Whenever I Go to Paris, I Stock Up on This Product—9 Dupes Available in the U.S.

For basically my entire life, Paris was number one on my bucket list of places to go. In October, I was finally able to make that dream a reality, and I went to Paris for a week. I saw the sights, I ate amazing food, I drank wine at cafés, and most importantly, I perused the aisles of French pharmacies.


(Image credit: @ktberohn)

French pharmacies are known for their skincare, and as a beauty editor, I was extremely excited to find a bunch of amazing skincare products that you can’t get stateside. After all, I’m obsessed with French-girl beauty. The French tend to embody a certain effortless type of beauty that I can’t get enough of, whether it’s perfectly undone hair or the blotted, just-been-kissed lipstick they’re known for.

For skincare, French products are known for being easily tolerated, packed with potent ingredients, and relatively inexpensive. The first skincare product on my list? Biafine, which I snagged pretty much as soon as I stepped off the plane.


(Image credit: @ktberohn)

What exactly is Biafine?

"Biafine is a topical emulsion containing trolamine and sodium alginate,” says Hadley King, an NYC dermatologist. "It promotes healing of damaged skin by recruiting macrophages. Its indications include superficial and full-thickness wounds, pressure sores, dermal ulcers, first- and second-degree burns, radiation dermatitis, and minor abrasions. It is often used after procedures on the face such as chemical peels and laser treatments to help with healing.” You can also use it for slugging or to solve dry skin. Basically, Biafine is a multi-use skincare superhero.

Why can’t I get Biafine in the United States?

While you can’t pick up Biafine from a corner store here like you can in France, it’s not entirely impossible to score in the United States—but you do need a prescription. "The FDA clearance was for wounds, ulcers, and radiation dermatitis,” says King. In the United States, you need a physician to diagnose those for you in order to get your hands on Biafine.

What can I get in the U.S. as a Biafine substitute?


(Image credit: @ktberohn)

I recently ran out of the tube of Biafine I brought back from Paris, and I was distraught. Until my next trip to France, I found some reliable dupes that I can get now. While there isn’t an exact dupe for Biafine—the product is pretty irreplaceable, after all—there are a few products out there that help yield similar results and are well worth your money.

Other French Pharmacy Products We're Obsessed With That You Can Buy Stateside

Next, I Just Went to Paris, and Every French Girl Is Using These Hair Products

Associate Beauty Editor

Katie Berohn is the associate beauty editor at Who What Wear. Previously, she worked as the beauty assistant for Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and Prevention magazines, all part of the Hearst Lifestyle Group. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a major in journalism and minor in technology, arts, and media, and earned her master's degree at NYU's graduate program for magazine journalism. In addition, Katie has held editorial internships at Denver Life magazine, Yoga Journal, and Cosmopolitan; a digital editorial internship at New York magazine's The Cut; a social good fellowship at Mashable; and a freelance role at HelloGiggles. When she's not obsessing over the latest skincare launch or continuing her journey to smell every perfume on the planet, Katie can be found taking a hot yoga class, trying everything on the menu at New York's newest restaurant, or hanging out at a trendy wine bar with her friends.