02.18.2013
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Biotherm
Skin Vivo Uniformity Renovating Anti-Age Moisturizer SPF 15
Rating
50 ml for $70
Category:Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizers/Anti-Aging
Last Updated:02.18.2013
Jar Packaging:Yes
Tested on animals:Yes
Overview

This daytime moisturizer with sunscreen contains a good mix of actives that provide broad-spectrum protection. Stabilized avobenzone and Mexoryl SX are on hand for reliable UVA (think anti-aging) protection.

Although sun protection is assured, the base formula is mostly lacking in state-of-the-art anti-aging ingredients. It has a silky, lightweight texture suitable for normal to combination skin, but the amount of vitamin-based antioxidants is paltry, and they won’t remain stable once this jar-packaged product is opened (see More Info for details on jar packaging).

You’ll see a subtle brightening/radiance-boosting effect thanks to the mineral pigments this contains, but that alone isn’t worth the price of admission. Even adding in the broad-spectrum sun protection, this daytime moisturizer is a tough sell. It does contain fragrance ingredients known to cause irritation, although these are present in low amounts.

Pros:
  • Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
  • Lightweight, silky texture.
Cons:
  • Expensive.
  • Jar packaging won’t keep the tiny amount of antioxidants stable during use.
  • Mostly lacking in state-of-the-art anti-aging ingredients.
  • Contains fragrance ingredients known to cause irritation (but at least these are present in low amounts).

More Info:

The fact that this moisturizer with sunscreen 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).

Claims

An anti-aging care that targets and diminishes the appearance of the 5 main skin irregularities to restore the look of uniform and visibly younger skin. Includes SPF 15 to protect restored uniformity against UVA and UVB aggression.

Ingredients

Active: Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (5%), Avobenzone (3%), Terephthalylidene Dicamphor Sulfonic Acid (Mexoryl SX) (1%), Other: Water, Isononyl Isononanoate, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Propylene Glycol, Poly C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Glyceryl Stearate, Octyldodecanol, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Behenyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Triethanolamine, Divinyldimethicone / Dimethicone Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Steareth-20, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Disodium Ethylene Dicocamide PEG-15 Disulfate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Titanium Dioxide, Xanthan Gum, Mica, PEG-8 Laurate, PEG-100 Stearate, Vitreoscilla Ferment, Disodium EDTA, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Retinyl Palmitate, Adenosine, C12-13 Pareth-23, Cassia Alata Leaf Extract, Maltodextrin, C12-13 Pareth-3, Mannitol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Hexyl Cinnamal, Citronellol, Coumarin, Cyclodextrin, Linalool, Yeast Extract, Sodium Succinate, Fragrance

Brand Overview

Biotherm At-A-Glance

Strengths: Sunscreens now include the right UVA-protecting ingredients; some good cleansers and makeup removers.

Weaknesses: Redundancy, especially within the moisturizer category where there are far too many products whose differences are more tied to name and claims than formula; overuse of alcohol in the moisturizers (the drying kind, not benign fatty alcohols such as cetyl or stearyl); jar packaging; bland toners; ineffective AHA/BHA, and skin-lightening products; overly fragrant products make this brand a poor choice for those with rosacea or sensitive skin.

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.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia 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 Begoun herself.

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