitamin C helps reduce redness, improve skin texture, reduce the effects of aging, reduce the visibility of dark spots, and brighten skin.

Your skin uses Vitamin C to produce collagen and collagen production plays a role in having a strong skin barrier and plump skin. As an antioxidant, this ingredient also helps reduce the signs of aging such as fine-lines and wrinkles.

VItamin C helps brighten skin by blocking the process of skin darkening.

In a 2011 study, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate was found to have antibacterial properties. This may help treat acne.

Read more about other types of Vitamin C:

Learn more about Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
14
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

Retinyl palmitate is a form of retinoid. It is created from palmitic acid and retinol.

This ingredient has antioxidant and exfoliating properties. Like other types of retinols, retinyl palmitate increases cell turnover. Removing dead skin cells and encouraging the growth of new ones improves skin tone and unclogs pores. This in turn promotes brighter looking skin and even skin texture.

As an antioxidant, retinyl palmitate helps neutralize free-radical molecules. These molecules have the potential to damage skin cells. Thus, antioxidants may help with anti-aging.

Retinyl palmitate can be good for be good for oily skin by helping to unclog pores. However, it may not be good for dry skin and fungal acne.

After using this product, you should follow up with sunscreen.

This ingredient is often added to low-fat milk to increase the levels of Vitamin A.

Learn more about Retinyl Palmitate
15
What it does: Antioxidant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Tocopherol (also known as Vitamin E) is a common antioxidant used to help protect the skin from free-radicals and strengthen the skin barrier. It's also fat soluble - this means our skin is great at absorbing it.

Vitamin E also helps keep your natural skin lipids healthy. Your lipid skin barrier naturally consists of lipids, ceramides, and fatty acids. Vitamin E offers extra protection for your skin’s lipid barrier, keeping your skin healthy and nourished.

Another benefit is a bit of UV protection. Vitamin E helps reduce the damage caused by UVB rays. (It should not replace your sunscreen). Combining it with Vitamin C can decrease sunburned cells and hyperpigmentation after UV exposure.

You might have noticed Vitamin E + C often paired together. This is because it is great at stabilizing Vitamin C. Using the two together helps increase the effectiveness of both ingredients.

There are often claims that Vitamin E can reduce/prevent scarring, but these claims haven't been confirmed by scientific research.

Learn more about Tocopherol
16
What it does: Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Tocopheryl Acetate is AKA Vitamin E. It is an antioxidant and protects your skin from free radicals. Free radicals damage the skin by breaking down collagen.

One study found using Tocopheryl Acetate with Vitamin C decreased the number of sunburned cells.

Tocopheryl Acetate is commonly found in both skincare and dietary supplements.

Learn more about Tocopheryl Acetate
17
What it does: Cosmetic Colorant, UV Absorber, UV Filter
Community Rating: Mixed

Titanium dioxide is known for its UVA and UVB protection properties. It is non-comedogenic and non-irritating. Titanium Dioxide is a physical sunscreen. Physical sunscreens reflect light and prevent it from reaching your skin.

Protecting your skin against UV radiation can prevent the signs of aging. Sun damage is associated with fine-lines, wrinkles, loss of firmness, and hyperpigmentation. Titanium dioxide can help prevent premature aging.

With modern production, nano-scale or fine-grade titanium dioxide can be easily produced for cosmetics. In sunscreen, titanium dioxide absorbs UV light. Our skin is not able to absorb Titanium dioxide, even nanoparticles.

Titanium itself is the 9th most common element in the Earth's crust. Titanium dioxide is formed when oxygen is introduced and can be found in ores, dust, sand, and soil.

Pure titanium dioxide is a white powder that is used in many products to add or change color.

Learn more about Titanium Dioxide
18
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice comes from leaves of the aloe plant. Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice is best known for helping to soothe sunburns. It is also anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, antiseptic, and can help heal wounds.

Aloe is packed with good stuff including Vitamins A, C, and E. These vitamins are antioxidants, which help fight free-radicals and the damage they may cause. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells, such as pollution.

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice also contains sugars. These sugars come in the form of monosaccharides and polysaccharides, folic acid, and choline. These sugars are able to help bind moisture to skin.

It also contains minerals such as calcium, 12 anthraquinones, fatty acids, amino acids, and Vitamin B12.

Learn more about Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
19
What it does: Absorbent, Emulsion Stabilising
Community Rating: Liked

Bentonite is an aluminium phyllosilicate clay with great absorbent properties. The name 'bentonite' comes from the area where the largest source is found: Fort Benton, Wyoming.

As a clay, bentonite is often used to absorb excess oil and provide exfoliation. It has also been shown to have some antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show bentonite was effective at calming dermatitis from poison ivy and in diaper dermatitis of infants. Bentonite has also been shown to act as a barrier against toxic compounds on your skin.

Sunscreens containing bentonite display higher water resistance and stay on the skin for much longer. The sunscreens containing bentonite also show higher potency and UV light absorbtion.

Bentonite is naturally created from volcanic ash and several natural weathering/hydrothermal processes.

A common usage of bentonite is removing excess protein from white wines. Bentonite contains a property of being able to absorb large amounts of protein from aqueous solutions.

