Anthelios sunscreen

La-Roche Posay's Anthelios sunscreen claims to be "a leader in high UVA protection" with "advanced patented sunscreen technologies in revolutionary textures". They produced and patented a sun filter called Mexoryl SX, which was approved by the FDA. This was considered a major achievement, because no other sunscreen had been approved by the FDA in the previous 18 years. Although very impressive sounding, in my opinion the UVA protection is not as great as it is made to sound. Also, I am not so sure all the ingredients used are the best choices from a non-toxic perspective.

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So, what is MEXORYL SX?

An organic or chemical filter, as opposed to a natural or mineral filter - it was designed to protect against the shorter UVA rays, with a maximum absorption at 344nm. UVA rays are measured from 320 - 400nm, where UVB rays are from 290 - 320nm. Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide in comparison, protect up to 380 - 400nm.

For complete protection, Anthelios sunscreen includes Avobenzone (Parsol 1789) and Octocrylene sunscreens to be able to provide a complete broad spectrum UV protection. Avobenzone, or otherwise known as Butyl Methoxydibenzoylethane, is known to break down into potentially harmful ingredients when exposed to the sun, thereby reducing its UVA protection efficacy. Octocrylene on the other hand, produces free radicals when exposed to sunlight, damaging the DNA and potentially causing cancer.


The 'high photo-stability' that is claimed seems to come from the fact that Anthelios sunscreen's UV protective ability lasts longer and doesn't degrade as quickly as some of the other chemical filters when exposed to the sun. This would not apply to the physical filters such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, whose stability is excellent.


Anthelios sunscreen contains an antioxidant combination that is patent-pending, A key ingredient here is Senna Alata, more commonly known as the candle bush, which is a tropical leaf extract full of anti-oxidants.


Some of the ingredients included below in 3 of the Anthelios sunscreens that I am not keen on and would rather not see in any cosmetics at all are:

  • Propylene Glycol: known to be a cause of dermatitis, kidney or liver abnormalities, skin growth prevention or just plain irritation
  • Methylparaben & Propylparaben: commonly used as preservatives, they are possible endocrine disruptors, mimicking estrogen, upsetting the hormone balance and potentially causing reproductive cancers in both men and women
  • PEG (Polyethylene Glycol): contains dioxane, which is carcinogenic and probably one of the most potent toxins known to man

Anthelios 15 Water Resistant Sunscreen Cream:

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone (2%), Ecamsule (3%), Octocrylene (10%).

Inactive Ingredients: Carbomer 940, Carbomer Copolymer Type B, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Edetate Disodium, Glycerin, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Isopropyl Palmitate, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Polyvinylpyrrolidone/Eicosene Copolymer, Propylene Glycol, Propylparaben, Purified Water, Stearic Acid, Stearoyl Macrogolglycerides, Stearyl Alcohol, Trolamine.

Anthelios 40 Sunscreen Cream:

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 2%, Ecamsule 3%, Octocrylene (10%), Titanium Dioxide (5%)

Inactive Ingredients: Carbomer 940, Carbomer Copolymer, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Edetate Disodium, Glycerin, Hydroxypropylmethylcellulose, Isopropyl Palmitate, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Polyvinylpyrrolidone/eicosene copolymer, Propylene Glycol, Propylparaben, Water (Purified), Stearic Acid, Stearoyl Macrogolglycerides, Stearyl Alcohol, Trolamine

Anthelios 45 Ultra-Light Sunscreen

Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Oxybenzone.

Inactive Ingredients: Water, Alcohol denat, Cyclopentasiloxane, Silica, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Dicaprylyl Ether, PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Cyclohexasiloxane, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Isononyl Isononanoate, Nylon-12, Dicaprylrl Carbonate, Lauryl PEG/PPG-18/18 Methicone, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Poly C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate, Methylparaben, Sodium Chloride, Tocopherol, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Dodecene, Disodium Edta, Poloxamer 407, Diethylhexyl Syringylidenemalonate, Cassia Alata Leaf Extract, Maltodextrin.

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