Review: La Roche Posay Effaclar DUO+ (Acne Treatment) & Purifying Foaming Gel

*This is not a sponsored post.

As I mentioned in my previous post(s), I’m a huge advocate for simple and effective skincare. No more tons of serums, face washes, facial oils, or harmful exfoliators or peelings. Right now, I’m trying to use the bare minimum and it’s working great for me so far.

I had been reading about La Roche Posay’s skincare products for quite a while, but I never really thought much of it. Then one day, I noticed that my local pharmacy also sold the La Roche Posay Effaclar line and I realized that maybe it really is as good as people claim it to be. As someone who has been battling acne for quite a few years now, I was intrigued and started a thorough research into the Effaclar line.

In this post I will be reviewing the La Roche Posay Effaclar DUO+ Acne treatment and the Purifying Foaming Gel.

The La Roche Posay Effaclar line consists of the Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel, Effaclar DUO+ Cream and the Effaclar Lotion. I only purchased the Purifying Foaming Gel and Effaclar DUO+ cream.

La Roche Posay Effaclar DUO+ Acne Treatment

**La Roche Posay Effaclar DUO+ is also available with SPF or with a tint, I used the original one.

What does the internet say?

First off, I realized that the products were not as expensive as I initially thought. The Effaclar DUO+ is priced between €10-€15, with a typical quantity of 40ml in one tube.

The cream claims to effectively target impurities such as existing and upcoming pimples, avoiding them from coming back (anti-return effect); and lighten and avoid acne scars. This shows that the cream is mainly meant for acne-prone skin. The cream quickly absorbs without leaving a trace on the skin. One of the cream’s main ingredients, niacinamide, gives a matte finish. La Roche Posay claims that one should be able to see a significant difference within 12 hours.

Good to know:

  • Tested on oily acne prone skin, severe and recurring blemishes, and stubborn scars.
  • Tested on over 6,700 subjects, all skin tones *
  • Tested under dermatological control
  • Excellent make-up base
  • Comfortable texture
  • Allergy tested
  • Not comedogenic
  • Dermatological observational study – 2 months of use, 6 photo types.

Main ingredients and their purposes:

  • Procerad: prevents the formation of red or brown scars.
  • Mannose: stimulates skin regeneration.
  • APF: helps restore the skin balance for a long time.
  • Niacinamide: intensive sedative ingredient; reduces redness.
  • Piroctone olamine counteracts bacterial proliferation.
  • LHA and salicylic acid have a micro-exfoliating effect without irritation
  • Zinc PCA: keeps sebum secretion under control.

Source

How to use:
1. Cleanse skin thoroughly with the Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel.
2. Apply a thin layer to the whole face every morning and evening. Only a small amount of cream is needed.
3. Avoid getting this product in your eyes, nose or mouth, or on any broken skin as this may cause irritation. If contact occurs, rinse the area immediately and thoroughly.
4. Apply Effaclar Duo (+) to help hydrate the skin, target pimples and reduce breakout recurrences.

Source

What are my first impressions?

I bought the La Roche Posay Effaclar DUO+ and the Purifying Foaming Gel on Black Friday 2020, and couldn’t wait to start using them. I read about some people who mentioned that usage of the Effaclar cream and purifying gel should not be started at the same time, because apparently the skin needs to be given time to get used to the cream first before you start using anything else (this advice came from a pharmacist where they bought it from). This is why I first started using the Effaclar DUO+ for a week, and started using the Purifying Foaming Gel after.

I noticed right away that the Effaclar DUO+ felt very comfortable on my skin. Even though it’s not supposed to leave a ‘trace’ on the skin aside from a mattifying effect, it felt like satin to me. In my opinion, the cream didn’t feel very moisturizing (I expected it to because I was going to use it as a moisturizer in the AM and PM), but since I have an incredibly oily skin I didn’t mind. If you have dry skin, you might want to apply another moisturizer on top of the Effaclar DUO+ (such as the La Roche Posay Effaclar-H Multi-Compensating Soothing Moisturizer)

The main thing I noticed after using this cream for two months was that I did not get any major breakouts anymore. I do still get the occasional pimple (once in a few weeks) that can be fairly hard to get rid of, but as long as the huge breakouts stay away I am more than content. However, I did not notice any difference in the appearance of my hyperpigmentation which was a bit disappointing. The redness from my hyperpigmentation seemed to have reduced, but my hyperpigmentation itself is still as visible.

