Sunscreen Review 2: Bioderma, La Roche-Posay

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How to cite: Wong M. Sunscreen Review 2: Bioderma, La Roche-Posay. Lab Muffin Beauty Science. July 28, 2016. Accessed April 22, 2024.

Sunscreen Review 2: Bioderma, La Roche-Posay

I have a huge love of French sunscreens – while they tend to be a bit greasier than Japanese sunscreens like Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence, the SPF and UVA protection (measured by PPD) is top notch. This time, I’m reviewing products from two of the highest protection sunscreen ranges available – Bioderma Photoderm Max and La Roche-Posay Anthelios.

Bioderma Photoderm Max Milk (Lait) and Max Ultra Fluid SPF 50+ PPD 42

Bioderma’s Photoderm Max range has ridiculously high PPD (UVA protection) values – greater than 40, compared to Japan’s highest PA++++ which translates to around PPD 16+. The main difference between the Bioderma sunscreens is texture. Bioderma Photoderm Max Milk (Lait) is a slightly runny cream that feels like a regular body sunscreen, while Bioderma Photoderm Max Ultra Fluid is a runny liquid (there’s also the Cream and Aquafluid available).

I much prefer the Milk, which rubs in reasonably well on my skin, though it leaves a slightly tacky layer that goes away when I douse it with some translucent powder. The Ultra Fluid claims to have a “non-oily texture” but on my oily skin it just feels like straight-up oil. It contains a lot of cyclopentasiloxane, and silicones have never played well with my skin so I really should’ve known better. If your skin likes silicones, you might have better luck. They’re also both fragrance free and paraben free, if you’re sensitive to either of these. As with most European sunscreens, the full ingredient listings can be easily found on the packaging or online.

The catch is… they’re not available in Australia, and as far as I know Bioderma have no plans to bring the Photoderm line here. Boo! I’m guessing the reason is that Australian sunscreen regulations are very stringent due to our crazy UV levels and thin ozone (lots of in vivo tests on human volunteers required), so it’s pretty expensive to get new sunscreen products approved. It’s available in the US and in Europe, and it’s very reasonably priced in France. Load up if you or a friend go on holiday there!

  • Pros: awesome UVA protection, complete ingredient listings available, fragrance-free and paraben-free (only relevant if you’re sensitive), reasonably priced in France (about 8 for 40 mL), different textures available
  • Cons: not available in Australia, expensive in most places outside of France

Bioderma Photoderm Max Lait SPF 50+ PPD 42 ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Octocrylene, Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Cyclopentasiloxane, C20-22 Alkyl Phosphate, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, C20-22 Alcohols, Decyl Glucoside, Cyclohexasiloxane, Pentylene Glycol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Ectoin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Propylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol.

Bioderma Photoderm Max Ultra Fluide SPF 50+ PPD 42 ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Octocrylene, Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Glycerin, Isononyl Isononanoate, Propylene Glycol, PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Lauryl PEG/PPG-18/18 Methicone, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Ectoin, Mannitol, Xylitol, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Citrate, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Xanthan Gum, Lactic Acid, Propylene Carbonate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

Sunscreen Review 2: Bioderma, La Roche-Posay

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Cream SPF 60

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt-In Cream is a French sunscreen that’s actually available in the US. Weirdly enough, “Melt-In Cream” (Crème Fondante) isn’t easy to find in France for some reason, despite me looking in every freaking pharmacy I walked past and seeing 10 other LRP sunscreens.

The Melt-In Cream has a great texture – it’s a lot like a thick moisturiser without feeling like it’s all sitting on top of the skin after you finish applying it. It’s still a bit sticky though, so I’d recommend putting powder on top. I didn’t have a massive problem with white cast but there’s 4.15% titanium dioxide so darker skin could have problems there.

The Canadian version has a PPD (UVA protection factor) of 42.

Interestingly, even though there’s often a known PPD value for Australian sunscreens, they’re not allowed to publicise it due to some weird regulation (which I hope goes away soon, because I’m sure lots of people are like me and like exact values for things like how much wrinkle prevention a sunscreen gives).

