La Roche-Posay just launched the coolest at-home skin diagnostic tool

And it’s a total game-changer for acne-prone skin

Beauty Crew Digital Content Editor / May 23 2019

Whether you’re dealing with sporadic breakouts or full-blown chronic acne, you’ll likely have struggled with this conundrum in the skin care aisles of your local pharmacy:

‘How do I know exactly which products to choose for my level of problematic skin?’


‘At what stage is my acne severe enough that I should I see a dermatologist?’

Well, life has just gotten a whole lot easier thanks to a genius new app that uses artificial intelligence (aka AI) to essentially answer both these questions on the spot.

La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Spotscan app is a skin diagnostic tool that is specifically designed for those with oily and/or acne-prone skin. It uses close-range photographs of your skin to identify red spots, whiteheads, blackheads, pimples and pigmentation marks.

Once the scan is complete, you’re given an acne grade from 0 to 4 (with ‘0’ being normal skin and ‘4’ noting severe acne-prone skin), plus product recommendations from the La Roche-Posay Effaclar range. And it also flags if you should seek professional help from a dermatologist.

The best news? The technology is neatly packaged in an app that’s available for everyone to download for free.

Yep, it’s rather extraordinary and definitely like nothing we’ve seen before!

To get the full details, I chatted with La Roche-Posay’s dermatologist Dr Jo-Ann See about the tool and what it will mean for those fighting problematic skin. As those who’ve dealt with acne know (myself included!), it can be totally crushing for self-esteem.

“I think that’s the sad thing, it’s so tied up with self-esteem as it’s so visible,” Dr See agrees.

So having a tool like this is a total game-changer as someone can “in the privacy of their own home, take three photos very simply and then get a grade for acne and see some advice about what skin care to use, and if their acne is really bad, a recommendation they consult a doctor,” explains Dr See.

So how does the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Spotscan work?

Lauri Fisher, Senior Scientific Advisor for the L'Oréal Active Cosmetics Division filled us in on the deets:

“It actually works on an algorithm that’s able to categorise lesions on the skin. A lot of people think that acne is just that severe, inflamed skin condition that you see in teenagers a lot, but acne actually ranges in different pathologies and different ways that it presents. Blackheads, whiteheads, really oily skin - they can be the start of acne forming and they are characteristics of the pathologies of acne.”

“So, in that way, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Spotscan is able to identify different lesion types and quantify those lesions to actually give you an acne grade, which is based on global standards and this grade has also been calculated and clinically tested with dermatologists as well,” explains Fisher.

Wow. Welcome to the future!

How easy is it to use?

Of course, after hearing all about the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Spotscan, I wanted to try it myself.

Although my skin has been pretty well-behaved the last few years, I did suffer from acne back in high school and wish that something like this existed back in those days.

After downloading the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Spotscan app to my iPhone, I got to work. And I’m using the word ‘work’ very lightly here, as the truth is, the process was ridiculously simple.

First, the app prompted me to ensure my skin was free of makeup and then asked me to snap three close-range photos of my face from different angles.

It then quickly analysed my skin and gave me a grading of 1 and recommended a regimen of anti-shine products including La Roche Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel, La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat (a mattifying moisturiser) and La Roche-Posay Effaclar Sebo-Controlling Mask.

Yep, it was that easy, and all this was done in my PJs at home.

If you’re keen to try the La Roche-Posay Effaclar Spotscan, simply head here to get started with the app.

If you’re looking for more information on dealing with acne, check out our story on face mapping.

What do you think of this new innovation from La Roche-Posay? Let us know in the comments.

Isobel is a Digital Content Editor at BEAUTYcrew, marie claire and InStyle. When she's not busy hunting for the latest beauty news, you’ll find her arranging her skincare collection in search of the perfect “shelfie.” Isobel was previously BEAUTYcrew's Junior Beauty Writer.