Conclusion

I am still using the Effaclar DUO+ every morning and evening, after my niacinamide serum (check out my review on The Ordinary’s niacinamide serum here) and I am incredibly satisfied. Truthfully, I was already happy when I didn’t get any allergic reactions or breakouts from the product itself which I was a bit afraid of initially, as my skin is very sensitive. If you’ve got oily, acne-prone and sensitive skin, you definitely want to give La Roche Posay’s Effaclar DUO+ a try.

  • If you’re solely trying to get rid of your hyperpigmentation, I would opt for something else.
  • If you are looking for an effective acne treatment but you have normal to dry skin, La Roche Posay developed the Effaclar-H Multi-Compensating Soothing Moisturizer, which you can apply after the DUO+ treatment. This will keep your skin from getting dehydrated which makes the Effaclar line also useful for people with dry skin.

La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel

*The La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel is available in a triangular tube (200ml) and round bottle with a pump (400ml), the ingredients are exactly the same.

What does the internet say?

The La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel has a similar pricing as the Effaclar DUO+, varying from €10-€15 (depending on the packaging).

La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Foaming Gel is a mild cleanser targeted on young, oily and acne-prone skin. The Foaming Gel is formulated with thermal water from La Roche-Posay, which has calming and irritation-avoidant features.

Good to know:

  • Foaming, lightly scented and hypoallergenic gel texture
  • Tested under dermatological control
  • Without alcohol
  • pH 5.5 (physiological)
  • With sulfate
  • Against impurities and excessive sebum
  • For oily skin, blemished skin, acne-prone skin

How to use:

  • The Foaming Effaclar Gel may be used 1 to 2 times a day (morning and / or evening).
  • In the hands, lather the gel with some water and massage gently on the face. Rinse thoroughly with water.

Source

What are my first impressions?

The Foaming Gel is indeed very mild and gentle on my skin, the first thing I noticed is how my skin wasn’t left with an immense redness after washing my face (which I usually get from harsh cleansers). I was also happy to find out the product itself didn’t cause any breakouts, as I have a very sensitive skin. I am convinced that this product, in combination with the La Roche Posay Effaclar DUO+, is the reason that I haven’t had any major breakouts ever since I started using the products.

In my opinion, there are a few turn-offs that come with this product though. One of them is the fact that the product contains sulfates, which I am not a big fan of (and you shouldn’t be either). Sulfates are not the best for your skin, but I think it might have been necessary for the gel’s purposes. Another turn-off is that the gel is not the best cleanser for (waterproof) makeup. It’s a good thing that we’re mostly staying home right now and not wearing much makeup, so the cleanser is fine for now. But when the time comes that we start going out to the office or school every day, I might need to use another kind of cleanser before or after, to make sure no traces of makeup are left on my skin.

Conclusion

In my opinion, La Roche Posay Purifying Foaming Gel does what it claims to do. I also like the fact that La Roche Posay is honest and transparent of the product containing sulfates, which many brands usually don’t. This cleanser is great for anyone with oily skin, as it effectively reduces excess sebum (which causes oily skin) and keeps acne at bay as much as possible. If you’re someone who wears lots of waterproof makeup, you might want to consider using another type of cleanser before or after this one, or opt for another cleanser altogether if you’d like to keep your routine as simple as possible.

Review: The Ordinary Peeling Solution, Alpha Arbutin & Niacinamide for hyperpigmentation

*This is not a sponsored post.*

For those who have known me for a while probably also know that I’ve struggled with acne for a long time. Now that (most of) my acne is gone, I’m left with quite some scarring (the ‘official’ term is: post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation). Although I should consider myself lucky that most of my scars are superficial and barely affecting my skin structure (deep scarring), I’m still not comfortable leaving the house with a bare face. I’ve tried so many methods to get rid of the dark spots, from home remedies in my kitchen cabinet to chemical peelings and expensive skincare products (note: I have never done the dermabrasion treatment which is also considered an effective treatment for hyperpigmentation).

So of course, I did what any other desparate girl would have done: I went to the internet. I read tons of articles on how to reduce hyperpigmentation, I read reviews of skincare products I could never afford, and I watched as many “how to get clear skin” tutorials as I could. There was one thing that recurred in every article, review and tutorial: I need to drink more water. Lots of water. Everyone made it sound like drinking water was going to solve all my problems (Spoiler: it doesn’t). But, I did start drinking more water than I did before. Now I’m not saying that this is the holy grail to clear skin but it sure helped my skin stay hydrated and healthy.


Alright- let’s move on to the reason you’re here. Here’s how (I think) my skin has improved drastically over the past year.

