Pros: Vitamin A and E, and some natural oils.
Cons: Too many cons! Read this review!
Bio-Oil is manufactured in South Africa by Union-Swiss, Ltd. The product is found in every pharmacy and supermarket in South Africa; it is considered a low-end, low-price product, making it accessible to all.
Since I live in southern Africa, I frequent South Africa quite a bit. One day when I was looking for baby oil, I saw Bio-Oil in the skin oils section. Bio-Oil comes in a nice box, and the various conditions it promises to address are listed on the outside of the box, in nice big print. The tall list of conditions it claims to address caught my eye. I wondered if one single product could achieve so many things. The price is so low, that I figured, geez, why not? Maybe I'll grow new skin!
One thing to remember, though, while this product is sold in the USA, the product's claims are not FDA approved. Buyer beware!
Packaging and Price
In South Africa, the 200ml (5.7 oz) bottle retails for 69 Rand (less than US$9), and the smaller 150ml bottle retails for R49 (around $6). Definitely, this product is inexpensive, especially if one plans to use it as an all-body moisturizer, which is how I've used it. I have not purchased this product in the USA, but I do recall seeing it in Walmart, on one of my home visits, and I was shocked to see how expensive it is there. On-line, I've seen the price to be as high as $19.99!
Apparently, this product is heavily marketed in the USA by the "As Seen on TV"... so, that should give you something to think about.
Product Features (Claims)
The manufacturers of Bio-Oil claim that it will:
"help improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks and uneven skin tone. It is also recommended for ageing and dehydrated skin (sagging and wrinkled skin). Bio-Oil contains no preservatives and is suitable for all ages and skin types."
Most importantly, the manufacturer claims the product is "non-acnegenic" or that it does not cause pimples.
Product Main Ingredients
~ Paraffinum Liquidum: also known as Mineral Oil,
~ Lavandula Angustifolia: also known as Lavender Oil,
~ Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil: also known as Rosemary,
~ Annuus Seed Oil: also known as Sunflower Oil,
~ Glycine Soja: commonly known as Soybean Oil.
~ Tocopheryl Acetate: known as vitamin E,
~ Retinyl Palmitate: also known as vitamin A
Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Helianthus Triisononanoin, Bisabolol, Isopropyl Myristate, BHT*, Bisabolol, Parfum, CL 26100**, CL 60725*** and Fragrance****.
Let's Examine some of Bio-Oil's ingredients
Mineral Oil: According to various US entities that review ingredients found in cosmetics (the one I used is http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/) state that Mineral Oil, the main ingredient, does aggravate acne conditions, and while it is widely used by the cosmetic industry as an emollient, it has not been proven to contain any anti-aging benefits.
In fact, mineral oil has been shown to produce many unwanted side effects or aggravated skin conditions such as eczema and acne. Dermatologists do not recommend the use of Mineral Oil because it can clog the pores and aggravate the skin. While Bio-Oil does not claim to cure acne, it does say it addresses scars [as in from acne]. If a person with an active acne condition wants to address the scarring and dark spots acne cause, and applies this oil, the oil could aggravate the acne.
* BHT: In addition to preserving foods, BHA and BHT are also used to preserve fats and oils in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. While BHT is widely used in cosmetic and pharmaceuticals, it is a preservative. Interestingly, the Bio-Oil packaging states that no preservatives are used. Not true... BHA and BHT are preservatives!
** CL 26100: (Red 17) and may also be known as Red 40, which is a food coloring with carcinogenic properties.
*** CL 60725: (violet 2): a colorant mostly found in nail varnishes.
**** Fragrance: hydroxyisohexyl, 3-cyclohexene and carboxaldehyde, known in the cosmetic industry as LYRAL which has been identified as the cause of contact allergic reactions in 2-3% of eczema patients undergoing patch testing (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14531869).
Bio-Oil does contain many natural oils, which is good, BUT some people with skin sensitivities may be highly allergic to it.
Bio-Oil comes in three sizes, and it's packaged in plastic bottles. I started buying the small bottle (60ml), then the 125ml and I graduated to the 200ml size. Since I don't live in South Africa, I purchased several bottles at once, and because I hate to waste my money, I intended to finish them, that is, until I researched Bio-Oil for this review, and now I intend to toss them out!
Bio-Oil has some merit, such as containing Vitamins A and E, which are known antioxidants which help nourish the skin and help fight the appearance of wrinkles and uneven skin. But other than these, there are no other ingredients in the formula that are proven to improve wrinkles (retinol, for example).
Why did I use it?
Until today, I basically used it all over my body as it keeps the skin moisturized, and it is an inexpensive moisturizer. On the surface, it does the job well, as any other moisturizer sold today. Bio-Oil has a pleasant scent.
Bio-Oil IS NOT non-acnegenic, as the packaging states. When I first purchased the product, based on its claims, I applied it twice a day to my face, and within a few days, my chin area was covered with many little pimples, some with whiteheads. I suffered from acne as a young woman, so in my case, my face pores clog easily. I did not experience breakout anywhere else on the body, so I continued to use the oil from the neck down.
What about all those claims?
Well, I don't' have stretch marks so it's hard to say it works on those, but I do have tons of little scars on my legs that I acquired when I was a runner, and had my fair share of falls. I also have scars from a severe case of adult Chicken Pox all over my body, and even though I usedBio-Oil as a daily, regular moisturizer, the scars are still there.
I also suffer from those little bumps on the side of my upper arms (diagnosed as Keratosis Pilaris). I have tried every known treatment (medical and OTC), and even though I faithfully applied Bio-Oil, they're still present. Another claim is that "Bio-Oil"provides significant relief from the discomfort associated with dry, itchy and flaky skin." Negative, the itching on my arms (due to the little bumps) is ever-present, and the product has not improved that condition!
The only thing that has ever helped my bumps is repeated exposure to thermal waters from spas, but obviously, I can't go there but once in a few years!
The oil does go on easily, but I wouldn't say it dries instantly. You must let it dry for several minutes before you get fully dressed. It does not stain your clothes, however, if you must get dressed after application. Once dry, it does not leave a greasy residue, though.
This morning, as usual, after a bath, I moisturized my body with Bio-Oil. I looked at the bottle, and decided to write a review on it. However, as a habit, I cannot write a product review without first digging around for information, and so I found many interesting facts about some of the ingredients in Bio-Oil.
In fact, after learning about some of these ingredients (Mineral Oil, BHT, Cl 26100 (Red 17), CL 60725 (Violet 2), and fragrance in the form of hydroxyisohexyl, 3-cyclohexene and carboxaldehyde), I completely changed my mind about using this product further.
I think it's important for people to know that there is no such thing as a cure-all for wrinkles, as well as the other skin conditions Bio-Oil claims to improve (as listed on the Bio-Oil packaging). I've used two bottles completely, and saw no changes to my skin.
Bio-Oil is is reasonably cheap, even in the USA, but there are no independent tests conducted in the USA to support all the claims it makes. With so much information available on the Internet, it's very easy to find out about every single ingredient found in cosmetics. In fact, you just need to type in the name of the ingredient in the search engine (for example: CL 26100), and voila, everything you should know about it is before your eyes!
Interestingly, when I set out to write this review, before my little research, I was going to give Bio-Oil three stars, as on the surface, it appears harmless as a moisturizer, and it does an OK job keeping the skin moist for a few hours, but it does not deliver all those improvements it says it does.
Now that I've learned more about Bio-Oil and that it is not as innocuous as it presents itself to be, my recommendation is: Don't waste your money!