La Roche Posay Sunscreen Review: A Review of The 5 Best La Roche Posay Sunscreens

SKIN CARE REVIEWS

11.10.21DISCLAIMER

If you have sensitive skin or you’re struggling with a condition like acne or rosacea, you know how challenging it can be to find a good sunscreen. 

Many sunscreens include common irritants like fragrance and parabens, while others include pore-clogging ingredients that lead to breakouts.

If this predicament sounds all too familiar, you may want to consider the La Roche Posay sunscreen collection. 

Recommended by tens of thousands of dermatologists across the globe, La Roche Posay has become known for skin care products formulated for those with sensitive skin, and their sunscreen collection is no exception.

The line of face and body sunscreens for sensitive skin includes a variety of products with SPF, such as moisturizers, serums, lotions, sprays, primers, and more — with a total of 18 different sunscreen products!

We understand that it may seem daunting to choose between so many different products, so we’ve narrowed down the 5 best La Roche Posay Sunscreens. 

Below we’ll cover the formulation details, including the key ingredients in La Roche Posay Sunscreens and the research that supports (or doesn’t support) their use in skincare.

And to get a better idea of how well these sunscreens perform, we’ll share some La Roche Posay Sunscreen reviews from real customers. 

What are the Best Skin Care Products of 2022?

Is La Roche Posay Worth The Money?

A common question about this brand is if the products are worth the cost.

In our opinion, La Roche Posay products deliver value for money, but take a look at other brands that don’t require you to sacrifice your precious money.

We recommend brands that are committed to developing clean yet effective products.

One brand is Carrot & Stick, a clean skincare brand that perfectly balances the gentle nurturing of plants with the powerful results of innovative science.

Carrot & Stick intro bundles deliver great value for money because you can bundle 3 full-size products worth up to $240 for $88.

What Are The Top 5 Best La Roche Posay Sunscreens?

Here’s our breakdown of the top 5 best La Roche Posay Sunscreens: 

La Roche Posay Tinted Sunscreen for Face SPF 50

La Roche Posay Tinted Sunscreen is a true multi-tasker; it acts as your moisturizer, sunscreen, and makeup — all in one product! 

While this moisturizer can be used by all skin types, those with oily skin will especially enjoy the oil-absorbing properties of silica. This ingredient also provides a silky feel and soft focus effect.

We love that the formula includes the mineral sunscreen titanium dioxide, which provides broad spectrum SPF 50 protection. And you don’t have to worry about a white cast since the formula is tinted with iron oxides. 

However, based on the reviews we read, some customers noticed the tint looked orange after application. For example, one review says, “I love it, but if you’re fair to light complexion, it’s so orange. Like oompa loompa orange. I wish it came in another tint color.”

In contrast, many customers love the La Roche Posay Tinted Sunscreen, as one reviewer shares “​​This goes on just wonderfully. I like that it is tinted because then I use it as more of a BB cream on days I don’t want to wear makeup.”

Bottom Line: La Roche Posay Tinted Sunscreen is a 100% mineral sunscreen that provides broad spectrum SPF 50 protection while also functioning as a moisturizer and primer, but the universal tint may not be suitable for all skin tones.

ALTERNATIVES: Carrot & Stick The Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50. Formulated with mineral sunscreen; there are no harsh chemicals that can harm skin and the environment, including our oceans. 

 

La Roche Posay Melt In Sunscreen Milk

The brand’s most popular sunscreen is the La Roche Posay Melt In Sunscreen Milk. The formula has a velvety texture that glides onto the skin and absorbs quickly; no white cast or greasy mess with this La Roche Posay sunscreen!

That’s because the brand uses four chemical sunscreen ingredients in this product, including avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene. Together, these ingredients provide broad spectrum SPF 60 protection. 

The silky feel of La Roche Posay Melt In Sunscreen Milk is due to high concentrations of silicones like dimethicone and polymethylsilsesquioxane. While these ingredients may be hard to pronounce, they are considered very safe for the skin because they aren’t absorbed (they’re polymers that are way too large to be absorbed into the skin). 

