What is a Parapharmacie ?

Dr Marine Vincent, Pharmacist and founder of Make Me Feel, the first parapharmacie in London tells you what is a « parapharmacie » and why she says is the ultimate health and beauty destination, with a touch of french !

First a bit of background :

A what pharmacy ?? para ? like paramedic ? or parapluie ?

The prefix « para » comes from greek and means « next to ».

So literally: A Parapharmacie : para- + pharmacie = «All non-medicinal products sold in pharmacies». In France the market is so big for classic-cult dermocosmetics that parapharmacies have been developed outside the scope of the classic pharmacies to offer a larger choice and are specialised in health, beauty and skincare products. And interesting point is that there are also managed by Doctor in pharmacies.


To start fully understand this concept we need to remember how French women culturally use skincare in their routine and their obsession about prevention.

French Women use few products but choose them carefully and for their quality rather than based on fashion. They often stick on their mums and grandmums advice for skincare tips and regimen and best sellers in bathroom cabinets are usually pharmaceutical dermocosmetics.

(For example the iconic Bioderma micellar water is sold every 3 seconds worldwide.)

Even mums trust and stock up their babies must have from their local pharmacy shelves such as liniment or Mustela range which is known to represent “the smell of babies!”


Marine says:

“Many of the absolute best beauty products we’ve found come from regular French pharmacies. When I arrived in London, 11 years ago, I used to always stock up when I was in France or ask friends to bring some back when they’re passing through. The idea of creating Make Me Feel directly come from this fact.”


So why the French Pharmacy products are Classic-Cult ?

We need to remember that dermocosmetics brands such as Caudalie, Nuxe, La Roche Posay, Avene, Vichy, etc … have been initially launched in French Pharmacies and most of the time created by pharmacist themselves decades ago.

Dermocosmetics have the perfect definition for a skincare product:

Safe, efficient, validated by researches, formulated by professional, gentle and very affordable. Sitting in pharmacies or parapharmacies they also necessarily recommended by professional adviser, the pharmacist.

Of course after 6 years of studies, including a year in hospital and a thesis, the French doctors in pharmacies are consider to be the expert in skin advice. Thanks to their knowledge, they have a wild picture of our skins and that allow them to give the finest expertise and recommendation for any skin problem or general health issue. And no need to wait hours or days for an appointment: they are always available for no fee !

The term “dermocosmetic” has been itself created to describe this category of pharmaceutical products, perfect hybrids between science and cosmetology.

So if we resume in few words what is a parapharmacie, we will stick on Marine’s words :

The ultimate destination for health and beauty , with a touch of French !