This toner lists alcohol as the second ingredient, making it too drying and irritating for all skin types. See More Info for details on the problems alcohol causes for all skin types.
As for using this to fight skin discolorations, it contains a couple of plant extracts with minimal research (none on human skin, it was done on plants and animals) on their ability to improve dark spots, but even if the research was plentiful and solid, it doesn’t excuse the inclusion of alcohol.
Perhaps most disappointing is that this toner contains ingredients that exfoliate skin, which can be a critical step for improving discolorations. It contains the BHA (beta hydroxy acid) ingredient salicylic acid and the product’s pH allows it to function as an exfoliant, and it contains the AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) ingredient glycolic acid as well, but the amount is too low for it to function as an exfoliant
- Contains a couple of ingredients with research showing they may improve discolorations, but because the research was done on plant and animal skin, we’re being generous in listing this attribute as a “pro.”
- Contains a high amount of alcohol, which causes dryness and irritation, and hurts skin’s ability to heal.
- Lacks a range of ingredients with solid research proving their effectiveness for lightening discolorations.
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).
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 radiant and feels hydrated. After four weeks, skin appears brighter.
Water, Alcohol Denat., Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Methyl Gluceth-10, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Chlorphenesin, Salicylic Acid, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Potassium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, Citric Acid, Glycolic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Terminalia Sericea Extract, Sucrose Dilaurate, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Palmaria Palmata Extract, Polysorbate 20, Pisum Sativum Extract, Vitreoscilla Ferment, Hydrolyzed Prunus Domestica, Caprylyl Glycol, Benzyl Salicylate, p-Anisic Acid, 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.