Even though silicones aren’t absorbed, they can still provide numerous benefits. We already mentioned they contribute to the formula’s silky texture. Once applied, silicones form a non-greasy, non-sticky invisible film that prevents the loss of moisture from the surface. This film still allows oxygen, nitrogen, and other important nutrients to pass through but blocks water from evaporating.

Additionally, silicones help to “blur” the look of fine lines and wrinkles and minimize the appearance of pores. They also help even out skin texture (temporarily) and allow makeup to go on smoother and last longer. 

Bottom Line: La Roche Posay Melt In Sunscreen Milk has a velvety texture that absorbs quickly in order to hydrate, smooth, and protect skin with broad spectrum SPF 60.

Related: Best Sunscreens for face 

 

La Roche Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid 

This La Roche Posay Mineral Sunscreen is ideal for those with oily skin, or anyone who wants to create a matte finish. 

The 100% mineral formula includes two physical sunscreens, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, to provide broad spectrum SPF 50 protection. 

The brand claims that this sunscreen provides “powerful antioxidant protection” with senna alata extract and vitamin E, but if you look at the ingredient list, you’ll see that there’s very low concentrations of both of these ingredients. 

If you want to protect your skin from environmental free radical damage, we recommend using a highly concentrated antioxidant formula such as SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic or Formulyst Active Serum. You can layer these antioxidant serums underneath your La Roche Posay Sunscreen for added protection. 

Bottom Line: This La Roche Posay Sunscreen provides broad spectrum SPF 50 protection with a 100% mineral formula that creates a matte finish. 

 

La Roche Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Oil Free Sunscreen SPF 60

Another La Roche Posay Sunscreen that’s great for anyone with oily and/or acne-prone skin is the Anthelios Clear Skin Oil Free Sunscreen. ​​This oil free sunscreen provides broad spectrum SPF 60 protection while absorbing pore-clogging oil, even in heat and humidity.

That’s because the formula includes a high concentration of silica, a type of powder with a spherical bead shape that provides a silky feel and soft focus effect. It’s lightweight and is able to absorb a significant amount of oil from skin.

The formula also includes perlite, a powder derived from volcanic rock, which is able to absorb water or oil and is known to provide a matte finish on skin.

And, of course, the formula contains four chemical sunscreen ingredients in this product, including avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene. Together, these ingredients provide broad spectrum SPF 60 protection. 

Bottom Line: La Roche Posay Clear Skin Oil Free Sunscreen is ideal for those with oily and/or acne-prone skin due to the oil-absorbing ingredients silica and perlite. 

 

La Roche Posay Anthelios AOX Antioxidant Serum SPF 50

Anthelios AOX Antioxidant Serum SPF 50 is a lightweight daily face serum that is said to help visibly improve the appearance of fine lines, dark spots, and skin texture. This serum is formulated with Cell-Ox Shield Technology, offering broad spectrum SPF 50 protection plus an antioxidant complex.

The antioxidants in this formula include tocopherol (vitamin E), ascorbyl glucoside (vitamin C derivative), baicalin derived from Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese skullcap) root extract, and cassia alata leaf extract. 

Bottom Line: This La Roche Posay face serum provides protection against the sun’s UV rays, as well as environmental free radicals. 

Which La Roche Posay Sunscreen is Best?

While the best La Roche Posay sunscreen will depend on your skin type and concerns, we believe that the La Roche Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid is one of the best formulations by the brand.

That’s because the 100% mineral formula effortlessly blends into the skin, creating a beautiful matte finish while providing broad spectrum SPF 50 protection. It’s also fragrance-free and paraben-free, making it a great option for those with sensitive skin. 

What Are The Key Ingredients in La Roche Posay Sunscreens?

La Roche Posay offers both chemical sunscreens and mineral sunscreens, which may leave you wondering; what’s the difference? Does it matter which type I use? And what exactly is the “Cell-Ox Shield Technology” that’s used in almost every La Roche Posay sunscreen? Below we’ll answer these questions and more about the key ingredients in La Roche Posay sunscreens. 

Cell-Ox Shield Technology
The Cell-Ox Shield Technology used in La Roche Posay sunscreens offers a two-pronged approach to skin protection: broad spectrum UVA/UVB and antioxidant protection.

