The Bio‑Oil formulation was the life’s work of Dieter Beier, a German chemist living in South Africa. He was no stranger to the skincare industry - the Beier family business had been responsible for helping in the development of world-renowned skincare product; Oil of Olay.
In 1972 Dieter Beier acquired Union Swiss, a South African distribution company for European personal care products. Following this acquisition he initiated an era of product development and began research into oil-based skincare in the mid ’70s, culminating in the development and launch of Bio‑Oil in 1987.
Dieter Beier’s idea to research skincare oils was based on his personal experience with a Swiss skincare range called Vitamol, which Union Swiss distributed under license at the time. Vitamol was one of the world’s first vitamin-enhanced skincare ranges with over twenty-five products. All Vitamol products were creams with the exception of one oil, which was by far the best seller in the entire range and a personal favorite of Dieter's for treating his own dry skin.
For most of history, skincare consisted entirely of the use of plant oils. Dating back to early civilizations, plant oils were used to heal, enhance and soothe the body and spirit. Chinese herbal practices originated some 4000 years ago, and Hippocrates of Greece, the “father of medicine”, was known to have used aromatherapy baths and fragranced massage in his treatments.
It was only at the dawn of the 20th century that emulsifiers came into being, allowing water and oil to be mixed to form a cream. Subsequent improvements in emulsifier technology in the late 1940s had a profound effect on the skincare industry, significantly reducing the cost of skincare products as they could now be made with a high percentage of water. This made skincare products that were previously the domain of the wealthy, accessible to the masses.
The development of Bio-Oil was, in essence, a return to the pure, undiluted origins of skincare. Since its creation in 1987, the Bio-Oil formulation has remained the same.
At the time Bio-Oil was launched, mass market skincare was dominated by cosmetic creams and lotions. Bio-Oil was not an instant success, but Beier persisted as he knew that oil was an ideal medium for skincare. Unlike water-based creams and lotions, an oil-based product creates a near oxygen-free environment for its active ingredients. Vitamins and other natural extracts can be suspended in oil for an indefinite period, their potency intact, without the complications of added preservatives. And an oil-based product complements – even augments – the skin’s natural oils.
Dieter Beier retired and sold Bio‑Oil to brothers Justin and David Letschert in 2000. The new owners changed Bio‑Oil’s packaging to better reflect its problem-solution positioning and changed Bio‑Oil’s advertising to focus on the testimonials of its users. Within five years Bio‑Oil was the number one selling skincare product in South Africa. Bio‑Oil was launched in the U.K. in 2003; then in Australia the following year, then New Zealand, Japan, Canada, the U.S.A and the Netherlands. And the expansion continued. Today, doctors and pharmacists around the world recommend Bio‑Oil as their first choice for scars and stretch marks. A bottle of Bio‑Oil is sold, somewhere on the planet, every few seconds.