Despite the spa images this mask may conjure up, the formula for normal to dry skin isn’t as helpful as it could be, and the missteps make it not worth considering.
This contains some good moisturizing plant oils and shea butter plus silicones for a silky feel, and the amount of vitamin E is greater than what Biotherm products typically have. That’s great, as is the inclusion of some helpful skin-repairing ingredients. Things go wrong because this mask also contains the irritating menthol derivative menthoxypropanediol as well as fragrance ingredients known to be irritating. Your skin doesn’t need to suffer any bad ingredients to get good ones, as there are plenty of moisturizing masks that give your skin only helpful ingredients. See More Info to learn why irritation and fragrance are 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.
- Contains a good blend of moisturizing ingredients coupled with antioxidants and skin-repairing substances.
- Contains an irritating menthol derivative whose cooling sensation is a sign your skin is being damaged.
- Contains fragrance ingredients known to cause irritation.
Fragrance in Skin-Care Products:
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).
Why Irritating Ingredients Are a Problem for Everyone’s Skin
Irritation, whether you see it on the surface of your skin or not, causes inflammation and as a result impairs healing, damages collagen, and depletes the vital substances your skin needs to stay young. For these reasons, it is best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to known skin irritants, especially when there are brilliant formulas available that do not include these types of problematic ingredients (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.)
With new-found well-being, this gel mask instantly restores suppleness and comfort, with balance assured by natural oils (oil of palm). The skin's thirst is quenched, a sensation of comfort and freshness when applied. Skin recovers its suppleness and elasticity.
Water, Glycerin, Elaeis Guineensis/Palm Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii/Shea Butter, Zea Mays/Corn Germ Oil, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Cetyl Alcohol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Alcohol Denat., Tocopheryl Acetate, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Vitreoscilla Ferment, Copper Gluconate, Zinc Gluconate, Magnesium Gluconate, Manganese Gluconate, Serine, Citrulline, 2-Oleamido-1, 3-Octadecanediol, Ceramide 3, Hydroxypalmitoyl Sphinganine, Cholesterol, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Panthenol, Fructose, Glucose, Sucrose Urea, Alanine, Aspartic Acid, Hexylene Glycol, Dextrin Glutamic Acid, Hexyl Nicotinate, Menthoxypropanediol, Tocopherol, Glycine Soja/Soybean Oil, Xanthan Gum, Dimethiconol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Stearic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Myristic Acid, Polyacrylamide, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Triethanolamine, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Propylparaben Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Fragrance, Hexylcinnamal, Limonene, Benzyl Salicylate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Linalool, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Citral, Benzyl Alcohol
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.