Saturday, February 23, 2013

Band-Aid in a Tube: Avène Cicalfate Repair Cream

Continuing with the concept of a skincare wardrobe, Avène Cicalfate Repair Cream ($23 for 40 ml/1.4 fl oz.) is a basic pair of blue jeans of the skincare world - something safe to fall back on when everything else fails. Or, well, a Band-Aid in a tube (ok, enough methaphors for now, I promise)...
As you may know from my last dermatologic update, I've been using a tretinoin gel (or Retin-A for those who have no idea what I'm talking about, although I was prescribed a different brand name) for over a year now to help with my acne. I should add that I've also been simultaneously battling the side effects of using tretinoin, which include sensitivity, redness and worst of all, peeling. This is where our French friend comes to the rescue...
Think of Avène Cicalfate as a skin barrier repair - wherever there's some irritation and/or dehydration, Cicalfate acts as a layer sealing in the skin's water reserves and keeping environmental nasties out. It also actively gets down to business to repair and soothe with micronized sucralfate, copper sulfate and zinc sulfate. Additionally, the formula includes Avène's thermal spring water to rehydrate and further minimize irritation.
On the downside, as with Avène's Soothing Moisture Mask, the ingredients include mineral oil; to me, it's a necessary evil as this component will actually help to seal in all the goodness and prevent water evaporation from the skin. There's also quite a bit of zinc oxide thrown in (yes, as in mineral sunscreen!), which is an anti-irritant as well but can cause some white cast to the skin (not that you can notice on my winter white face). The texture is thick and on the greasier side; oilier/combination skin types won't be too impressed with this for daytime although it sinks in quite fast into my dehydrated skin with no tackiness and just a little bit of shine. Even so, I still prefer to slap it on as a night/ stay-at-home treatment.
Now, this isn't some miracle product that will solve all of your skin woes - I believe in this case my skin agreeably follows whatever my mind tends to believe and remains a sceptic as to any skincare product's magical powers. Cicalfate is however a solid staple for when I'm too scared to experiment with anything else in the face of a cutaneous catastrophe, like when my tretinoin gel makes me peel like I have a bad sunburn on my chin or my skin is acutely dehydrated from a 17-hour plane ride. It's nothing glamorous or innovative but hey, it works for me.

Have you tried Avène Cicalfate or a similar barrier repair product? Which skincare item do you fall back on when everything else fails?


  1. This product sounds interesting! My never fail product is called Vanicream. It's essentially the most basic cream on the market, without silicones, mineral oil, or parabens. I use it as my night cream usually since it lacks SPF but it is simply the best for sensitive skin ! x

  2. This one sounds very calming. I am having good time with my aloe cream, but always wondering what would be disaster-saver if the dry air hits my face in the winter. Fortunately nothing like that happened, but I would definitely try this one later. I don't need to wait for a disaster to come; I can prepare to that by using this, right?
    My never fail product is Clinique Anti-blemish line. Seriously, 5 to 10 acne at one time is no fun at all, but these products work wonder, for me! I see improvement in a week, and this is how they keep me buying them.