I Swapped My $380 Crème de La Mer for This $28 Drugstore Moisturizer, and My Skin Can’t Tell the Difference

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Unpopular opinion: I’m not a La Mer hater. A number of folks have plenty of issues to say about the way it’s overhyped and overpriced, and whereas I received’t argue with the latter, my pores and skin loves the stuff and I simply can’t shake it. RIP my checking account.

Extra fashionable opinion: there are alternate options. And I’m open to them! In a latest TikTok sew, board-certified dermatologist Lindsey Zubritsky, MD, steered Avène (amongst another French favs like La Roche Posay and Biafine) in lieu of La Mer. She didn’t need to twist my arm… I love Avène. Alongside my La Mer moisturizer, Avène contains my very favourite, desert island skin-care merchandise.

Nonetheless, I hadn’t tried utilizing the model’s Cicalfate+ Restorative Protecting Cream (the steered swap) on my face—I’ve really reserved it for accidents and pores and skin irritation. Simply as La Mer was designed for burn therapies initially, Cicalfate+ was additionally designed as a reparative cream; I’ve stored it alongside my Biafine and Homeoplasmine for cuts, scrapes, burns, sunburns, and scar TLC.

So with this new info in thoughts, the showdown started. Avène Cicalfate+ Restorative Protecting Cream ($28 for 40mL) vs. Crème de La Mer ($380 for 59mL). Milliliter to milliliter, it’s 70 cents/mL vs $6.44/mL, making La Mer 9 hundred and twenty p.c costlier. This isn’t earth-shattering information, on condition that La Mer’s inaccessible price ticket has been reasonably frequent information for many years, nevertheless it’s nonetheless value declaring.

Each lotions are wildly fashionable; Crème de La Mer has had a following of skin-care devotees since its debut in 1965. And Avène’s Cicalfate+ is the primary derm-prescribed cream in Europe, with a bottle bought each 5 seconds all over the world.

Avène Cicalfate+ Restorative Protecting Cream — $28.00

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Hero substances

La Mer: Miracle Broth (algae extract)
Avène: Eau Thermale Avène (prebiotic water)

One key differentiator that seperates La Mer from any of its opponents is model’s signature ‘Miracle Broth,’ which is an algae extract (it’s the primary listed ingredient, which means it’s probably the most extremely concentrated energetic within the components). The broth is presupposed to agency and clean effective strains and wrinkles, decrease the looks of pores, and heal scarring and discoloration.

Although Cicalfate+ doesn’t use an algae ingredient, it does embody the model’s signature prebiotic ‘fountain of youth’ water, the Eau Avène Thermale spring water from its namesake Avène, France. The water comprises a slew of minerals together with calcium bicarbonate, magnesium, and silicates, and is widely known for its skill to calm irritation, cut back irritation, and promote therapeutic for situations together with eczema, psoriasis, and pimples.

Comparable Elements

Each the La Mer and Avène formulation embody glycerin, mineral oil, and waxes, which all help in hydration. “Humectants, like glycerin and mineral oil, ‘moisturize’ the pores and skin by lowering epidermal water loss,” says board-certified dermatologist Alina Goldenberg, MD, MAS, FAAD, Director of Contact Dermatitis Clinic in San Diego, CA. “This protects the pores and skin barrier, reduces dryness and flakiness, provides pores and skin a shine,” she explains, which is why you’re feeling ‘glowy’ after you apply certainly one of these lotions.

As an goal third get together—and a derm who focuses on contact dermatitis—Dr. Goldenberg is a fan of the Avène formulation. “La Mer comprises [many] extra identified pores and skin sensitizers and allergens,” she says, pointing to perfume and important oils, particularly. “All of those are identified allergens—they’re a part of the perfume household. Simply because they’re naturally derived from vegetation doesn’t routinely imply they’re good for our pores and skin.”

“Avène [Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream] is a a lot cleaner formulation, and comprises zinc oxide which helps restore the pores and skin barrier,” she says. “It has one potential allergen (propylene glycol), however it’s a uncommon allergen.”

The Check

Whereas ingredient lists are comparable on paper, the precise software and expertise is one other factor totally. So I made a decision to check Cicalfate+ to see if it held up IRL.

For context, my pores and skin is normal-to-dry, however within the wintertime, I expertise a Sahara-like dehydration on my face and physique. As famous, I’ve used Crème de La Mer for years, and expertise zero breakouts, intense barrier nourishment, and a glowier-than-usual complexion. These have been the ‘metrics’ that I used to be evaluating in my take a look at.

I had by no means used Cicalfate+ on my face till these previous few weeks, and to be completely trustworthy, I used to be fearful about breakouts with a brand new product, particularly such a thick-with-three-Cs product. Even the driest of pores and skin can get clogged pores!

Throughout my trial interval with the Avène cream, I used the La Mer methodology of warming it up by rubbing it collectively between my fingers. Whereas it didn’t develop into as translucent as La Mer’s cream usually does, it makes it a lot simpler to use (the product comes out nearly as a paste from the tube, and the warming helps to skinny it out a bit).

I’m blissful to report again that not solely did I not escape, however this cream helped rebalance my offended, parched peau. I used it AM and PM for restoration and safety, and it lived as much as its claims with out aggravating any undesirable unwanted effects that many worry with waxes and oils.

Avène, as per regular, lived as much as its claims, did an distinctive job, and didn’t break the financial institution within the course of. Whereas I nonetheless have a tender spot for my La Mer, Avène Cicalfate+ is a brand new winter staple for me.

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