Guide to Lotion P50


When it comes to cult-favorite skincare products, few have as loyal a following as Biologique Recherche's iconic exfoliating Lotion P50. Now celebrating 50 years of Lotion P50, Biologique Recherche has become synonymous with this game-changing skincare potion. With thousands of dedicated users exclaiming its magical results, it's no wonder every skincare girlie is dying to get their hands on a bottle of Lotion P50.

Consider this article your Definitive Guide to Lotion P50. With insider tips from Celebrity Esthetician Melissa Fox, we'll explain exactly how this miracle product works, how to choose the right version for you skin type (there are 6 different variations of Lotion P50) and how to incorporate it into your skincare routine today so you can join the Lotion P50 cult!

What is Lotion P50?

Lotion P50 is a liquid exfoliant that uses a gentle combination of alpha and beta hydroxy acids to increase skin cell turnover, dissolve blackheads and clogged pores, brighten the skin tone and smooth skin texture. Yep, this one product really does all those things! In fact, it is named after its ability to renew the skin after just 50 days of use, or approximatley two skin cell turnover cycles.

Depending on your particular skin concerns and recommended formula of Lotion P50, it can be used up to twice daily as a toner, applied after cleansing the skin.

The core ingredients of Lotion P50 include Lactic Acid, Niacinamide, Gluconolactone, Salicylic Acid, Sulfur, and in some formulas, Phenol.

Let's do a quick ingredient breakdown to better understand how this one skincare product can have such a dramatic effect on the skin.

Lactic Acid

Lactic Acid is an AHA - alpha hydroxy acid. This water soluble molecule exfoliates the surface of the skin to soften texture and reveal brighter skin. Lactic Acid is a noteably larger molecule than other AHA's such as Glycolic Acid, meaning that it penetrates the skin at a much slower rate, making it one of the most gentle exfoliating acids of them all.

Lactic Acid is great for sensitive skin, as it does not disrupt that skin barrier and maintains a healthy skin pH. This ingredient is found in all 6 Lotion P50 formulations.


Niacinamide, also known as Vitamin B3, is an essential skincare ingredient for every skin concern. This water soluble molecule penetrates the skin to help improve skin barrier function, regulate sebum production, improve the appearance of pores and protect the skin from free radicals, as Niacinamide is also an antioxidant.

Antioxidants help to protect our skin from pollution and environmental toxins with come in contant with daily. A popular antioxdiant, Vitamin C, can be irritating to many skin types and difficult to stabilize within a skincare formula. Niacinamide is a great option for those looking to benefit from antioxidants in skincare without the potential difficulties of Vitamin C.


Gluconolactone is a PHA - poly hydroxy acid. PHA's are far more gentle than AHA's and BHA's, making Gluconolactone one of the best exfoliating ingredients for dry and sensitive skin.

It has the unique ability to not only dissolve dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, but also draw water to the skin, making it a hydrating skincare ingredient as well. It is also a great antioxidant. Gluconolactone helps to support the overall Lotion P50 formula by keeping the skin supple and hydrated while aiding in skin cell turnover.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic Acid is a BHA - beta hydroxy acid. The main difference between this acid and those previously mentioned is that Salicylic Acid is oil soluble, meaning it can penetrate inside of clogged pores to dislodge and dissolve built-up clusters of dead skin, acne bacteria and blackheads.

Salicylic Acid is a must-have ingredient for those prone to clogged pores. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory, making it a great ingredient for all types of acne, including inflammed cystic and hormonal breakouts.


Sulfur is a great alternative to Benzoyl Peroxide, an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory acne fighting ingredient. Able to penetrate deep inside of breakouts, this potent active ingredient will shrink a breakout overnight.


Phenol is one of the strongest exfoliating ingredients on the market. It is able to penetrate deeper into the skin and dissolve the protein bonds between skin cells to resurface the skin and successfully treat melama, wrinkles, acne scars and uneven skin texture.

Only two Lotion P50 formulations contain Phenol: Lotion P50 1970 and Lotion P50V 1970. These formula's contain only trace amounts of Phenol which is considered safe for cosmetic use. These formulas are not recommened for very sensitive skin and should not be used by pregnant or nursing mothers.

The 6 Formulations of Lotion P50 - Which one is right for you?

There are 6 different versions of Lotion P50, each benefitting a particular skin type and concern. Here is the most simple, comprehensive breakdown of which Lotion P50 is best for your skin.

LOTION P50 - for normal, combo and oily skin with mild to moderate clogged pores and hyperpigmentation.

LOTION P50 PIGM400 - the most gentle Lotion P50 formula. Ideal for very sensitive skin or those looking for a gentle, brightening toner. Great to use in the morning, with a stronger P50 formula at night!

LOTION P50W - a mild formula for slightly sensitive skin that experiences occasional clogged pores or uneven skin tone and texture

LOTION P50V - a vitamin enriched formula ideal for more mature skin showing the first signs of fine lines and wrinkles

LOTION P50 1970 - the strongest formula. Ideal for those with moderate to severe acne, those with very oily skin, or anyone that does not have sensitive skin and is looking for a powerful chemical exfoliant or those who are experience Lotion P50 users and feel their skin is ready to upgrade to a stronger version. Do NOT use if pregnant or breastfeeding.

LOTION P50V 1970 - the strongest formula for those with mature skin looking to powerfully resurface fine lines and wrinkles for a more youthful appearance.

How to Use Lotion p50

For the best results, it is essential to learn how to use Lotion P50 correctly.

After thoroughly cleansing the skin, apply 3-4 shakes of your bottle to a cotton round. Gently press the cotton round to the skin, covering the entire surface of the skin evenly. It is imperative that you press, do not swipe or rub the cotton round against the skin. This will cause unecessary irritation and additional exfoliation. Let the Lotion P50 formula work its magic by simply applying it gently to the skin. No need to be aggressive.

A note on cleansers: it is recommended to use a gentle or milky cleanser when incorporating Lotion 50 into your skincare routine. Harsh cleansers can strip the skin barrier which will cause your Lotion P50 to penetrate to deep into the skin. We do not advise using an exfoliating cleanser containing AHAs or BHAs along with Lotion P50, unless your esthetician has expressly advised you to do so.

It is normal to feeling a tingling sensation and for the skin to turn red in the first few days of using Lotion P50. This will subside as the skin acclimates and optimum pH is restored.

After applying Lotion P50, you can move on to the rest of your skincare routine, including masks, serums and creams.

Lotion P50 can be used morning and night, depending on your skin's tolerance. Always be intuitive and listen to your skin's needs. If you are experiencing redness, flaking or irritation, dial back usage to once daily.

Many P50 lovers enjoy using Lotion P50 PIGM400 in the mornings, and a stronger version such as Lotion P50 or Lotion P50 1970 in the evenings.

Troubleshooting Lotion P50 - Dealing with the P50 Purge

Many first time users of Lotion P50 are unpleasantly surprised when their skin starts to exhibit what seems like an increase in breakouts clogged pores and inflammation in the first few days of using Lotion P50. This is referred to as the P50 Purge.

Because your skin is being exfoliated and skin cell turnover is happening at an increased rate, the skin is pushing debris that is already exisiting deep within the pores to the surface of the skin, expelling and getting rid of potential breakouts more quickly than would naturally occur. This can cause you to experience several breakouts at once.

Although it's definitley not fun, purging is a necessary part of acheiving crystal clear skin. Clogged pores must be pushed to the surface so your skin can effectively detoxify. It is important to keep using your P50 through the purging phase for the best results. We promise - flawless skin is just around the corner!