La Roche-Posay

La Roche-Posay At-A-Glance

Strengths: Very good cleansers; well-formulated, stably packaged option for those seeking products with hydroquinone or retinol or stabilized vitamin C; many fragrance-free options; a unique lip moisturizer.

Weaknesses: Some problematic, overly irritating exfoliants; several ho-hum moisturizers and sunscreens.

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.

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+ Rating Product Brand Category Price Size
Poor Anthelios 30 Cooling Water-Lotion Sunscreen La Roche-Posay SPF 30-49 Sunscreen  $35.99 5.00 fl. oz.
Good Redermic [C] Anti-Wrinkle Firming Moisturizing Filler for Normal to Combination Skin La Roche-Posay Moisturizer without Sunscreen  $55.00 1.35 fl. oz.
Good Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Lotion Spray La Roche-Posay SPF 50 and Higher Sunscreen  $35.50 5.00 fl. oz.
Good Anthelios 30 Ultra Light Sunscreen Lotion Spray La Roche-Posay SPF 30-49 Sunscreen  $35.50 5.00 fl. oz.
Best Ceralip Lip Repair Cream La Roche-Posay Lip Balm Without Sunscreen  $17.99 0.51 fl. oz.
Average Hydraphase Intense Riche La Roche-Posay Moisturizer without Sunscreen  $34.95 1.69 fl. oz.
Poor Mela-D Pigment Control Concentrated Dark-Spot Correcting Serum La Roche-Posay Serums  $49.95 1.01 fl. oz.
Good Redermic + UV SPF 25 La Roche-Posay Moisturizer with Sunscreen  $53.95 1.35 fl. oz.
Average Hydraphase Eyes La Roche-Posay Eye Moisturizers  $32.95 0.50 fl. oz.
Average Rosaliac AR Intense Localized Redness Intensive Serum La Roche-Posay Serums  $39.95 1.35 fl. oz.
Poor Effaclar Serum La Roche-Posay Serums  $42.95 1.00 fl. oz.
Good Anthelios 15 Sunscreen Cream SPF 15 La Roche-Posay SPF 15-29 Sunscreen  $31.95 3.40 fl. oz.
Average Substiane (+) La Roche-Posay Moisturizer without Sunscreen  $55.95 1.35 fl. oz.
Average Derm AOX Intense Anti-Wrinkle Radiance Serum La Roche-Posay Serums  $59.95 1.00 fl. oz.
Best Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser La Roche-Posay Cleansers/Soaps  $23.99 6.76 fl. oz.
Best Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cream La Roche-Posay Cleansers/Soaps  $23.95 4.22 fl. oz.
Best Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Treatment La Roche-Posay Benzoyl Peroxide  $36.95 1.35 fl. oz.
Good Active C, for Normal to Combination Skin La Roche-Posay Oil-Absorbing/Mattifying  $50.95 1.00 fl. oz.
Good Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel La Roche-Posay Cleansers/Soaps  $22.00 6.76 fl. oz.
Good Redermic + Intensive Daily Anti-Wrinkle/Firming Fill-In Care Dry Skin La Roche-Posay Moisturizer without Sunscreen  $53.95 1.35 fl. oz.
Good Active C Eyes La Roche-Posay Eye Moisturizers  $40.95 0.50 fl. oz.
Good Anthelios 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Lotion La Roche-Posay SPF 50 and Higher Sunscreen  $29.95 1.70 fl. oz.
Good Redermic + Intensive Daily Anti-Wrinkle/Firming Fill-In Care Normal to Combination Skin La Roche-Posay Moisturizer without Sunscreen  $53.95 1.35 fl. oz.
Poor Lipikar Surgras Lipid-Enriched Cleansing Bar, for Severely Dry Skin La Roche-Posay Cleansers/Soaps  $10.50 5.20 fl. oz.
Average Rosaliac Skin Perfecting Anti-Redness Moisturizer La Roche-Posay Moisturizer without Sunscreen  $36.95 1.35 fl. oz.
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