Tuesday, March 19, 2013

From the French Pharmacie: Biafine

Biafine is a French legend. For one thing, it's one of the ubiquitous products that everyone has in France - like rubbing alcohol or polysporin here. French families apparently ALL have this in their homes to use on bumps, bruises, burns, chapped skin and lips, rashes, scars and sunburns. But it does have some beauty uses as well.

There isn't currently an English Biafine website, so everything I know about it I learned on blogs and by trying to translate from the website in my (quite rusty) French. But here's what I found out.

Biafine was originally developed for use in a hospital setting - on burn victims and those recovering after cosmetic surgery. It is used to aid with healing damaged skin - it helps to eliminate dead skin cells while boosting the cells that help to heal collagen and promote healthier skin. (It is not recommended for use on bleeding or infected wounds or rashes caused by allergies, however.)

There are two versions of this - and I ended up ordering them both because for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what the difference was. On their website the ingredients are identical. But, for some reason, in the US Biafine (original) requires a prescription while BiafineACT is available over the counter.

So, when they arrived, I eagerly tore into both of them to see if I could figure out what the heck was up. And I discovered...that they are exactly the same. The original Biafine looks like this:

BiafineACT looks like this:

They smell the same, feel the same and seem to do exactly the same thing. From what I can tell, the only difference is the packaging - aside from looking different, on Biafine it says (roughly translated) that it's for skin irritation due to radiation treatment, first and second degree burns and any other non-infected wound.

BiafineACT, on the other hand, is for the treatment of superficial burns, broken skin (I think), localized sunburns and non-infected wounds.

Honestly I'm pretty confused, so I'm going to go with it's the same stuff, but one is packaged with listed uses that seem more minor so that they'll sell it to you without a scrip in the States.

The tubes are huge, nearly 200 mL, and cost less than $30, so it's a great deal and will last you forever.

Now, so far this cream probably sounds very functional and more like it belongs in a first aid kit than on a chic Parisian's bathroom counter. But wait. There's more. Apparently this can also be used as a facial mask to help moisturize the skin and even skintone, according to one of the blog reviews I read. Which would make sense since it's essentially for helping the skin heal and regenerate. At the very least I'm anticipating getting a lot of use out of the burn-healing - I'm pale so I sunburn like a mofo!

I'm a huge fan of multi-taskers, particularly ones that are so cheap! I have a feeling this is going to be a bathroom (and pantry) staple from now on.

**If you want to get a bit more medical info (in English) you can check here or here- though I don't know who runs the sites or how accurate the info is, so please be sure to talk to a pharmacist or other medical professional if you have any concerns about using this on your skin!

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