As the first line of defense, Cell-Ox Shield Technology features a patented combination of five UV filters: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone.

These are all classified as chemical sunscreen agents, which protect the skin by first absorbing UV light, then transforming that light energy into some other form of energy, such as heat. 

A benefit of chemical sunscreens is their ability to defend the deeper layers of skin, including collagen fibers and other tissue, against the aging effects of UVA rays, as well as preventing penetration by the UVB rays responsible for tanning and sunburn.

A drawback of chemical sunscreens is that they are thinner than physical sunscreens and therefore, rub off easier and must be reapplied more frequently. 

Another more serious drawback of chemical sunscreens is that research has shown they do absorb through the skin and into the bloodstream.

Plus, one of the five chemical sunscreen ingredients, oxybenzone, is known to cause adverse effects. For example, the American Cancer Society says, “Some studies have shown oxybenzone can cause skin allergies. In addition, studies in animals and in human cells in laboratories show that oxybenzone can interfere with how some hormones work.”

The second line of defense in Cell-Ox Shield technology is an antioxidant complex. Antioxidants limit oxidative damage caused by free radicals, the unstable molecules that contribute to the formation of premature wrinkles and fine lines on the skin.

One of the antioxidant ingredients in this complex is an extract from Cassia alata, a plant extract indigenous to tropical regions, which has a self-defense mechanism that protects against cell damage. 

Mineral (Physical) Sunscreen Ingredients
We love that there’s several 100% mineral sunscreens in the La Roche Posay sunscreen collection.

Mineral — also known as physical — sunscreens include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These ingredients protect your skin by using physical UV filters to block or deflect UV light. 

Physical sunscreens tend to be better tolerated by most skin types because they are not absorbed into the skin. Thus, they are especially useful for those with heat sensitive skin (i.e. rosacea patients) as well as those with acne-prone skin as they are typically less pore-clogging.  

However, physical sunscreens are thicker than chemical sunscreens and can often leave a white cast after application. One way to get around this issue is to look for a mineral sunscreen with a tint, such as the La Roche Posay Tinted Sunscreen. 

Why Broad Spectrum Sunscreen is Important

Whether you choose a physical or a chemical sunscreen, it’s important that it is a broad spectrum sunscreen

According to the FDA, broad spectrum means that the sunscreen can protect skin from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. UVA rays can prematurely age your skin, whereas UVB rays can burn your skin. Both types of rays can cause skin cancer.

Fortunately, all La Roche Posay sunscreens are broad spectrum. 

How Much SPF Do I Need?
You may have noticed that all La Roche Posay sunscreens have a very high sun protection factor (SPF), such as 50 or 60. 

SPF is defined by the FDA as “how well a sunscreen protects you from sunburn”. Thus, the number following SPF on a sunscreen label tells you how much UVB light that sunscreen can filter out.

For example, SPF 15 can filter 93% of the sun’s UVB rays, whereas SPF 30 can filter 97%. 

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30. Anything above SPF 30 is not usually necessary as it has little incremental benefit and below 30 does not offer enough protection.

La Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water
A final key aspect of the La Roche Posay sunscreen collection is the brand’s Thermal Spring Water. Originating from the N°1 thermal dermatology center in Europe, La Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water has scientifically demonstrated soothing and protective properties.

The water is rich in selenium and oligo elements, and it also has natural prebiotic properties. Prebiotics are a type of non-digestible fiber compound that provide indirect benefits by enhancing the growth or activity of beneficial microorganisms that make up the skin’s microbiome.

How Much Do La Roche Posay Sunscreens Cost?

La Roche Posay sunscreens are pretty affordable, with the prices being comparable to higher end drugstore brands such as Olay and CeraVe. For example, the ​​La Roche Posay Tinted Sunscreen costs $33.50 USD for 1.7 fl oz, while the La Roche Posay Melt In Sunscreen Milk costs $35.99 USD for 5 fl oz. 

Where to Buy La Roche Posay Sunscreen?

La Roche Posay Sunscreens are sold on the brand’s website, as well as third party online retailers, such as Dermstore.com, Amazon.com, Ulta.com, and more.

