A few weeks ago I was invited to go to Avène with … Avène. It was my first press trip and I was embarrassingly excited. I was a bit nervous as I didn’t know anyone else going and wasn’t sure what to expect but couldn’t wait to go. Want to hear all about my trip to Avène, complete with photos of the most ridiculously beautiful scenery? Let’s go!
My trip to Avène
Although I’ve used Avène products for years and had a vague idea of the history of the brand, but I’ve never really looked into it too much. I knew that the products were fantastic for sensitive skin and that was good enough for me! But going to the source of the Avéne thermal springs and hearing about the work they do at the hydrotherapy centre was absolutely fascinating. We spent a lot of time talking to the people who worked at the centre and this blog post would be about 10,000 words long if I let myself get carried away so I’ll try to rein myself in!
The Avène thermal baths have been on the same site for over 250 years and the water produced there is exported all over the world – it was even sent to Chicago to help treat burn victims of the 1871 Great Chicago Fire which blew my mind a little! The water has 7.5 pH neutrality, with no pathogenic germs and is naturally soothing, calming and anti-itching. About 20km2 of land contributes to water catchment area and is constantly monitored and preserved as it falls within a nature reserve which means there is no polluting industry in that area that could affect the water.
We stayed on site at the Avène Hydrotherapy Centre which is where 2,500 patients come for treatment each year. Patients sign up for a 3 week course (skin cells take 21 days to renew, so this is the optimum time to undertake treatment) where they have daily treatments as well as attend classes to help with information and education which include medical make up skills, massage, relaxation, as well as taking part in support groups. This is to ensure that patients and their families can maintain the treatments after they leave the centre.
These classes are available for all patients, as well as the family members who come with them. People come from all over the world to experience the facilities: while we were at the centre, there were families from Korea, South America and Australia! The majority of patients at the centre have eczema (40%), followed by psoriasis (35%), and the other patients are made of those wanting treatment for scars, burns, and post-cancer treatment.
As this is a medical facility, the focus is on proven efficacy rather than a spa-like atmosphere so it does feel quite clinical at times rather than the relaxing spa feel you may be used to. We had a hydrotherapy treatment while we were there (which is the treatment all patients have at least once a day for the entirety of their trip) which had a three-step process:
- Step one: an individual private bath filled with Avéne thermal water. This 20 minute treatment uses bubbles to hydrate and loosen dry skin cells.
- Step two: a shower where fine jets are directed over your body to wash away dry skin cells.
- Step three: the shower changed to a fine mist that hydrates and soothes skin.
After the treatment my skin felt so soft, so I can imagine that for someone with a constant irritating or itching skin condition this would be so calming and beneficial.
We also got to walk around the factory on-site where the products are made (no photos allowed, sadly) which was really interesting. In particular, the section where the Avène Eau Thermale Thermal Water Spray is made. This is Avène’s most popular product and the factory produces 2 every second, 24 hours a day. It’s the only spray of its kind made in a sterile unit and – another fun fact for geeks like me – when you spray the water, that is the first time it has seen daylight in 100 years!
I’ve spoken about the spray before on the blog as it’s flipping wonderful: naturally anti-irritation and anti-inflammatory and so soothing to my skin when I’m having a rosacea flare up. But it’s one of those products that everyone should have in the house as it can help with pretty much everything: sunburn, after hair removal, while travelling, to treat redness, itching, after exercise, post-surgery, nappy rash, after cleansing as a hydrating toner. It’s basically a miracle product.
I could ramble more about all the products we were introduced to and the amazing stories we heard but I think it would be easier to do some separate blog posts with information on the different ranges and who they might be best for. Let me know in the comments what your skin concerns are or which products you’re interested in and I will try to help match you up – the amount of products in the Avène range is seriously staggering.
We stayed in Avène for 3 days and I completely fell in love with the surrounding area. The weather definitely helped as it made the dramatic scenery look even more beautiful. Everywhere you looked were blue skies, lush green hills and cute little houses. We had a bit of time to wander into the centre of Avène (literally a street with a pharmacy, a gift shop and a pizza restaurant) but a local directed us up to the church on the hill where we had incredible views over the village.
We spent the last day and a half of the trip in Montpellier which was a lovely change in pace – and helped me to acclimatise to heading back to London a little easier! – and we did exactly what you would expect 10 beauty bloggers and journalists to do when away together: we went to Sephora, pharmacies and then went clothes shopping… stopping off for ice cream on the way!
I picked up some exciting bits and pieces so look out for a French beauty haul video on my YouTube channel soon! I mentioned at the start of this blog post that I was nervous about not knowing anyone on the trip, but I had absolutely nothing to worry about. The women on the trip were all lovely, friendly and we spent most of the time enabling each other by sharing beauty product advice!
This was such a great trip, the perfect blend of truly immersing myself in one of my favourites brands and learning more about them, and a lovely mini break. I hope you found this round up of my trip to Avène interesting – do go and check out the incredible products from Avène. Even if you don’t have sensitive skin like me, they are seriously brilliant skincare products.
*This trip was organised and paid for by Avène and their independent PR team. For more information, please see my disclaimer page.