If you’ve been following my skin chronicles, my last update was earlier this month when I shared my review on Skinoren. Now I’m back to share my Bioderma Sebium Night Peel Review.
If you aren’t familiar with my skin history, you can catch up over here, but just in case you don’t (can’t imagine why not!), as a very brief recap-come-introduction; almost a year and a half ago I started experiencing phenomenally huge (and frankly unacceptable) breakouts. I had thought I left my spotty past in my teens but as it turns out adult acne is a thing and maybe it likes attaching itself to people with prior experience? It’s like you’re the best person for the job and you should be honoured.
For a full year I couldn’t get the breakouts in proper check and I tried (almost) everything. I was in the middle of my (super scientific) Skinoren trial when Bioderma launched their new Sébium night peel which sounded like it was made for me. I had to wait to complete the self-imposed three-month trial period as it’s phenomenally important to isolate product usage while testing (like I said, super scientific), but I was very excited to give Bioderma Sébium Night Peel a try.
Bioderma has an excellent reputation among dermatologists and their Micellar water, named H20, has a cult following. I remember first being introduced to the brand by a dermatologist who I went to for Fraxel laser treatments +/- 11 year ago. As my post recovery skincare routine I was only allowed to cleanse with their Sensibio H20 and moisturise with their Sensibio Rich. Although I swayed from the brand over the years, their Sensibio H20 has remained a constant in my life. It’s the perfect makeup remover and for the night’s you feel too tired (or lazy) to wash, it’s a good compromise.
Bioderma is a NAOS brand that has been around for 40 years. Their expertise is in skin biology and they specialise in dermatology. They believe that healthy skin should be accessible to everyone and henceforth develop practical and easy to use products for all skin types and all ages. Their price point and stockist locations also make them one of the most accessible and affordable dermatologist backed skincare brands. Although they are not cheap, their most expensive product (a night renewal cream) goes for R385 at Dis-chem. If you’ve seen the price of some skincare going, this definitely falls into the lower end of mid-range pricing.
Bioderma’s Sébium range was formulated for combination, oily and acne-prone skin.
Within the range they have various cleansing and moisturising options, and now the Sébium Night Peel too.
What is Bioderma Sebium Night Peel?
Bioderma’s Sébium Night Peel was formulated as a gentle peel you can do at home. It is non-comedogenic and has very good skin tolerance.
It claims to:
- Reduce spots and blemishes
- Reveal skin radiance, and
- Smooth and refine skin texture
How much does Bioderma Sebium Night Peel Cost?
At the time of this review, Bioderma’s Sébium Night Peel sells for R287.95 at Dis-chem.
What are the Ingredients in Bioderma Sebium Night Peel?
The active ingredient in Bioderma’s Sébium Night Peel is glycolic acid at a strength of 15%.
Other ingredients, listed in order of appearance, are: Aqua/water/eau, glycolic acid, sodium hydroxide, panthenol, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate/vp copolymer, dipropylene glycol, hydroxyethylcellulose, mannitol, propyl gallate, xylitol, sodium metabisulfite, rhamnose, fructooligosaccharides, caprylic/capric triclyceride, laminaria ochroleuca extract, fragrance (parfum).
The key ingredients listed on their website are the Glyciolic acid, the Fluidactiv™ complex and D-panthenol. The Glyciolic acid is an Alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) naturally found in fruit. It is responsible for reducing blemishes and scars, as well as promoting skin renewal to help with radiance. Their Fluidactiv™ patented complex biologically regulates sebum quality, keeping pores from becoming clogged and limiting the formation of blemishes. The D-Panthenol offers restructuring and soothing properties.
My Experience and Bioderma Sebium Night Peel Review
Bioderma’s Sébium Night Peel is meant to be used consistently at night every night for four weeks as a seasonal treatment with a minimum of 4 weeks break in between. While using it you cannot use any other products with active ingredients (including cleansers) and need to make sure to use sunscreen during the day.
