Ingredient Dictionary

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

Average

alcohol

A group of organic compounds that have a vast range of forms and uses in cosmetics. In some benign... Read More »

Categories: Emollients, Irritants, Surfactants/Detergent Cleansing Agents, Absorbent

Poor

anise

Also known as aniseed, it can have potent antioxidant and antibacterial properties (Source:... Read More »

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

Poor

balm mint extract

Extract derived from a fragrant plant; it poses some risk of skin irritation. It also has some... Read More »

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

Poor

barium sulfate

Mineral used as a whitening agent in cosmetics. It can be a skin irritant. Read More »

Categories: Coloring Agents/Pigments, Irritants

Poor

black pepper extract and oil

Used topically as a counter-irritant, which means it can cause significant skin irritation (Source:... Read More »

Categories: Plant Extracts, Irritants

Poor

borate

Group of compounds used in cosmetics in small quantities primarily as pH adjusters (they have a pH... Read More »

Categories: Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Irritants

Poor

borax

Also known as sodium borate decahydrate, borax is a mineral composed of sodium, boron, oxygen, and... Read More »

Categories: Irritants, Preservatives

Poor

butylphenyl methylpropional

A fragrance ingredient with a strong floral scent used in many types of cosmetic products... Read More »

Categories: Irritants, Fragrance: Synthetic and Fragrant Plant Extracts

Poor

cajeputi oil

See Melaleuca cajeputi oil

Categories: Plant Extracts, Irritants

Poor

calamine

Preparation of zinc carbonate, colored with ferric oxide (a form of rust). Zinc carbonate is a... Read More »

Categories: Miscellaneous, Irritants

Poor

camphor

Aromatic substance obtained from the wood of a tree common to Southeast Asia, Cinnamomum camphora,... Read More »

Categories: Plant Extracts, Irritants

Poor

capsaicin

Component of capsicum. When used topically, capsaicin can prevent the transmission of pain. It is... Read More »

Categories: Irritants, Plant Extracts

Poor

capsicum

Large group of plants consisting primarily of the pepper family, including chili peppers and... Read More »

Categories: Plant Extracts, Irritants

Poor

capsicum oleoresin

Fatty resin derived from capsicum plants. It can be a skin irritant and should not be applied to... Read More »

Categories: Irritants, Plant Extracts

Poor

carvone

Essential oil used as a flavoring agent and fragrance component in cosmetics. It can be a... Read More »

Categories: Fragrance: Synthetic and Fragrant Plant Extracts, Irritants

Poor

chlorhexidine

Topical antiseptic, it can cause irritation (Source: Toxicology in Vitro, August–October 2001,... Read More »

Categories: Antibacterial/Anti-Acne, Irritants

Average

Chrysanthemum parthenium extract

See feverfew extract

Categories: Irritants, Plant Extracts

Poor

Cinnamomum

See cinnamon

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

Poor

Cinnamomum camphora

See camphor

Categories: Plant Extracts, Irritants

Poor

cinnamon

Can have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties (Sources: Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology, March... Read More »

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

Poor

Citrullus colocynthis

Bitter apple; considered a skin irritant. Read More »

Categories: Irritants, Plant Extracts

Poor

Citrus amara

See orange blossom

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

Poor

Citrus aurantifolia

See lime oil and extract

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

Poor

Citrus aurantium

See orange blossom

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