The LHA in this product’s name refers to lipo-hydroxy acid, a term La Roche-Posay made up to make the form of salicylic acid they use (capryloyl salicylic acid) seem more impressive than it is. The only research on this ingredient was done by L’Oreal, La Roche-Posay’s owner. Their single study showed that an LHA peel at 5–10% strength was as good as, but tolerated better than, a glycolic acid peel at a concentration range of 20–50%, which can be quite irritating, so the comparison doesn’t make sense; it’s like comparing apples to lettuce. The take-home message is this quote from the study: “there were no statistically significant differences between the two groups.” Clearly, not even L’Oreal believes there is much to be gained from going with LHA peels over AHA peels (Source: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, December 2008, pages 259–262). Regardless, a medical peel isn’t the same as what you buy in a skin-care product. A well-formulated glycolic acid or salicylic acid leave-on skin-care product can help skin feel smooth and look “younger,” but when it comes to using LHA or glycolic acid in a cleanser, forget about it because both are just rinsed down the drain. And forget about this overpriced cleanser because it offers no special benefit for skin, but it will cause irritation due to the menthol it contains.
LHA Cleansing Gel is ideal for use to prep skin before a chemical peel or as a daily exfoliating cleanser. LHA acid, glycolic acid and salicylic acid aid in cell proliferation in order to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, diminish acneic breakouts, soften skin's texture and extract impurities. Rough, dull and uninspiring skin is transformed into a glowing, healthy complexion. It also cleanses away dirt, makeup and excess oils, leaving skin perfectly cleansed and pure. Suitable for all skin types, except very sensitive.
Water, Coco-Betaine, Propylene Glycol, Peg-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Sorbitol, Glycerin, Glycolic Acid, Triethanolamine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Disteareth-100 Ipdi, Phenoxyethanol, Salicylic Acid, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Menthol, Methylparaben, Disodium Edta, Steareth-100
L'Oreal-owned La Roche-Posay has a pharmaceutical lineage based in France, and the company speaks of their thermal spring water as the cornerstone of their commitment to dermatological skin care. Sound familiar? L'Oreal-owned Biotherm makes similar claims for the water in their products, yet their marketing niche is spas, while La Roche-Posay caters to doctors and consumers interested in effective, no-frills skin care. Regardless of the source of their water, or how many minerals there may be in it, or the other benefits they assert it has, water is water and skin can't tell the difference. Even if the water were somehow "special," it takes a lot more than water to create and maintain healthy skin. This is something La Roche-Posay is aware of, because they do offer a fairly broad range of products to address the various needs of skin.
Their thermal spring water is said to be a rich source of selenium. Selenium is a nonmetallic element that has potent antioxidant ability. However, almost all of the research surrounding its benefits pertains to dietary or supplemental consumption, not to topical application. According to the research, selenium is absorbed into skin and helpful when applied topically only when applied as l-selenomethionine (Source: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, July 2004, pages 149–155). It is unknown whether the water La Roche-Posay uses contains this form of selenium, but we wouldn't bank on it for a unique benefit.
For a dermatologist-oriented line like La Roche-Posay, most of the products are surprisingly devoid of state-of-the-art or other interesting ingredients. There are some standout products, such as those with retinol and stabilized vitamin C; however, most of them are one-note options that offer the help of their promoted ingredient but don't commingle it with anything else of value to skin. It's ironic that although there's not a jar package to be found in this line, most of the moisturizers lack light- or air-sensitive ingredients, so jar packaging actually wouldn't be a problem. In fact, most of the moisturizers are downright monotonous. For the money, these products will leave your skin wanting more.
If you steer your way to the well-formulated products La Roche-Posay offers, you will find some first-rate options. They're not as varied as what many other lines offer, but for a pragmatic, no-frills approach to serious skin care, they'll do just fine. In fact, among all of the L'Oreal-owned skin-care lines, La Roche-Posay comes closest to successfully competing with the best of the best. It's up to you to decide if "close" is good enough. However, if you need to avoid fragrance and a range of potentially irritating plant extracts prevalent in the products of many brands, this line may suit your skin to a T.
Note: La Roche-Posay is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although La Roche-Posay does not conduct animal testing for its products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brands state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law.” Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Paula’s Choice Research Team.
For more information about La Roche-Posay, owned by L'Oreal, call (888) 577-5226 or visit www.laroche-posay.com.