Bioderma recommend the following skin care regime during use:
- At night, before applying the peel, cleanse the skin well with Bioderma Sebium H20. They recommend their H20 as it is best at removing makeup, however you can double cleanse with the facewash after if you prefer (which I do).
- Apply a thin layer of Bioderma Sebium Night Peel to clean dry skin (I was told that less is more). One pump should be enough. You leave it on the skin all night and do not apply anything on top.
- In the morning wash your face with Bioderma Sebium Foam Gel.
- Apply sunscreen, they recommend their photoderm range.
I already had a very paired down skin routine so following the above was going to be relatively easy for me. The only product I was anxious to part with was my Skinoren. I had such positive results from my three-month trial and was nervous that being off it would take me back to where I started, however I thought it would be a necessary skin test.
I had also been using Bioderma for cleansing, but not the Sébium range. I was using their Pigmentbio face cream for a cleanser and Sensibio H20 for makeup removal, these were easy swaps. In terms of a sunscreen, I chose to use what I had on hand and I only applied when I went outdoors, which I must be honest was not often.
In terms of my experience using the products, first impression was that I loved the smell of the H20, cleanser and peel. All have the same fresh outdoorsy smell and I actually prefer it to the scents of their Sensibio H20 and Pigmentbio facewash (even though I don’t dislike those).
The Bioderma Sebium H20 removes makeup very well – in terms of a makeup remover, it works the same as the Sensibio one and it’s a winner. You just soak a cotton round with some of the liquid and swipe it over your face. I personally do not like to use the H20 as a final step in my skin cleaning routine, as I can feel it on my skin afterwards and I prefer my skin to feel bare after washing. It also leaves a slightly bitter taste on your lips which you do pick up if you’re using it to remove lipstick. Because of this I washed after cleansing with the H20.
The Bioderma Sebium Foaming Gel is a really nice gentle cleanser. It foams very lightly, cleanses gently, doesn’t sting your eyes and doesn’t leave your skin feeling dry and tight.
The Bioderma Sebium Night Peel despite the scary word Peel in its name, is incredibly gentle. It is a very lightweight clear gel which applies very easily. I used 2-3 half pumps, instead of one full press down for each application as I preferred less gel coming out in a go to apply to each area separately. Once smoothed over the skin, although it starts to dry down quickly, it dries down tacky so I do advise putting it on a few hours before sleep so it has time to dry down to a point that it won’t stick to your pillow. It goes on clear and dries down clear so you can’t see it on your face. I did not experience any stinging or tingling but if your skin is very sensitive you might.
In the morning, it washes off very easily – it almost feels slimy as it washes off which is great for knowing when it’s off the face.
The peel aspect of the peel is extremely subtle to the point that you don’t notice it. It is completely unlike a medical grade peel in which you will inevitably experience skin flakiness afterwards. During the full month I never felt my face flaking but after applying it once with my full hand (as opposed to with finger tips which I prefer), I noticed the skin of my palm lightly flaking. I think the cleansing combined with the cotton of my cotton rounds and face cloth must have sloughed off any tiny flakes.
If you saw my after Skinoren pictures you will know that my skin was in a very good place for me. If you didn’t, you’re in luck because those same pictures are my before Bioderma Sebium Night Peel pictures too.
To start I had very little active breakouts, I had one pimple on the right side of my jaw and two small ones by my temple. I also had a few very minimal white heads. The results I was hoping for was 1: Curing my skin to the point that pimples wouldn’t appear anymore (wishful thinking I know) and, 2: Fading of my post acne pigmentation marks.
To track the results, I took a series of photos every seven days in the same location and in natural light. The only editing done to the photos was to try match up exposure settings. My lighting and face angles aren’t a 100% match but they’re close. Nothing irks me more than before and after pictures where the after pictures are shot brighter than the before pictures which makes it appear as if the skin is suddenly brighter – that isn’t a result, it’s just a better photo.
Before I go into the before and after comparison photos, I’m sharing the week to week photos as there were differences and it was a process. The areas I focused on were forehead, chin, and RHS & LHS cheek/ jaw. Photos first and then discussion below.
