Free shipping on all orders over $39

Reviewed and Recommended: Anthelios SX

May 7, 2008 Reviewed by Marta 6 Comments

Today I was given a tube of Anthelios SX Daily Moisturizing Cream with Sunscreen. As moisturizers go, it is beyond mediocre with the usual silicones and glycerins. What makes this cream, made by La Roche-Posay, interesting is the sunscreen. It promises to offer an impressive full-spectrum protection, including UVA rays.


There are three sunscreen ingredients in Anthelios. Octocrylene for blocking UVB rays. Avobenzone for blocking UVAs. And something called Ecamsule that blocks the UVA rays that Avobenzone misses. Put them altogether and this is a sunscreen whose power to block rays leaves mineral sunscreens in the shade.


I hadn't realized until today (I attended a lecture given by L'Oreal's skin scientist at the Alliance Francaise) quite how important it is to keep UVAs away from your skin. UVBs cause burning, so for a long time sunscreens focused on those and assumed the As were relatively benign. Not so, they penetrate deeper into the epidermis and damage collagen and DNA. 95% of the UV rays that reach our skin are As and they are everywhere. Unlike Bs, they can pass through windows and clouds. They are assaulting me as I write this.


Ecamsule is also known as Mexoryl. The patents to Mexoryl are owned by L'Oreal (the parent company of La Roche-Posay). So you will only it in L'Oreal products. There is an Anthelios sunscreen as well.



  • June 30, 2013

    by Barbara

    Hi Marta, are there any US products that have this with zinc or titanium oxide rather than avobenzone? I think that would be better and safer. And I hate using avobenzone on my face, it stings my eyes.

  • August 14, 2008

    by marta

    <p>Thank you Aikanae for such a thoughtful post. You clearly have every right to take it personally. The regulation of something that should actually be saving lives is a shambles. </p>

  • August 13, 2008

    by aikanae

    <p>Mexoryl was approved in Europe, Canada, Australia for 13-17 years before the FDA approved it and they required no additional studies before finally approving it (pressure from dermatologists and the public). Products containing mexoryl were available in the U.S. because of lax enforcement by the FDA - until 6 months before it's approval. Other brands, such as Ombrelle (which had a U.S. version without mexoryl v. for the rest of the world) which produced a less expensive, kids' and sports versions were removed from the shelves in the U.S. It is still available in Canada and elsewhere (and owned by L'Oreal).</p>

    <p>For the rest of the world, mexoryl is available in a variety of products including tinted creams (foundation makeup) and it's a generic. In the U.S. patent rights have just started for L'Oreal and the reason products have become even more difficult to get after it's approval. </p>

    <p>It's hard for me to take some of the propaganda surrounding sunscreens not personally. I have life-threatening, young age skin cancer. This is no joke. The lawsuit against suncreams in the U.S. used astonishing numbers proving that MORE people were dying using sunscreams that provided inadequate protection. Consumer Reports independent tests showed that even those claiming SPF 30+ actually only offered half of that for UVB. </p>

    <p>The point of all this is to say cosmetics in the U.S. are a multi-billion dollar, unregulated industry. Even the new standards for suncreams are "on their honor". Other countries have much tougher regulations and testing standards. If it's good there, it's good for me. </p>

    <p>It's also a highly charged political process. Since mexoryl's approval, there has been a backlash disclaiming it offers anything beyond standard ingredients that were already being used. Some well meaning consumer groups are reprinting that information turning it into fact. Obviously that's not true. </p>

    <p>Suncreams are not a free pass to be in the sun, despite advertiser's claims. They are not the first line defense against the sun. Shade is number one. Clothing with UV protectant is number two.</p>

    <p>No current sunscreen (with the exception of mexoyrl and tinsorb) can be effective mixed with tint (minerals). All the foundation makeup marked with SPF factors is misleading. Adding minerals on top of sunscreen renders the sunscreen ineffective and the chemical reaction may even be more harmful than if nothing were used (free radicals). It's doubtful people would apply tinted makeup in the quanitiy required to be effective as a sunscreen anyway - nor are they likely to reapply every 20 min.</p>

    <p>There is no such thing as "all day protection" or "waterproof" or even "water resistance". Even mexoyrl needs reapplying every 20 min.</p>

    <p>I don't know about you, but some of the stuff I've learned about cosmetics and their claims leaves me feeling like most people are very gullible. Yet I catch myself reading manufacturers claims as if they were true -or else they couldn't say them, right? And that's wrong. Even if the ingredients are there, it doesn't mean they have been combined in a way or in a form that's effective.</p>

    <p>Unlike moisturizers, foundation and the rest of makeup, suncreams are in a unique category which is that it may be possible someone's life may depend on it doing what it should do. </p>

    <p>I'm ticked off because I have to pay MORE for mexoryl now that it's legal than I did when I was importing it. I also was not expecting it's FDA approval to mean that less expensive products (made by L'Oreal) would be removed from the store shelves -all in the name of maximizing profit under a 20 year old patent protection.</p>

  • May 9, 2008

    by LucindaLC

    <p>I am so glad you reviewed this product. I really like this and seem go back and forth between it and Skin Ceuticals Active UV Defense because both contain the mexoryl. I understand that mexoryl has been used in Europe for the past decade and the FDA finally got around to approving its usage here last year. Thanks again for the La Roche Posay review. I do so enjoy your site. </p>

  • May 8, 2008

    by Marta

    <p>Thank you so much Jen. And if there is ever anything you'd like to see covered, do let me know.</p>

  • May 8, 2008

    by jen p

    <p>hi! i stumbled upon your website a few days ago and wanted to thank you for all these great reviews! i am recovering science junkie. your reviews cover everything i'd like to know. please keep posting!</p>

Join the discussion! Leave a comment below.

My Comment

Add a comment...

-or- Cancel Comment
* Required Fields
truth in aging's five best

Truth In Aging's Five Best

The very best to choose from for your skin concerns.

Read More

truth in aging videos

Truth In Aging Videos

Helpful how-tos and reviews from Marta and friends.

Watch Now

meet our contributors

Meet Our Contributors

The TIA community consists of our trusted reviewers.

Meet Them

be inspired

Be Inspired

Inspiring thoughts and women who are aging gracefully.

Read More

  Loading...