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Rating Ingredient
Poor

Acacia farnesiana extract

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

Poor

bitter orange flower

Poor

bois de rose oil

Poor

bois oil

Fragrant oil that has no research showing it has benefit for skin (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com).

Poor

Boswellia carterii

Average

Boswellia serrata extract

An extract from the gum resin of a tree and also a source of Indian frankincense, this plant extract has both positive and negative qualities for skin.

Poor

butylphenyl methylpropional

Synthetic fragrance ingredient with a strong floral scent.

Poor

Aerocarpus santalinus

Poor

alpha isomethyl ionone

Alpha isomethyl ionone is a fragrance ingredient that must be listed on products that contain it due to its risk of causing a sensitized reaction.

Poor

amyl cinnamate

Fragrant component.

Poor

amyl salicylate

Fragrant component.

Poor

amyris oil

Fragrant oil. It has no other known benefit for skin.

Average

Anethum graveolens

Poor

Angelica archangelica root oil

Volatile oil obtained from the angelica plant. The oil contains chemical constituents that can be...

Poor

anisaldehyde

Synthetic fragrance used in cosmetics.

Poor

anise

Also known as aniseed, it can have antioxidant properties...

Average

aroma/flavor

Seeing "aroma/flavor" on an ingredient list can be either good or bad. For example, if the aroma or flavor comes from mint....

Poor

balm mint extract

Extract derived from a fragrant plant; it poses some risk of causing skin sensitivity…

Poor

balsam peru

Fatty resin that when applied topically can cause skin sensitivity…

Poor

bay leaf oil

Has the potential to provide antioxidant benefits for skin…

Poor

benzoin extract

Balsam resin that has some fragrant properties; it may also be sensitizing to skin…

Poor

benzyl salicylate

A volatile fragrance chemical with a sweet, floral odor used to impart scent to cosmetic products and perfumes.

Poor

bergamot oil

A volatile citrus oil that, when used topically, is a photosensitizer...

Poor

cananga extract

Fragrance used in cosmetics; it can be sensitizing to skin, much like ylang ylang.

Poor

Cananga odorata

Poor

cardamom

Plant of the ginger family, used as fragrance in cosmetics. Terpene, one of its major constituents,...

Poor

carvone

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

Poor

cedarwood

Fragrant plant extract. There is evidence that cedarwood oil is sensitizing...

Poor

Cedrus atlantica bark extract

Fragrant oil that can aggravate skin...

Poor

essential oil

Poor

eucalyptus extract

Extract that may have beneficial properties on the skin...

Poor

eucalyptus oil

Fragrant plant oil whose active constituents are found in the leaves and the oil obtained from...

Poor

eugenol

Fragrance chemical that occurs naturally in some plant ingredients...

Average

farnesol

Extract of plants that is used in cosmetics primarily for fragrance. A few animal studies and some...

Average

farnesyl acetate

Average

cherry extract

Also known as wild cherry and sweet cherry, this fruit is a natural source of vitamin C and...

Poor

Cinnamomum

Poor

cinnamon

Can have antioxidant properties when applied to skin...

Poor

cinnamyl alcohol

A volatile fragrance ingredient that contains extracts from cinnamon and balsam of Peru...

Poor

citronellol

A volatile fragrance chemical extracted from geranium, rose, and other plants, citronellol has a characteristic grassy, citrus-like scent.

Poor

Citrus amara

Poor

Citrus aurantifolia

Poor

Citrus aurantium

Poor

Citrus aurantium extract

Bitter orange extract. It can have antioxidant properties when eaten (Source: Journal of...

Poor

Citrus medica limonium

Poor

clary oil

Used as fragrance; can be a skin sensitizer.

Poor

Commiphora myrrha extract

Good

coriander

Herb and spice plant, the source of a fragrant component; it can be a potential skin sensitizer…

Best

Cucurbitea peponis

Poor

cyclamen aldehyde

Synthetic fragrant component in products; it can aggravate skin.

Poor

Ferula galbaniflua

Poor

fir needle oil

Volatile, fragrant oil that can cause skin sensitivity.

Poor

floralozone

One of a number of synthetic fragrant components.

Poor

Foeniculum vulgare extract

Poor

fragrance

One or a blend of volatile and/or fragrant plant oils (or synthetically derived oils) that impart...

Poor

frankincense extract

Fragrant component used in skincare products; it can be a skin sensitizer...

Poor

galbanum

Fragrant substance that, because of its resin and volatile oil content, can be extremely sensitizing…

Poor

Gardenia florida extract

Flower extract used in cosmetics to impart fragrance; also functions as an antioxidant (Source:...

Average

geraniol

A volatile fragrance ingredient extracted from geranium, geraniol is capable of causing sensitivity when applied to skin.

Poor

geranium oil

Fragrant oil that can have beneficial properties but also can be a skin sensitizer...

Poor

jasmine oil

Fragrant oil, often used as a source of perfume, that can be a skin sensitizer...

Poor

Jasminium grandiflorum

Poor

jonquil extract

Fragrant plant extract that poses a strong risk of skin sensitization.

Poor

Laurus nobilis

Good

lauryl lactate

Mixture of lauryl alcohol and lactic acid that functions as a skin-conditioning agent and...

Poor

lavandin oil

Essential oil of the hybrid lavender plant Lavandula hybrida and used in cosmetics as a fragrance...

Poor

Lavandula angustifolia

Poor

Lavandula officinalis

Poor

lavender extract and oil

In-vitro research indicates that components of lavender oil, specifically linalool and linalyl acetate, can have...