You can also find this brand in drug stores such as Walgreens and CVS, as well as beauty supply stores like Ulta. The brand has a store locator on their website so that you can find La Roche Posay skin care products near you.

What is The La Roche Posay Return Policy?

The La Roche Posay return policy states, “If for some reason you’re not happy with your order, you can return it in its original packaging with a receipt within 30 days and receive a full refund. Simply complete the Return Form attached to the bottom of your invoice with the information requested. Pack the item(s) to be returned, along with the Return Form, in the original package if possible. Orders are limited to 1 complimentary return label per order. We cannot process exchanges at this time.”

Is La Roche Posay Cruelty Free?

No, La Roche Posay is not cruelty free because La Roche Posay skin care products are sold in mainland China where animal testing is required by law. 

La Roche Posay Sunscreen Reviews

La Roche Posay Sunscreen reviews on the brand’s website are overall very positive. One product that has received plenty of positive feedback is the La Roche Posay Melt In Sunscreen Milk, which has earned an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars after more than 1,000 customer reviews.

The positive reviews for the La Roche Posay Melt In Sunscreen Milk mention that it applies easily, can be worn under makeup, and doesn’t cause irritation. 

For example, one review says, “This is my second time purchasing Anthelios Melt-In Milk Sunscreen. I love that it has no scent and is non irritating on my sensitive skin. Another plus is that a little goes a very long way, which justifies the cost in my opinion. The only thing I don’t like is that you have to be careful how much you squeeze the tube as it’s a very milky formula and will dispense a large quantity if you are not careful.”

And another 5-star review says, “I run 3 times a week and I am very fair . This melt in sunscreen works great and does not burn my eyes when I sweat. I also wear it under makeup!”

However, there are a handful of negative reviews for the La Roche Posay Melt In Sunscreen Milk from customers who did not like the consistency of this sunscreen, and others mention that it pills when used with other skin care products. 

There’s also negative reviews for the Melt In Sunscreen Milk from customers who said it leaves a white cast, which is strange since the formula does not contain mineral sunscreen (the ones responsible for causing a white cast). 

For example, one review says, “I really trust La Roche Posay because I have heard great reviews about their sunscreens and I personally love their foaming cleanser. Upon reading the reviews for this sunscreen, I decided to go ahead with the purchase and was disappointed. This has a terrible white cast (I am a medium tan) and pills with my other skincare. A few hours later the sunscreen seemed to be creasing in my fine lines (forehead lines, neck lines, & smile lines) and was visibly white/could be rubbed off. It made me feel very greasy (lotion consistency) and I overall did not like it. I’m sure it provides great protection from the sun (great ingredients/company) but all the things I listed are deal breakers.”

A similar 1-star review says, “The worst sunscreen I have use so far. The good part about it is that it smells good but as soon as I start applying the product it leaves white cast and starts peeling my moisturizer. I would not recommend this to many people unless you just want to give it a shot.”

Our Verdict

Overall, we think that La Roche Posay sunscreens are formulated well, although we’d recommend the 100% mineral products over the chemical sunscreen formulations. 

Pros

  • La Roche Posay sunscreens provide broad spectrum protection with high SPF values
  • The brand has a sunscreen for every skin type, even those with sensitive skin or acne-prone skin
  • Fragrance-free, paraben-free formulas
  • Many positive La Roche Posay Sunscreen reviews

Cons

  • La Roche Posay is not cruelty free
  • Chemical sunscreen ingredients are absorbed into the bloodstream
  • Oxybenzone is linked to side effects

What Are Some Alternatives to La Roche Posay Sunscreens?

If you’re looking for skincare products to defend your skin against damage and aging, we recommend Carrot & Stick. Carrot & Stick maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones, resulting in advanced skincare solutions that help promote healthy, more youthful-looking skin. We recommend this defence serum and sunscreen.

References:
JAMA. 2019;321(21):2082-2091.
American Academy of Dermatology “How to Decode Sunscreen Labels”
American Cancer Society “How Safe Is Your Sunscreen?” Aug 2018

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