Please help me understand what makes this commercial product SO effective for redness reduction

emma1985emma1985 Member
edited January 8 in General
Hello,

The cream is La Roche Posay Cicaplast Balm. 

I and countless other people in my skincare communities have found this product to be absolutely irreplaceable by anything else when it comes to redness reduction and eczema. This cream is literally famous on r/SkincareAddiction and a default recommendation for anyone experiencing redness, irritation, etc.

Can you help me understand which ingredients are contributing to its "healing" properties?

It does contain Panthenol but I've used many other products containing Panthenol and have never experienced anything like this.

I've also tested it against products containing colloidal oatmeal, Azelaic Acid, etc and nothing comes close.

Thank you!

Comments

  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    The answer is actually right on the front of the bottle: Dimethicone

    It is an approved, OTC drug active for this very purpose

    No, panthenol is not doing anything. It's just a marketing ingredient.
    Similarly, Azelaic acid is not an approved drug active so it won't work as well.

    Colloidal oatmeal is approved as a drug active for this purpose, but as you've discovered, some drug actives work better than others. It's difficult to beat the effectiveness of silicones.

    Now, why you and r/SkincareAddiction like this product so much...well there are a variety of reasons.  First, the Dimethicone of course. It actually has been proven via the most rigorous medical testing that we have (independent, placebo controlled, double-blind study).  It is not a sexy or trendy ingredient, companies can't call it out in marketing, and it doesn't inspire consumers. I mean look at their website, they bury the key working ingredient as the fourth one on the list of key ingredients.  Dimethicone gets no respect.

    Second, and perhaps more importantly, LaRoche Posse does an excellent job of branding and marketing. They have created a product that people like to use. They like the fragrance, the feel and the results. They like the packaging and the marketing story. Someone plops down $15 for 2 ounces of product they're much more inclined to believe it's working than if they buy Thera Skin Protectant which only costs $5 for 4 ounces. 

    I'd say less than half of the performance of a product can be attributed to the formula, except for the fragrance. You can make the best performing product in the world but if doesn't smell good, it won't be successful.

    As a consumer you can't help be affected by a product's marketing. But if you took away the branding, packaging and pricing, you would evaluate the performance of products in a much different way.

    Now, I'm not here to dissuade you from using the product. It works for you and you should keep using it. But there are probably less expensive products that would also work as well on a blinded basis.
  • GraillotionGraillotion Member
    edited January 9
    Perry said:
    The answer is actually right on the front of the bottle: Dimethicone

    It is an approved, OTC drug active for this very purpose

    .


    Would you like to take a guess,  @Perry , what the dimethicone level would be?

    Do you think the polyisobutene....would have a similar result?

    Aloha.
  • emma1985emma1985 Member
    edited January 9
    Thanks Perry.

    I reckon you're right, I'm just surprised because I've used so many other products with Dimethicone and I formulate with Dimethicone.

    LRP has another fantastic cream, it's called the Lipikar Balm. It also contains Dimethicone as the 4th ingredient. It's extremely moisturizing but not nearly as redness reducing.

    I was thinking maybe the minerals are contributing to redness reduction.

    Alternatively, I was thinking the madecassoside may be contributing to its effectiveness. Madecassoside and other Centella Asiatia terpinoids are used extensively in Korean skincare products (Asiaticoside, Asiatic Acid, etc.)

    LRP does use "thermal water" in their formulations but that could just be a gimmick thing.

    Anyway, thanks for the response!
  • Also, I think Azelaic Acid is FDA approved for rosacea, so I was surprised that it didn't have as much of an anti-inflammatory benefit for me.
  • Perry said:
    The answer is actually right on the front of the bottle: Dimethicone

    It is an approved, OTC drug active for this very purpose

    .


    Would you like to take a guess,  @Perry , what the dimethicone level would be?

    Do you think the polyisobutene....would have a similar result?

    Aloha.
    1% 

    No one uses more than 1-2% dimethicone
  • @emma1985 As @Perry said the active ingredient here is Dimethicone. I just would add that is how the right occlusive formulation work. This product is also w/o (w/Si) formulation (Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 silicone emulsifier here), which also effectively
    enhances the positive effect of this combination and allows to include the greater amount of Dimethicone. They use Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, which plays a role as a nice substitution for mineral oil (for better haptics). 
  • @Abdullah It can be used up to 100%
  • vitalys said:
    @Abdullah It can be used up to 100%
    Yes, you are right. I said no one is using more than 2% because whatever benefit you want to get, you can get it from 1-2%. So no need to use 100%.
  • jemolianjemolian Member
    edited January 10
    It would depend on what caused the redness, and what you mean by "healing", because sometimes the solution might be different. 

