Saturday, 23 June 2012

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Fluide Extreme Review and Pictures

As some of you may know, I'm currently overseas on a short summer holiday. Having a good WiFi connection here is a godsend, and I'll be able to continue blogging daily. Since I'm travelling, I decided to do a series of travel related posts about my beauty and skincare travel essentials which I've brought on this trip. In every post of this series, I will feature one travel essential that is currently in my bag, with some general tips on how to use it well and some things to avoid. At the end of the series, I will do a summary post with pictures of the entire line-up and links to all the individual review posts - remember to check back often for updates!

My Beauty and Skincare Travel Essentials Series

Part I: Sunscreen - La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Fluide Extreme

Before moving on to the review, just a word on sunscreen first*:

Ever thought that the higher the SPF (sun protection factor), the better the sun protection offered? Think again. It's a myth that has been capitalised on by many sunscreen brands that advertise sky-high SPFs to tempt the consumer who doesn't know any better. Find out why after the jump!

Sunscreen is supposed to block two kinds of UV light - UVA (causes long-term skin damage e.g. premature aging) and UVB (causes sunburn). The SPF is a measure of how well the UVB rays are absorbed by the sunscreen (thus protecting you from getting sunburn). SPF 15 protects you from 93.3%  of UVB rays, SPF 30 does so for 96.7% and SPF 50 for 98%. As you can see, large increases in SPF do not mean large increases in protection from UVB rays. Just stick to sunscreens that offer SPF 30 to 50 - that should be sufficient. To protect your skin from UVA rays, you will also need to make sure your sunscreen has a "broad-spectrum" or "UVA + UVB" label. This indicates that the sunscreen provides UVA as well as UVB protection.

My advice would be to go with sunscreens that provide between SPF 30 to 50 and (this is very important) offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays. You don't want to end up protecting yourself against sunburn, only to let your skin bear the brunt of the UVA rays, which cause premature aging. You also want to apply sunscreen (a liberal amount over your entire body, including temples, ears, the back of the neck and the top of the feet) 15-30 minutes before leaving, to ensure it is fully absorbed into the skin. After perspiring or swimming, you will need to reapply sunscreen to ensure your skin is protected.

*information adapted from "What do SPF numbers mean?" (Discovery Health)

Okay, that was more than a few words, but do heed this advice - your skin will thank you for it. On to the review of my current most favourite (and favoured) body sunscreen - La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Fluide Extreme.

This sunscreen combines everything that is good about sunscreens and somehow sidesteps all the inconveniences that other sunscreens fail to overcome.

The Pros
  • Broad UVA/UVB protection
  • SPF 50+ protection
  • Contains Mexoryl XL (one of the newest and most effective UVA-blockers) filtering system
  • Contains La-Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water (soothing and antioxidant)
  • Fragrance-free
  • Paraben free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Very water-resistant
  • Non-greasy
  • Suitable for sensitive skin prone to sun intolerance
  • Suitable for normal/combination skin
  • Does not leave whitish cast on skin
  • Light texture

The Cons
  • Pricey (US$22.95 on; S$49.90 in Watsons Singapore)


My Experiences with La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Fluide Extreme

I heard so many good things about this sunscreen that it seemed like it was the holy grail of all sunscreens. I'm someone who tans easily as I have very thin skin (seriously! You can see the arteries in my face), so sunscreen is a very important daily and travel essential to prevent from getting 1) overly tanned 2) long-term skin damage. I don't get sunburnt easily, but that doesn't mean my skin is safe from long-term skin damage caused by UVA rays, so a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection is important.

I've used a number of sunscreen brands, from Banana Boat (cheap but quite greasy) to Neutrogena (very decent for both face and body, cheaper than La Roche-Posay) to Sunplay (for face and body body, thin and watery texture, whitish cast) to Bioré (mattifying, for face). To me, La Roche-Posay is probably the best sunscreen I've ever used. It is basically everything I'm looking for in a sunscreen.

How to be a Holy Grail body sunscreen aka La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Fluide Extreme:
  • High SPF of 50+ to protect me from 98% of UVB rays? Check.
  • Mexoryl XL filtering system to protect me from UVA rays? Check.
  • Fragrance-free? Check. I hate sunscreens that smell too chemical. Plus I don't want my SO to smell "sunscreen" instead of "girl".
  • Paraben free? Check. I have sensitive skin and would want to minimise possible skin irritation.
  • Non-comedogenic? Check. I have skin that is prone to acne and black/white heads. Don't want to be clogging those pores even more!
  • Non-greasy? Check. I don't like feeling greased up. Not sexy at all.
  • No whitish cast on skin? Check. A whitish cast ends up looking a bit too unnatural.
  • Light texture? Check. I want my skin to be able to breathe! 
  • Relatively moisturising? Check. While most sunscreens are greasy, they are not moisturising. It's not the same thing!

I've even taken the initiative to show you how La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Fluide Extreme looks before blending and after it's blended out on my hand. It starts off with a texture that is slightly thinner than cream but thicker than lotion.

And when blended out, it's so sheer that 1) you can't feel it on your skin 2) there's no whitish cast. In fact, it looks like I haven't put anything on my hand at all. With so many benefits to La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Fluide Extreme, there's really nothing bad I can say about it. The price may be a bit steep, but that's because sunscreens that contain Mexoryl are generally more pricey. If you can accept that, then this would definitely be your Holy Grail body sunscreen too. Unfortunately, I don't have the facial version of this sunscreen so I can't do a comparison. But as a body sunscreen, this is fantastic stuff.

No matter what sunscreen you decide to use, remember to slap on a liberal amount of it 15-30 minutes before heading out! You need to ensure that you use a fair amount of sunscreen so that your skin receives all-round protection. Don't skip on the temples, ears, back of the neck and top of the feet as the premature aging of the skin in those areas does show up if you're not careful!

Click on the link for more information on La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Fluide Extreme on the La Roche-Posay website.

Where can I purchase it and how much does it cost?

Amazon stocks this product. Locally, you can buy this from Watsons or Guardian and other pharmacies.  I'm not too sure of the price, but it should be at least S$40. I will check when I'm back in Singapore and do an update on this.

Let's Break It Down

Product Name: La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Fluide Extreme
Product type: Sunscreen
Amount of product: 125ml
Price per product: US$22.95 on and S$49.90 in Watsons Singapore
Comments: My Holy Grail sunscreen as it has a high SPF, UVA protection, and is fragrance-free, paraben free, non-comedogenic, non-greasy, doesn't leave a whitish cast and has a light texture.
Where to buy: and local pharmacies e.g. Watsons and Guardian
To buy or not to buy: If you can spare a bit more money for an excellent sunscreen that is more or less perfect in every aspect, this is the sunscreen for you.

Product approved 5/5.

Disclaimer: I was not paid, sponsored nor influenced by external sources when reviewing this product. My opinions as expressed in the review are 100% my own.

Rachel loves sharing about the beautiful things in life from different perspectives. She writes on beauty and lifestyle in Cherchez Beauté , and does more abstract stuff on Antelune . When she's not writing, she's playing with her dog Holly, doodling and reading fiction. You can follow her on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram .