Our Verdict on the $60 Serum That Promises to Reduce the Appearance of Breakouts & Ageing

Raise your hand if you're time poor... And on a budget... And have limited space in your already squishy beauty routine for a fancy new product? Same.

If this resonates with you, ready your face because we need to talk about a very good new multi-use skincare product.

Namely, the brand new serum from La Roche-Posay that reckons it can target breakouts and the appearance of ageing, at the same time.

The brand's Effaclar product range is a go-to for acne-prone skin (you can read a rave review of the Effaclar duo cleanser and moisturiser here), but does this new Effaclar serum live up to its promise?

Keep scrolling to find out exactly how the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Ultra Concentrated Serum works, plus my review.

What Is the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Ultra Concentrated Serum?

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La Roche-Posay Effaclar Ultra Concentrated Serum 30ml is the newest product from the French pharmacy brand's Effaclar range.

Effaclar products, including this new serum, have been formulated to help manage the concerns of acne-prone and/or oily skin like enlarged pores, excess oil production, blackheads and blemishes.

The difference? They go about doing their job without drying the skin out like some other harsh 'anti-acne' products that must not be named. (You know, the ones that used to bleach your towels...)

The La Roche-Posay Effaclar serum promises to reduce the appearance of breakouts, blemishes and imperfections over time.

Bonus points: It may also help reduce the visible signs of premature ageing (think fine lines, uneven skin texture and sun spots).

What Are the Main Effaclar Serum Ingredients?

Here's a quick rundown of the ingredients in the new Effaclar serum:

  • LHA - A gentle peeling acid that micro exfoliates and refines the appearance of pores.

  • Glycolic Acid - An AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) that exfoliates the surface layers of the skin to encourage cell turnover and brighten the appearance of skin tone and texture.

  • Salicylic Acid - An oil-soluble BHA (beta hydroxy acid) that can exfoliate deeper within the pore to regulate oil production and improve the appearance of blemishes over time.

  • Niacinamide - Vitamin B3 helps refine the appearance of pores and supports the skin barrier.

You can learn more about how salicylic acid works in our YouTube video below.

This combination of exfoliating ingredients is how this serum can address the appearance of blemishes and signs of ageing in the one bottle.

If you're a beginner to skincare products containing active ingredients (ingredients that can cause a visible change in the skin), start slow and apply every second or third night on cleansed skin before any other hydrating serums or moisturisers.

You can build up to daily evening use, or even switch between this and your favourite vitamin A product on alternate nights.

My La Roche-Posay Effaclar Serum Review.

The first thing I thought of when I heard about this serum was:

This sounds an awful lot like SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense Serum - but for half the price.

I don't use the word ''dupe'' lightly, so now I've tried both serums, here's what you need to know.

First up, let's talk texture. If you've used any of the other La Roche-Posay serums, you'll know to expect a light yet slightly sticky texture and a fairly strong, clinical scent. The clear, watery serum feels cooling on the skin and sinks in quickly. I also didn't experience any tingling or stinging. Win!

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Comparatively, the SkinCeuticals serum is light and watery, but smoother and silkier in texture. It glides onto the skin and won't leave any tacky or sticky residue. It won't pill or ball up when layered with other products either, but it does have a distinct scent.

Formulation-wise, SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Defense is more potent, meaning it contains higher concentrations of active ingredients. Reviewers on the Adore product page agree you'd use this one every second or third night, whereas the Effaclar serum is suitable for everyday use if that's what your skin enjoys.

So, if you're deciding between these two serums:

  • Effaclar would make a great beginner blemish and 'anti-ageing' serum for oily and acne-prone skin types, and is a cost-effective serum anyone could use to manage occasional breakouts.

  • The SkinCeuticals serum is the ultra high-performance version and suited to those wanting bang for buck in treating acne and ageing at the same time, hence the higher price tag.

FYI we talk about how to build a skincare routine for acne-prone skin in this episode of the Skincare School podcast below.

My Verdict...

I can't speak to the promised long-term benefits of using this serum because A) I have mild breakouts, as opposed to acne-prone skin and B) it takes at least a few months of consistent use before you'll see any real results from a product.

But I do really rate this serum so far.

It's easy to use, feels nice on the skin and I've noticed when I pop some on my chin and jawline before bed, my pimples don't look as angry and inflamed when I wake up the next morning.

Oh, and the price is pretty great for a serum containing active ingredients.

Whether you're after a product specifically for acne-prone skin or already love the existing Effeclar products, or just want to try something new (and affordable!!!) for your occasional blemishes, this serum is it.

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