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Review: La Roche-Posay Pigment Control Serum for Dark Spots

La Roche-Posay Biomedic Pigment Control Serum Review

My apologies to those of you who were looking for the wrong serum after my milk and spots post yesterday; it’s actually called the La Roche-Posay Biomedic Pigment Control serum. You can find it at Escentual and at Boots.com, so pretty easy to get hold of, and I have found it to be really very effective at brightening my skin up and helping to fade the marks left by last year’s spots. After I’ve done another week or so with my current regime, I’ll show some before and after pictures – I got a bit obsessed with documenting my skin changes and it’s quite interesting to see the difference.

La Roche-Posay’s Pigment Control Serum is for helping to treat skin that’s uneven in tone or has dark spots and areas of brown pigmentation. Now I’d say that the first thing to do, if you suffer from any discolouration like this, is to ensure you’re protecting your skin adequately from the sun. SPF during the day (one with niacinamide in it would be good – off the top of my head (one that’s on my desk!) is Olay’s Regenerist Lotion SPF15, see here) and if you’re on hols, a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face. Boring, I know, to have to lug a great big hat everywhere, but worth it. There are many ways to bronze up a face with beauty products, but not so many to get rid of deep-seated discolouration, especially if you keep on blasting it in the hot sun.

I have to admit that I don’t have any dark spots as a result of sun damage or hormonal changes, but the marks left by my spot problem in the last half of 2012 were fairly prominent. I say were because they are getting fainter by the week, which is marvellous. Though the serum hasn’t eradicated the marks completely (and I’m using a few other things in the routine, too, which I’ll go into in more detail when I’ve finished the products up) my skin is clearer and brighter. It is similar in effect to Liquid Gold, I think, though people who like to use a serum and cream at night might prefer this. You can follow it with any moisturising cream, really – I’ve been using the one pictured, from Institut Esthederm, because I felt as though my skin was a little dehydrated from the central heating – but you could use your normal night cream.

The Pigment Control Serum uses glycolic acid (yes, it would be wouldn’t it? You’re talking to a BIG glycolic fan here) as well as kojic acid and LHA to help cell turnover and limit melanin transfer in the skin. It’s an effective little cocktail and, as I said, I have seen a definite change in clarity and some fading of my little marks. However (here’s the big BUT) I do think that if you have very severe discolouration or “masking” due to hormonal changes, it’s worth seeing a specialist and determining whether you need to take a specific course of action. There’s only so much that beauty products can do and whilst the formulas are getting ever more advanced…they can’t do everything. When it comes to dark spots, acne, eczema and rosacea, if you feel it’s affecting your confidence or it’s physically uncomfortable, then better to spend your money on a consultation first before caning hundreds and hundreds of pounds on products that will have some effect, but perhaps not the full effect.

Does that make sense? I hope so! Back on topic: I think that this is a great offering from La Roche-Posay. I harped on about the Effaclar Duo for getting rid of those pesky surface spots and it works a treat, but if you’re looking for a first hit on those little dark marks, this is well worth a go. As I said, pictures soon, but not until I’ve finished the bottle. Which seems to be taking ages, by the way! 30ml goes far…

The serum is actually on offer at Escentual at the moment, it’s £24.65 instead of £29 and you can find the page here


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  1. marikesh naljamutt@gmail.com

    Hello Ruth, have you ever tried Murad rapid age spot and pigment lightening serum? i read lotś of good commentś about this one. I got my first dark spots from last summer. I think it was because i was using Clarisonic mia and Alpha H Liquid Gold ,and i didn’t use SPF 50 ( i was using SPF 30 ) on my face . i don’t know what to prefer Murad or La Roche -Posay. And may
    i use them , because i’m pregnant?

