La Roche-Posay Effaclar Ultra Concentrated Serum – Review

Let me start by saying that this product is not the same as the Effaclar Serum [aff] 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. 

Ingredients: 

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 is available from Amazon [aff].

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2 thoughts on “La Roche-Posay Effaclar Ultra Concentrated Serum – Review

  1. I am new to glycolic acid, and I’m using it 2 nights a week as I use their retinol serum 5 nights a week. I have sensitive skin, occasional hormonal acne, and am 49. I wanted to add a gentle glycolic exfoliant. I use their C10 serum in the morning. The Effaclar serum’s directions say it is for daily use. Do you think it’s doing anything for me with twice weekly usage?

    1. Hi,
      It will definitely do some desquamation, but you may benefit from something more potent depending on why you want to use glycolic acid. If you use it only to exfoliate your skin then it’s okay. For occasional breakouts, you may go for a salicylic acid cleanser in the morning before your vitamin C serum. If you use glycolic acid for hyperpigmentation, you may consider Neostrata’s glycolic acid exfoliants (I have reviewed two products) and apply them less frequently or use a glycolic acid face wash. The glycolic acid in this product is at a low concentration, it was added purely to facilitate salicylic acid by removing dead skin cells.

      Alternatively, you may opt for treatments with azelaic acid, which causes less irritation and brings excellent results (my favourite AzA treatment is Skinoren/Finacea). AzA works for acne, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation. Since you have sensitive skin, it may be a better choice for you.

      But, if you want to use glycolic acid and retinol, be careful, as these two can cause a lot of irritation if used together. Also, make sure that you’re diligent about sun protection.

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