About one and a half year ago I asked some friends about their must-have products to clear acne and acne scarring; and based on all the comments, one brand was significantly the most popular: The Ordinary. I had never heard of the brand before and when I looked it up, all the chemical terms and names sounded a bit scary to me. I mean, BHA? AHA? Acids? Ascorbyl Glucoside? Alpha Arbutin? What was I about to do to my face?! The pricing surprised me though, almost everything was priced for less than 10 EUR. I figured it was worth a try.

Note to self (and my readers): Thoroughly research skincare products before you purchase/use them, especially when they contain acids or other chemicals. Do they fit in your skincare routine? What do the listed ingredients mean and (how) do they improve your skin? Is it making your skin (temporarily) more sensitive?

I’ve tried several serums, peelings, acids and creams by The Ordinary; and here’s how I implemented my favorites into my current skincare routine:

  • 2 times a week: TO AHA 30% + BHA 2% peeling solution
  • Rosewater (toner)
  • TO Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA
  • TO Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
  • TO Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG
  • Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream (day moisturizer) / Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference moisturize (night moisturizer)
  • Biodermal SPF50 Sun fluid (SPF)

Every morning and evening, I tone my skin with pure rosewater. Then, I apply a few drops of Alpha Arbutin on my entire face. On the weekends, I like to use my jade roller which allows my skin to absorb the product better; but on weekdays I just let it dry. Lastly, I apply Niacinamide and let it dry before I put on my moisturizer.

On the nights when I apply the peeling solution (for me, that’s on Sunday and Wednesday), I don’t use any other skincare products after; except for moisturizer.

Please note: this combination makes your top-surface skin more sensitive and prone to sun burn and damage. Make sure to wear SPF (minimum of SPF 20) the next day(s). But of course, you should already be wearing a daily SPF anyways :)

I’ve been using the combination of The Ordinary’s peeling solution, Alpha Arbutin and Niacinamide for more than 6 months now, and my skin has never looked better. See below for the descriptions and directions of these 3 products.


The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution

This peeling solution (mask) exfoliates the skin for a brighter and more even appearance.

Directions

Apply on dry, clean face + do not forget to use an SPF the next day. It is recommended to apply this mask in the evening as it may leave some redness on the skin. The peeling comes with a number of important don’ts:

Don’t leave the peeling on for longer than 10 minutes.

Don’t apply on wet skin

Don’t use this peeling if you’re not an experienced users of acid exfoliation.

Don’t use on sensitive, damaged skin.

Don’t use more than twice a week.

pH-value

The pH-value of this peeling solution lays between 3.5 and 3.7, which is why it is recommended not to combine this solution with products that have a higher pH, as this could make the formula (even more) irritating


Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA

The Ordinary’s Alpha Arbutin is a highly-concentrated serum and also includes hyaluronic acid (HA). The serum is supposed to reduce spots and hyperpigmentation. The Alpha Arbutin in this serum is proven to be much stronger than Arbutin or Beta Arbutin.

Directions

A few drops should be applied on dry, clean skin in the AM and PM, don’t forget to wear an SPF in the morning!

pH-value

Alpha Arbutin has a pH value between 4.85 and 4.90. It should be noted that the serum is extremely sensitive to degradation in the presence of water if the pH of the formulation is not ideal. The pH value of this serum is shown to be the most suitable to minimize the degradation of Alpha Arbutin. If you’re not sure what all this means: that’s okay! I do recommend researching the meaning of pH values if you’re planning to use skin care acids more often.


Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is supposed to reduce the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion. The added Zinc (1%) balances visible aspects of sebum activity, which reduces large pores and makes the skin less oily. However, niacinamide is not an acne treatment (salicylic acid).

Directions

Niacinamide can be applied in the AM and PM, before heavier creams such as moisturizers or oils.

According to The Ordinary, independent studies have also shown that niacinamide is an effective ingredient for brightening skin tone.

pH-value

Niacinamide has a pH between 5.50 and 6.50 which technically means it is not suitable to use in combination with the Alpha Arbutin serum. However, this combination has been working out great for me. If you’ve been using this combination and you’re not noticing any improvements, you could consider applying Niacinamide in the AM (recommended if you have oily skin) and Alpha Arbutin in the PM. The other way around should be fine as well. If you’ve got some more time on your hands in the AM and PM, you could consider waiting 30 minutes after applying Alpha Arbutin before you move on to Niacinamide.

P.S. If you have any questions regarding The Ordinary products, or any other product(s) in my skincare routine, shoot me a message!

P.P.S. Coming up: A post with detailed explanation of the (chemical) skincare terms frequently used by The Ordinary and other skincare brands, such as retinoids, AHAs, BHAs, pH-levels, etc.