This fragrance-free, petrolatum-based stick sunscreen, which is best for dry skin or for use on small areas prone to sunburn (bridge of nose, tops of feet) provides broad-spectrum protection and reliable UVA screening (critical for anti-aging benefits) from avobenzone (listed as butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane) and Tinosorb (listed as methylene bis-benzotriazolyl tetramethylbutylphenyl). Tinosorb is a UVA-protecting sunscreen ingredient approved for use throughout Europe, but not yet in the United States—although why it's not approved in the United States is a good question, as it's been safely used for years in many other parts of the world. Technically, Bioderma shouldn't sell it in the United States, but, in this case, flying under the radar isn't a bad thing for your skin.
This has a smooth texture that applies evenly, but can definitely make the skin feel coated due to its wax content, which is the main reason it's best reserved for applying to small areas. Although the formula doesn't contain antioxidants, it does have a nice mix of moisturizing and skin-repairing ingredients plus anti-irritant licorice. As with all stick sunscreens, this isn't recommended for use on breakout-prone areas.
- Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Great for protecting the most sunburn-prone areas of the body.
- Small size is conveniently portable.
- Amount of wax and emollients lends a heavier finish.
- The sunscreen ingredients this contains aren't ideal for sensitive skin and the high amounts can be sensitizing for some people.
The maximum anti-UVB efficacy and unmatched "extreme anti-UVA" performance of Photoderm MAX Stick safely protect against sunburn, prevent sun intolerance reactions and combat premature cutaneous ageing.
Diisopropyl Sebacate, Ozokerite, Petrolatum, Octocrylene, Myristyl Lactate, Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol, Water (Aqua), Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Microcrystalline Wax (Cera Microcristallina), Paraffin, Triisostearin PEG-6 Esters, Beeswax (Cera Alba), C12-16 Alcohols, Ectoin, Mannitol, Glycyrrhizic Acid, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Decyl Glucoside, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Palmitic Acid, Dimethicone, Trisodium EDTA, Propylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, BHT, Propylparaben.
Bioderma is a European brand based in France and sold in 70 countries around the world, which explains why we get so many requests to review the brand!
According to information on their website, the team at Bioderma has been collaborating with dermatologists and “renowned international research centers” for over 20 years, all to bring you products that are “the most frequently prescribed by French dermatologists.” Sounds impressive, but the proof is in the products, not the posturing!
Because Bioderma sells skin-care products, not pharmaceutical drug products, there’s no “prescribing” involved—anyone can easily obtain Bioderma products, in stores or online, no doctor visit needed. The fact that French dermatologists recommend these products isn’t proof of anything; lots of dermatologists around the world recommend products with problematic ingredients, sometimes because they simply don’t know any better or are just as susceptible to the hype as anyone else, and sometimes because they are paid by the company to promote their products.
The Bioderma range is huge, but also hugely repetitive. Few brands offer as many cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreens as Bioderma, yet the onslaught creates a lot of confusion, and the differences between many of these formulas are subtle to indistinguishable. There are some good products, but overall the formulas are lackluster. When shopping this line, you really have to choose carefully and not get too hung up on the various names and claims because often virtually the same product formula comes with different benefits on the label, again and again. And again.
Many people with sensitive skin ask us about Bioderma, perhaps because the company frequently mentions that their products are hypoallergenic. That term—“hypoallergenic”— is misleading, as explained below.
There are no accepted testing methods, ingredient restrictions, regulations, guidelines, rules, or procedures of any kind, anywhere in the world, for determining whether or not a product qualifies as being hypoallergenic. So, any company can label any product “hypoallergenic” because there is no regulation that says they can’t, no matter what so-called evidence they may use to make their point—and what proof can they provide given there is no standard against which to measure?
Given that there are no regulations governing hypoallergenic products, we know there are plenty of products labeled “hypoallergenic” that actually contain problematic ingredients and that can indeed trigger allergic reactions, even for those with no previous history of skin sensitivity—and that’s certainly true for many Bioderma products. We wish that weren’t the case, but the word “hypoallergenic” gives you no reliable understanding of what you are or aren’t putting on your skin (Sources: www.fda.gov; Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, May 2004, pages 325–327; and Ostomy and Wound Management, March 2003, pages 20–21).
That being said, we applaud Bioderma for avoiding the use of known sensitizing ingredients like peppermint, lavender, menthol, and all types of citrus, which unfortunately are rampant in the world of skin care. Many Bioderma products are also fragrance-free and in that sense are absolutely worth a look, whether sensitive skin is an issue or not. (Fragrance-free is best for all skin types.)
Despite the huge number of products, there are some surprising holes in the Bioderma line. For example, this isn’t a line to shop if you’re struggling with breakouts, there are no effective AHA or BHA exfoliants, the skin-lightening products have drawbacks that don’t make them worth considering over better options, and you won’t find advanced anti-aging formulations of any kind. You’re in luck if you want lots of choices in cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreens, but as mentioned above, there’s a lot to wade through, and much of it is repetitive. We’re all for brands offering choices for different skin types, concerns, and textures (such as gel versus lotion), but Bioderma’s range simply isn’t as varied as it is large. A large mix of relatively wishy-washy formulations is really not a plus for your skin.
For more information about Bioderma, visit www.bioderma.com.