“They have P50 skin” is spoken when someone emits the tell-tale radiance that comes very specifically from one product: Biologique Recherche Lotion P50.
It’s the cult-favorite product, and one you most likely have heard about already. Whether at home or with our Estheticians, the application of Lotion P50 is advised. There are six, calibrated P50 formulas for different skin types and concerns. Each gently exfoliates, balances excess sebum, moisturizes and helps maintain the skin’s acidic pH. It’s the cornerstone product in all our Biologique Recherche treatments— and for those who are devoted to it, say it’s “a facial in a bottle.”
But what’s with the name. Is it a lotion? Is it a toner? Does it Exfoliate? No. Not exactly. Yes, and…
Developed by the French biologist and physiotherapist couple, Aida Bicaj and Joanna Czech (who founded Biologique Recherche in the 1970s), Lotion P50 is described by the brand as being an “epidermal reconditioner.” The ingredients vary slightly according to which version you’re using, but generally P50 is a blend of exfoliating acids— including lactic, malic, and salicylic— that do the sloughing, along with vinegar, and extracts of botanicals such as onion, horseradish, thyme, and burdock root, that do the rebalancing. It also contains a hefty slug of niacinamide, which is a wonderful form of B3 that quells redness, tackles uneven skin tone, and has serious anti-aging properties.
Like all Biologique Recherche products, Lotion P50 is part of a professional line only sold by vetted retailers. Boketto is honored to be the only location chosen in the Richmond area to represent the full product line, as well as offer their signature treatments.
All versions of Lotion P50 help break down dead skin cells, unclog pores, enhance skin-cell turnover, and hydrate and balance your skin barrier, depending on your prescribed formula.
- Alpha-hydroxy acids Specifically, lactic acid (derived from milk sugars) and citric acid (from lemons and oranges). The activity level of AHAs can vary, depending on how concentrated they are and the pH of the formula. In Biologique Recherche products, the molecules have a high acid ratio and low salt—which means they are both exfoliating and hydrating.
- Cider vinegar Created from fermented apples, cider vinegar contains citric and malic acids. Thanks to its high tannin content, it also has purifying and astringent properties.
- Beta-hydroxy acid Salicylic acid is naturally synthesized by certain plants, such as willow, and has an anti-inflammatory effect. Compared to AHAs, it penetrates the pores more easily in order to dissolve dead cells that may be causing obstructions.
- Poly-hydroxy acid Gluconolactone is present in honey and fruit juices. It's a less penetrative exfoliant than AHAs, but also less irritating.
- Niacinamide A favorite ingredient for fading skin pigmentation, it also has an anti-inflammatory effect that can help with acne.
- Horseradish, burdock and capsicum extracts The horseradish has antibacterial properties and can help regulate sebum production. Capsicum is purifying and antiseptic, while burdock is moisturizing, healing and calming. Burdock also has the unique ability to balance combination skin, hydrating dry zones while purifying and regulating oily areas.
- Magnesium chloride It has healing, antiseptic and sebum-regulating qualities that can hep with acne and eczema.
- Arnica extract It has a soothing, protective and anti-inflammatory action.
- Natural moisturizing factors These are ingredients, such as urea, lactates and sugars, that mimic the substances found in healthy skin.
WHO CAN USE LOTION P50?
Briefly, all skin types. The range of P50s address a myraid of conditions and goals. Your journey begins with getting a skin consultation to determine your Skin Instant which dials in version of Lotion P50 is best for you. (Consulations and Biologique Recherche Skincare Treatments begin 10/15.)
Because of the proportion of acid, and the soothing arnica extract, Lotion P50 is good for sensitive skin. For oily skin, it helps regulate sebum production and purifies the pores; And dehydrated skin benefits because of the high humectant content and natural moisturizing factors.
From there your Lotion is determined from skin goals like fading & preventing pigmentation, combating acne breakouts, reduction of pore size, and addressing mature skin concerns like brighter skin tone and softening wrinkles.
TYPES of P50 LOTIONS
P50 1970 This is the OG Biologique Recherche P50 formula and also the strongest. It contains a cocktail of powerful exfoliators like phenol, vinegar (!), lactic acid, and salicylic acid to help resurface your skin. It's a good option for “tough” skin that's accustomed to using acids, or anyone with super-oily or acne-prone skin.
P50 The formula is similar to P50 1970, but this one doesn’t contain phenol (phenol, FYI, is a compound with antiseptic qualities that's hotly debated in the skincare community, so the brand offers a P50 without it). This one’s also great for for anyone with oily skin, blackheads, or acne that’s not prone to redness or sensitivity.
P50V 1970 and P50V These medium-strength formulas are ideal for dry or dull skin types. In addition to AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs— aka all of the smoothing and unclogging acids— they also include vitamin B3 (niacinamide) to help minimize inflammation and brighten skin. The P50V 1970 formula contains phenol, and the newer P50V does not.
P50W If you’ve got sensitive skin or are entirely new to using exfoliating acids, P50W is a good place to start. It’s the gentlest of the P50s and the best option for anyone who tends to experience redness or irritation.
P50 Pigm 400 This version is designed specifically for people dealing with hyperpigmentation, like sun damage or melasma. It’s gentler than the OG P50, but still effectively exfoliates dead skin cells to even out your skin tone and also helps regulate melanin synthesis too.
HOW TO USE
You of course want to follow the directions of your Esthetician, but as a general rule:
- If you’re new to acids, start by dampening a cotton pad with a bit of water. The water will dilute the acid until you become accustomed to it. After the first week, you can use Lotion P50 on dry cotton round.
- After washing your face, apply a few drops of Lotion P50 to a cotton round and swipe it across your face, neck and décollatage.
- If you find it too strong, you can spray your skin with a face mist after a few moments, to neutralize the acid. Otherwise, simply leave it on your skin and continue with the rest of your regimen.
Do this twice a day, on bare skin after cleansing (and before moisturizing). And don’t forget to use sun protection, as AHAs increase sun sensitivity. Additionally, avoid P50 for a week after chemical or laser treatment and if you’re using a retinol, ask your Esthetician if and how you can combine. In most cases it’s not advised (too many active ingredients… resulting in irritation).
No matter what version you get— Lotion P50 is in a category of its own. The product is a cult favorite for a reason and has hundreds of reviews to support that status.
- Fades & prevents over-pigmentation
- Combats excessive oil production
- Reduces acne breakouts
- Gradually reduces pore size
- Slows the appearance of fine lines
- Addresses mature skin concerns like increased dryness, dull skin tone and established wrinkles
In our experience, no other product has such a unique and effective ingredient mix. In addition to the powerhouse ingredients mentioned above, every bottle also includes a blend of antiseptic and anti-inflammatory botanicals. Calling Lotion P50 life-changing, is an understatement.