Avène is a brand that dermatologists never stop recommending. The French drugstore favorite has been around for 275 years, treating sensitive skin with thermal spring water that has natural soothing, softening, and calming properties. It just relaunched one of its tried-and-true repair creams, and the formula is even more hydrating and restorative than before. Introducing, the Avène Cicalfate+ Hydrating Skin Recovery Emulsion ($34).
“I actually like this product a lot,” says Ivy Lee, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Pasadena, California. It’s her go-to recommendation for when skin is super sensitive after procedures like chemical peels, lasers, and microneedling. “And it’s a great product if someone has just sensitive skin in general. That’s because it is formulated with ingredients that are not as likely to irritate or cause allergy in the skin.”
The Avène Cicalfate+ Recovery Emulsion is super lightweight and breathable. So breathable, that it can even be used on fresh tattoos. This makes it a great everyday cream for those with sensitive skin who don’t like the feel of a heavy cream. If you prefer something thicker, it might not be the best long-term option.
Just like the original, The Avène Cicalfate+ Recovery Emulsion is made with a copper-zinc sulfate complex that’s wonderful for wound healing, plus Avène’s spring water. What makes it different is the inclusion of high-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid to provide hydration to the skin’s surface and niacinamide to soothe the skin. “Niacinamide is a lovely antioxidant that’s great especially post-procedure for calming inflammation, so that could be helpful in terms of healing the skin faster.” Plus, this new formulation is made with a protein-rich postbiotic that also helps skin restoration.
“We’re starting to understand a little bit more about microbiomes,” says Dr. Lee. “Before we thought any microorganism that was on the skin was a bad organism. And now we know that there are microorganisms that live on the skin and that they help create a healthy environment. When that’s disrupted, when there’s more or less of the balance, that’s what can cause inflammation and that’s what can cause disease. So the thought is, if there is a happy community and balanced community of microorganisms on the skin, then that’s great and optimal for skin health, so maybe if we apply postbiotic or prebiotic ingredients on the skin, that we can restore balance for skin that is inflamed or irritated.”
Because research on the skin microbiome and how that topical application of these microorganisms impacts it is still very new and limited, Dr. Lee says she wouldn’t recommend a product for these ingredients alone, but because the Avène Cicalfate+ Recovery Emulsion is made with so many other well-studied ingredients, she’s confident in its ability to repair and calm the skin.