    • Yep, I think it’s a good idea to cover up on hols or tone down the whole exfoliating routine if you’re in the sun. If you’re pregnant avoid salicylic acid and retinoids / retinol / anything that sounds similar! X

      • There’s no problem with salicylic acid during pregnancy, but stay away with anything vitamin a-related (all the retinols and similar). Even though it’s applied topically and in small doses that wouldn’t affect your system, it’s better to be on the safe side with retinols (med student speaking, lol)

        But Ruth, have you tried the Avene Cleanance K gel-cream? It sounds very similar to La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, and I just wondered which one is best. I have a few blackheads on my nostrils and hormonal breakouts on my chin and I just want to keep them at bay. It’s nothing extraordinary really, I’d just like something exfoliating to use underneath sunscreen which seems cause a few more blackheads to appear.

    • I keep seeing great reviews for that Murad Treatment – I have a couple of sunspots that I want to get rid of – but I can’t find it anywhere in the UK. It just seems to appear on the US market…

      I think maybe Liquid Gold is my best bet as it will hopefully get rid of my sun spots and suit my easily clogged combo skin too…

  2. Curious to know if you’d say these work on sun spots too?

    • I don’t have any, so can’t tell you, I’m hoping we will get some feedback down here. To be honest, though, it hasn’t even been out on the market for long enough for someone to give it enough time…

  3. I’ve just started using Caudalíe Vinoperfect Radiance Complexion Correcting Serum and hoping to get great results. There’s like only good reviews about this thing! Although so far I’ve started breaking out like crazy, don’t know if it’s the tea tree oil spot-stick or the Effaclar Duo I introduced my skin to just a week ago or the serum. Hoping it’s just a purging stage… Anyone with the same reaction?

    • One at a time! Only way to find out! Maybe a bit overkill with the tea tree too? X

    • Hi, yerh I started using this serum after Lisa Eldridge recommended it. and like you i started breaking out too. So i stopped using, but i still have practically a whole bottle left…. wondering whether to give it another go?! because I need something for pigmentation in my skincare routine.

      • I’m suspecting it’s the serum, I’ve only started using it three days ago, morning and night, and it’s only now I’ve started having white heads popping on places I usually don’t get pimples. The serum feels a bit sticky, almost like it would clog pores although there’s no such ingredient that would support that theory. Because the serum uses tatric acid (grape vine) which is a sort of AHA, and is said to be 62x more effective than vitamin c in exfoliating the skin, I can only jump to the conclusion and hope this is just a detox phase. I will keep on using it at least for a month or two, ’cause I really want my acne dark spots to vanish. If it doesn’t work I will probably try the one from Antipodes (which also contains grape vine), maybe it’s more gentle, or go to a saloon and try laser.

  4. The only brown spots I have, I believe is caused BY using glycolic acid (alpha h liquid gold) even when using SPF 30 the next day,I got brown spots, so a product that also contains more Glycolic acid, is just going to make it worse!, but then, I suppose these companys want you to keep using their products so perhaps thats the point! I wish I didnt buy in to all the glycolic hype, as the only exfoliating product that you can be sure wont react badly is a good old muslin cloth…cheap too.

    • Hmm. Not sure you can call it hype when it works…it’s not just beauty brands using those types of ingredients; they are prescribed at much higher strengths by professionals for really effective skin treatments. It’s fine to just use a washcloth, but people wanting to see a difference in their skin will need more than that, I suspect!

  5. would you use it every night or every other night??

  6. Would you use as well as the Alpha-H liquid gold or instead of? I’m desperate to clear the dark patches left behind by old spots!

    I’ve started on the Liquid Gold Skin Perfecting System and although I’m still on the first bottle (the Prep & Prime) I haven’t noticed much difference yet.

    Thanks x

  7. Hi Ruth, would you use the pigment control under the effaclar K or is it too much?

    • Haven’t tried it personally, but I’d play it safe as I wouldn’t want to be doubling up on anything too harsh… X

  8. it’s working again Ruth, weird huh ! maybe you did something, I don’t know… anyways, I’ve been trying Cicabio crème from Bioderma for the last few months and it’s amazing, it helps reducing old spots’ marks, and dries out hormonal breakouts over night, you really should try it out ! xxx

    • I also use clinique’s bb cream and it’s a hell of a product,you should try that one too (it dries out blemishes, isn’t that great !), even if you once said not being convinced by bb creams, this one will probably change your mind ! oh I forgot to mention that am polyallergic and those products never caused me any allergie !

