A little while ago I was asked if I wanted to participate in a video diary blogging series about skincare brand Avene. They were looking for bloggers who had skin complaints such as psoriasis or eczema to take part in a trial.
Unfortunately I was far too much of a wuss to get on video and talk to you and show you all my problem skin. If commenters on You Tube leave hideous comments about beautiful and talented vloggers then I dreaded to think what they might have to say about me and my crusty skin. So, I declined the offer of the video diary but instead asked if it would be OK to write a review of my experience of using Avene instead. And here it is…
Regular readers and friends of mine will know I have struggled with psoriasis all my life. Whilst not as badly affected as some (e.g I dont have the arthritic version), it is very visible and causes me some serious anguish, embarrassment and pain – especially in winter when my hands crack open.
I’ve tried everything from systemic drugs that are used to treat cancer victims (the idea being that the drugs prevent cell reproduction, which is effectively what psoriasis is, the cells of your skin reproducing far too fast) to steriod creams, to avocado oil, to weird surf wax style creams to, well, nothing at all. Whilst I know that psoriasis can’t be cured and I have stopped looking for that miracle product, I now try and manage it.
The problem is that I get a cream and like using it and it gives me some relief and then it just stops. Skin MD, for example, was all over the blogs a couple of years ago. My hands adored it. They were flatter, calmer, better moisturised and I thought I’d won the war. Then one day, my skin just took against it and burned like the fires of hell whenever I applied some. The same thing happens to me when I tried Nivea, Jergens, Neutrogena, E45, Dove and a million other handcreams that you can buy in the supermarket.
So when my very large tube of Avene Trixera+ Selectiose turned up, I wasn’t feeling overly bothered or interested. Another cream I’d use for a bit and then have to chuck away halfway through the bottle. I had been told by someone on Twitter that their daughter had had a great experience at the Avene hydrotherapy centre in the south of France so I figured this was the next best thing.
Apparently, the spring water of Avene has a near neutral pH and is “clear, bacteriologically pure, and has a low mineral composition, with silica that leaves a light, softening and protective film on the skin’s surface”.
According to various trials, Avene spring water is able to provide a “reduction in the cutaneous reactivity threshold, an improvement in cellular exchanges, and the optimisation of defences”.
Having said all that, it contains liquid paraffin so it’s not all rosy. The ingredients are here: AVENE THERMAL SPRING WATER (AVENE AQUA). CARTHAMUS TINCTORIUS. PARAFFINUM LIQUIDUM. GLYCERIN. COCOS NUCIFERA. POLYSORBATE 60. OENOTHERA BIENNIS. SORBITAN STEARATE. CETYL ESTERS. DIMETHICONE. BENZOIC ACID. BHT. CARBOMER. CHLORPHENESIN. DISODIUM EDTA. GLYCINE. GLYCIINE SOJA. PENTYLRHAMNOSIDES. PHENOXYTHANOL. SODIUM HYDROXIDE. AQUA.
And isn’t sodium hydroxide a form of caustic soda? Bit worried now. Any chemists out there want to enlighten me as to some of these ingredients?
Avene’s Trixera+ Selectiose range is specially formulated for atopic skin, and is both fragrance and paraben free. Music to my ears. Atopic skin is basically eczema. It winds me up that eczema is pretty much socially acceptable and yet people know so little about psoriasis. I guess everyone went to school with someone who had eczema and it’s no longer a taboo thing, but considering every one in one hundred people has psoriasis, it should be more widely recognised. I get sick of people asking me if I have AIDS or leprosy, or if they can catch it (no, you can’t), or generally what’s wrong with me. But that’s a soap box I could stay on all day if you let me. Back to Avene.
The emollient cream comes in a 200ml tube and costs around £12.00 (widely available in most Boots stores). So, it’s not exactly handbag sized, unless like me, you have a big handbag. It claims to provide relief from stinging and discomfort, and the bit that was really interesting to me, it also works ot reduce the migration of activated cells to the skin. Does that mean that it’s stopping my skin from reproducing so quickly? Oh I really hope so!
The first time I tried this, it hurt like hell. It stung and burned and I thought it was game over. Again. But something in me decided I shouldn’t give up at the first hurdle, and tried again. The cream is of a fairly standard consistency, and like it says, contains no perfume. And then all of a sudden, it didn’t sting. And it didn’t hurt. It is quite slow to absorb though, but not overly greasy or sticky.
I’ve been using Avene Trixera+ Selectiose for about two months now. I find I only need to apply it once or twice a day which is great as I hate faffing about with handcream. It hasn’t healed me, but I didnt expect it to. What it does is make my crispy and painful skin easier to live with. It doesn’t take the redness away but it does stop the flaking for the time I have it on. One concern is that if I forget to use it for a couple of days, my hands are bright red and the flaking is really deep and chunky, which makes me a bit nervous and fret that this product contains something fairly severe that I’ll need to be weaned off to prevent a massive rebound flare. But then again, so far my skin hasn’t taken against it and I am happy to keep using it.
I’ll come back to this in a few months and let you know how I’m getting on. But in the meantime, so far so good. To find out more about Avene products, click here.
I’ve just heard that Kim Kardashian “came out” today about her struggles with psoriasis. Good for her. I’m sad that someone else is suffering from this condition (and a little peturbed by how some of the US press are reporting it) but it’s nice to know that a public figure has spoken out about it. Welcome to the gang, Kim.
Let me tell you a little story. Remember last year when I interviewed Johnny Blue Eyes prior to Sheenie and I having a jaunt to London Fashion Week? Well, our instructions for attending Johnny’s show were clear. Wear colour. No black. No grey. Nothing short of bright, vibrant colours. To someone like me, whose wardrobe mainly contains black and white, this was kind of scary.
Sadly, I can’t show you what I actually ended up wearing as WordPress has somehow deleted a load of our old photos, but I can show you the nail varnish that I wore. Models Own Pink Explosion. My camera nearly blew up as it was trying to focus enough to get some snaps of this, and I can pretty much guarantee that it’s still burned onto the retinas of the others who were with me that day – Sheenie, Luce, and Jen. In fact, click here and you can see some of my outfit, but also the neon nail madness in all its glory. And spare a thought for poor Heather who did my backstage manicure, who used up a months worth of acetone trying to remove it!
This is really really pink. In your face. With orange and pink glitter. It’s totally insane, and I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I know Models Own aren’t exactly backwards in coming forwards with some of their shades, and I can genuinely say that this is the brightest, most garish polish in my collection. So, when Johnny Blue Eyes said he wanted colour, he got it.
Take my advice and use it over an existing pink manicure. Whilst I’m a glitter removal afficionado, this is the stickiest one yet. I don’t really know what else to say. If you love bright, crazy colours and out-there glitter, then this is the king of that type of polish. Seriously.
Now, I’m off to find a nice soothing nude shade…