Sunscreen: Helioplex vs Mexoryl


If you go round the pharmacies, you must have seen the latest range of Neutrogena Ultra Sheer range consisting of Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF50+, Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF70 and Body Mist Sunblock SPF45 which all come with the patented Helioplex suncare technology.  So what exactly is Helioplex and is it true that it gives up to three times longer UVA protection? 

What is Helioplex?
According to the information I gathered from Neutrogena’s website, Helioplex covers the complete UVA/UVB spectrum by harnessing the full power of two sunscreens, Avobenzone and Oxybenzone. 

Avobenzone is considered one of the best UVA absorbers, but it has always been said that it degrades about thirty minutes after application.  However, with Oxybenzone which is a very good UVB absorber with some UVA absorbency and together with the patented Helioplex stabilizing technology, these two sunscreen ingredients complement each other for high, broad spectrum and photostable coverage. 

Which simply means that Helioplex indeed provides photostable UVA protection that does not lose its effectiveness in sunlight.

Is Helioplex better than Mexoryl?
If we go by the rating compiled by Environmental Protection Agency and information obtained from Cosmetic Database (see the two tables below and compare Avobenzone and Oxybenzone against Ecamsule and Drometrizole Trisiloxane), it looks like Helioplex is slightly more superior with better UVA protection.  Plus, it seems that some people are prepared to put their money on Helioplex over Mexoryl for the simple reason that the effectiveness of both Avobenzone and Oxybenzone has been substantiated by independant labs and the FDA.  Information on Mexoryl, on the other hand, is said to be made mostly by L’Oreal internal research.  

Which sunscreen provides better protection?
But it should be noted that there could be other filters used when it comes to a sunscreen formulation.  So  for curiosity sake, I took the active ingredients for Neutrogena Ultra Dry-Sheer and  La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL 50+ and again used the rating compiled by Environmental Protection Agency for some visual comparison.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF70 comes with Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, Homosalate, Octocrylene and Octisalate (Octyl salicylate).   

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL 50+ Lait Veloute Face & Body Lotion comes with Mexoryl SX (Ecamsule), Mexoryl XL (Drometrizole Trisiloxane), Octocrylene and Titanium Dioxide.

(Drometrizole Trisiloxane not officially in FDA monograph compiled by the Environmental Protection Agency. I added it here for reference only, with inputs from  Cosmetics Database.)

Do note that I haven’t indicated the percentage level of their active ingredients but it does look like La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL 50+ is stronger on providing UVA protection but Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch provides better UVB protection? 

Personally, between the two, I’ll pick La Roche-Posay Antheloios over Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch.  But my preference is still for a non-chemical sunscreen and I rather pick a physical sunscreen with Zinc Oxide anytime.


  1. Girl-Woman says:

    What a fabulous review. I have both in my sunscreen arsenal, but I didn’t even think about doing the analysis. Thank you so much

    G-W: Thanks for your comments! ?

  2. cybele says:

    wow, thanks for the breakdown. you make it easy to understand!

    cybele: Glad you find that useful. ?

  3. sus says:

    great info! i have been wondering about the differences. I use both! and have used sunscreen since i was 18! It must work to some extent–no one guesses i’m 37!

    sus: Wow, I’m envious! I would love to be in your position. I never took much care with sunscreen until I was much older. ?

  4. Jan says:

    Helioplex vs.Mexoryl: this is only a piece of the story.
    Helioplex is a combination of sunscreens as you explained well, and mexoryl is only 1 sun filter. In Anthelios SX (or the new Anthelios 40 coming late spring), there are avobenzone (long UVA protection) and Octorylene (UVB protection) in addition to Mexoryl (short UVA protection). So the combination of the 3 filters allows for the most complete broad spectrum protection with a very high protection on the short UVA (silent killers and aging rays) thanks to the MExoryl SX. Another great thing is that Mexoryl sx is photostable by itself (does not break under the sun) and the patented association of Octocrylene + Avobenzone allows for Avobenzone to be photostabilized. Therefore your protection lasts for hours.
    Also I’d like to correct one other information: Anthelios SX is the ONLY FDA APPROVED sunscreen for both SHORT and LONG UVA tys + UVB rays. And because it is FDA approved, the testings were done by independent labs in the USA. So no bias there.

    Jan: I understand that Mexoryl SX works even better with Mexoryl XL so I usually look out for both. And thanks for pointing out that the testings are done by independent labs cos from what I’ve been reading, it doesn’t quite indicate this clearly. That’ll certainly put to rest some doubts others have been having.

  5. Don Fleischman says:

    Great review. The only thing that isn’t included is data on efectiveness vs. time, i.e., photostability. Thanks very much… This is really interesting. BTW, have you seen pictures of Lance Armstrong w/o makeup and in natural light? You can see the aging effects on his light (37 year old ) skin. I wear mucho protection when riding my bicycle, or for any outdoor activity (which I do love, and I do have light skin).

    Don: I guess it’s something that’s unavoidable if one is out under the sun constantly. Even with sunscreen, it isn’t fullproof protection. But, better apply than not of course.

  6. Sheri says:

    Thank you for the info! I was happily using Parsol 1789 before Ombrelle left the scene. I really loved the Ombrelle spray! I used Neutragena Dry Touch previously as well (SPF 30)and it seemed fine. I replaced the Ombrelle with Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch SPF 45 last Summer and broke out terribly. I do use mineral makeup (B.E.)and wonder if this break down issue could be part of the problem. I noticed Laroche-Posay describes their products as “non-comedogenic,” only one says “non-acnegenic.” I am wondering what ingredient is making the difference for non-acnegenic vs non-comedogenic.

    Sheri: I know for non-comedogenic products, they are not supposed to contain pore clogging ingredients. However, I have seen those labeled as non-comedogenic with such ingredients high on the list. Read this entry on the potential ingredients that are pore clogging to have some idea if you’re keen.

  7. shellley Kramer says:

    I am a cancer survivor, but lost my Mom to cancer. I am the Director of the Cancer Prevention Coalition for Los Angeles, we give seminars to the public on awarness of avoidable risks of cancer from environmental toxins, personal care and beauty cosmtics. I use a great sunscreen with none of the harmful ingredients, no parabens, from Neways Int., Sombrero (#40). FDA requires any company manufacturing sunscreens to be declared under a drug, but if it is not stated on the tube the spf number, it is okay to put on the market for sale in the USA. Neways has been manufacturing safe products for over 22 years.

  8. Marti says:

    Great review! Thank you! Can you please comment about CVS brand knock off Ultra Dry Sheer lotion sunscreen SPF 70 with “Solatec” which compares itself to Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock? Thanks!

  9. sesame says:

    I haven’t come across that brand…tried searching online but couldn’t find it.

  10. Debbie Shevlin says:

    Helioplex sunscreens do NOT work in our family. I was wondering if anyone else was unhappy with Helioplex? I used a name brand sunscreen with helioplex (SPF 70) on my 9 year olds face, waited 30 minutes and reapplied often.On her body I used a different brand without Helioplex Her face burned her body did not burn.

  11. jamie says:

    LRP contains avobenzone too, with octocrylene to stabilise it.

  12. Lilian Barge says:

    Yes but the neutrogena products also has Oxybenzone. Found out about this harmful ingredient in most products

  13. Dana says:

    My husband and I both got burned on our backs with Helioplex SPF 100, but not on our faces without helioplex SPF 30. We both reapplied. We both got a weird tight skin with blisters on the back. It remained itchy for two weeks after.
    Dana last post is: Olive treasures: Olivella skin care products

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  15. home appliance says:

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