    The percentage of Panthenol is at 5%, so the first few ingredients would very likely help in reducing redness as it would be a relatively moisturizing base with the Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter/Shea Butter, being in such high percentages. 
  • jemolian said:


    The percentage of Panthenol is at 5%, 

    Where did you get that Info?....The listing I saw....it stated Dimethicone at 1%...and it was listed higher than the B5.
  • It's on the Singapore version of their site. Not sure if they have it on their US version. 



    https://www.laroche-posay.sg/cicaplast/cicaplast-baume-b5-for-adult-and-baby-skin
  • GraillotionGraillotion Member
    edited January 10
    Now that is strange....cus on the US INCI...they have listed...Dimethicone at 1%...and it is higher on the list, than the B5.  The B5 percentage is NOT listed on the US site.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @Graillotion, @jemolian - It's highly unlikely that based on the ingredient listing that this formula contains 5% panthenol. More likely it contains 0.5% and someone made a printing error, or they put in 5% of a 1% solution. 

    The marketing on their website is so annoying to me. They play up the fake benefits of the "key ingredients" and completely ignore the ingredient that actually makes the product work. (dimethicone). 

    And even at 5%, you will see no benefits from panthenol in a formula that also has dimethicone, shea butter, glycerin, and hydrogenated polyisobutene. It will just get swamped by the effects of those other ingredients. 

  • jemolianjemolian Member
    edited January 11
    I would agree that there's some error somewhere. 

    In the previous packaging, they did print 5% Panthenol as a repair balm, as shown on the Singapore version of their site. For the US site, the emphasis is on the Dimethicone as a skin protectant. Perhaps they changed the marketing / claims due to the change in percentage of Panthenol and Dimethicone?  
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @jemolian - On the US version they claim 1% Dimethicone. This means that there is no way it contains an active level of 5% Panthenol because it comes listed after Dimethicone. Ingredients above 1% have to be listed in order of concentration. Anything higher than 1% would be listed before Dimethicone. So, unless they've made a substantial labeling error there is not 5% panthenol in the formula.

  • emma1985 said:
    I was thinking maybe the minerals are contributing to redness reduction.

    Alternatively, I was thinking the madecassoside may be contributing to its effectiveness. Madecassoside and other Centella Asiatia terpinoids are used extensively in Korean skincare products (Asiaticoside, Asiatic Acid, etc.)
    That's certainly what La Roche Posay thinks (or wants us to think) -

    1. In a study 100% sponsored by La Roche Posay and authored by a La Roche Posay employee:

    "madecassoside associated with copper/ zinc/manganese salts decreased significantly (P < .05) the inflammatory reaction"

    Although they don't mention what the control was or what they compared their results to.

    They mention that the product used contained 0.3% madecassoside, maybe that is the concentration in the balm too?

    Full text: https://www.jaad.org/article/S0190-9622(07)02218-9/fulltext

    2. In another study supported by L'Oreal (who owns La Roche Posay):

    Cicaplast Baume B5 was compared to a control steroid free hospital made emollient after laser resurfacing.

    In the 28 days of study, they observed statistically less erythema at day 3 and 7. 



  • @Perry, would you know what would be sufficient input of Panthenol to have any benefits? I really thought that 5% would do a lot. 
  • Thank you, Sincityfire!

    Paprik, I'm interested in this question as well. Hopefully we get a response from Perry.
  • @jemolian - The 5% Panthenol version is still on sale in asia, distributed from Hong Kong I believe. They might replace it with the new version soon I guess.
  • PerryPerry Administrator, Professional Chemist
    @Paprik - great question! But it's difficult to answer because you haven't specified what benefits you are asking about and how they are measured.

    The company claims "soothing of dry, irritated areas". What exactly does that mean? How would you measure it?

    I can think of 2 ways.  One is you have consumers try a product and then have them rate their feelings of how "soothing" the product was. You show statistically significant responses on a 5 or 10 point scale and viola...you've supported your claim.  But to me, this is just BS claims support. It's not science and doesn't prove anything. It's trivially easy to create a study the convinces consumers that some technology shows some benefit. Consumer are easily swayed by story, texture, fragrance, color, etc. I discount consumer research almost completely. It's valuable for determining if a product or story is going to be something people want to buy, but as far as proving something scientifically, it's garbage.

    The second way is to come up with some measurement that acts as a proxy for the characteristic of "soothing".  For this cosmetic companies have traditionally chosen Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL). The idea is that if you prevent water from evaporating out of the skin, you relieve or sooth dry skin.

    I'm going to ignore the difficulty of measuring TEWL consistently. (I know it's incredibly difficult to get repeatable studies.)  But let's just pretend that it isn't. Let's say the corneometer or TEWLmeter is 100% accurate in measuring what it measures.

    Here's a study that shows 5% Panthenol reduces TEWL by about 50% or so.  Yeah! Compared to a crappy control, a ton of panthenol can reduce TEWL.

    Ok, but Petrolatum reportedly reduces TEWL by 99%

    So, while panthenol may have some effect, why would anyone use an inferior technology that costs more?  

    I'll tell you why. It's a much more marketable story than telling people to just slap some vaseline on your skin. 

    Perhaps I'm too cynical.
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