Few beauty brands have a history as rich as La Roche-Posay, backed by five centuries of healing and protecting the skin. And few brands have gone on to contribute more to the science of skincare, conducting over 750 clinical studies in 25 years. L’Oreal’s La Roche-Posay is an exceptional company with an incredible history. 

It All Starts with Water

The tiny French village of La Roche-Posay is the site of a natural thermal spring. According to legend, the French nobleman Bertrand du Guesclin discovered its healing properties in the 14th century. He stopped at the spring to refresh himself and drink, and his horse, which was suffering from severe eczema, fell into the water. When his horse emerged from the water, its skin was cured. 

Over the centuries, the reputation of these healing waters spread throughout France. In the 17th century, royal physician Pierre Milon travelled to the town to analyze the water. He determined that the thermal spring waters of La Roche-Posay are naturally high in selenium, mineral salts, and trace elements that help soothe and heal the skin. 

In the 19th century, Napoleon Bonaparte ordered that a hospital be built on the site, to help treat wounds and diseases his soldiers acquired in Egypt, and in 1897 the site was officially recognized by the French Academy of Medicine. 

In 1905, the first Thermal Centre was opened on the site, and patients from around the world travelled to benefit from the thermal springs and advanced dermatological care. 

The company La Roche-Posay Laboratoire Dermatologique was formed in 1975, with a mission to develop simple, effective skincare products for skin conditions and sensitivities, using natural thermal water. 

In the early 2000s, the brand became famous for its advanced sunscreens, with the power to protect the skin from both short and long UVA rays, while nourishing and fighting the signs of aging with antioxidants. 

In 2020, the site of L’Oreal’s La Roche-Posay Thermal Centre was closed for extensive renovations. The goal was to optimize and conserve water, which required replacing the entire water network on site. Furthermore, they required that the site be BREEAM certified, which imposed strict standards for waste, water, and energy usage, as well as protecting natural flora and fauna on the site, during construction and afterwards. 

In 2022, the Centre was re-opened with luxury services that use 30% less water than before. The site now has 63,000 square meters of greenery, new treatment and relaxation facilities, and incorporates hives for up to 300,000 bees to benefit the local environment.

The Science of La Roche-Posay Beauty

La Roche-Posay products are recommended by more than 90,000 dermatologists and are backed by extensive science and research. 

Each thermal spring has a unique water composition, based on the local environment and geology. The special thermal water at La Roche-Posay is created by rainwater filtering naturally through limestone rocks that are high in selenium. This slow filtration process creates water that is naturally pH-neutral, high in selenium, and of the highest purity. 

Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from oxidative stress and heavy metals, while fighting free radicals and reducing inflammation. For patients suffering from conditions that make the skin dry and itchy, like atopic dermatitis or psoriasis, this water is soothing and beneficial. 

The natural thermal waters of La Roche-Posay are used in all La Roche-Posay products, and it has been shown to improve the effectiveness of their sunscreens, providing greater protection against UV rays and skin damage than other brands

Today, La Roche-Posay is also looking beyond products and treatments to help protect skin and make dermatology more accessible. The company has also helped develop apps like Spotscan, which uses AI to analyze skin and provide personalized recommendations, and My Skin Track, which uses battery-free wearable sensors to measure UV, pollution, and other skin-harming factors in your environment. 

If you are inspired by La Roche-Posay’s commitment to science and health for better beauty and a better world, contact grapefrute to recruit the staff that can make it happen.