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Moisturizers - Avene - Skin Recovery Cream (US name: Cream For Intolerant Skin)



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rated 4.1(218 reviews)

  • Average Rating: 4.1
  • 77% would buy again
  • Package Quality: 4.0
  • Price: $$$

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rated 1 of 5 on 11/20/2009 9:04:00 AM More reviews by mccfrausto

Age: 25-29 Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Fine Eyes: Brown

Omg, I cannot tolerate this product.
Mineral Oil is a killer to my skin!!
Most oils are, and also petroleum.. Huge problem for me!
Those are the things that trap heat in my face and prevent it from breathing.
That's when bad things happen!! I might turn red or flat red spots appear and in a matter of hours they become like pea sized pimple bumps just beneath my skin, the painful kind without a head.
Sigh. I like Dove sensitive lotion but it's discontinued..

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 10/14/2009 5:52:00 AM More reviews by ClariceD

Age: 25-29 Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Cool Hair: Brown, Straight, Fine Eyes: Green

Me: Dry-to-combination, very sensitive skin, prone to dermatitis and redness, clog-prone, mild-to-moderate drug-induced acne on chin/jaw until recently (10/2007-02/2009).


An excellent basic moisturiser for sensitive, reactive skin. This is lightweight but relatively intensive, making it suitable for a range of oil outputs - combination through to dry. I suspect that those with outright oily skin might find this too rich due to its mineral oil content and those with very dry skin would need something richer. N.B. in Europe, Avène has recently launched a "rich formula" of this product - same ingredients in different quantities, with the addition of shea butter.


As always with products designed for intolerant (or any, for that matter) skin, there will be some people who should avoid this due to the presence of one or more ingredients known to cause them a reaction. By and large, those with skin sensitivities or allergies know or are in the process of figuring out what they can and can’t comfortably use. That aside, a major point in this moisturiser’s favour is its bland, minimal, but efficient ingredients list. It’s an oil-in-water emulsion: Avène thermal water (supposedly soothing to inflammatory skin conditions, see separate reviews and the company’s website) and mineral oil. My skin happens to like mineral oil – protective, no active components with the potential to irritate, and doesn't cause clogging. The rest of the ingredients comprise cyclomethicone (a silicone-based oil that acts as a carrier for other substances but remains on the skin surface), humectants to draw and hold water to the skin, solvents and emulsifiers, squalane for moisture, and preservatives. Those who have seborrheic dermatitis and control it partly by avoiding glycerin, glycols etc may want to give this a miss, although if your SD is mild and/or not flared by those ingredients, they appear in the middle of the listing so aren’t present in huge amounts. No fragrance, either, which is key for me as I tend to react to them.


I’ve used Skin Recovery Cream for some years. It’s marketed for the care of sensitive or “normal” but sensitised skin, both at specific times. Initially I took the name to heart and limited it to use an emergency cream to sort out marked irritation and redness. More recently it’s been my everyday moisturiser. I find it applies and absorbs better on slightly damp skin - on dry skin, a slight film may appear after a few hours, since several of the ingredients aren't designed to be or capable of being absorbed by the skin. As an SOS it’s noticeably calming. Apply it at night to angry but not broken areas of skin, for instance, and by morning I have an even skintone and no itching, burning or other signs of discomfort. On skin flaky from prescription and OTC acne treatments it was very soothing and made those sections of skin much less obvious. I find it applies and absorbs better on slightly damp skin - on dry skin, a slight film may appear after a few hours, since several of the ingredients aren't designed to be or capable of being absorbed.


You’d think Skin Recovery Cream had the properties of a fine regular day or night cream for drier, very sensitive skin. However, while it does provide no-frills moisture, the benefits that it brings during a skin crisis become somewhat flattened over time and it doesn’t seem to offer much support. I presume this is because while the ingredients go a long way towards restoring my skin’s equilibrium when upset, it doesn’t contain anything that might nourish and strengthen it long term. If the former is what you want, this is great used daily or twice daily for shorter term complaints. The drawback of its simplicity is that it won’t do much for insidious sensitivity (uncomfortable sensations, ruddiness etc) or related skin conditions in the very long term if used alone. It's also not sufficiently moisturising for me to use exclusively in the winter. (I probably won't be trying the new rich version as shea butter irritates my skin.) However, if you use a separate product to address these concerns, this might be a good choice of additional moisturiser. I’ll continue to use and recommend it indefinitely for those purposes. Other notes - good, functional, elegant squeezable tube packaging and cardboard outer box, both recyclable (tube is PET plastic, code 1, for UK recycling purposes). Five lippies for doing what it claims to do and doing it impressively without causing me secondary irritation or breakouts.