  9. Anyone know of a toner with salicylic in it? I don’t want to always have to pick a moisturiser containing it really, I’d prefer it in a toner so I could use a richer moisturiser over it. My skin isn’t that oily so in the winter months I like to use a stronger moisturiser but nearly all salicylic ones are very light and usually matt ones. I’ve looked at loads like La Roche and Vichy etc but they all contain so much alcohol it really puts me off. Any help would be great, thanks.

    • Michael, SkinCeuticals makes a great toner with both glycolic acid and salicylic acid called Biomedic Conditioning Solution. I’ve used it for years and it is great for cell turnover and lightening skin spots.

  10. I’ve fallen in love with Tatcha Skin care’s products. Their Rice Enzyme powder and their Radiant Skin Brightening Serum are excellent. The Rice Enzyme powder has papaya, rice enzyme, algae and green tea, comes in three strengths for various skin types. The Radiant Serum has similar ingredients plus licorice extract to gently brighten without irritation. At 45, my skin looks years younger after using this for 6 weeks. I also use sunscreen everyday to prevent sun damage.

  11. Is the serum safe to use EVERY night?

    • It seems so, according to the instructions. I’d always say to start slowly with any AHAs or “active” skincare to avoid nasty surprises though! x

  12. OMG cant believe I have spent over 2 hours reading your posts… you are so addictive not to mention I would most probably be left bankrupt and on the streets if I bought all the lovely things I really really need (want!) x

  13. I am also obsessed with skincare and watching my skin changes lol, I love the liquid gold, but the product that made the biggest difference (I started a month ago and I’m SOOO amazed, I just turned 30 and my skin looks younger than it did 5 years ago) is retin-a. have you tried it? you can get it very cheap online or visit your derm for rx. I think you would just love it!

  14. marikesh naljamutt@gmail.com

    can i use La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo during pregnancy?

  15. I’m obsessed with the LRP pigment control serum! I reviewed it on my blog a while ago, and it truly is the only thing that has managed to lighten up my acne scars. I’m so glad you like it too!

  16. Hi Ruth, I’m new to your site, just discovered it today! I love anything to do with skincare and so am already addicted. I have been using Priori products for the past year which are AHA Active ingredients. I am thinking of changing to something different. Do you think that natural/plant extract based products are better? I’m really confused as to what I should use. Thanks Kim x

  17. Hi Ruth i am using this pigment control serum for a week now should i continue
    and for how long should i use it? Please advise

  18. Hi Ruth i am using this Vichy pigment control serum for a week now should i continue
    and for how long should i use it? Please advise

  19. entonces… es recomendable comprarla? lo siento pero no hablo ingles…

  20. Hi Ruth i am using this Vichy pigment control serum for a month now should i continue
    and for how long should i use it? Please advise

  21. Hi Ruth?…I’ve a brownspots both arms nd both legs,how can I get rid of it?..I’ve try alots of discoloration creams it Dnt work..So I was wondering if I used the serum would that get rid of my brownspots?.ive this brownspots like 5 yrs already nd I’m try to get rid of it….PLSSSSSSS help with the answer nd question?…Thank You..L.S..

  22. I’ve herd great reviews from using this pigment control serum, should I use it on my whole face or the hyperpigmented area?

  23. Just wondering what the rest I got regime is while using this? The pamphlet says not to use within 24 hours of another exfoliator, AHA or salicylic acid. I normally use proactiv for cleansing which also exfoliates.

    • i got the serum and haven’t yet started using it because i have the exact same doubt. the instructions sound really scary… every other product these days from cleansers to moisturisers seem to have some sort of AHA or BHA… i am scared of the over kill and possible harm as opposed to good. considering this is for night time use, Ruth can you please suggest how to incorporate it into existing routines and what to avoid while using this?

  24. How many drops should be used per night? The instructions included are very vague and say to apply a “full dropper quantity”, but a full dropper seems extreme… unless that means only one drop? Help?

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