Ingredient Dictionary

Good

1, 2-Hexanediol

A preservative belonging to a class of antimicrobial agents known as higher molecular glycols. Read More »

Categories: Preservatives

Good

10-Hydroxydecanoic Acid

A synthetic ingredient that functions as a skin-conditioning and occlusive agent. Read More »

Categories: Emollients

Poor

Acacia farnesiana extract

A fragrant extract from a type of acacia tree. There is no research showing it to have any benefit... Read More »

Categories: Plant Extracts, Fragrance: Synthetic and Fragrant Plant Extracts

Good

Acacia senegal

Herb that can have anti-inflammatory properties, but is used primarily as a thickening agent. Read More »

Categories: Thickeners/Emulsifiers, Plant Extracts, Anti-Irritants

Best

açai

Pronounced "ah-sigh-ee", this small berry with a deep purple color is a potent source of... Read More »

Categories: Antioxidants, Plant Extracts

Best

Accutane

Trade name for the drug with the active ingredient isotretinoin. Acutane as a brand name is no... Read More »

Categories: Prescription Drugs, Vitamins

Good

acerola fruit extract

Acerola contains vitamin C. However, the dry acerola fruit and powder are unlikely to be a good... Read More »

Categories: Plant Extracts

Poor

acetic acid

Acid found in vinegar, some fruits, and human sweat. It can be a skin irritant and drying to skin,... Read More »

Categories: Irritants

Poor

acetone

Strong solvent that is used in Nail Polish removers. Read More »

Categories: Miscellaneous

Best

acetyl carnitine HCL

See L-carnitine

Categories: Antioxidants

Best

acetyl glucosamine

Amino acid sugar and primary constituent of mucopolysaccharides and hyaluronic acid. As such, it... Read More »

Categories: Skin-Identical/Repairing Ingredients, Miscellaneous

Good

acetyl glyceryl ricinoleate

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics. Read More »

Categories: Thickeners/Emulsifiers, Emollients

Good

acetyl hexapeptide-8

A synthetically-derived peptide that is being used in a wide range of skin care and makeup... Read More »

Categories: Cell-Communicating Ingredients

Good

acetyl octapeptide-3

A synthetic peptide that is based around octapeptide-3, a peptide complex composed of the amino acids aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glutamine, and methionine... Read More »

Categories: Cell-Communicating Ingredients

Average

acetyl tributyl citrate

Related to citric acid and used as a plasticizer, most commonly in nail polish and nail-hardening... Read More »

Categories: Miscellaneous

Good

acetyl tyrosine

An amino acid complex that functions as a skin-conditioning agent. There is no research proving it... Read More »

Categories: Miscellaneous

Good

acetylated castor oil

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics. Read More »

Categories: Emollients, Thickeners/Emulsifiers

Good

acetylated hydrogenated cottonseed glyceride

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics. Read More »

Categories: Emollients, Thickeners/Emulsifiers

Good

acetylated lanolin

Emollient derived from lanolin. Read More »

Categories: Emollients

Good

acetylated lanolin alcohol

An ester of lanolin alcohol uses as an emollient and occlusive agent. An ester is a compound formed... Read More »

Categories: Emollients

Good

acetylated palm kernel glycerides

Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics. Read More »

Categories: Emollients, Thickeners/Emulsifiers

Best

acetylsalicylic acid

Chemical name for aspirin, one of the most widely used anti-inflammatory drugs in the world.... Read More »

Categories: Anti-Irritants

Poor

Achillea millefolium

See yarrow extract

Categories: Plant Extracts, Anti-Irritants

Average

acid

Anything with a pH lower than 7 is considered acidic—above 7 is considered alkaline. Water has a pH... Read More »

Categories: Miscellaneous

Poor

acne soap

Soaps that often contain anti-bacterial ingredients, and they are often overly drying and... Read More »

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

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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:

View Media Highlights

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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