Active: Octocrylene 10%, Titanium Dioxide 4.15%, Avobenzone 3.5%, Drometrizole Trisiloxane (Mexoryl XL) 3%, Terephthalylidene Dicamphor Sulfonic Acid (Mexoryl SX) 3%.
Inactive: Aqua, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Triethanolamine, Isopropyl Palmitate, Stearic Acid, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Dimethicone, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Aluminum Hydroxide, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycine Soja, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Methylparaben, PEG-100 Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Propylparaben, Stearyl Alcohol, Tocopherol

  • Pros: great UVA protection (PPD ), good texture, full ingredients listing available
  • Cons: expensive, white cast

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18 thoughts on “Sunscreen Review 2: Bioderma, La Roche-Posay”

  1. Again – please consider the impact of these sunscreens on the environment. They are killing the coral reefs. Please use only sunscreens that do not have nano-particles. That’s pretty much zinc oxide.

    • That’s incorrect. “Nanoparticles” only refers to nano-sized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The other ingredients (“chemical sunscreens”) are dissolved entirely in the sunscreen and aren’t particulate.

      Like I wrote in the comments of the previous post, the only ingredients that have been documented to have a possible effect on coral is oxybenzone (benzophenone-3) and nano-sized zinc and titanium oxides (and perhaps also octinoxate (ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate), and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor).

  2. Great post, as always 🙂
    My favourite is the MD Elta UV Clear 46, it doesn’t break me out like La Roche Posay does and acts as a great primer for makeup. Unfortunately there are no Aussie stockists so I have it shipped from New Zealand.

    • Ugh, how annoying! I’ve been recommended the Elta MD sunscreens a few times but getting them has been too much of a pain.

    • A heads up, the Elta you refer to has done terribly in lab tests for actual sun protection. That explains why I tanned often while using it. I had a hunch that it wasn’t really doing enough.

  3. The Bioderma Lait is currently my everyday sunscreen and I really like most things about it (in particular that great UVA Rating), but it does make my face look quite greasy, particularly if I apply it at the 2mg/square cm (or as close to it as I can get). I’ve also considered maybe just putting some powder on top, but I’m scared that I might remove some of the sunscreen that way or render it less effective. But you mentioned that you douse it with some powder, so would it be okay to do that? Do you apply powder over sunscreen the same way you would over normal foundation or do you use some special/different technique? I’m sorry if those are silly questions!

    • Doing anything will affect the protection, but I’m willing to sacrifice a little protection to not look like a shiny spoon! I try not to move the brush sideways too much, and just dab straight up and down to try to minimise the disturbance.

      • Thank you so much for your reply!
        Yeah, that’s how I feel about it, too.
        I have another question, I hope it’s not too weird. I’ve always thought that the Tinosorbs are pretty much the best sunscreen ingredients for UVA-Protection, but I recently saw someone saying that they don’t protect well against UVA-1 at all and that they basically don’t cover the range from 380 to 400 nm at all. Is that true? (and if so, which sunscreen filters are best for UVA-1 coverage?)

  4. Hi Michelle! Great post, as always. I never knew about the great UVA values of french sunscreens before. Just ordered a bioderma one thanks to you 😉
    I have a problem with sunscreens though. For some reason they stain white clothes yellow for me and those stains are not that easy to wash out if I don’t wash them immediately.
    This is okay for white shirts, but not for my lab coats. We give them to a wash salon once a week and they come back still yellowish around the neck line.
    I’m not a chemist and I have no idea why those yellow stains happen. If you can figure out, this would be another interesting post, maybe?

  5. Hi Michelle, have you used Skinceuticals sunscreens before? I like using physical sunscreen (currently using Kosmea spf 30, it’s wonderful but I fear spf 30 is not enough) and Skinceuticals Fusion Spf 50 sounds pretty good, but I want to check your opinion first.

  6. Hello Michelle.
    Do you use the Bioderma Photoderm Max Milk on your face? Ordered it online from Portugal because it has the highest PPD. Living in the tropical country like the Philippines I figured I needed a higher PPD cause even when indoors or using an umbrella I can still feel the heat/glare of the sun.


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