Sebium AI

by Bioderma  
Price:
$22.95 - 30 ml
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Category:
Skin Care > Anti-Acne Products > BHA
Last Updated:
10/18/2013
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
Yes

Sebium AI is an intriguing moisturizer for normal to oily or combination skin that's also prone to breakouts. Among the standard thickeners and smoothing ingredients that allow this product to moisturize is the anti-inflammatory ingredient zinc gluconate. Applied topically, zinc gluconate can reduce the inflammatory cascade caused by acne-causing bacteria. It also appears to exert an anti-inflammatory action that keeps acne (which, at its core, is an inflammatory disorder) at bay (Sources: Experimental Dermatology, September 2013, pages 587–592; and Archives of Dermatological Research, December 2011, pages 707–713).

In addition to anti-inflammatory zinc gluconate, this product contains other ingredients that reduce inflammation, and some of these provide an antioxidant benefit as well.

Although Sebium AI contains the anti-acne ingredient salicylic acid, the product's pH prevents it from functioning as an exfoliant, so this won't improve blackheads as claimed. You'll still need to use a salicylic acid (also known as BHA) exfoliant (with a low enough pH) and topical disinfectant to battle breakouts, but Sebium AI can be used as a moisturizer and stands a good chance of relieving the redness and inflammation that so often accompany acne.

This product does contain fragrance, but the amount is low.

Pros:
  • Moisturizes and reduces redness from acne.
  • Zinc gluconate is an intriguing anti-inflammatory agent.
  • Contains some good skin-repairing ingredients, making this helpful for those with breakouts and dry skin.
Cons:
  • The salicylic acid cannot function as an exfoliant because the product's pH is too high.
  • Cannot improve blackheads or provide the disinfectant punch against acne-causing bacteria like the active ingredient benzoyl peroxide can.

Sébium AI speeds up the elimination of spots and blackheads and prevents them reappearing. Its formula limits the proliferation of P.acnes, the bacteria at the origin of the inflammation that causes the spots. Redness is soothed and irritation relieved.

Water (Aqua), Di-C12-13 Alkyl Malate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Glycerin, Dipropylene Glycol, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Zinc Gluconate, Isododecane, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Arachidyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Salicylic Acid, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Candida Bombicola/Glucose/Methyl Rapeseedate Ferment, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Squalane, Rhamnose, Fructooligosaccharides, Mannitol, Xylitol, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Behenyl Alcohol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Arachidyl Glucoside, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, Propylene Glycol, Polysorbate 60, Dodecyl Gallate, Fragrance (Parfum).

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.

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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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