Ingredient Dictionary


walnut-shell powder

Abrasive used in scrub products; not preferred to polyethylene beads. Read More »

Categories: Scrub Agents


sodium chloride

More popularly known as common table salt. Used primarily as a binding agent in skin-care products... Read More »

Categories: Scrub Agents


sea salt

Can be effective as a topical scrub, but if left on skin it can increase skin sensitivity to UVB... Read More »

Categories: Scrub Agents, Irritants


polyethylene glycol

Also listed as PEG on ingredient labels, polyethylene glycol is an ingredient that self-proclaimed... Read More »

Categories: Thickeners/Emulsifiers, Scrub Agents



A form of plastic (synthetic polymer) that has numerous functions in cosmetic products. Rounded... Read More »

Categories: Thickeners/Emulsifiers, Emollients, Scrub Agents


diatomaceous earth

Light-colored porous rock composed of the skeletons of minute sea creatures called diatoms.... Read More »

Categories: Scrub Agents


azuki beans

Legumes that are often ground up for use in skin-care scrub products. Read More »

Categories: Scrub Agents


apricot kernel

Often used as an abrasive agent in so-called "natural" scrubs. Apricot kernals have irregular and... Read More »

Categories: Scrub Agents


aluminum silicate

Salt that has absorbent and abrasive properties. Read More »

Categories: Scrub Agents, Absorbent



Aluminum oxide, which is used as an abrasive, a thickening agent, and an absorbent in cosmetics. Read More »

Categories: Absorbent, Scrub Agents, Thickeners/Emulsifiers

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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 busting beauty myths and helping you solve your skincare frustrations with research-supported expert advice—so you'll have the facts you need to take the best possible care of your skin.

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