This overpriced, poorly formulated exfoliant contains about 4%–5% alpha hydroxy acid (glycolic acid) and less than 1% beta hydroxy acid (salicylic acid), so it is not mild and it won't smooth your complexion. Quite the opposite is the case because the second ingredient is alcohol, and that is completely problematic for all skin types. Alcohol causes free-radical damage, hurts the skin’s ability to heal, and diminishes collagen. It also stimulates more oil production at the base of the pores.
Another concerning ingredient is hydroxyethylpiperazine ethane sulfonic acid (also known as HEPES). It’s a buffering ingredient (typically used to establish a neutral pH) with research indicating it can generate free radical damage in the presence of oxygen (Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, August 2005, pages 1,653-1,660 and November 2004, issue 11, pages 1696-1702). That has us worried even though research on how this directly impacts skin hasn’t been done. Still, there are definitely other buffering agents that could have been used instead of this seemingly problematic one.
While AHA and BHA can be excellent for removing built-up layers of dead skin cells accumulated due to sun damage or oily skin, this isn't a product to consider for this important skincare step.
- Potentially effective amount of AHA glycolic acid.
- Alcohol is the second ingredient, making this exfoliant too irritating for all skin types.
- Contains an ingredient that could promote free radical damage.
- Lacks a range of soothing, skin-repairing ingredients to go beyond simply exfoliating skin.
Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For these reasons, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Serum provides mild exfoliation to help accelerate your skin's renewal process, helping clear and smooth your complexion. Dual exfoliating action of LHA and AHA-glycolic acid tighten enlarged pores, minimize wrinkles, clear skin and enhance radiance. As a result, your complexion appears more refined and youthful.
La Roche-Posay At-A-Glance
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. In fact, the name La Roche-Posay comes from the French town that is the source of this water, which is said to be a rich in selenium. While selenium is an element that has potent antioxidant ability, it's unclear how much the water La Roche-Posay uses contains, since all water has to go through purification processes to be to used in cosmetic products.
That aside, this brand does have a number of standout products, including some good sunscreens and anti-aging treatments. Another positive: All of its skincare is packaged in containers that will keep beneficial products protected from light and air (no jar packaging here!). Unfortunately there are some missteps, namely that some otherwise-excellent products include potentially-irritating amounts of alcohol, fragrance, or other irritants. The line could also benefit from additional products that contain more state-of-the-art ingredients. Still, for a no-frills approach to serious skin care, there are some finds to be had!
For more information about La Roche-Posay, owned by L'Oreal, call (888) 577-5226 or visit www.laroche-posay.com.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.