La Roche Posay Review: Effective or Waste of Money?

La Roche Posay Review: Effective or Waste of Money?


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La Roche-Posay is a skincare brand that claims to be “recommended by 90,000+ dermatologists worldwide.” The brand describes their product line as “life-changing dermatology,” and sells at a premium price point. 

But do the most popular products sold by La Roche-Posay contain ingredients shown in medical studies to improve skin quality, or are these just marketing claims? Do they contain any questionable additive ingredients? What retailer sells La Roche-Posay for the best price? And how do real users rate and describe the effects of La Roche-Posay products?

In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the ingredients in two of the most popular La Roche Posay products (Mineral Tinted Sunscreen and Brightening Deep Cleanser) based on medical studies to give our take on whether the products are likely to be effective, or if they’re a waste of money.

We’ll also provide a cost breakdown documenting which retailer sells La Roche-Posay for the best price, and feature real, unsponsored customer reviews of the brand.

La Roche-Posay Sunscreen Review

La Roche-Posay sunscreen ingredients

The ingredients in La Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Sunscreen are shown above.

There are a number of research-backed ingredients in this formulation.

Titanium dioxide is the only active ingredient, which makes this product a “physical” sunscreen. This is safer in our opinion than “chemical” sunscreens.

A medical review published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science reports that titanium dioxide is highly effective at blocking damaging UV rays, and is not absorbed into the bloodstream when applied topically, making it an ideal non-toxic sunscreen ingredient.

Iron oxides are included as an inactive ingredient, but these compounds can also help provide sun protection.

A 2021 medical review on tinted sunscreen ingredients concludes that iron oxides can help “to provide protection against visible light.”

Cassia alata leaf extract was shown in a medical review published in the Molecules journal to be a potent natural anti-microbial, suggesting it may help prevent skin irritation.

Tocopherol, otherwise known as vitamin E, is clinically shown to help protect skin against UV damage as we referenced in our Ogee Makeup reviews article on another cosmetics brand that uses this ingredient.

While there are clearly effective ingredients in this formulation, there are also a few ingredients that may be questionable from a health perspective.

Phenoxyethanol is a synthetic preservative shown in a 2020 clinical trial to be toxic to human cells, and this sunscreen contains another synthetic preservative called benzoic acid.

Talc was shown to be contaminated with toxic asbestos in 10% of cosmetic products surveyed in a research report published in the Environmental Health Insights journal.

Overall we consider Anthelios Mineral Tinted Sunscreen likely to be effective for protecting skin from the sun, and while we don’t currently recommend it due to the inactive ingredients highlighted above, we consider it to be a much safer formulation than the majority of sunscreens we’ve reviewed on Illuminate Health.

Our top sunscreen pick is YOUARESUNSHINE from ClearStem. 

It's an SPF 50+ physical sunscreen entirely free of questionable additives, and may even have anti-aging effects. This sunscreen contains green tea extract, which is clinically shown to moisturize the skin and reduce wrinkles.

Interested consumers can check out YOUARESUNSHINE at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.

Before analyzing the ingredients in La Roche-Posay’s cleanser, we’ll feature some real, unsponsored user reviews of the brand.

Unsponsored La Roche-Posay User Reviews

A YouTube creator named Flossie Smith tested whether or not La Roche-Posay could clear up her skin in two weeks. She used several of the brand’s products:

A TikTok creator named Maria Luiza had a worse experience with the brand:

@mariabe1313 Don’t be stupid like I was and PLEASE pay attention when ur buying it. #tips #skincaretips #larocheposay #selfcare ♬ love galore x see u again - Tasha

La Roche-Posay Cleanser Review

La Roche-Posay cleanser ingredients

The ingredients in La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Brightening Deep Cleanser are shown above.

Glycerin can improve skin moisture content by up to 15% according to a clinical trial published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science.

Palmitic acid has an anti-inflammatory effect on skin when applied topically according to a 2018 clinical trial.

Lauric acid is derived from coconut or palm kernel, and has natural anti-bacterial effects according to a clinical trial published in the Journal of Dermatological Science. This suggests that it may reduce acne on skin.

Capryloyl salicylic acid, also known as LHA, may have anti-aging effects.

A 2008 clinical trial found that this ingredient caused significant reduction of wrinkles in 41% of participants after 12 weeks of treatment.

While there are a number of research-backed ingredients in this formulation, there is one inactive ingredient that health-conscious consumers may wish to avoid.

Fragrance is clinically shown to have toxic effects in humans and in the environment, as we referenced in our article reviewing Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream, another cosmetic product containing this ingredient.

Overall we consider La Roche-Posay Pigmentclar Brightening Deep Cleanser likely effective for cleansing the skin, and potentially effective for reducing acne and reducing wrinkles.

However, we don’t currently recommend this product due to the inclusion of fragrance.

Does La Roche-Posay Cause Cancer?

Benzene is a carcinogen that can be found in sunscreen.

According to a law firm called Taylor King Law, many different cosmetics brands were found to contain benzene, and La Roche-Posay was one of them.

A medical review published in the Critical Reviews in Toxicology journal concludes that the chemical may increase risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, although specifies that airborne benzene is the main risk factor.

Presumably a sunscreen would expose users to risks from topical absorption rather than airborne inhalation, unless it was a spray product.

The above-linked report from the law firm does not specify which La Roche-Posay sunscreen product was found to be contaminated with benzene.

Is La Roche-Posay Effective on Darker Skin?

A doctor and YouTube creator named Vanita Rattan reviewed some of La Roche Posay’s formulations to share her thoughts on whether or not they’re likely to be effective for those with darker skin tones:

Where to Buy La Roche-Posay for the Best Price

La Roche-Posay products are available at a variety of online retailers. Here’s a price breakdown for the two products reviewed in this article at the time of publishing:

La Roche-Posay Sunscreen

Brand website: $37.99 (plus shipping, link)

Amazon: $38.99 (free shippinglink to official Amazon listing)

Walmart: $34.99 (free shipping, third-party seller with few reviews, link)

La Roche-Posay Cleanser

Brand website: $26.99 (plus shipping, link)

Amazon: $26.99 (free shippinglink to official Amazon listing)

Walmart: $26.83 (free shipping, third-party seller, link)

We recommend avoiding third-party sellers and buying directly from the brand, because purchasing from unverified third-party sellers may increase the risk of counterfeit product. 

The Amazon listings are published by La Roche-Posay.

Dermatologist Ranks La Roche-Posay Products

A dermatologist and popular YouTube influencer "Dr Dray" ranks her top La Roche-Posay products based on their formulation and effects:

Our Clean Skincare Picks

There are skincare products containing ingredients shown in clinical trials to be effective for reducing wrinkles and improving skin quality.

Annie Mak Vitamin C Serum is our top anti-aging serum.

It contains hyaluronic acid which was described as a "skin-rejuvenating biomedicine" in a medical review due to its ability to reduce wrinkles and signs of facial aging.

HYDRAGLOW by CLEARSTEM is our top moisturizer pick.

It features bakuchiol as an active ingredient which was described in a 2014 clinical trial as "clinically proven to have anti-aging effects." 

Bulletproof Collagen Powder is our top skin supplement.

Collagen supplementation was shown in a medical review published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology to reduce visible signs of skin aging as well as improve skin elasticity and skin hydration.

All of the products recommended in this section are entirely free of ingredients that we consider to be unhealthy or unsafe.

Pros and Cons of La Roche-Posay

Here are the pros and cons of La Roche-Posay as a brand in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Beautiful packaging
  • Many research-backed active ingredients
  • Sunscreen contains the safest active ingredient
  • Cleanser should clean skin and may have anti-aging effect
  • Priced lower than similar luxury brands

Cons:

  • Sunscreen contains talc
  • Sunscreen contains synthetic preservatives
  • Cleanser contains fragrance
  • Brand website charges for shipping
  • Some online customer reviews describe products as too harsh
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

La Roche-Posay makes highly potent formulations that justify the price from an efficacy perspective.

The brand’s sunscreen and cleanser both contain a number of research-backed active ingredients, and we believe both products are likely to be effective for the brand’s stated skin claims.

However, we don’t currently recommend either product due to the inclusion of questionable additive ingredients like fragrance and synthetic preservatives.

A report cited by a law firm alleges that La Roche-Posay sunscreen contains a toxic chemical, although the specific product is not named, and we can't locate any active lawsuits in regard to this claim.

Overall, we consider La Roche-Posay to be slightly better than the average skincare brand we've reviewed on Illuminate Health. Its formulations are slightly better than average, and while relatively expensive, the brand is priced cheaper than most luxury skincare brands.

For consumers intent on purchasing La Roche-Posay products, Amazon appears to have slightly better prices than the brand's website when factoring in shipping cost.

Walmart has the best prices for the two products we analyzed, but both were listed by a third-party seller and we recommend buying from brands directly to ensure consumer safety.