Product: Bioderma Photoderm MAX Ultra Fluid SPF 50 +

This is a high protection SPF from french pharmacy brand, Bioderma. This lightweight fluid combines maximum anti-UVB and UVA-protecting ingredients, which utilize the patented Cellular BIOprotection® complex developed by Bioderma in 2002. This product is specifically for the face and has a desirable SPF 50, which will give high protection if worn correctly.

Price: £17.30

As far as good quality, high protection SPF products go, this is on the affordable end of the spectrum. It sits comfortably alongside SPF products from both La Roche Posay and Avene. I was lucky enough to purchase my bottle of Bioderma Photoderm Max SPF50 for £5 in a clearance sale at my local pharmacy. This suited me perfectly as I wanted to try out different SPF products, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money in the process.

Where: Tesco (Landy’s Chemist)

Bioderma products can be found at online stores such as Escentuals and FeelUnique. It can also be found in select pharmacies. I bought mine from Central Pharmacy in Cardiff. I’ve also noticed a small batch of Bioderma products cropping up in Boots. It’s quite hard to find this exact formula online at the moment, but Tesco is acting as a supplier for Landy’s Chemist in the UK and can be purchased here.


There’s no denying that combining the right ingredients to create a high protection, yet cosmetically elegant SPF for a decent price is a hard task for brands. Some of the cheaper brands will sacrifice on ingredients and produce chemical or mineral sunscreens that sit on the skin awkwardly or can lead to blemishes and irritation. On the flip side, more expensive brands such as Elta MD use quality ingredients and create beautiful formulas, but have the price tag to match.

Bioderma Photoderm Max SPF50 is fragrance and paraben free. This is great news for those with sensitive skin. It also claims to be non-comedogenic, which simply means the product won’t clog pores. However, I always take that claim with a pinch of salt because all skin is different and any ingredient has the capability of causing breakouts or irritation.

The ultra-fluid formula is a combination of chemical and physical sunscreen, which is why it’s broad spectrum and will combat both UVA and UVB.

Shelf Life: 9mths

What Do The Ingredients Do?

Aqua: Water

Dicaprylyl Carbonate: An emollient often used in chemical sunscreens as it helps moisturise but keeps the skin non-greasy

Cyclopentasiloxane: Conditioning silicone which helps spread the product and give a ‘plump’ look

Octocrylene: A sunscreen active which absorbs UVB and short-wave UVA rays

Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol: Sunscreen that absorbs UVA and UVB rays

Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (aka. Avobenzone): An oil-soluble sunscreen ingredient with broad UV protection

Glycerin: A humectant which helps skin feel smoother by pulling water from the air directly into the skin

Isononyl Isononanoate: A synthetic emollient which leaves a silky feeling on the skin

Propylene Glycol: Derived from petroleum, it’s multi-purpose and used to form consistent formulas of fluids

PEG 30 Dipolyhydroxystearate: Emulsifier and humectant with a low molecular weight so only a minimal amount will be absorbed into the skin

Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine (aka. Bemotrizinol): Oil soluble organic compound which absorbs UV rays.

Titanium Dioxide: Thickening, coloring and whitening agent, that is also used in sunscreen for its ability to absorb UV rays and help protect sensitive skin

Lauryl PEG/PPG-18/18 Methicone: Emulsifier and humectant with skin conditioning properties

Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer: A film former which helps to absorb excess acne produced oils/sebum.

Ectoin: A beneficial natural substance that helps reduce cell-damage from UV rays

Mannitol: Sugar alcohol found in nature that acts as a humectant in beauty products

Xylitol: Sugar alcohol that helps boost moisture and levels of hyaluronic acid in the skin. It’s also said to improve the barrier function of the skin

Rhamnose: Clinical and lab tests confirmed anti-aging benefits of this naturally occurring sugar

Isohexadecane: Emollient which helps leave skin feeling silky and not greasy

Fructooligosaccharides: Unable to find much information on this ingredient from a skincare perspective. It’s found in many fruits and vegetables and can be used as a pro-biotic.

Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract: Brown seaweed extract which can help soothe and moisturise

Decyl Glucoside: Mild non-ionic surfactant for sensitive skin

Sodium Citrate: Helps to control the pH balance of skin care formulas

Disteardimonium Hectorite: Derived from vegetables, it helps thicken oil-based formulas

Xanthan Gum: Helps to separate particles within a formula and prevents oil separation

Lactic Acid: Hydration properties that are also used as an exfoliant and skin brightening agent. Also known as an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)

Hydrogenated Lecithin: A stabilised version of lecithin which helps maintain balance in the skin

Propylene Carbonate: Film-forming agent which helps moisturise and create a film on the skin, leaving a smooth feeling

Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides: Derived from glycerin and coconut oil, it helps condition the skin as well as enhancing the delivery of active ingredients (eg. vitamins)

Disodium EDTA: Preservative and stabilizer

Phenoxyethanol: Preservative

Chlorphenesin: Anti-fungal and anti-bacterial preservative

Please note, I could only find the ingredients list for the tinted version of this product. I have left out the colourants (Iron Oxides: CI 77492, CI 77491, CI 77499)

Size & Packaging: 40 ml

Bioderma Photoderm MAX SPF 50 comes in a standard screw top bottle with a thin opening to squeeze the product from. As the formula is quite thin, the pinpoint opening is welcomed as it dispenses the product in a controlled fashion. I like the design and function of this bottle, unlike the La Roche Posay Anthelios XL which tends to drip out of the tip of the bottle.

Most of the Bioderma SPF ranges come in the orange bottles, so it’s easy to detect on the shelf.

How to use

I will tread carefully with this subject, as the application of SPF is often something that consumers get wrong. The bottle states to apply evenly and generously all over before exposing yourself to sunlight. It also states that the less product you apply, the less protection this SPF will give you. Yes, it’s a factor 50, but if you only apply a very small amount you won’t be getting a factor 50 protection. That goes for all sunscreens, not just the Bioderma range.

Here’s a guide on how to apply sunscreen appropriately, while still being able to wear makeup by cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Sam Bunting.


When I found this for a fiver at my local Central Pharmacy, I was extremely happy. Like most people, I don’t have a massive budget to splurge on expensive sunscreens. I definitely don’t have enough money to buy every single one on the shelf just to find out if they’re suitable for me or not. However, a £5 investment seemed reasonable.

I love the way this sunscreen applies to the skin. It’s lightweight, and although it leaves a slightly greasy feeling at first it does dry down if you give it a few minutes. Truthfully, I probably don’t apply as much of the product as I should.

While this product works well under makeup and is actually a joy to use, in comparison to a lot of other sunscreens, I do find it breaks me out. It’s a real shame because this SPF is high protection, suitable for sensitive skin and is fragrance and paraben free.

Everyone is different, what might break me out, might be fine for you. But I do notice small, what I would describe as ‘clogged pore spots’ that pop up in random places and are small, but I’m trying to rid myself of acne and blemishes. A small spot is still a spot.

Will I Re-Purchase?

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be repurchasing this product. The price is pretty good for what it is, but I can’t see me getting used to the blemishes it encourages on my skin. The hunt for the perfect SPF will continue.

Some links may be an affiliate, which will give me a small commission if you purchase the item. If you’re not comfortable following an affiliate link, I suggest using Google search to find the item elsewhere. Thanks 🙂

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