Know the Difference | La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo, Europe vs. US

Many people in the beauty blogosphere abroad, at least all over Europe for now, are talking about an acne-preventive treatment that’s actually been working for many of them for acne prevention and clear skin maintenance.  The word of mouth skin renaissance that’s taking a lot of Europe by storm is brought to you by the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo.  Ever since both Tanya Burr, Ruth Crilly, and several other bloggers shared their love for the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Skin Duo treatment this reportedly has has been flying off shelves by the thousands.  The European formulation of this works as an acne-preventive all-over moisturizer.  The thing is it’s great for treating acne that exists and preventing future acne while it does the good enough job of moisturizing for daytime they say.  However STOP!  I mean stop right now, if you are in the U.S. or about to ask someone in the U.S. to get it for you because you need to know the difference in formulations between the Effaclar duo made in France and the one made in the U.S., they’re just not the same.  The one that all these girls are raving about is the one made in Europe.  Please disregard the allure stamp of approval on the U.S. image on the right, I was just too lazy to remove it even though it was distracting.  I explain to you the difference in a few seconds…just as Ruth Crilly did in this video of her monthly favorites with her mom.


The reason why the US formulation of La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo is different from the European one is is it contains 5.5 benzoyl peroxide, an intense, zit-zapping target medication for existing pimples so it certainly shouldn’t be used all over the face the way the other one can be.  The U.S. formulation is an Allure award-winning targeted spot treatment so you only put it directly on problem spots and areas, not on your entire face and I’m sure it works great that way, too.  The European Effaclar Duo formulation is a reported favorite because it’s paraben-free and they say even if you haven’t got a lot of acne all the time or if you hardly ever get zits it still works at helping unclog pores of overstaying blackheads and whiteheads (I’ve got lots) which can eventually become zits if infected.  The European Effaclar Duo fights skin congestion across the face, helps and soothes with hydration, and if you’ve got zits Ruth and/or Tanya says it supposedly eases them out properly with less damage to the skin.  I’ve actually just bought myself a tube of the European formulation off ebay from a Greek seller link here, it was 50% off and she also sells lots of other great skincare brands like Korres and Vichy Dermablend.  Hoping it arrives sooner than later.  I also gota Korres Thyme & Honey Exfoliating cleanser from the same seller which had free shipping so I bought it and made it ride along with my Effaclar duo.  They should both get here in ’bout 3 weeks.

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  • Gretchen

    Thanks for this breakdown – it was very useful!!

  • teresa

    Hi! I read your review about european and USA effaclar duo. Are you sure about this difference? I had the doubt about the use of benzoyl peroxide in the USA ones and i had some search.. Then the ingredients are the same in boths creams. Maybe there is benzoyl in boths but in europe there are law that limits the use of ingredients so la roche posay don’t explain the presence of benzoyl but in fact there is in it. I don’t think that la roche posay can spend money in serch for do different product for USA market of it World well in europe without benzoyl .. Don’t you?… What do you think about it? Anyway thank’s for tour review! Bye 🙂

  • Ben

    That’s exactly what happened to me. I got one from the US and was so happy to use it. My face felt so stinging. It’s definitely not for the whole face. I just got one from Europe. The ingredients on the two are totally different.

  • Suzanne

    Thank you for writing about this! I’ve only seen a couple comments about the difference around various product reviews, but this is a VERY IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE. I discovered the magnificent European formulation while abroad, only to come back and be stunned by how different the US one is. However, they are definitely pushing the US version here, as there are ads for it everywhere in my local CVS…

    The European has a pleasant smell, is slightly translucent, less viscous, and is OK to put all over your face. You may have a purge period when you start using it, as it really does what it’s supposed to….it cleans out your pores, so you will break out. Don’t freak out, keep at it, and within 2-3 months, you will see a difference. Your pores will get cleaner, there will be less acne, and your acne scars will diminish. This is the only product that I found has had a lasting difference on my skin.

    The US version is a stark white color, much thicker, almost pasty and granular in texture. I use it as a spot corrector, but I would not recommend putting it on your face as it is incredibly drying and harsh.

    I hope this helps. Thank you again for writing a whole post about this difference. I really wish the European version was more available in the US. I am trying your EBay method for now. Before, I was ordering from from olympiabeautystore (I live in the US) and just accepting that I was going to pay $30 for 40 ml, when you take shipping into account. I am hoping the cheaper EBay deals (there are ones that ship from Poland, Bulgaria, Spain, France) will deliver the right product for a much lesser price.

  • Stephanie

    I used to live in New York and currently live in Germany. The European version is a clear gel whereas the US one is a white cream. Not only is the consistency different, but the way it reacts with your skin is too. The european one reminds me of the Clinique Moisture Gel I normally use as my moisturizer. Much gentler on the skin.

  • I’m in Saudi Arabia and luckily we can find the European version of this product, and just I need to mention here that it’s not clear it’s white, it does it’s job very well when I apply it over my Intire face to prevent acne in a very humid city like Jeddah located a long the Red Sea, I’m so happy to find this product since nothing has worked for me before, coming from a person that had tried every single product in the market for this purpose.
    Thank you very much for the post.

  • Ana

    European Effeclar done nothing for my moderate acne as has no active clinically proven acne fighting ingredients for moderate acne. I am using benzoyl peroxide cream that I got from my doctor on prescription in 5% concentration and that is really working. American version has benzoyl 5.5% benzoyl peroxide and that is the main difference in acne fighting properties not the texture or the colour of the product. I guess European formulation may work for light acne. Thank you for pointing out this difference. I compared the list of ingredients for both myself after seeing the list of ingredients on beautypedia website.

  • Stephie Q

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR EXPLAINING THE DIFFERENCE!!!!!!!!!! I live in the US and have been gladly paying the price and patiently waiting to get the European versions of La Roche Posay, Klorane, and a few other brands across the pond. Effaclar and a few other products have recently shown up in Target chains and a few boutique stores here in the states, and I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why the new bottles were so harsh.