You’ve probably heard of Bio-Oil before. I’ve seen it advertised in the back of magazines and it’s commonly found at Walgreens and other drugstores.
Juliann, one of my wonderful local readers, asked me to talk about this product for What’s In It Wednesday. I was happy to oblige.
First of all, Bio-Oil touts itself as a miracle product to erase stretch marks, take care of aging skin, uneven tone, etc. It claims to have a revolutionary ingredient called PurCellin Oil that will just do wonders for the skin. The 2 ounce bottle sells for around $12. That’s not crazy considering the price of other ineffective “miracle” products on the market, but once you find out what is in it and how potentially harmful it could be, you’ll definitely want to save that $12.
Let’s take a look at Bio-Oil and break down what is in it. The ingredients in red are cause for concern:
Paraffinum Liquidum--This is a crude oil, liquid paraffin. When you use it, you’re basically applying liquid fuel to the skin. It may feel good on the skin as these products often do because they are an occlusive and provide that barrier. This really, though, serves no benefit to the skin and there are many better natural oils on the market.
Triisononanoin–a skin condition that helps other ingredients absorb more thoroughly into the skin
Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate–a benign skin and hair conditioning agent
Isopropyl Myristate–this is a binding agent that is safe, but is often derived from animals.
Retinyl Palmitate–Vitamin A
Tocopheryl Acetate–Vitamin E
Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil–Oil from the chamomile flower. While it is great on sensitive skin in general, many find the scent causes sneezing and hay fever like symptoms.
Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil–soothing oil
Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil–a great antiseptic and antibacterial oil
Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract–calms and clarifies
Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil–a great multipurpose oil for the skin
Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil–a great multipurpose oil for the skin
BHT-–Chances are you have heard of a toxic chemical being removed from many nail polishes on the market called toluene. BHT is essentially substituted toluene. It is harmful. According to the National Library of Medicine HazMap, BHT is considered to me a “known immune system toxicant.” Animal studies have also shown that in low doses, that BHT causes negative effects to the brain and nervous system. This study was published by the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry in 1980 and has yet to be refuted. There are a host of bans and restrictions on BHT across the globe, yet it is still used here.
What troubles me most is that Bio-Oil is used by many pregnant women on stretch marks and one has to wonder about the effect it may have on unborn children.
Bisabolol–Skin conditioning; a terpene (hydrocarbon); can be anti-irritating. Not great, but not a horrible ingredient either.
Parfum–-artificial fragrances like this are the leading cause of skin reactions
Amyl Cinnamal-–highly allergenic fragrance ingredient is an alcohol, even though the label doesn’t say “amyl cinnamal alcohol” as it should. Also a known toxicant to the immune system in humans.
Benzyl Salicylate–UV absorber. Does have salicylic acid as a component, which is not to be used by pregnant women.
Coumarin—You may not be familiar with the name Coumarin, but are probably familiar with its relatives, Coumadin or Warfarin, blood thinning medication and Tonka Bean, a fragrance ingredients. In high doses, all can be lethal. Coumarin is found in the seeds of the Tonka Bean. Coumarin is on the EU’s list of banned and/or restricted ingredients and several studies have shown there to be many systemic effects in low doses. To think that this is in here and may very well be absorbed into the bloodstream is very alarming, especially since there are links to cancer.
This is found in this product as a fragrance ingredient.
Eugenol–-a denaturant and fragrance component. Highly toxic. On the EU’s banned/restricted list. The National Library of Medicine HazMap calls this a “known human immune system toxicant.”
Geraniol—Masking fragrance, toning agent. Known to be a strong toxin; banned or restricted in other countries; a known environmental toxin
Hydroxycitronellal–-Yet another masking fragrance! A known immune system toxicant; also banned or restricted in the EU and other areas
Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde–fragrance component
Limonene–-skin sensitizer; for perfume. Restricted/banned in other countries
Linalool—Masking fragrance; shown to be hazardous, banned/restricted for use in other countries
Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone–although it is banned and/or restricted in the EU, there is very little research on this and is considered relatively safe.
CI 26100-–This is officially classified by the FDA as a red colorant (Red 225) and data has shown this to have bioaccumulative effects and would not be considered eco-friendly by any stretch.
The C & G bottom line? This is a major waste of money. I know it’s $12 and not $70 like some other bottle of so-called revolutionary products. The truth, though, is that this is chock full of toxins. Pregnant and nursing women should definitely avoid this product. I would not use it, nor would I recommend you use it either.
Did anyone else notice that Bio-Oil’s miracle ingredient, PurCellin, isn’t listed on the ingredients disclosure? Legally, all ingredients must be disclosed on the product label or packaging. PurCellin is, according to Bio-Oil, a lab created ingredient that’s supposed to replicate the preen oil gland of a duck. In other words, this “breakthrough” is simply a portion of the ingredients above combined into something called “PurCellin.”
If your skin is dehydrated or aging or in need of TLC, may I suggest you try my DIY suggestions for dry skin? Or else, pure shea butter will work just as well. Any natural oils and butters will soothe your skin–macadamia nut oil, marula oil, coconut oil, hemp seed, sunflower, etc.