Poor

lemon

Potent skin sensitizer. Though it can have beneficial properties...

Poor

lemon balm

Poor

lemon oil

Commonly used citrus oil that can be a skin sensitizer, especially on abraded skin.

Poor

lemongrass extract

Extract that can have beneficial properties...

Poor

lemongrass oil

Also known as Oil of Verbena; can be effective as a mosquito repellent...

Poor

grapefruit oil

Citrus oil whose volatile components (chiefly substances known as furocoumarins) are sensitizing...

Poor

hedione

Synthetic fragrant component in products, which also can be a skin sensitizer.

Poor

hexyl cinnamal

A fragrance ingredient used in many perfumes and often seen in fragranced skincare products...

Average

hyssop

Fragrant plant extract that may have some beneficial properties...

Poor

Illicium vernum

Poor

Iris florentina extract

Poor

Levisticum officinale root extract

Poor

lime oil and extract

Citrus fruit whose volatile compounds are sensitizing...

Poor

limonene

Chemical constituent of many natural fragrant ingredients, notably citrus oils such as lemon (d-limonene) and...

Poor

linalool

Fragrant component of lavender and coriander that can be a skin sensitizer, or...

Poor

Litsea cubeba

Poor

pentadecalactone

Synthetic fragrance used in cosmetics.

Poor

peppermint

Both the oil and the extract can have disinfectant properties...

Poor

petitgrain mandarin

Poor

pine oil

It can aggravate skin and should never be used on abraded or chafed skin…

Poor

Pogostemon cablin

Poor

mandarin orange oil or extract

Primarily used as a fragrance; it can be a skin sensitizer. There is no research showing it has any...

Poor

marjoram

Herb with a fragrant component used in cosmetics; can be a skin sensitizer…

Poor

Melissa officinalis

Poor

Mentha piperita

Poor

Mentha spicata

Poor

Mentha viridis

Poor

menthol

Derived from peppermint; menthol can have the same sensitizing effect as peppermint on skin…

Poor

menthone

Major constituent of peppermint.

Poor

menthoxypropanediol

Synthetic derivative of menthol. It is known to produce effects that are twice as strong as...

Poor

menthyl lactate

Used as a cooling agent and fragrance in cosmetics. It is a derivative of menthol and is supposed...

Poor

methyldihydrojasmonate

Synthetic fragrant component.

Poor

mimosa oil or extract

Extract used as a fragrance in cosmetics.

Poor

mint

Can be a skin sensitizer…

Poor

myrrh

Fragrant gum resin that can be a skin sensitizer. There is little research showing it has any benefit...

Poor

myrtle extract

Contains volatile oil and tannins...

Poor

Myrtus communis extract

Poor

Narcissus poeticus wax

Fragrant flower extract that can cause sensitizing reactions…

Average

neem extract or oil

Extract from leaves of the neem tree, it has potential sensitizing effects, although it also has been...

Poor

neroli

Poor

neroli oil

Fragrant plant oil that can be a skin sensitizer...

Poor

olibanum extract

Poor

orange blossom

Fragrant extract that can also be a skin sensitizer.

Poor

orchid

Fragrant flower that can be a skin sensitizer.

Poor

oregano

Has beneficial properties, but can also be a skin sensitizer.

Poor

Origanum majorana

Poor

orris root

Used primarily as a fragrant component due to its violet-like scent (Source:...

Poor

patchouli

Fragrant oil derived from mint. It contains eugenol and can aggravate skin.

Poor

spearmint oil

Fragrant, volatile oil that can cause skin sensitivity.

Poor

star anise

Poor

Rosa damascena oil

Oil of a very fragrant pink rose used as fragrance in cosmetics.

Poor

Rosa gallica flower extract

Fragrant extract.

Poor

rose flower

Highly fragrant substance that can be a skin sensitizer.

Poor

rose flower oil

Fragrant, volatile oil that can aggravate skin. There is no research showing...

Poor

rose oil

Fragrant, volatile oil that can aggravate skin.

Good

rosemary extract

Extract that can have antioxidant benefit for skin (Source: Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry,...

Poor

rosemary oil

Fragrant plant oil derived from rosemary, Latin name Rosmarinus officinalis. This ingredient is primarily used as a fragrance in cosmetics...

Poor

rosewood oil

Fragrant plant oil with a spicy-sweet scent, also known as bois de rose. It is extracted from wood...

Poor

Rosmarinus officinalis extract

Poor

sandalwood oil

Fragrant oil that can cause skin-sensitizing reactions...

Average

Santalum album seed extract

Latin name for sandalwood extract, which is used in cosmetics as a fragrance. It can have...

Poor

sausurrea oil

Also called costus oil. Volatile oil and fragrant component used in cosmetics; it can be a skin...

Poor

sclareolide

Fermented from clary sage and used as a fragrant component in cosmetics.

Poor

tangerine oil

Fragrant, volatile citrus oil that can be a skin sensitizer…

Poor

Thymus vulgaris oil

Thymus vulgaris oil is more commonly known as thyme oil.

Good

Vanilla planifolia fruit extract

Extract used primarily as a fragrance and flavoring agent. The vanilla plant is a source of...

Poor

verbena extract

Fragrant extract that can be a skin sensitizer...

Poor

vetiver oil or extract

Fragrant component in skincare products that also has some beneficial properties...

Poor

volatile oil

Group of volatile fluids derived primarily from plants and used in cosmetics primarily as fragrant...

Poor

ylang ylang

Fragrant, volatile oil that can also be a skin sensitizer…

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!