Ingredients: Avène thermal water (Avène aqua), mineral oil (paraffinium liquidium), cyclomethicone, butylene glycol, glycerin, glyceryl stearate, squalane, benzoic acid, carbomer, chlorphenesin, phenoxyethanol, tetrasodium EDTA, triethanolamine. UK details: £11.70 (due to 2009's reduced VAT rate, formerly £12)/40ml at Boots.

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rated 3 of 5 on 8/19/2009 3:30:00 PM More reviews by viviennnne

Age: 18 & Under Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Straight, Medium Eyes: Brown

This is okay for me, but i tend to break out because of this cream. I find the formula a bit heavy for me too ( i hv combination skin). Maybe it will work for me in winter...

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rated 3 of 5 top reviewer on 7/19/2009 12:58:00 PM More reviews by Safin

Age: 44-55 Skin: Sensitive, Fair-Medium, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Straight, Fine Eyes: Hazel

I have used this cream for a very long time (2 years) and it didn't irriate my rosacea acne prone skin.

But the P&P kept comming and my seb derm flared up now and than.
Than I found out that this was because of the mineral oil in the Recovery Cream.
So maybe I will use it again when I am older and my face is less oily.

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 7/1/2009 7:39:00 AM More reviews by gingerrama

Age: 36-43 Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Cool Hair: Red, Other, Fine Eyes: Green

Great cream on slightly dry, delicate (= physically thin), sensitive skin. Also listed here on MUA as "cream for intolerant skin" - same stuff (FR Crème pour peaux intolérantes, and been called that for donkeys' years, simply a case of alternative translations and versions; the version sold in Europe from at least 2006 is called "Skin Recovery Cream" in the English on the label. So if you see the other, and it's cheaper, and not expired, get it!)

The Recovery is a slightly gel-like cream, texture I think caused by its high Avène spring water content (67%).* It melts into skin nicely, keeps skin fairly moist, and gives it a lovely fine supple feel. About as anti-allergic and pro-sensitive as you can get (except, say Avène Tolériane and the like), with a minimalist ingredient list. Uncomplicated. Simple, even. No fragrance or parabens, not tested on animals, but well tested on sensitive humans.

I'd used it years before when skin was very upset. More recently, I returned to it for cystic acne on chin, followed by witch-hazel aqueous solution. I'd previously been careful with skincare products, due to reactive skin. The Gingerrama skin gets dry but also gets annoyed when overloaded with too much complication, I've worked out. I'm now on a "back to basics" regime, and skin looks better than it did with more sophisticated products. I'm now using it as my regular face moisturizer, with a top-up of the Fluid where needed; usually as a night-cream or if going out hiking/walking in colder wind. Preceded by cleansing with emollient ointment - like cold cream but minus the scent - and followed by sunscreen. Plus the anti-zit stuff, and an eye cream. No face makeup, only on eyes. Skin looks, I have to admit, fabulous.

Costs EUR 13.00-16.50; GBP 10.50; USD 23.00. For 40 ml/1.35 fl. oz.

UPDATE 1: having used this off and on for some time now: my favourite facial moisturiser ever. Deserves a 6. Utterly reliable. Unexciting, but when one has sensitive skin, "exciting" means interesting and dramatic reactions. Give me unexciting any day.

UPDATE 2: price went up (sigh), went back to DDML. Still using the Skin Recovery around TOTM, and on top of the DDML on drier patches (in colder, drier, windier weather).

UPDATE 3: Though I've used others since, and am now on the Hydrance Optimale Light, I will always keep at least two tubes of Skin Recovery around. My only peeve with the Skin Recovery is the use of mineral oil (for environmental not functional reasons): Avène are using a lot of safflower oil in their other products, and indeed the Hydrance Optimale light versions have no mineral oil (plus, they're teeny bit more sophisticated - while still basically just trying to keep the skin-as-moisture-barrier in good working order). UPDATE: and NB animal-tested.

So it's still on 6 lippies ...

INGREDIENTS: Avene thermal spring water - mineral oil - cyclomethicone - butylene glycol - glycerin - glyceryl stearate - squalane - benzoic acid - carbomer - chlorphenesin - phenoxyethanol - tetrasodium edta - triethanolamine.

