I while ago I posted about my first experience with the Biologique Recherche P50 1970 (P50 for short) but I thought it was time for a little update with more about P50. (Check out that initial post here.) After raving about it in so many other posts since then, why not go into more detail on what is so great about it, the ingredients, benefits, its purpose, how to use it, and why you should add it to your skincare routine.
What is P50?
P50 is a magic liquid that essentially does it all. It exfoliates (chemically with acids), hydrates the skin, and balances the pH of the skin. Even with lotion in the name, it isn’t a lotion in the conventional sense. It is a watery chemical exfoliator that you apply with a cotton pad like a toner. The benefits include, exfoliation, reduction of pigmentation of dark spots, helps reduce acne, regulates sebum, and gives you an all over glow. It focuses on balancing the epidermis (aka the outer layer of your skin). When the epidermis is balanced means your skin is healthy.
What are the different versions of P50?
P50 has 7 different versions that are targeted for different skin types or different issues that you are wanting to target. P50 1970 is the original and classic version that is most popular. The other versions include:
Lotion P50 – recommended for normal to oily skin, no phenol
Lotion P50 1970 – most effective, most popular, has phenol
Lotion P50 PIGM 400 – ideal for dull complexions with hyper pigmentation and dark spots, is brightening
Lotion P50 V – recommended for normal to dry skin, no phenol
Lotion P50V 1970 – recommended for those with super sensitive skin, has phenol
Lotion P50 W – recommended for those who have extremely sensitive and/or reactive skin, no phenol
Lotion P50 W 1970 – recommended for those with drier mature skin, gentlest exfoliator of the P50’s, rich in anti-inflammatory ingredients, has phenol
*If you are unsure which version is best for you, you can go to the Rescue Spa website and ask for professional advice!
What are the ingredients in P50 1970?
Water, glycerin, phenol, niacinamide, vinegar, magnesium chloride, lactic acid, arctium lappa root extract, salicylic acid, and sodium benzoate sulfur.
Why is Phenol “controversial”?
Phenol (aka Carbolic Acid) is an exfoliant and also has antimicrobial qualities. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) is an organization that writes about “scary” ingredients in skincare and rates them based on their “hazard” level. (I’m using air quotes because some consider it controversial and some don’t.) Phenol, based on the EWG rating system, is a level 7 for high hazard. Something to note is that when places like the EWG make these claims they are not necessarily taking into account the minuscule amount of the product that is actually in a skincare product e.g. P50. But Phenol, none the less, is also the chemical that is in throat spray drugs like Chloraseptic, and it has a mild numbing effect. Biologique Recherche has been creating P50 for over 40 years so its personal choice when it comes to phenol.
Back to the Ingredients but more in depth:
Glycerin: a humectant that can be naturally derived from plant oils, or it can also be synthetically produced. Glycerin is a humectant which works to moisturize the skin by drawing water from the air into the skin’s outer layer. It is used to treat many skin conditions like acne, skin infections, wrinkles and fine lines, dryness and makes the skin softer, smoother and helps the barrier function of the skin. It is known as a master hydrator and works best when combined with other replenishing and emollient ingredients.
Phenol (aka Carbolic Acid): it is an intense, heavy duty exfoliant.
Niacinamide: Also in Glossier’s Super Pure, is also known as Vitamin B3 or nicotinic acid. It is a very effective skin restore-er. It visibly improves the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone, fine lines, dullness and weakened skin.
Vinegar: helps to buffer the other acids in the formula and tones the face. Usually paired with other acids.
Magnesium Chloride: regulates magnesium levels in the body and helps prevent wrinkles because it is necessary for the enzymes in skin to regulate DNA replication and repair. It reduces breakouts and inflammation.
Lactic Acid: is an AHA (talked about in this post) derived from milk products that exfoliates the skin, soothes the skin and brightens the skin along with fighting acne, pigmentation and texture. Milder than glycolic acid, hydrates more than glycolic but other than that, has similar benefits.
Arctium Lappa Root Extract: helps protect against inflammation and stimulates collagen. It helps reduce acne, eczema, and helps detoxify.
Salicylic Acid: is a BHA (talked about in this post) that reduces acne, exfoliates the skin, penetrates the pore lining to exfoliate inside the pore to reduce breakouts and blackheads. It can also calm aggravated skin, and helps minimize the appearance of an uneven skin tone.
Sodium Benzoate Sulfur: used as a preservative in cosmetics to prevent bacteria from developing in products and formulas and changing their compositions.
What is the purpose of BR P50?
It is a chemical exfoliator so it basically dissolves the “glue” of the dead cells on your healthy skin so you, in return, will have glowy, exfoliated, clearer skin. AKA it is a do it all type of product. Read this post for more about chemical exfoliation.
How to properly use BR P50…
I highly suggest watching this video by Melanie Simon. (or read this post.) Melanie Simon is a famous electrical esthetician who raves about BR P50 and other BR products. She says toner is your most sophisticated step in your skincare routine because they do so much including “priming the skin for what comes after” skincare wise. Melanie says with a cotton pad (these are currently what I use that I love) use more product. Melanie uses gauze (I love this product too for using my P50).
So how you use it, you put your P50 on a cotton pad or gauze-esque product, and slowly press it into your skin (I use two at a time that is run under water and wrung out) from jawline up to your forehead, then to your neck, top down. I also take time to lift any fine lines or facial lines to press the P50 in to exfoliate the line because makeup, dead skin cells might be hanging out in there. This is what I do and is based on the video by Melanie Simon that is linked above.
Why should you use P50 (or a product like it) in your skincare routine?
P50 is a chemical exfoliator and is my preferred way to exfoliate my skin. Most physical exfoliators (ex. scrubs) are too harsh on my skin and I don’t feel like they make much of a difference. I do use them occasionally but for a 5 times a week or daily product, I reach for a chemical exfoliator to get that dead skin off and give me that glow. Toners prep your skin for products after it in your skincare routine. I prefer one with a purpose instead of feeling like I’m just slapping water on my face. It all depends on your skin type for what type of toner might be best for you. Drier skin types that want hydration (make sure it is alcohol free!), the Fresh Deep Hydration Rose Toner would provide that hydration. Oilier skin types want something to reduce that extra sebum production like, Thayers Witch Hazel Toner. Acneic skin, BR P50 is a great option.
Final Note: Get a toner. Exfoliate your skin, chemically, and have awesome glowy clear skin. And exfoliate those fine lines and wrinkles!!!