It used to be that when it came to stubborn redness and acne, I approached the scene with a "bring out your guns" approach. Memories of applying undiluted tea tree oil to whiteheads still haunt me — think the "flames, on the side of my face" quote from Clue, but thought in mute horror as the zit shrivelled before my eyes, only to resurface the next day. It was not a good time.
I've since learned that a gentle approach is best, and as the reviews for Avène's Skin Recovery Cream agree, the tactic is vastly more effective for acne, rosacea, dermatitis, scars, and wrinkles. The cream's received a stand-out 4.9-star rating on the French brand's website, where shoppers say that no matter the drama their skin comes up with, the cream soothes it within days, if not hours.
"Out of nowhere, I went from having calm, smooth skin to looking like a Biblical plague was cast upon me," one shopper writes of their skin post-pandemic lockdown. "Eczema, perioral dermatitis, acne, rosacea. Nothing worked." Everything made it worse, until they tried the cream, and saw their skin hugely improve overnight. "I thought it was a fluke, but I just finished the tube and my skin has never looked better."
Shop now: $35; aveneusa.com
Others write that while their skin is too sensitive for anti-aging creams with retinol, the Recovery Cream's intensely moisturizing, gentle formula softens the wrinkles around their mouth (a genius workaround for anyone whose skin refuses the topical). If you're committed to the retinol path but want it to be less aggravating, multiple shoppers say the cream tempers flaky, "starving skin" and creates perfect harmony. Others write that it fills in the creases in their skin, keeping makeup from sinking in and highlighting lines.
The results come from a pared-down recipe of squalane, glycerin, and parcerine, which The Derm Review explains is a patented ingredient that calms irritation and redness. Those in their 70s say the cream "works wonders" to make their skin glow, while shoppers with oily skin say it leaves their face calmer, more even, and less oil-ridden. Mask-induced breakouts also clear out, shoppers say, and people with severe eczema write that the "holy grail" has "absolutely saved" their skin.
"I was having terrible reactions to even the most mild of moisturizers. Even prescription creams and ointments caused my skin to rupture, and I had said goodbye to normal life," the latter shopper above elaborates. "[The cream] has pretty much eliminated the eczema, and I no longer feel like everyone is staring at my cracked face. It has really made me feel like a person again. I recommend it to everyone who asks how I get my skin so perfect (I can't use foundation, it's always just your lotion)."
People become lifetime converts and pledge they'll never stray, and those on harsh regimens for cystic acne write that the silky, fragrance-free cream "transformed" their dry and cracked skin. It has the dermatologist stamp of approval, too: Myriad shoppers write that their doctor recommended the cream, and they can't thank them enough for the tip. Others who found it on their own decree it's "honestly the best cream in the entire world," so good that their dermatologist even complimented their skin. Take it from a last shopper: "I'm hooked. I plan to never be without this cream for the rest of time!" Get it for $35 on Avène's website.