Let me start by saying that this product is not the same as the Effaclar Serum in a transparent phial sold in the USA and Spain. The other thing is, why did it take so long for L’Oréal to release this type of serum? Similar formulations have been in their line-ups for years like the now discontinued La Roche-Posay Biomedic LHA Serum or SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense. I am not going to try to understand the logic behind it, anyway, 2020 was too late for launching this sort of serum; it should’ve happened around the time SVR released their Sebiaclear Serum.
The formula is based on three ingredients glycolic acid (3.5%), salicylic acid (1.5%), and LHA (0.45%) –– L’Oréal’s proprietary derivative of salicylic acid. The product also includes niacinamide for brightening hyperpigmentation and boosting the acids’ anti-sebum properties. There’s alcohol in the formula, but its drying effect is counteracted by niacinamide and some emollient ingredients. There’s also a bit of fragrance, but the product doesn’t have a strong scent.
All of these ingredients work together to reduce acne symptoms and the look of wrinkles and fine lines. According to a self-assessment test done by LRP, after using the serum for four weeks, people saw up to 45% fewer blemishes (I believe they mean whiteheads), up to 21% fewer blackheads, and a reduction of up to 49% of marks (hyperpigmentation). (La Roche Posay)
I must say that I agree with LRP’s testers. The product mainly works on whiteheads and hyperpigmentation. I don’t have much of a problem with whiteheads anymore, blackheads and more specifically sebaceous filaments are my main concerns. Unfortunately, this product doesn’t work well for these two, so the results have been meagre in my case. This serum reminds me of the Effaclar Duo, which I gave another try after a long time last year, but I have never reviewed it. In Europe, the Effaclar Duo is nothing other than just a moisturiser with salicylic acid; it doesn’t contain benzoyl peroxide like in the USA. The previous formula was more potent, pre-2010, I remember it irritated me a lot, but I will not trace back to see what it contained.
As for this product, I am not entirely happy with it. I wish I had skipped on it. Its effectiveness is comparable to that of a salicylic acid cleanser. But, I understand the need for this kind of product in LRP’s line up. Using a serum-type of preparation is trendy now more than ever. More and more people want to use one or feel the need to use a serum. So people who have acneic or sensitive skins may add the Effaclar Ultra Concentrated Serum to their skin regimen. Not everyone’s skin is used to strong exfoliating acid products, and this product is on the milder side, which will suit less experienced users and sensitive skins.
Overall, it is a nice, mildly exfoliating product. I would recommend it to people who want to desquamate dead skin cells without aggravating the skin. However, you may also consider using a salicylic acid cleanser. If you’re like me, someone who has been using acids for years, then skip it and go for the big guns.
AQUA / WATER ● ALCOHOL DENAT. ● PROPANEDIOL ● GLYCOLIC ACID ● NIACINAMIDE ● DIMETHYL ISOSORBIDE ● PENTYLENE GLYCOL ● SALICYLIC ACID ● SODIUM HYDROXIDE ● PEG-60 HYDROGENATED CASTOR OIL ● HYDROXYETHYLPIPERAZINE ETHANE SULFONIC ACID ● CITRIC ACID ● PEG-30 GLYCERYL COCOATE ● CAPRYLOYL SALICYLIC ACID ● BIOSACCHARIDE GUM-1 ● MALTODEXTRIN ● PHYTIC ACID ● POLYQUATERNIUM-10 ● PARFUM / FRAGRANCE (boots.com)
The Effaclar Ultra Concentrated Serum retails for around €42 (the price varies depending on the country) available from all La Roche Posay’s stockists.