How I transformed my skin in six weeks (featuring Avene)

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When you’re asked to France to take a skinny dip, it would be rude to say no. So when an invite came in from the Avène Dermatological Hydrotherapy Center to visit its thermal spring spa, I gave an enthusiastic ‘Oui!’ and packed my bags.

A long-time fan of the Avene Thermal Spray, I used to think it was just another French beauty brand and was expecting to lounge around the spa, listening to ambient panpipes and wearing cucumber slices on my eyes.

Instead, May’s visit to the hydrotherapy centre revealed it’s actually a place of incredible healing for people with severe skin conditions. With over 2,800 patients each year, the centre – located in the Haut-Languedoc National Park in southern France – treats conditions such as atopic dermatitis, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema.

As someone who suffered with childhood eczema and later adult acne (some gals have all the luck, eh?!), I was intrigued at the outstanding results the Avene experts could deliver in just three-week long stays. Using a combination of daily thermal spring water baths and its own award-winning products, patients however can achieve astounding results.

So what exactly is in this magical thermal spring water? Backed by 150 scientific studies, the water is extracted deep from an underground source after its 50-year journey through the Cévennes Mountains. Renowned for its soothing and anti-inflammatory properties, the water is then bottled at source in the Avene laboratories in sterile conditions, ensuring its purity. By packaging cosmetics in a sterile lab, it’s possible to completely eliminate preservatives which can affect your skin’s natural flora.

This July, Avene has added more “sterile” products to its Tolérance Extrême beauty range with just seven ingredients or less. Let me repeat that – seven ingredients or less. I don’t know about you but that’s as exciting as it gets in skincare!

The seven ingredients mimic the skin’s natural make-up and the sterile packaging makes it possible to eliminate all those chemicals and preservatives we’re used to in skincare. The innovative packaging reseals itself after every use, guaranteeing the product remains sterile.

I’ve been using Avene solidly for six weeks now and my skin has been incredible – clear, spot-free and radiant. My top pick is the Avene Thermal Spray which I’ve been misting over my face and hair, day and night. Other favourites include the Soothing Moisture Mask, the Tolérance Extrême Cleansing Cream, and the very special Skin Recovery Cream.

If you have sensitive skin, problem skin or just want something with minimal ingredients, this may be the choice for you. For the uninitiated, the range can be daunting. But in summary, if you have very sensitive skin, try the Skin Recovery Creams; for allergy-prone or extremely sensitive skin, try the Tolérance Extrême range; for those with eczema or itching, try the XeraCalm range; and finally for oily, acne prone skin, try the Cleanance range. There are also suncare, make-up, anti-ageing and baby care ranges. Phew!

Avene definitely has that je ne suis quoi – I’m sold. Have you tried any Avene products?

If you wish to visit the centre, you can apply for three-week treatment (between approx. €600-€800) once you have a doctor’s prescription. EU residents can apply for help with fees by filling in the S2 E112 form.

*Press sample. For more, see disclaimer.

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