Have you ever heard of the long-fabled Fountain of Youth? I think I may have found it…but instead of it being in Florida, like Ponce de Leon proclaimed, this one is in a small village in central France called La Roche-Posay.
Last month, I had the privilege of visiting this town in order to learn more about it’s famous thermal spring water, treatment facility, and products. When I told my friends and family I was going to France to learn more about La Roche-Posay, the response was overwhelming; people told me that it’s the only sunscreen they trust to put on their face, others said that it works wonders on their dry, cracked skin, but most of all, people told me that the La Roche-Posay Lipikar cream is the only product that helps when their kids have eczema.
So what makes this product so special? It’s simple: the water. No really. There is something unique about this water. Since the 14th century, travelers have been writing about the magical healing power of the water from La Roche-Posay, curing everything from migraines to rashes to soldier’s wounds. The reports were so abundant and overwhelming that scientists went down there to check it out and in 1897 it became officially recognized by the French Academy of Medicine. A few years later, in 1905, the first thermal treatment centre opened. In 1913, the French Academy of Medicine declared La Roche-Posay an official spa town, which it remains today.
A “spa town” is not what you think; it’s not all about some guy named Sven giving you a back massage while his twin brother paints your toes. It’s better. It’s cooler. It’s a place where thousands of men, women, and children come each year to receive treatment for skin conditions ranging from psoriasis and eczema, to burn victims and cancer patients. Each one comes here for three weeks for the same treatment-and that treatment is completely based on the water. That is the first amazing thing about this treatment centre; there are absolutely no medications, invasive treatments, or therapies used other than water. The second amazing thing is that this water has proven so successful that the French health care system covers the cost of the spa treatments for patients whose dermatologist recommends it. But it’s not just the French who’ve embraced this amazing place; there are patients from all four corners of the globe, including a very special little boy from Toronto you’ll be hearing about in a little while.
So what exactly makes this water so special? First of all, it is one of the few natural springs in the world that can call itself thermal spring water. In order to get that moniker, the water must be deemed stable in terms of mineral content as well as having beneficial properties. In this case of the La Roche Posay water, those unique properties are the presence of three key elements for healthy skin: calcium (feeds the skin), silica (soothes the skin), and most importantly, selenium (relieves and protects sensitive and irritated skin). On their own these three minerals are great, but together, they create something special.
But you don’t have to suffer from a skin condition to reap the benefits of the La Roche-Posay water. Besides the thermal treatment centre, La Roche-Posay is also home to the La Roche- Posay factory where, using the thermal mineral water, they create a huge range of products ranging from sun protection to anti-aging cream to (the fan favorite) Lipikar for eczema and other types of atopic dermatitis. And then there’s my favorite product: Cicaplast Baum B5, a wonder-cream that relieves and heals skin irritations ranging from bug bites to diaper rash. Because it’s medicinal properties are based on water and not steroids or chemicals, its safe to use on the youngest of kids and the most sensitive of skins. I got to sample the product when I was in France and instantly became obsessed; I honestly don’t know how I would’ve gotten through the sand-fly infested Sahara desert without it. And guess what? As of today, it is available in Ontario! Yay!
I have to admit that before going to France, I hadn’t heard of La Roche-Posay, but after the experience I had and what I learned, it is a product that I know I will be using for years to come.
What about you; do you swear by a certain La Roche-Posay product?
For more information about La Roche Posay’s infamous water and products, check out their website