Ingredient Dictionary

Good

P. elisabethae

The “P.” is short for the genus Pseudopterogorgia. Read More »

Categories: Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Anti-Irritants

Poor

PABA

See para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)

Categories: Sunscreen Actives, Irritants

Average

padimate O

Sunscreen agent that protects skin primarily from the sun’s UVB rays (Source: Skin Therapy Letter,... Read More »

Categories: Sunscreen Actives

Good

Padina pavonica extract

See algae

Categories: Antioxidants, Emollients, Plant Extracts, Thickeners/Emulsifiers

Average

Paeonia albiflora extract

See peony flower

Categories: Plant Extracts

Average

Paeonia suffruticosa extract

See peony root extract

Categories: Plant Extracts, Antioxidants

Good

palm kernel acid

A mixture of fatty acids derived from palm oil. Used as a cleansing agent, emulsifier, or to add... Read More »

Categories: Emollients, Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents, Emulsifiers

Best

palm oil

Has emollient and antioxidant properties for skin (Source: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 1997,... Read More »

Categories: Emollients, Antioxidants, Skin-Identical/Repairing Ingredients

Good

Palmaria palmata extract

Extract from a type of algae whose common name is dulse. Read More »

Categories: Thickeners/Emulsifiers, Emollients, Antioxidants, Plant Extracts

Poor

palmarosa oil

See geranium oil

Categories: Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Plant Extracts, Irritants

Good

palmitic acid

A fatty acid found naturally in skin and used as the basis for many palmitiate ingredients, such as... Read More »

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Identical/Repairing Ingredients, Emulsifiers, Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents

Best

palmitoyl hexapeptide-12

See palmitoyl oligopeptide

Categories: Cell-Communicating Ingredients

Best

palmitoyl oligopeptide

A blend of palmitic acid (a fatty acid) with several amino acids, including alanine, arginine,... Read More »

Categories: Cell-Communicating Ingredients

Best

palmitoyl pentapeptide 3

Trade name Matrixyl, a fatty acid mixed with amino acids. The only research showing this has any... Read More »

Categories: Cell-Communicating Ingredients

Best

palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7

A synthetic peptide whose trade name is Matrixyl 3000. It is believed to work by muting the effect... Read More »

Categories: Cell-Communicating Ingredients

Best

palmitoyl tripeptide-5

See cell-communicating ingredients , peptides

Categories: Cell-Communicating Ingredients

Best

Panax ginseng root extract

Root extract that may have potent antioxidant properties (potentially anti-cancer) and may promote... Read More »

Categories: Antioxidants, Plant Extracts

Average

Panicum miliaceum

See millet seed extract

Categories: Plant Extracts

Average

pansy extract

Extract for which there is a small amount of research showing it has anti-inflammatory and... Read More »

Categories: Plant Extracts, Anti-Irritants, Antioxidants

Good

pantethine

Also known as pantothenic acid. Read More »

Categories: Vitamins

Good

panthenol

Alcohol form of vitamin B. Read More »

Categories: Vitamins

Good

pantothenic acid

Also called vitamin B5, and often touted as being effective for acne. However, there is only one... Read More »

Categories: Vitamins

Poor

papain

Enzyme extracted from papaya. Applied topically, papain can cause severe irritation, itching, and... Read More »

Categories: Leave-On Exfoliant, Plant Extracts, Irritants

Average

Papaver somniferum seed

Latin name for the opium poppy seed. Read More »

Categories: Plant Extracts

Average

papaya extract

Extract that is the source of papain, which theoretically can have exfoliating properties on skin,... Read More »

Categories: Leave-On Exfoliant, Irritants, Plant Extracts

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to helping you find the absolute best products for your skin, using research-based criteria to review beauty products from an honest, balanced perspective. Each member of the team was personally trained by Paula herself.

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