Hyperpigmentation results from several conditions including scars from healed acne lesions and "liver spots" that are a product of the aging process. Hydroquinone, glycolic acid and kojic acid are each effective treatments for hyperpigmentation, according to MayoClinic.com. Bio Oil, which began manufacture in South Africa in 1987, contains none of these active ingredients. Nonetheless, the website claims that Bio Oil is a natural, hyooallergenic treatment for hyperpigmentation.
Formulation and Ingredients
The active ingredients in Bio Oil include vitamins A and E and oil from calendula, chamomile, rosemary and lavender plants. These oils soften and condition the skin, according to the company website. The proprietary ingredient is a substance called "PurCellin Oil," a laboratory creation which duplicates the preen oil gland found in ducks. "PurCellin Oil" purportedly allows the active ingredients to absorb past the surface skin layer, which may increase their effectiveness.
Bio Oil's manufacturer first combines the plant oils. The next step is to add vitamins A and E in an oxygen-free environment. "PurCellin Oil," the delivery agent is added to the formula last.
Clinical Trial Results
Hyperpigmentation can be especially problematic in dark skin, the American Academy of Dermatologists reports. Healing from burns, cuts or acne lesions can leave marks that persist for years. In clinical tests of 13 Caucasian and 15 Black African women between the ages of 18 and 55, 93 percent reported improvement in uneven skin tone after 4 weeks. The women applied the product twice per week over a course of 12 weeks.
Bio Oil treatments for stretch marks and scars showed less dramatic results. In clinical tests limited to 20 Caucasian female subjects.between the ages of 18 and 55, 50 percent reported improvement in the appearance of stretch marks after four weeks. The subjects applied the product twice per day for 12 weeks. In a 12-week clinical trial involving 22 Caucasian females and two Caucasian males between the ages of 18 and 60, 65 percent of subjects reported improvement after four weeks.
Bio Oil Reviews
Magazines ranging from "Cosmopolitan" to "O" to "Weight Watchers" gave Bio Oil positive reviews. "Seventeen" magazine called Bio Oil a "must have" product.
Niall Kirkpatrick, a plastic surgeon in the United Kingdom quoted by "Mail Online," expressed reservation about the product's effectiveness. According to Kirkpatrick, skin surface cells are not easily penetrated, even by a proprietary delivery agent. Any improvement experienced by users was likely the result of increased skin hydration, he explained.