Week 1 was a bumpy ride for me, a few days in new pimples sprouted but they weren’t ginormous or clumped together so were virtually unnoticeable. Bioderma SA’s skincare expert says this is normal.
“If you suffer from congested skin it needs to come up. The product is trying to correct and prevent breakouts and blemishes.”
The breakout lasted almost all week but by week 2 my skin had cleared and was looking quite good. I was sure the congestion phase was done but when two pimples started forming on day 21 (chin and forehead) I was annoyed. The photos shown here for week 3 were taken in the morning, where you can clearly see these spots – but the end of the day they had both grown substantially and were puss filled. (Apolies for the glorious detailing). Based on how long it took for week 1’s pimples to clear, I thought I would have a full week of these new monstrous squatters but was pleasantly surprised when they had completely cleared in 2 days. I didn’t pop or touch them, somehow, they just disappeared and left no post acne pigment scarring behind. By the end of week 4 my skin was looking good and clear of active breakouts, but the question is how much improvement did I have between day 0 and 28?
My Bioderma Sebium Night Peel Results
Before I go into specifics and give my final verdict, based on the above photos, as you can see this is not a dramatic before and after transformation. Important things to note:
Did it make my skin worse?
Absolutely not. Yes, it brought up pimples twice, but they went away fairly quickly and did not leave new scars. This is a big deal point to note because I have used products from two different high-end dermatologist approved brands in the last year and a half, that have actively aggravated my skin, making it worse so I’m very sensitive to knowing when a product is bad for my skin.
Did it improve my skin?
Looking at the pictures it is hard to see big changes. There was very slight scar fading and there is a difference in texture in that the skin has a glossier/dewier look (not to be confused with oily). The improvement was not dramatic enough where you can look at it and say “wow! it transformed my skin”. However, there is a difference to how my skin looks in person to how it looks in the photos – the photos amplify the scarring and throughout the process my sisters continuously remarked on how much better my skin was looking. Credence must be given to live visuals.
What do I really think about Bioderma Sebium Night Peel and would I recommend it?
I think in an age where we expect immediate solutions to everything it’s easy to be underwhelmed by slight improvements. We want to be wowed by dramatics. That’s what goes viral and that’s what sells. I may be a self-proclaimed highly sensible person but sure I’d love my skin to be perfect after using a safe product for only 28 days that’s easy to use and costs less than R300, who wouldn’t?
At first my reaction was, “Ok, that wasn’t bad but I’m still getting the odd pimple here and there and I still have acne pigmentation scarring.” But then I started to think about what this product actually is and what it claims to offer, and I separated that from my skin fantasies.
Bioderma’s Sebium night peel was created to be a safe and light at-home peel. It wasn’t created to take the place of a medical grade chemical peel and nor can it. You can’t expect medical grade results (that you wouldn’t even get from one medical grade peel) from a product that is formulated for a drugstore shelf to treat self-diagnosed skin issues at home.
A safe and light at-home peel is exactly what it is. It was pleasant to use, I suffered no side effects, it purged some congestion, cleared out dead skin cells to improve overall texture which in turn helped with radiance. It has only been ten days since I finished the 28-day course so it’s too soon to tell long term affects, but hopefully it will also eliminate my skin’s propensity to break out. A pimple here and there doesn’t constitute a break-out in my books.
I think it is the ideal product for those who are curious about peels but are afraid to give a high strength medical grade chemical peel a try. It’s great to dip your toes in the waters of peels with this and see how your skin responds. I would use it again and I would recommend albeit with a little disclaimer: Curb your expectations – chances are you’ll see improvement but it isn’t a genie in a bottle even if you rub it on the right way.
Bioderma sent us their Sébium Night Peel and Sébium H20 to try out. The Sébium Foaming Gel was purchased by us. This article was not sponsored, pre-viewed or pre-approved by Bioderma.
Feige is the co-founder of Nutreats. She likes to code things, design things, and all things beauty.