Bathing in sea water has always been recognized as having some type of beneficial value for the body. Since childhood a sea bath in Barbados has been the natural recommendation for ailments such as colds, joint aches, eye and skin conditions.
So although it’s just water and nitrogen, I believe there might actually be something to Avene Eau Thermale (Thermal Spring Water) from France that goes beyond the usual marketing claims attached to beauty products.
Momentarily seduced by the hype surrounding French pharmacy products and beauty brands, I recently picked up a small can of Avene from a Boots chemist in London. I was also won over by the simplicity of its packaging and the ingredients (just spring water and nitrogen), and the fact that it didn’t cost an arm and a leg.
As the story goes, in 1736 in the small town of Avene in the south of France, a horse with a severe skin disease was let loose to go roam in the Sainte-Odile spring and became completely healed, it’s coat becoming shiny again. This led to the creation of the first thermal spring in Avene, where patients were treated for a variety of skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema and burns. The water was even sent over to the US to treat burn victims in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Leading dermatologists and medical experts began to vouch for the therapeutic value of the spring water and today the Avene Hydrotherapy Centre is protected and recognized by the French government to be of “public benefit”.
This has led to a full line of skincare products using Avene thermal spring water as the key ingredient.
Avene is described as a combination of pure rain water with sea spray rich in mineral salts, and infused with trace elements and silicates. The water apparently originates from a deep, pure source of the earth that contains a unique micro-flora called “Aqua Dolomiae”. This organism produces active substances that are said to have anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties.
A 2001 study by the International Journal of Tissue Reactions did indeed demonstrate Avene as having an anti-inflammatory effect on facial skin after plastic surgery.
I have been pleasantly surprised by the effect Avene has had on my skin so far, especially on early mornings. It has even replaced my favourite toner of choice – natural rosewater – for the time being. I use Avene spring water just after cleansing and love the gentle, soothing and hydrating effect it has on my skin. A little goes a long way as well, I have been using the same 50 ml spray can regularly for just under a year now. I plan to purchase it again, and it is also a reminder to study and re-discover the medical value of our own natural sea water that surrounds us in the Caribbean.