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Product Review: Bio-Oil
...and the *real* solution for stretch marks
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, just a cartoon deer on the internet with a background in chemistry and a hyperfixation on skin. This is not medical advice.
Bio-Oil preys on women’s emotions for sales. Well, I guess I could have replaced “Bio-Oil” with literally anything in the in the fashion, beauty, or diet industries, and that sentence would still be true. My real beef with Bio-Oil is not the misleading marketing (although I still don’t love that). Rather, I don’t like Bio-Oil because it doesn’t work.
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As we discussed in my stretch marks protocol, I believe the two following mechanisms are the only viable methods for clearing up stretch marks:
Stimulate the production of collagen using retinoids
Chemical exfoliation using alpha hydroxy acids
Upon reviewing the ingredient list, I figure Bio-Oil attempts to leverage the former through a retinol derivative called retinyl palmitate. Retinyl palmitate is the most gentle retinoid you can find over the counter. Because it’s so gentle, I’m bearish on the ability of Bio-Oil as an effective treatment for stretch marks. Stretch marks represent widespread disruption to the dermal matrix, so if you want to maximize repair, you need a derivative stronger than just retinyl palmitate. It also grinds my gears that Bio-Oil isn’t explicitly clear about the retinol derivative in the formulation, as I would avoid all retinoids while pregnant or nursing.
Further, the formula is just not optimal for a body oil anyways. The main ingredient in Bio-Oil is mineral oil. Mineral oil is a heavy fat that functions more like an occlusive than a nourishing oil in my opinion. Occlusives just sit on top of your skin without penetrating the epidermis due to the relatively large size of the molecules it their composition. Thus, you’re not even getting the true benefits of using a body oil.
If you think Bio-Oil worked for you, that’s great! However, there are more effective options to consider:
Go read my stretch marks protocol and follow those instructions exactly
Get a better oil - this is my preferred option
That’s all for now! Happy skincare!
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