Phyllosilicate clay has a structure formed by sheets.

Learn more about Bentonite
20
What it does: Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning

Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate isn't fungal acne safe.

21
What it does: Emulsion Stabilising
Community Rating: Disliked

Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer is a synthetic polymer. It is used to thicken and improve the texture of products.

Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer is also an emulsifier. Due to its properties, it can prevent water and oil ingredients from separating.

22
What it does: Absorbent, Emollient, Emulsion Stabilising, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

Sodium Polyacrylate is the sodium salt of polyacrylic acid.

Sodium Polyacrylate is a super-absorbent polymer. It can absorb 100 to 1000 times its mass in water. As an emollient, Sodium Polyacrylate helps soften and soothe skin. Emollients work by creating a barrier to trap moisture in. This helps keep your skin hydrated.

Sodium Polyacrylate is also used to stabilize products.

Learn more about Sodium Polyacrylate
23
What it does: Abrasive, Absorbent, Cosmetic Colorant
Community Rating: Liked

Kaolin is a clay. It is used for oil control and to help minimize pores. Like other clays, kaolin has the ability to absorb excess sebum or oil. This can help clean out pores and mattify the skin.

Some types of kaolin may have exfoliating properties. When water is added to kaolin, it becomes a paste with small abrasive particles.

Most kaolin is a white color, but may be pink/orange/red depending on where it comes from.

The name 'kaolin' comes from a Chinese village named 'Gaoling'. Kaolin clay comes from rocks rich in kaolinite. Kaolinite, the mineral, has a silicate layered structure. Kaolinite is formed from chemical weathering of aluminum siilicate minerals.

Besides skincare, kaolin is commonly used to make glossy paper, in ceramics, toothpaste, and as medicine to soothe stomach issues.

Learn more about Kaolin
24
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

Ethylhexylglycerin (we can't pronounce this either) is commonly used as a preservative and skin softener. It is derived from glyceryl.

You might see Ethylhexylglycerin often paired with other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol. Ethylhexylglycerin has been found to increase the effectiveness of these other preservatives.

25
What it does:
Community Rating: Disliked

Disodium EDTA plays a role in making products more stable by aiding other preservatives.

It is a chelating agent, meaning it neutralizes metal ions that may be found in a product.

Disodium EDTA is a salt of edetic acid and is found to be safe in cosmetic ingredients.

Learn more about Disodium EDTA
26
What it does: Buffering
Community Rating: Mixed

Sodium Hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda. It is used to adjust the pH of products; many ingredients require a specific pH to be effective.

In small amounts, sodium hydroxide is considered safe to use. However, large amounts may cause chemical burns due to its high alkaline.

Your skin has a natural pH and acid mantle. This acid mantle helps prevent harmful bacteria from breaking through. The acid mantle also helps keep your skin hydrated.

"Alkaline" refers to a high pH level. A low pH level would be considered acidic.

Learn more about Sodium Hydroxide
27
What it does: Preservative
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent germ and microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

It's often used in formulations along with Caprylyl Glycol to preserve the shelf life of products.

28
What it does: Antimicrobial, Preservative
Community Rating: Disliked

Chlorphenesin is a synthetic preservative. It helps protect a product against bacteria in order to extend shelf life. In most cases, Chlorphenesin is paired with other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol and caprylyl glycol.

Chlorphenesin is a biocide. This means it is able to help fight the microorganisms on our skin. It is also able to fight odor-releasing bacteria.

Chlorphenesin is soluble in both water and glycerin.

Studies show Chlorphenesin is easily absorbed by our skin. You should speak with a skincare professional if you have concerns about using Chlorphenesin.

Learn more about Chlorphenesin
Embed Ingredients

Here's what our community thinks of the 28 ingredients in this product ✨

25% are loved or liked
21% have mixed ratings
43% are disliked or very disliked
11% have no rating yet

When to use

We've created a guide with info on when you should use Paula's Choice Extra Care Non-Greasy Sunscreen SPF 50. We've also included some recommended products to use it with, as well as some routine inspiration!

Read our guide on when to use Extra Care Non-Greasy Sunscreen SPF 50 ->
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The data we've presented on this page has been verified by a member of the SkinSort Team.

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Latest Reviews

PallasCat_310's Avatar'
Aug 24, 2023

Good for the body, bad for the face
Like the other review mentioned, still greasy on the face despite the name. I do have oily skin so many sunscreens have this problem. However, I found this to be a good body sunscreen, it blends out...

Good for the body, bad for the face
Like the other review mentioned, still greasy on the face despite the name. I do have oily skin so many sunscreens have this problem. However, I found this to be a good body sunscreen, it blends out very easily and smoothly.

screamadelica's Avatar'
Apr 12, 2023

very greasy despite the name
this is just a typical greasy american sunscreen. not paula’s choice’s fault that the laws here are so awful, but it’s not a very good product. only OK for the body imo.

very greasy despite the name
this is just a typical greasy american sunscreen. not paula’s choice’s fault that the laws here are so awful, but it’s not a very good product. only OK for the body imo.

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