* I know, it sounds weird that water, that most basic of things, could make a difference. Avene's site (if link not working, click on "continue") provides further info on the water itself, and there does seem to have been some research done on it. Also joyous tales from happy ex-eczematics etc. continued >>

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rated 5 of 5 on 7/1/2009 4:53:00 AM More reviews by taradgl

Age: 36-43 Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Warm Hair: Blond, Other, Other Eyes: Green

Got this as a sample when I bought DDF Pedi Cream (see other review) and decided to give it a try. From the first application I was truly amazed at the change in my skin. I tried it at night before going to bed as my skin was red and blotchy and in need of some serious calming down. This product did that job from the first minute on my skin, no stinging, no uncomfortable feeling just clear calm skin. When I woke up the next morning the results were even better. This has been the only calming cream that I have tried that has worked to keep my skin soft, smooth, clear and balanced for 24 hours. I have mild roseca with and oily T zone and get the occasional breakout so I have to be really careful what I apply to my skin, this cream works for me. One word of advice, from what I have observed if you have a oily skin use this cream only where it is needed i.e. the parts of your face that are inflamed, it is heavy on application so a little goes a very long way. I would not recommend this as a everyday face cream for someone with oily skin for the reason mentioned above but using it as I do ocassionally when your skin really needs extra help I have found nothing better on the market.

*UPDATE: Have decided to up my score to overall rating of 5. Dewy, balanced, healthy skin what more could you ask for. My hg stressed skin treatment!

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rated 3 of 5 on 5/20/2009 10:55:00 AM More reviews by angeladrylie

Age: 25-29 Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Warm Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Coarse Eyes: Grey

This moisteriser has several things that I love. It doesn't aggravate my sensitive skin and calms down any irritation. The texture is nice, light and creamy. It is gluten free (I have coeliac disease). Makeup goes on over the top fine. It hasn't made me break out. I don't mind the scent. Very light. It is one of the few moisterisers I can use at the moment.

However, I still need a bit more hydration (I have combo skin and this hasn't really helped my dry patches). And I don't really like the packaging - I hate the colours and the design, I think it looks cheap. I don't really like the tube with a screw top lid - I'd prefer a bottle with a pump or at the very least a flip top lid. It is hard to get the right amount to dispense - I always squeeze too much and feel like I am wasting it. But at least it is not in a tub.

I will keep using this, but I am going to keep looking for something to supplement it with, to combat my dryness, Also it is pretty basic so it would be good to get something else to use (maybe alternate with) that has antioxidants etc.

Update 30/9/09: I am still using this, and seem to be going through it quite quickly due to the crappy packaging. It does seem to clog me if I don't use a BHA and if I don't wear makeup does tend to look shiny, but I haven't found an alternative yet, so will continue to use it for now. Most of my dryness has abated now, so was more likely due to irritation from other products that I have abandoned, than this not being enough, but I am still not completly happy. Downgrading from 4 lippies to 3.

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 4/22/2009 4:16:00 AM More reviews by Halloqueen

Age: 44-55 Skin: Dry, Fair, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Other, Other Eyes: Green

Bought this cream based on reviews from Drugstore.com It seemed like a reasonable price, and reminded me of Biotherm, which I used to use and love. I have mild rosecea and redness on my face, and my skin runs the gamut of oily and gross, to dry and flaky. I classify it as dry, because anything oriented for oily skin makes me break out. I've tried almost everything under the sun, especially in the winter, to moisturize...from vaseline to La Mer, and this is the only cream that works. It moisturizes, plumps skin up, and soothes ( but does not get rid of) the redness, but I have noticed, in general, that my skin is in much better shape...no blemishes, blackheads or pimples. This cream will actually moisturize a full 24 hours. It gives a glow to your skin that creams 3x the price haven't done for me. I am in the process of switching over to all their skincare products. It's very gentle, no scent, and a little goes a long way despite the small tube. I highly recommend especially if you have problem or dry skin...don't think it will work for those with very oily skin, but check out the entire Avene line...they have products for all skin types.

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rated 5 of 5 top reviewer on 4/20/2009 10:46:00 AM More reviews by Shwets

Age: 30-35 Skin: Normal, Olive, Not Sure Hair: Brunette, Other, Other Eyes: Hazel

Such minimum ingredients and yet difficult to find moisturizers as simple and effective as this! I has no problems with redness, allergy or pore clogging. A wonderful moisturizer that leaves your skin feeling hydrated and smooth. Highly recommended.

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rated 4 of 5 on 4/15/2009 7:46:00 AM More reviews by ybabe

Age: 36-43 Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure Hair: Brown, Other, Other Eyes: Blue

Got a sample of this in a swap (thank you, lovely MUAer!) and I'm really liking it! The sample was large enough for me to use it a number of times and I must say I'm impressed.

I have sensitive skin prone to redness and mild rosacea. This did not irritate my skin or exacerbate the redness. The texture is light but still moisturizing enough for my combination skin, and I love the fact that I can wear it to bed and not wake up with a face like an oil slick, which is what happens when I wear heavier creams to bed. This may not be moisturizing enough for very dry skin, but my sensitive combination skin loves it! Not too pricey, either ;)

I happen to need a new moisturizer, so I'm off to purchase a full size tube tomorrow :D

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