Considering its price, this serum should be loaded with ingredients proven to fight dark spots and uneven skin tone. Unfortunately (at least for those who believed the claims and bought this product), the formula will be of minimal use in addressing this concern because the lightening ingredients it contains have minimal research proving their efficacy. So, in all likelihood, your discolorations won’t improve much, if at all, with this product, especially if you don’t use a well-formulated sunscreen, which is the most important product to improve skin discolorations.
This contains a small amount of Palmaria palmata, a type of algae believed to play 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. Moreover, concentration protocols have not been established, so we don’t know how much is needed to improve discolorations.
Also present is the pomegranate-derived antioxidant ellagic acid, which has some research explaining how it works to affect melanin (skin pigment) production. However, the studies on this ingredient were done on mushrooms and mice, not on human skin, and the main conclusion was that oral consumption helped more than topical application (Sources: Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry, volume 69, 2005, pages 2368–2373; and International Journal of Cosmetic Science, August 2000, pages 291–303).
Ironically, this product contains the fragrance ingredient limonene (along with other fragrance ingredients known to cause irritation), which is known to cause skin discolorations when skin is exposed to sunlight. Limonene certainly is not the ingredient you want to see in any skin-care product, especially if your concern is lightening dark spots! Granted, it’s present in a low amount, but really it shouldn’t be here at all.
- Contains a couple of ingredients with research showing they may help improve discolorations. But, because the research was done on plant and animal skin, we’re being generous in listing this attribute as a “pro.”
- Lacks a range of ingredients with solid research proving their effectiveness for lightening discolorations.
- Contains fragrance ingredients known to cause irritation.
- Fragrance ingredient limonene can cause dark spots when skin is exposed to sunlight without sun protection.
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. As if infused with light from inside, skin is instantly more radiant and transparent.
Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Methyl Gluceth-20, Isononyl Isononanoate, Octyldodecanol, Cetyl Alcohol, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Polyacrylamide, Stearic acid, Phenoxyethanol, Palmitic Acid, Ellagic Acid, Sucrose Dilaurate, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Laureth-7, PPG-5-Ceteth-20, 2-Olemido-1,3-Octadecanediol, Xanthan Gum, Polysorbate 20, Tetrasodium EDTA, Vitreoscilla Ferment, Pisum Sativum Extract, Terminalia Sericea Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Palmaria Palmata Extract, Hydrolyzed Prunus Domestica, p-Anisic Acid, Benzyl Salicylate, Linalool, Limonene, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Triticum Vulgare Germ Extract, 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.