Cicalfate Restorative Skin Cream
1.4 fl. oz. for $28
Category:Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizer without Sunscreen
Last Updated:03.13.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Other than being fragrance-free (something that’s hit-or-miss with Avene products), this moisturizer is similar to the others Avene sells for dry to very dry skin. It’s a simple formula that takes care of the basic needs of dry skin, but that’s it. Antioxidants, skin-identical ingredients, and cell-communicating ingredients are absent, and those are what would have made it a really restorative moisturizer for skin.


Helps improve comfort by maintaining the skin in an ideal environment promoting the skin recovery process. Non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic formula is easy to apply and particularly adapted for the sensitive skin of adults, children and infants.


Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Glycerin, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Zinc Oxide, Propylene Glycol, Polyglyceryl-2 Sesquiisostearate, PEG-22 Dodecyl Glycol Copolymer, Aluminum Sucrose Octasulfate, Aluminum Stearate, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Copper Sulfate, Magnesium Stearate, Magnesium Sulfate, Microcrystalline Wax (Cera Microcristallina), Zinc Sulfate

Brand Overview

Eau Thermale Avene At-a-Glance

Strengths: Some good cleansers; every sunscreen provides reliable UVA protection; an effective psoriasis cream; a couple of praiseworthy lip balms.

Weaknesses: Mostly overpriced for what you get; repetitive, unimpressive moisturizer formulas; products for sensitive skin contain fragrance or other potentially irritating ingredients; the redness-reducing products simply trade one problem for another.

Building an entire skin-care line on a single concept, however meaningless that concept may be, is often all it takes to capture the attention of consumers, just because it sounds so convincing. Such is the case with Eau Thermale Avene, a France-based line whose claim to fame is the thermal spring water in its products.

The company's history is laced with romanticized folklore of the allegedly restorative power of this water, with some tales dating back to the 1700s. Building a skin-care line around what was known (or, more accurately, unknown) about skin 300 years ago doesn't make sense, because 300 years ago no one knew anything about skin care or how skin functions; certainly no one knew about sun damage or free-radical damage. For goodness sakes, women in the 1700s were using face powders laced with lead, and who would want to emulate that? Still, the stories Eau Thermale Avene concocts must be convincing some people to buy their products or we wouldn't have been contacted several times per week by readers asking me to review this line.

Avene maintains that their thermal spring water is curative not only because of its historical proof (more anecdotes than proof), but also scientifically because of its low mineral content and pure, pristine source. The company's owner (Pierre Fabre Laboratories) claims to have conducted over 150 clinical studies. However, as you might suspect, there only a handful of published studies, and they all are related to the supposed healing power of Avene's thermal spring water when applied to skin that's been compromised by exposure to radiation or by cosmetic corrective procedures, such as light-emitting devices. Their studies showed that the water has soothing properties and that it helped damaged skin heal faster when compared with the effects of another type of spring water, the standard post-burn treatment, or randomly selected skin-care products.

As convincing as that sounds, the studies don't hold water for several reasons: first, the improvement seen from Avene's thermal spring water was nominal compared with the control; second, the studies were sponsored by Avene; and third, the studies didn't show how the spring water may have fared against numerous established topical anti-irritants or other FDA-approved skin protectants (Sources: Annals of Dermatology and Venereology, Special Edition, January 2008, pages 5–10; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2007, pages 31–35; and Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, September 2007, pages 924–928).

Avene offers additional studies on their Web site, but the majority again are published in the company's own publications; and none were peer-reviewed. Bottom line: There is absolutely no evidence that any type of thermal spring water allows skin to resist or correct signs of aging. Helping skin maintain its barrier is great, but there is abundant research showing that substances such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin do a far better job.

To its credit, Avene does offer some worthwhile products for sensitive skin. Yet they also offer products that can be problematic for sensitive skin because they contain fragrance and other potentially harmful ingredients. More important is the lack of significant anti-irritants that could have been extremely helpful for those with sensitive skin.

For the most part, unless you're a believer in the company's thermal spring water, there is little reason to get excited about their products. They offer some good cleansers, alternatives to retinol (using a similar ingredient known as retinal and retinaldehyde, which is one of the more effective derivatives of retinol), and some basic yet effective moisturizers for sensitive skin that's also dry.

Given this line's penchant for extolling antiquated skin-care fables, it shouldn't be surprising that their products lack an impressive selection of state-of-the-art ingredients whose benefits for skin are substantiated by reams of research. Interestingly, many of the claims prevalent throughout the cosmetics industry are found here, too, but without the formulas to support them and to actually deliver remarkable antiwrinkle results.

For more information about Eau Thermale Avene, call (866) 412-8363 or visit www.aveneusa.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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for me it works as a restorative and exfoliating, and it does this job exelently!!!!

I completely disagree with paula. she says about it like its a moisturaizer, but its written there restorative! the thing is that is the cream ive repurchasing for years for the reason i have acne prone skin. so the only way i use it is applying for fresh wounds after acne or a red spot after on the same place, and exfoliates so good!(guess because of the zinc) when im home i apply it for the whole day and by night i have a peel that i can take off, so exfolianting and renewing skin goes so mu!

Reviewed by
Sofy 8.
Restored my skin after allergic reaction

I have very sensitive skin with early signs of rosacea. My doctor prescribed a product called Epiduo, which I only later discovered is an acne treatment. Needless to say, my sensitive skin reacted badly to this and turned bright red, dry and scaly with burning and stinging sensations whenever I applied any of my normal products. Cicalfate cream provided instant relief, soothed my irritated skin and cleared up the dryness and scaliness within a couple of days.

Reviewed by
great product after laser or needling

This cream was used in place of Aquaphor which caused multiple acneic breakouts. Cicalfate worked as a barrier cream while my skin healed from pixel, profractional and skin needling (dermapen) treatments. It protected my skin while healing, eliminated breakouts, reduced the itching and actually sped up my skin's time to heal. I highly recommend it! From the ecommendation I received on this product, it is intended to be used as a restorative cream not a daily moisturizer.

Reviewed by
Loretta A.
a life saver

This product was an absolute life saver for me-although I agree w/most of Paula's recommendations, I disagree w/the use (even casual) of topical cortisone creams. I suffered from perioral dermatitis, & the more severe it got, the more my dermatologists & different drs kept recommending cortisone creams. Once I stopped using those, my life got better very quickly, but in the mean time, the absolute only thing that would heal & protect my face w/out irritating it was this cream. a godsend.

Reviewed by
Elyse C.
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