Eau Thermale Avène PhysioLift Range: This dermatologist-recommended, drugstore skincare line is made for sensitive ageing skin

Eau Thermale Avène PhysioLift Range: This dermatologist-recommended, drugstore skincare line is made for sensitive ageing skin

In the bloom of youth

Text: Emily Heng

Image: Instagram | @aveneusa

While drugstore makeup is often lauded for their high-pigment, -coverage, and long-wearing abilities comparable to luxury offerings, it is a courtesy rarely extended to skincare. This maligned reputation stems from the misconception that most, if not all, skincare brands with mass appeal (read: affordable products) are laden with chemicals, parabens, and all manners of skin nasties, which — while it might have held some truth in the past — holds significantly less weight in 2019. Take a peek at any Watsons or Guardians this weekend; you'll find that an influx of innovative, affordable skincare solutions have been flooding the shelves as of late.

Though Eau Thermale Avène, the leading brand in European pharmacies specialising in products for sensitive skin is an oldie, it is a goodie. While known mostly for their hydrating face mist (it was our first ever!), there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this dermatologist-recommended label. 

"It is a common misconception that drugstore brands are cheap and only contains very basic ingredients," explains Aline Poucet, Strategy and Development Marketing Group Manager of Eau Thermale Avène. "We're actually a part of the dermo-cosmetics category — a concept invented by our founder Pierre Fabre. All dermo-cosmetics are developed and tested with the same rigour as creating a drug, and its slowly being recognised for its high efficacy as well as a good ratio of price/efficacy."

It is a fact no more evident than in the brand's latest foray into anti-ageing: the PhysioLift range, which is already garnering praise for its potent formulations developed specifically for damaged and sensitive skin. The line comprises a serum, emulsion, night balm, eye contour cream, and a one-of-a-kind cream-in-gel that holds a three-pronged approach to ageing. Think boosting skin's collagen levels, replenishing complexions with hyaluronic acid, as well as preserving skin radiance through an antioxidant shield. With a gentle touch of course.

We spoke with Poucet and Gregory Tylinski, Marketing Manager of Eau Thermale Avène to find out more.

First thing's first: how old should we start using anti-ageing products?
You should start now, in your early 20s. It's never too late and never too soon to start an anti-ageing beauty routine. Starting early will, of course, help keep good skin quality longer. And it's never too late to start either because a good anti-ageing regime will help fight skin ageing by reducing the visible signs.

Scientifically, when does ageing truly begin?
You will start suffering the first signs of ageing around your mid-20s. That's when your skin will start losing its components, slowly but surely... Dullness and dehydration are the first to appear as skin begins to retain less moisture. Ageing then commences in your cells as they produce fewer elements that are lower in quality, followed by your skin as it produces less collagen and hyaluronic acid. Skin then slowly loses its inner structure and elasticity, to a point where it starts to sag. Sagging then causes pores to appear more visible due to it being stretched. And, finally, wrinkles will appear, especially around the eyes and the mouth, aka the nasolabial folds.

Ageing is a complex phenomenon, really — it is partly due to our DNA and partly due to our lifestyle. Junk food, cigarettes, UV, alcohol, pollution... none of that helps. So, while technically we all start ageing at the same time, signs of ageing will not appear at the same time for all of us. That's why in Eau Thermale Avène, we never advertise products based on age but on clinical facts, because you can be 35 with great skin but also 35 with sagging skin and wrinkles if you don't take care of your skin.

What sets the PhysioLift range apart from other anti-ageing products out there?
PhysioLift features specific active ingredients that both prevent and fight against the visible signs of ageing. One key point is that we use a specific size of hyaluronic acid that penetrates deep into the skin, binding a cellular receptor to help the cells to synthesise hyaluronic acid by themselves. Also, we include a collagen booster, Ascofilline, in all of our products to build a strong skin structure as well as prevent skin sagging. We have retinaldehyde included in our night creams and balms too, which is a provitamin A precursor that is more efficient and better tolerated than retinol, a gold-star active ingredient well-known among dermatologists.

Back up. What is Ascofilline?
Ascofilline is a biotechnology ingredient that comes from a natural seaweed extract. It helps to improve the collagen synthesis in the skin and prevents it from further damage.

How long has Eau Thermale Avène been around?
Eau Thermale Avène was born in 1990, so it has been around for 29 years now! However, its story started a long time ago in 1736, when we first discovered the Avène Thermal Spring Water's unique properties. The first Hydrotherapy Center opened in 1743, and the spring was bought by Mr. Pierre Fabre in 1975. He studied the water with a scientific/pharmaceutical approach before launching the brand, Eau Thermale Avène.

That's a lot of research on the brand's iconic Thermal Water. What does it do for skin?
Avène Thermal spring water takes its power from nature itself. It gets enriched during a long 50 years journey in the rocks of Avène in a preserved natural park. During this journey, the water gets enriched in minerals (low concentration in salts that is adapted to sensitive skin) and contains a specific composition in trace elements (calcium, magnesium) that helps for the skin renewal. There's also some silicates to give softness to skin, and some metabolites coming from a natural microflora specific from Avène that offer some anti-inflammatory and anti-itching properties.

And finally, what are some of the biggest triggers for sensitive skin we should avoid?UV rays, pollution, air conditioning, tap water, and unsuitable cosmetics. It's important to listen to your skin, so always start with a good and gentle cleanser that contains no soap and is formulated with a gentle surfactant. We recommend the Avène Thermal Spring Water to soothe the skin after cleansing before proceeding with your skincare routine. End it with a good, safe and stable sunscreen.