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.
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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