La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo & Effaclar K: Which Is Better?


Hello my fellow beauty warriors, aren’t you glad the weekend is right at your doorstep? I’m heading to Philadelphia tomorrow to visit some family so am excited to go on a short road trip — drive out on Saturday morning and zip back on Sunday arvo. I’m feeling 100% better from that short bout of flu and am busting to go for a run so I can feel strong again.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a skincare-related post. As regular readers know, I’ve become a bit shy when it comes to experimenting with new products for fear I would break out. So I would only venture into a new product if it’s had some solid raves.

When I heard about La Roche Posay’s Toleriane range for sensitive skin, I jumped on it and have used their moisturizers and toner. I started to pay more attention to their acne treatments too since I get flare-ups quite easily. Frankly I was bored to tears with my Clinique Anti-Blemish Solution Clearing Moisturizer as a salicylic lotion and was itching to find a better product.

In comes La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Duo — I was duly impressed and felt like my skin was very clear and had mininal blackheads and clogged pores. I did not break out in a rash, and although there is some fragrance, it is very slight and almost not noticeable. The product comes out like a milky gel and I only need a dime-sized amount for my whole face and I focus more on my T-Zone area, especially between my brows. I used it twice a day and was sorry to see it go after two months.

At first, I thought my skin was so great because it wasn’t near the time of the month but I can confirm that this salicylic treatment is the bomb diggity bomb. For those of you unsure what salicylic acid does, it basically exfoliates inside your pores so excess sebum doesn’t linger and clog your pores.

Even though I was more than happy with the Effaclar Duo, I had to try the Effaclar K. However, the Effaclar K seemed like it couldn’t do a good job at all and my pores were mightily clogged. The consistency of the Effaclar K is slightly more runny and it also has very minimal fragrance. I didn’t get breakouts but I felt like it didn’t do the job I wanted it to do.

Although I pretty much used up most of the product at the end of two months, I tossed it out once I could get my hands on a new tube of Effaclar Duo. My skin has improved ever since and I won’t look back, that’s for sure. All I could say is that the Effaclar Duo has more acne-preventing power with benzoyl peroxide and the Effaclar K is a diluted version with just salicylic acid.

I’ve included the blurbs and ingredients from the La Roche Posay website for both products.

What it says for the Effaclar Duo:

“Patent-pending combination of Micronized Benzoyl Peroxide [5.5%] to reduce acne and Micro-exfoliating LHA [0.4%] to exfoliate and even texture. Provides fast, visible results equivalent to the leading acne prescription…Results in only 3 days. Dual action treatment reduces the number and severity of breakouts, improves pore size. Minimal irritation. Apply all over face one to three times daily. “

Aqua / Water, Glycerin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Niacinamide, Isopropyl Lauroyl Sarcosinateammonium, Polyacryldimethyltauramide/Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl, Tauratesilicamethyl Methacrylate, Crosspolymer Sodium Hydroxide, Salicylic Acid, Nylon-12 Zinc Pcalinoleic Acid, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamatecapryloyl, Glycinecapryloyl, Salicylic Acid, Caprylyl Glycolpiroctone, Olaminemyristyl Myristate, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Glyceryl Stearate, Parfum / Fragrance

What it says for the Effaclar K:

“Daily transformation skin texture and reduction of mild acne symptoms through the exclusive combination of Retinyl Linoleate, Salicylic Acid and Micro-exfoliating LHA. Daily care to refine pores and transform skin texture. Clears acne blemishes, refines texture, and prevents reoccurrence of acne imperfections. Recommended for daily treatment of mild acne. Irregular skin texture with clogged pores, signs of blackheads and whiteheads.”

Aqua/Water, Di-C12-13, Alkyl Malatecyclohexasiloxanepropylene, Glycolaluminum, Starch, Octenylsuccinatepeg-100, Stearateglyceryl, Stearatesalicylic Acid, Zinc Pcasodium Hydroxidecapryloyl, Salicylic Acid, Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum, Acrylates/C10-30, Alkyl Acrylate, Crosspolymer, Cetyl Alcohol, Parfum / Fragrance

I don’t know about you but I can’t understand 90% of the ingredients list so I wouldn’t be able to pinpoint exactly which ingredients do what or make them decidedly different. I would wagger a guess that if you suffer from clogged pores, you would go for the Effaclar Duo, but the Effaclar K is for people who are interested in refining their pores in a gentle way.

The Effaclar Duo seems to be cheaper than the Effaclar K as well so you know which one I’m a fan of. I am not listing the prices here because the prices online range from USD19 to USD36 which is kinda crazy. I think it’s a bit above USD20 in US drugstores and 15 Euros in Europe. Another plus point for me is that I can find this in Japan so if I do run out, I can get it easily (although it would be way more expensive).

Hope you enjoyed this comparison!

Have you tried La Roche Posay Effaclar products before? Are there other anti-clogging treatments out there you like?

“Like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or Instagram (luiyuming), or subscribe to our RSS feed or Youtube to get the very latest updates, giveaways, and promotions.


  1. Great comparison Yu Ming! I have been tempted by the duo.. I think the K version has definitely run out of steam for me.. I’m just finishing it up right now.. I love the Normaderm night treatment though it has pretty much smoothed out my forehead and the appearances of blackheads .. I’m waiting for the last bit to clear. I’d still be interested to look into the duo once I run out of my Vichy! Lol

  2. @Nic: I couldn’t find the Vichy product you reviewed and it’s not sold in the US either. No matter…I love the Effaclar Duo and will stick with it for now. 😉

  3. I haven’t tried this brand, mostly because Vichy was more recommended. Definitely interested to try out their brand next time!

  4. The difference between the two was a huge mystery for me for a while as well! But I gathered that Duo is better for my break out prone skin than K which as they say is for “mild acne” – and mine is not mild. Duo is so amazing though. Love love love. Total life saver!

  5. Hi Liz, yes the Duo is a life saver indeed. To be honest I’m not sure who would use the K because it is so mild. If you don’t have a real issue with clogged pores, you would just skip this step altogether. But us clogged pored/acne-prone sistas need more sebum fighting power!!

  6. Hi Winnie, I would like to try the Vichy treatments just to compare 😉 Their moisturizer has salicylic acid and it’s sold in the US but I think there is a serum/treatment Vichy has for clogged pores.

  7. Yea, I have been using K for a month or so now, but I am not quite sure what it actually does.. have yet to see any noticeable difference…

    But very nice comparison!!

  8. Hi Yuming,

    Do you know which ingredient on the list is the micronized benzoyl peroxide?

  9. Thanks for the review, Yu Ming!
    You said you could find Effaclar Duo in Japan? Please let me in on the secret! Where? I’ve been looking for it but alas, with no success :(
    Hope you see this belated comment and thanks in advance for the answer! :)

  10. @nani: hmmm i don’t know…I have not trying using both together, or one at night and one in the morning.

  11. Hi,

    I have been prescribed lymecycline acne meds and epiduo cream. Is it safe to use all 3 products for my skin?

  12. Hi
    Sorry forgot to add:

    Epiduo cream
    Effaclar duo

  13. @Reginae: Sorry but I’m not a dermatologist so I really cannot give you advice on that. All the best.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.