90,000 Dermatologists Worldwide Recommend This French Drugstore Brand as the Best for Sensitive Skin
"La Roche-Posay has always been a line that is for treatment of skin conditions, as opposed to a cosmetic line," says Shirley Chi, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in California. "It really is a drugstore line, but in my opinion, it is of higher quality than most of the department store lines. They don't spend their money on packaging, or marketing. They spend their money on the development of the product and clinical research." Most of the products cost $35 and below.
What makes the brand so sensitive-skin-friendly is the fact that the formulas only include what's necessary. "There are very few ingredients in their products compared to other lines," says Dr. Chi. "A lot of brands are heavy on perfumes and they're heavy on preservatives because they got to have a long shelf life if they're sold in department stores."
Dr. Chi first learned about La Roche-Posay when she was in a pharmacy in Paris 20 years ago. She started bringing the products back to the United States to use herself, and then began carrying the line in her dermatology office. She's since visited the brand's home, La Roche-Posay—a small town in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of western France—and seen firsthand where the products' signature thermal spring water comes from.
"The thermal water has a special mix of naturally occurring trace elements in it, like selenium, in a specific composition that when you apply them to your skin, they promote a healthy microbiome, which is the flora of your skin that's naturally there," says Dr. Chi. The town is also home to a thermal spring treatment center where doctors actually write prescriptions for weeks-long says for patients managing skin issues like eczema, psoriasis, and burns. "They put everybody on a personalized regimen and then they do hours of treatment every day."
Though a trip to the thermal springs is inaccessible for most, you can reap the benefits of the water by shopping and trying the La Roche-Posay products below.
10 La Roche-Posay products that dermatologists love
Dermatologists love hyaluronic acid serum because it’s like a vacuum, sucking water into your pores from the air around you. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York, is a fan of La Roche-Posay’s HA-infused serum. “It satisfies all the criteria: it’s hypoallergenic and great for all skin types,” he says.
The Toleriane Double Repair Moisturizer UV SPF 30 is a wintertime favorite of Mona Gohara, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Connecticut, because it’s super hydrating. “This product is definitely packing a one-two punch,” says Dr. Gohara. “You can walk out the door and feel moisturized and protected all at the same time.”
The Effaclar Duo Dual Acne Treatment contains benzoyl peroxide, an ingredient that Sandra Lee, MD, aka Dr. Pimple Popper, says is great for acne. “Benzoyl peroxide is an antibacterial ingredient that is going to kill the Propionibacterium acnes, or p.acnes for short, bacteria that are responsible for those big, angry, red, and inflamed pimples,” says Dr. Lee. It pairs the ingredient with lipo-hydroxy acid, which further aids in removing dirt and debris from pores in order to leave you with a smoother, clearer complexion.
If you’re managing blackheads, Caren Campbell, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in California says to look out for cleansers that include salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. She likes the Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser for Acne Prone Skin. It contains 2 percent salicylic acid and is free of pore-clogging oils, harsh exfoliants, and drying ingredients.
As the air gets dryer and cooler, now is the time to get the best creams for dry skin. The Lipikar Balm AP+ Intense Repair Body Cream for Extra Dry Skin is “a rich lotion that helps even eczema-prone skin,” says Susan Van Dyke, MD, an Arizona-based board-certified dermatologist. “Lipid replenishment gives up to 48 hours of hydration and reduces dry, rough skin.”
A gentle cleanser is great for anyone with sensitive skin. Melissa Levin, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City recommends the Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Face Cleanser to people dealing with issues like acne or dry patches from wearing face masks.
Even if you have oily skin, you still need a moisturizer. “Avoiding a moisturizer altogether can allow disruption of the skin barrier, and this causes a cycle of irritation as well as breakouts,” says Michele Farber, MD, a board-certified dermatologist based in Philadelphia. She likes the Effaclar Mat Daily Moisturizer because “it has shine-reducing ingredients like perlite and silica, and also provides moisture.”
Though you wouldn’t typically want to use the same cleanser on your face and body, the Lipikar Wash AP+ Body and Face Wash was designed so you can do just that. “It’s formulated with lipid-replenishing ingredients, such as glycerin and shea butter, which helps strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier and alleviate dryness,” says Angela J. Lamb, MD, an associate professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
The Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk SPF 60 is an absolute favorite of Rachel Nazarian, MD, a board-certified dermatologist New York City. “It goes on so lightweight and has a super high SPF,” she says.”This is the sort of thing I would wear during the summertime or at the beach. Even people who hate wearing sunscreen on their body seem to tolerate this well—that includes my husband!”
If you’re looking to get a high-quality drugstore retinol serum, Dr. Chi recommends the Redermic R Anti-Aging Retinol Serum. It works to visibly reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage while smoothing skin texture. “It’s probably the strongest over-the-counter retinol,” she says. At $50. it’s one of the brand’s more expensive products, but Dr. Chi says it’s among the best you can get without a prescription.
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