This skin-brightening moisturizer has a lightweight texture suitable for normal to slightly dry skin, but its jar packaging misses the mark for keeping the one significant brown spot–improving ingredient this contains stable during use. This product contains ascorbyl glucoside, a form of vitamin C that shows up in many products claiming to correct dark spots. There’s some good research behind this ingredient’s efficacy, but like all forms of vitamin C, it degrades and loses effectiveness when routinely exposed to light and air—which is exactly what happens when you opt for jar packaging (see More Info for further details).
Biotherm claims they use three active ingredients to fight against pigmentation changes, but that really isn’t the case. Only the form of vitamin C mentioned above has published research proving its worth for lightening discolorations. There is some information about Palmaria palmata, a type of algae, playing a role in controlling the pathway that causes melanin (skin pigment) formation, but there’s so little to go on it’s mostly speculation that this would work on intact skin; plus, concentration protocols have not been established and this product contains only a minute amount.
What this product does have is a shockingly ordinary formula that makes its price that much harder to accept. As with most Biotherm products, it contains fragrance ingredients known to cause irritation, and it lacks the state-of-the-art anti-aging ingredients all skin types need to look and act younger.
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.
- Lightweight, silky texture.
- Jar packaging won’t keep the key skin-lightening ingredient stable during use.
- Does not contain three active ingredients to fight dark spots as claimed.
- Contains fragrance ingredients known to cause irritation.
The fact that this product 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).
White D-Tox products are enriched with 3 natural active ingredients that fight against skin pigmentation at each step. Together, they form a complete, efficient and gentle brightening line. Skin instantly looks more supple and luminous. After four weeks, skin appears more transparent and luminous, and dark spots are visibly faded.
Water, Butylene Glycol, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Cyclohexasiloxane, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Paraffinum Liquidum, Cetyl Alcohol, Polyacrylamide, Phenoxyethanol, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Stearic Acid, Shea Butter, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Triethanolamine, Potassium Hydroxide, Microcrystalline Wax, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Citrate, Chlorphenesin, Fragrance, Paraffin, Xanthan Gum, Laureth-7, 2-Olemido-1, 3-Octadecanediol, Acrylates/c10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Citric Acid, Terminalia Sericea Extract, Vitreoscilla Ferment Extract, Tetrasodium EDRA, BHT, Sucrose Dilaurate, Benzyl Salicylate, Linalool, Palmaria Palmata Extract, Limonene, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Polysorbate 20, Pisum Sativum Extract, Triticum Vulgare Germ Extract, Geraniol, Caprylyl Glycol, p-Anisic Acid
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.