Hello Joanna,

I have been wanting to try Biologique Recherche’s Lotion P50 for a long time. I can’t figure out which formulation to use? What is the difference between them all?


Biologique Recherche’s Lotion P50 launched over four decades ago and has become a cult favorite and one of my must-haves for good reason; While it is referred to as a Lotion, it is the best exfoliating toner on the market. As a chemical exfoliator, it dissolves the stratum corneum (which is the top layer of the epidermis) rather than physically removing it which is what scrubs do. With consistent use, you can work up to using Lotion P50 twice daily. 

Lotion P50 is the cornerstone of Biologique Recherche's skincare and epitomizes their research into epidermal reconditioning, for a regenerated epidermis. The name P50 was not randomly chosen, it has a detailed meaning. The “P” stands for peeling and the “50” is the result of 2 epidermal cycles that last an average of 25 days, to achieve the first level of epidermal reconditioning required to purify the skin. 

The 1970 formulations differ from their counterparts with the addition of the ingredient phenol. Phenol helps exfoliate, purify, and brighten the skin. However it is not recommended for women who may be or are pregnant / breastfeeding. 

For the first 2 weeks of using a Lotion P50 formulation, it is normal to experience more breakouts than usual, as the skin is acclimating and balancing. You might also feel a slight tingling sensation, which is a sign that the product is starting to rebalance the epidermis - as the skin’s pH begins to balance, tingling will decrease. 

There are many ways to apply your Lotion P50. Perhaps the most common is with a cotton pad or cotton ball. However, to get the best results, make sure you have completely removed all makeup and cleanse face prior to application. It is recommended that the first week you begin your Lotion P50 regime, to soak a pre-dampened cotton pad and apply it to the face, and decollete without rubbing or circular motions.

Lotion P50 is not for everyone. I do not recommend using on children. It should not be used on scratched or irritated skin or an open wound or burn. Never use during vitamin A or acid-based treatments.  Lotion P50 should also not be used immediately after a peel or medical laser treatment. 

Following any surgical procedure on your face, it is best to wait at least one month for the skin to heal before beginning your Lotion P50 regime again. If you are unsure about when and how to use Lotion P50, ask your esthetician, or schedule a consultation with me. 

There are 6 different formulations of P50 and it is important to consult with your esthetician to determine which is best for your skin. Remember: what works for your girlfriend might not work for you. 

Below is a guide to Biologique Recherche’s Lotion P50:

Lotion P50/ Lotion P50 1970 -  Exfoliating and Purifying Lotion 

I typically recommend the original Lotion P50 to clients with keratinized (thick skin) or skins producing an excess of oil, as it regulates oil production. The formula benefits the epidermis by enhancing its cellular renewal, improving the strength and quality, as well as hydrating its outermost layer. It is also great to treat ingrown hair for men. This formula is infused with keratin proteins, essential oils, onion, horseradish, cider vinegar, sulfur, and phytic acid. It hydrates and strengthens the layers of skin by exfoliating, purifying, and regulating sebum. 


Lotion P50V/Lotion P50V 1970 - Vitamin Enriched Exfoliating and Purifying Lotion

Lotion P50V activates, strengthens, and stimulates the skin and is recommended for people with mature skin that is not sensitive. It is comprised of many vitamins including walnut extract, which is key for regenerating and protecting the skin. Yeast extract is an ingredient that is specific to P50V - it helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve skin texture.


Lotion P50W - Mild Exfoliation and Purifying Lotion

Lotion P50W is the most gentle formulation. It is recommended if you have normal to sensitive or reactive skin. Arnica, a plant related to the sunflower,  is an exclusive ingredient that helps with inflammation and soothes the skin. Benefits include gently purifying, smoothing, moisturizing, and rebalancing the pH of the epidermis. 


Lotion P50 PIGM 400 - Exfoliating and Brightening Lotion

Lotion P50 PIGM 400 is the latest formulation for pigmented or dull skin. This formulation helps to combat dark spots and pigmentation. Wasabi extract is the highlighting factor along with flavonoids, which are antioxidants found in many fruits and vegetables. Vitamins B3 is an exclusive ingredient with anti-inflammatory properties that combat acne problems. It leaves the skin prepared to receive the application of the PIGM 400 product range.


Lotion P50 Corps - Body Exfoliating and Purifying Lotion

Lotion P50 Corps purifies, balances and protects the skin. Similarly formulated to the Lotion P50 for the face, this lotion has been specifically adapted for the body. It removes your body’s dead skin cells, leaving skin soft and glowing, due to its purifying, hydrating and stimulating properties.