Aquasource 24h Deep Hydration Replenishing Balm, Very Dry Skin

by Biotherm (Canada)  Aquasource
Price:
$45 - 50 ml
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Category:
Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizer without Sunscreen
Last Updated:
12/14/2012
Jar Packaging:
Yes
Tested On Animals:
Yes

This thick-textured moisturizer may feel good over dry to very dry skin, but its formula leaves much to be desired, especially if you’re concerned about mitigating signs of aging. Although this contains some helpful antioxidants, the fact that it’s packaged in a jar means these critical ingredients won’t remain stable after it is opened (see More Info for further details).

In terms of this providing “deep hydration,” it won’t go any deeper than lots of other moisturizers, including many that treat dry skin to a better range of ingredients proven to make a positive difference.

One more issue worth mentioning is that this moisturizer contains numerous fragrance ingredients. Fragrance isn’t skin care and the fragrance ingredients in this product are known to cause irritation—which won’t help dry skin or allow skin to look as youthful as it otherwise could. See More Info for details on why fragrance is a problem for all skin types.

One more point, Biotherm’s claims and advertised ingredients would lead you to believe their products are all about natural formulations, and that is absolutely not the case. These products are steeped in synthetics, some that are great for skin, but also some that are definitely problematic.

Pros:
  • Rich, thick texture feels comforting on very dry skin.
Cons:
  • Expensive.
  • Jar packaging won’t keep the antioxidants stable during use.
  • Overly fragrant formula also contains several fragrance ingredients known to cause irritation.

More Info:

Why Jar Packaging is a Problem
The fact that this moisturizer is packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air, so once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you’re dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria, which further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, September 2007, pages 818–829; Ageing Research Reviews, December 2007, pages 271–288; Dermatologic Therapy, September-October 2007, pages 314–321; International Journal of Pharmaceutics, June 12, 2005, pages 197–203; Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, January 2002, pages 1–32; International Society for Horticultural Science, www.actahort.org/members/showpdf?booknrarnr=778_5; Beautypackaging.com, and www.beautypackaging.com/articles/2007/03/airless-packaging.php).

Irritation From Fragrance and Fragrant Oils
Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin’s ability to heal. Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135, and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22).

Now, hydration goes deep for very dry skin that is dehydrated, taut and lacks radiance: Biotherm recreates Aquasource, its first replenishing balm for a rich, long-lasting and deep hydration.

Water, Pentaerythrityl Tetraisostearate, Glycerin, Squalane, Dimethicone, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cera Alba, Mannose, Sorbitan Tristearate, Phenoxyethanol, Octyldodecanol, Acrylamide/Sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, PEG/PPG/Polybutylene Glycol-8/5/3 Glycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Acrylates Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, Isohexadecane, Zea Mays Oil, Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil, Passiflora Edulis Oil, Oryza Sativa Bran Oil, Serine, 2-Oleamido-1, 3-Octadecanediol, Magnesium Gluconate, Citrulline, Cholesterol, Limonene, Polysorbate 80, Vitreoscilla Ferment, Disodium EDTA, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Salicylate, Linalool, Ceramide 3, Sodium Hydroxide, Hydroxypalmitoyl Sphinganine, Citral, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene, Carboxaldehyde, Benzyl Alcohol, Yellow 5, Geraniol, Red 4, Fragrance

Biotherm is one of the many companies owned by L'Oreal USA, and has a vast array of products, with many redundancies. It was founded in 1952 by a French biologist who discovered, as the story goes, a mineral-rich element in mountain spring water. Flash-forward to a slick lab where white-coated scientists supposedly figured out a way to capture this element (called vitreoscilla ferment) in its active form, and that's essentially the story behind Biotherm, now sold in 70 countries. The company announced in 2007 that Biotherm would not be sold in any U.S. or Canadian department stores anymore yet would be sold online. But as of 2009, it seems the company changed plans, at least in terms of its Canadian distribution. The brand is sold in most Canadian department stores as well as Shoppers Drug Mart.

Biotherm's claims are wrapped around the effect their special ingredient (vitreoscilla ferment) has on skin, and how it helps skin reactivate its own natural biological processes. We weren't even partway through reviewing these products before noticing the products are far from unique or specially formulated. A major reason for that is the inclusion of problematic ingredients in many products, notably alcohol, lots of fragrance, and menthol derivatives.

But is there anything to Biotherm's fervent belief in and pervasive use of vitreoscilla ferment? This gram-negative bacteria can help cells utilize oxygen better in vitro (Source: Journal of Biotechnology, January 2001, pages 57–66). But whether that effect can be translated to benefit skin cells via a cosmetic formulation is unknown, and there are no studies supporting the use of this ingredient for skin care. Therefore, you're left to take Biotherm's word for it, even though they don't bother to explain why they avoided so many well-researched antioxidants, or use minuscule amounts of intriguing ingredients that in greater amounts can positively affect skin's structure and healthy functioning. Plus you have to wonder, if this is such a great ingredient for skin, why don't the other L'Oreal companies such as Lancome, Kiehl's, La Roche-Posay, or even L'Oreal use it?

Biotherm is also big on minerals, specifically the gluconate forms of magnesium, copper, and zinc. All of these have some research indicating their merit for skin, but mostly in terms of wound healing or being mildly antibacterial. That's not the way they're showcased in Biotherm's products, of course, because anti-wrinkle and anti-aging claims are what sell products. Although they link minerals with anti-aging prowess, a wrinkle is not a wound. Moreover, the tiny amounts of these minerals found throughout the Biotherm lineup only nullifies their already limited effectiveness as part of a comprehensive skin-care routine. There are some gems to be found in this line, but proceed with caution because most of it is downright boring or just plain bad for your skin.

Note: Biotherm is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although Biotherm does not conduct animal testing for their products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brands state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law." Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Paula’s Choice Research Team.

For more information about Biotherm, call (888) BIOTHERM or visit www.biotherm-usa.com.

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About the Experts

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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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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