Aquasource Superserum Intensely Moisturizing Oligo-Thermal Concentrate

by Biotherm (Canada)  Aquasource
Price:
$46 - 30 ml
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Category:
Skin Care > Serums > Serums
Last Updated:
12/14/2012
Jar Packaging:
No
Tested On Animals:
Yes

With alcohol as the third ingredient and plenty of fragrance ingredients, this is far from being “super” and has limited appeal as a moisturizer. It also contains the irritating menthol derivative menthoxypropanediol, whose strong tingle is your skin telling you it’s being irritated. See More Info for details on why alcohol, fragrance, and irritating ingredients are a problem for all skin types.

If the formula weren’t bad enough, the claims are over the top! The story is that Biotherm’s biologists captured thousands of liters of thermal spring water, said to be a rich source of minerals—but, in a skin-care product the minerals are removed as part of the necessary purification process all water goes thorough before being mixed into a cosmetic formula. Then they combined this allegedly special water with pink sea salt from millions of years ago. There is no research showing any of this is good for skin; the story doesn’t even make sense.

The entire concept is ridiculous because minerals in water don’t penetrate skin (their molecular structure is too large) and salt is drying (think of how your skin feels after you’ve been swimming in the ocean or how much salt hurts if you get it in an open wound). Regardless of the story, and regardless of the source of the water and salt, there is no research proving they can “insulate skin from environmental harm.” If anything, the combination of saltwater and alcohol impairs skin’s barrier function, leaving its surface wide open to environmental damage. And it’s certain this combination cannot protect skin from sunlight, which is its biggest environmental threat.

Ultimately, this serum is a poor choice for all skin types. Although it contains some beneficial ingredients, they’re intermixed with problematic ingredients, and your skin deserves only the good ingredients, preferably without hokey claims.

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:
  • None.
Cons:
  • Expensive.
  • Formula lists alcohol as the third ingredient, and alcohol in skin care is pro-aging.
  • Contains fragrance ingredients known to cause irritation.
  • Contains irritating menthol derivative whose cooling sensation is a sign your skin is being damaged.
  • The special water and pink salt claims are not supported by research and absolutely not helpful for your skin.

More Info:

Alcohol in Skin-Care Products:
Alcohol in skin-care products causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs the skin’s ability to heal. The irritation it causes damages healthy collagen production and can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, making oily skin worse (Sources: “Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In,”Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).

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.)

Moisture at its peak! In a breakthrough ultra-moisturizing formula, Biotherm biologists have succeeded in concentrating 5,000 litres of thermal spring water* and combining it with Himalayan Pink Salt. Also known as “the salt of life,” this Pink Salt is exceptionally pure and was formed over 300 million years ago, containing more than 70 minerals and trace elements essential to healthy cell structure. The ultra-fine texture of Aquasource Superserum insulates the skin from environmental harm while letting it breathe properly. This formula effectively protects the skin from dehydration and allows it to maintain an optimal level of moisture, even when tested under extreme conditions such as wind, cold, heat and air conditioning.

Water, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Cyclohexasiloxane, Dimethicone, Isononyl Isononanoate, Elaeis Guineensis Oil, Ammonium Polyacryldimethyltauramide, Zea Mays Oil, Prunus Armeniaca Kernel Oil, Passiflora Edulis Oil, Oryza Sativa Bran Oil, Divinyldimethicone/Dimethicone Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Maris Sal, Tocopheryl Acetate, Polyperfluoromethylisopropyl Ether, Hexylene Glycol, Beheneth-10, Panthenol, Cholesterol, Fragrance, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Methylparaben, Polyacrylamide, Serine, 2-Oleamido-1, 3-Octadecanediol, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Citrulline, Xanthan Gum, Limonene Fructose, BHT, Glucose C13-14 Isoparaffin, Vitreoscilla Ferment Extract, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Menthoxypropanediol, Disodium EDTA, Cellulose Acetate Butyrate, Polyphosphorylcholine Glycol Acrylate, Ethylparaben, C12-13 Pareth-23, Propylparaben, Laureth-7, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, C12-13 Pareth-3, Triethanolamine, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Butylparaben Isobutylparaben, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Salicylate, Urea, Sodium Chloride, Linalool, Ceramide 3, Hydroxypalmitoyl Sphinganine, Butylene Glycol, Citral Dextrin, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Sodium Hyaluronate, Benzyl Alcohol, Blue 1, Yellow 5, Hexyl Nicotinate, Sucrose, Glutamic Acid, Aspartic Acid, Alanine

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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