Ingredient Dictionary

Good

Zizyphus jujuba fruit extract

See jujube fruit extract

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

Poor

zinc phenolsulfonate

Antimicrobial agent that can also be a skin irritant. Read More »

Categories: Irritants, Antibacterial/Anti-Acne

Best

willow herb

See Epilobium angustifolium extract

Categories: Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Anti-Irritants

Poor

white oak bark extract

See oak root extract

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

Poor

vetiver oil or extract

Fragrant component in skin-care products that also has some antibacterial properties (Source:... Read More »

Categories: Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Plant Extracts, Irritants, Fragrance: Synthetic and Fragrant Plant Extracts

Best

Uva ursi extract

See bearberry extract , arbutin

Categories: Plant Extracts, Antibacterial/Anti-Acne

Good

triclosan

Effective antibacterial agent  that has been used for over 40 years in many products, including those... Read More »

Categories: Antibacterial/Anti-Acne

Best

tretinoin

Topical, prescription-only medication that can improve skin cell maturation after skin has been... Read More »

Categories: Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Prescription Drugs, Cell-Communicating Ingredients

Good

Terminalia sericea extract

Extract that has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, but there is no research showing... Read More »

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

Good

tea tree oil

Also known as melaleuca, from the name of its plant source, Melaleuca alternifolia. It can have... Read More »

Categories: Plant Extracts, Antibacterial/Anti-Acne

Poor

Taraktogenos kurzii

See chaulmoogra oil

Categories: Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Plant Extracts

Poor

sulfur

Antibacterial agent (Source: Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, October 2001, pages 282–286)... Read More »

Categories: Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Irritants

Poor

star anise

See anise

Categories: Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Fragrance: Synthetic and Fragrant Plant Extracts, Antioxidants, Irritants

Good

spikenard

Plant that has antibacterial properties for skin. Read More »

Categories: Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Plant Extracts

Poor

sodium silicate

Highly alkaline and potentially irritating antiseptic and mineral used in cosmetics (Source:... Read More »

Categories: Irritants, Antibacterial/Anti-Acne

Best

sodium ascorbyl phosphate

A stable, water-soluble form of vitamin C that functions as an antioxidant (Sources: Journal of... Read More »

Categories: Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Vitamins, Antioxidants, Anti-Irritants

Good

soapwort

Plant from which is derived an extract with detergent cleansing properties. There is some research... Read More »

Categories: Plant Extracts, Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents, Antibacterial/Anti-Acne

Poor

silver

Metallic element that in cosmetics can have disinfecting properties; however, prolonged contact can... Read More »

Categories: Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Irritants

Good

Saponaria officinalis extract

See soapwort

Categories: Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents, Plant Extracts, Antibacterial/Anti-Acne

Best

salicylic acid

Referred to as beta hydroxy acid (BHA), it is a multifunctional ingredient that addresses many of... Read More »

Categories: Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Leave-On Exfoliant, Anti-Irritants

Good

Rubus idaeus

See red raspberry extract

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

Poor

resorcinol

Considered an effective topical disinfectant in concentrations of 1% to 3% (Source: www.fda.gov).... Read More »

Categories: Irritants, Antibacterial/Anti-Acne

Good

red raspberry extract

Fruit extract that has potent antioxidant properties (Source: Journal of Agricultural Food... Read More »

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

Good

raspberry seed oil

See red raspberry extract

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

Good

raspberry seed extract

See red raspberry extract

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

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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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