(Edited) I was prescribed it for melasma by a dermatologist, and having checked out the ingredients it really is the top for protection. I've used it now for almost three weeks daily, though this is post-holiday (wish I'd known about it BEFORE the summer, then my melasma probably wouldn't have worsened...) No break-outs, maybe a couple of blocked pores - for my clog-prone skin that is fabulous. No irritation. No dryness, in fact unless you have flaky areas there is no need for moisturiser underneath this sunscreen.
I have used Actinica every day because I'm also doing treatment with hydroquinine so effective protection is a must. (Skin lightening treatment without religious use of s/s is at best ineffective and at worst the blotches may darken even more.) This regime has resulted in significant fading of the blotches in less than three weeks (ok they weren't really dark to begin with, but I am pale).
The downside is that this is possibly the most cosmetically inelegant s/s ever. It does not leave any white cast (it turns transparent within seconds of application) but it is so shiny, I look like I literally slathered oil all over my face. It's also extremely sticky, and the stickiness doesn't go away. The application directions are clear: 2 pumps for the face, otherwise the protection is weakened, apparently. But I find I just cannot use 2 pumps on a daily basis, it's an enormous amount of goop... so I do one pump and add a bit more over the most important areas. That still leaves my skin pretty tacky to touch.
I can get rid of the shine by waiting 15 minutes and carefully applying transparent loose powder (I use MUFE), but foundation and concealer are difficult to apply on top of the tacky finish. It depends on the foundation, I guess - I managed well today with Paula's Choice all bases covered (which I'm trialling), but haven't tried it yet with my normal NARS sheer glow. Usually, if I wear Actinica all over, I go without makeup and just use powder. If I needed to look polished for work, however, I would use a different sunscreen product because with this the shine does come through in the course of the day. So: great product that appears effective and gentle on skin - but with a sinifiant downside considering daily use in a work environment. I give it 4* than! I'll definitely use this on holiday next summer though!
I was very interested to read the comprehensive review by Erica 74 on this product as I have just been prescribed it by my dermatologist here in South West France and was trying to read up some information on it in English as the booklet I was given is in French . I will update this review after I have been using it for a couple of months. I have a couple of keratoses actiniques on my face so it is a medical necessity but sounds like a super efficient sunscreen to prevent others developing keratoses. It isn't funded here on the health system but well worth the price and no more than buying a La Roche Posay sunscreen or similar.
Daylong actinica will protect you from the harmful UV radiation that is part of sunlight and will prevent the development of non-melanoma skin cancer. This was proven by a 2-year study carried out on patients that were highly susceptible to the development of non-melanoma skin cancers (actinic keratosis, basal cell carcinoma & squamous cell carcinoma). Daily usage of Daylong actinica proved to be effective in the prevention of actinic keratosis and squamous cell carcinoma. Therefore Daylong actinica is essential prevention for people who are at risk from non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). It protects from both UVB and UVA rays. It is waterproof and contains photostable broadspectrum filters.
You cannot beat the protection this sunscreen offers and apart from all research and bibliography, backing its potency there is my experience:
I have melasma, many years now. With hydroquinone+tretinoin treatment (2004) and sunscreen everyday use, it subsided a lot. After giving birth (2006), it almost faded (a mystery yet to be solved!), but every summer it comes raging on my face, no matter how many buckets of suncreen do I slather on.
Now I discovered this (a sample was given to me in Athens Dermatology Hospital) and decided to give a full bottle a try.
Last Sunday, I was at the beach with Actinica on but with my hat missing. We spent the whole day at the beach, it was hot and the sun was intense and I was sure to come back to a face full of dark spreading blotches......NOT A SINGLE ONE!....NOT EVEN A GLIMPSE OF DARKENED PIGMENTING...Nothing!
I live in Greece and I try to use the best european sunscreen I can find. I alternate a lot, so I can hit the best. I think this is it.
Cosmetically-wise, it is a little sticky and heavy (no need for an extra moisturiser - after all you apply this on bare cleansed skin to get full protection), but with the protection it offers, this is my choice of suncreen this summer. Period.
Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Isoamyl p-Methoxycinnamate, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Methylene bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Propylparaben, Methylparaben, Excipient
UPDATE 15/7/2009: I've been using it for almost 2 months everyday, I am very very impressed! No darkening (which is a first), no breakouts, no irritation!!!!!! It is mid summer with intense sun and temperatures of 35 degrees Celcius and my dark spots have not yet made an appearance!!!! I will update again after my 2 week vacation in August.
UPDATE 11/7/2012: I don't know if it is scientifically provable but, this susncreen has made my melasma a minor skincare problem. During autumn, winter and early spring, my spots are vanished. During summertime they show but not in full force, thanks to Daylong actinica. I think this is because I've been using this all these years, my spots have faded and now they're not a problem worth mentioning. Mind, that my skincare routine has not been concentrated in skin lightening at all. So the only thing I've been using regarding my melasma was this sunscreen. The packaging has also been improved with a pump that measures the right amount for application.