La Roche-Posay's Retinol B3 Serum Makes Sensitive Skin Glow

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La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Pure Retinol Serum

La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Serum

Emily Algar

What We Like
  • Well-priced

  • Contains two forms of vitamin A (retinol and retinyl palmitate)

  • Treats aging, uneven skin tone, and acne

  • Niacinamide helps to prevent irritation

What We Don't Like
  • Fragrance may irritate some skin types

  • May cause reactions for some, so monitor closely

As far as drugstore retinols go, the La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Serum is a fantastic option. It’s reasonably priced, contains two forms of vitamin A, and uses niacinamide to prevent the standard irritation that comes with actives in skincare.


La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Pure Retinol Serum

La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Serum

Emily Algar

We put the La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Serum to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.

Of all the skincare vitamins, I’d have to say that A is my favorite. Commonly known as retinol, it truly does it all: clears, decongests, smooths, and refines. It’s a super-active, and my complexion wouldn't be the same without it. The one caveat, though, is that it can irritate the skin, especially in the early days of using a new retinol product.

Luckily, this dilemma doesn’t mean sensitive skin types should miss out on the benefits entirely. Enter La Roche-Posay's Retinol B3 Serum, an effective vitamin A formula with the addition of niacinamide, a known skin soother. The latter ingredient works to minimize irritation, but you still get all the skin-turnover benefits of the retinol. How good a deal is that?

If this genius product has piqued your interest, you’re in luck, because I tried it and mapped out my thoughts below. Keep scrolling for my full review.

La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Serum

Best for: Normal, oily, dry, combination, mature, and acne-prone skin types. 

Uses: As an active treatment serum to target signs of aging, uneven skin tone, dullness, and breakouts. 

Active ingredients: Retinol, retinyl palmitate

Byrdie Clean? Yes

Price: $40

About the brand: La Roche-Posay is a French pharmacy brand built on the healing power of thermal spring water from its titular source. Now, it’s a global brand that specializes in all skin conditions, specifically sensitive and acne-prone skin.

About My Skin: Prone to breakouts and hyperpigmentation

My skin is generally pretty good, but I’m very much prone to blackheads, whiteheads, and the ensuing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. I also have a little bit of sun damage and can experience sensitivity from time to time, although I put this last point down to my career trialing different skincare products, sometimes in excess.

I first dipped my toes into the pool of vitamin A about three years ago during a particularly bad bout of acne. I had never really considered it, but after six weeks of consistent use, my skin had pretty much cleared. Since that time, I’ve tried a few different formulas, one of them being the La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Serum (which, spoiler alert, I really like).

The Ingredients: Effective and minimally irritating

La Roche-Posay Vitamin B3 Serum Texture

Emily Algar/Design by Cristina Cianci

La Roche-Posay's Retinol B3 Serum contains two forms of vitamin A, retinol and retinyl palmitate. The pure retinol offers a concentrated boost, whereas retinyl palmitate is time-released, so the effects are less intense. 

The real selling point with this French pharmacy option, though, is the inclusion of vitamin B3, also known as niacinamide. It’s there to act as a buffer, soothing the skin, reinforcing the barrier, and mitigating the effects of irritation. So if you find your skin peels or flakes persistently when you use a retinol product, this might be a gentle-but-still-effective alternative.

The Results: Pretty impressive

La Roche-Posay Retinol B3 Serum Results on Emily Algar

Emily Algar/Design by Cristina Cianci

Tickle me impressed. For the price, La Roche Posay's Retinol B3 Serum is a really good product. I wouldn’t label it as the best for my skin concerns, but I did see results, loved the feel, and think it’s a solid option for those who struggle with the associated irritation. As far as drugstore retinol products go, it’s certainly up there with one of the best I’ve come across, too.

Vitamin A in all its forms—including retinol and retinyl palmitate as found in this serum—is good for a whole host of skin concerns. Because it works to speed up cellular renewal, it can address the look of fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone, acne, and general skin texture. 

It’s typically marketed as an anti-aging ingredient, but truthfully works for a whole range of skin concerns, including acne and congestion. The only thing to remember is that it’s powerful, even in this instance, so always start slow, apply in the evening, and be sure to wear your SPF daily (but you probably already knew that last part).

The Value: Amazing for a retinol

As far as retinol serums are concerned, the value here is incredible. I found it to be super effective, non-irritating, and lovely to use—all qualities I’d expect from a product four times the price. You also get the benefit of niacinamide, which is very nice. Because of the accessible price point, I even used it to treat a patch of pigmentation on my stomach (with great success, I might add).

Similar Products: You've got options

Versed Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum: Labeled as a retinol for first-time users, this gentle (and affordable) option from Versed ($22) is all kinds of wonderful. The star ingredient is a micro-encapsulated retinol, plus there's arophira and bakuchiol to give you a healthier complexion without any redness. Bonus points for the inclusion of shea butter and hyaluronic acid, ensuring skin stays moisturized while the product is at work.

Sunday Riley A+ High Dose Retinol Serum: Well-versed retinol users will love this option from Sunday Riley ($85) for its effectiveness and nourishing skin benefits. In this formula, you'll find retinol, CoQ10, cactus extract, and Hawaiian white honey, all of which work together to give you smooth, clear, even skin.

First Aid Beauty Fab Skin Lab Retinol Serum: Another product best for first-timers or sensitive skin types, First Aid Beauty's low-dose retinol ($58) is also buffered with soothing extracts to reduce the chances of flaking, peeling, and redness. It’s a great option for fine lines and mild breakouts.

Final Verdict

La Roche-Posay's Retinol B3 Serum ticks every box: it's well-priced, effective, and suitable for most skin types. If you’re slightly sensitive, haven’t had luck with other retinol products, or are looking for a more affordable option, it doesn’t get much better than this. Personally, I had really good results in terms of evening out my skin tone, and reducing the incidence of breakouts, too.


  • Product Name Retinol B3 Pure Retinol Serum
  • Product Brand La Roche-Posay
  • Price $40
  • Weight 1 oz.
  • Full Ingredient List Aqua/Water/Eau, Glycerin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Alcohol Denat., Pentylene Glycol, Niacinamide, Dimethicone, Glycine Soja Oil/Soybean Oil, Ppg-6-Decyltetradeceth-30, Sodium Hyaluronate, Retinol, Adenosine, Ammoniumpolyacryloyldimethyltaurate, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Xanthan Gum, Polysilicone-11, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum/Fragrance.

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