What is a "Parapharmacie" or a French pharmacy?

french pharmacy, the french pharmacy, french skincare, french beauty

Dr Marine Vincent, Pharmacist and founder of Make Me Feel, the first parapharmacie in London explains what  a « parapharmacie » is 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 cult-classic 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. An interesting point is that there are also managed by Doctors in pharmacy.


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

French Women use few products but choose them carefully for their quality rather than based on hype. They often stick to their mothers and grandmothers 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.

french pharmacy, french pharmacy in london, the french pharmacy

Even mothers 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!”

Dr Marine Vincent 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 and The French pharmacy directly come from this fact.”

So why are French Pharmacy products cult classics?

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 pharmacists themselves decades ago.

bioderma sensibio, french pharmacy, the french pharmacy, french pharmacy in london

Dermocosmetics have the perfect definition of a skincare product:

Safe, efficient, validated by researchers, formulated by professional, gentle and very affordable. On the shelves of pharmacies or parapharmacies, these products are also recommended by a professional: the pharmacist.

Of course, after 6 years of studies, including a year in hospital and a thesis, the French doctors in pharmacies are considered to be experts in skin and skincare. Thanks to their studies, they have a knowledgeable understanding of skin which 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 on site and give advice for free.

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

So in the words of Dr Marine Vincent, what is a parapharmacie?

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

 make me feel french pharmacy, french pharmacy london, the french pharmacy

Visit the only French pharmacy in London

Make Me Feel French Pharmacy, 25 Abbeville road, Clapham SW49LU

You can read more about Dr Marine Vincent on her website


Buy French Skincare online