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Rating Ingredient
Good

4-T-butylcyclohexanol

A synthetic fatty alcohol that functions as an emollient and soothing agent...

Categories: Emollients, Skin-Soothing
Good

acacia senegal gum

Herb that can have skin soothing properties, but is used primarily as a thickening agent.

Poor

Achillea millefolium

Best

BHA (beta hydroxy acid)

BHA, or beta hydroxy acid, is more commonly known as salicylic acid.

Best

bisabolol

Can be extracted from chamomile or derived synthetically. It is an anti-irritant.

Best

black tea

Best

Boerhavia diffusa root extract

Extract from a flowering plant. Animal studies have shown that this plant has strong...

Best

borage seed extract

Extract of the plant Borago officinalis, it can have skni-soothing properties...

Best

borage seed oil

Non-fragrant plant oil that contains gamma linolenic acid and other essential fatty acids for skin.

Best

Borago officinalis extract

Best

Borago officinalis seed oil

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.

Best

burdock root

Plant extract whose active constituents are skin soothing and antioxidant…

Good

calcium gluconate

Calcium is an essential mineral for the body. A small amount of research shows calcium gluconate...

Categories: Skin-Soothing
Best

adenosine

Yeast-derived ingredient that functions as a good soothing and skin-restoring agent.

Best

adenosine triphosphate

An organic compound from adenosine, which is formed by the hydrolysis of yeast nucleic acids. All...

Good

Aesculus hippocastanum

Best

allantoin

By-product of uric acid extracted from urea and considered an effective skin-soothing and skin-conditioning agent.

Categories: Skin-Soothing
Good

Aloe barbadensis

Good

aloe barbadensis leaf juice extract

Good

aloe extract

Good

aloe juice

Good

aloe vera

There is no real evidence that aloe vera (Aloe barbadenis) helps the skin in any significant way....

Best

alpha bisabolol

Good

Althaea rosea

Best

Althea officinalis

Latin name for the marshmallow plant.

Average

aminobutyric acid

Amino acid that has water-binding properties and may provide soothing benefits for skin. It...

Categories: Skin-Soothing
Good

andiroba oil

Extracted from the Brazilian mahogany tree; it has soothing properties (Source:...

Best

Anthemis nobilis flower extract

Best

Arachis hypogaea extract

Extract of the plant commonly known as the peanut. It can have emollient and skin soothing...

Best

Arctium lappa

Best

Arctium majus

Best

ATP

Best

Avena sativa

See oatmeal, oat bran extract, gluten ingredients…

Best

azelaic acid

A component of grains such as wheat, rye, and...

Average

azulene

Chamomile extract used primarily as a coloring agent in cosmetics. It can have antioxidant and...

Best

barberry

Plant whose primary component, berberine, is an alkaloid that can have soothing properties and...

Categories: Skin-Soothing
Best

beta-glucan

Polysaccharide sugar derived from yeast or oats. It has some antioxidant properties and is a skin-soothing agent.

Best

beta hydroxy acid

Best

beta-sitosterol

Plant extract, similar to cholesterol, that can have antimicrobial properties (Source: Journal of...

Good

calendula extract

Extract derived from the plant commonly known as pot marigold, there is little research showing...

Best

Calluna vulgaris flower extract

Also known as heather extract, this plant has skin-soothing properties...

Best

canola oil

Plant lipid that has skin restoring and soothing properties…

Best

Centaurea cyanus

Best

Centella asiatica

Extract of herb that may be listed on labels as asiatic acid, hydrocotyl, or gotu kola. It has...

Good

dogwood

There is a small amount of research showing that dogwood has antioxidant and soothing...

Best

epigallocatechin gallate

One of the constituents of green tea believed to be responsible for its many health...

Best

Epilobium angustifolium extract

Extract derived from a plant commonly known as fireweed or willow herb...

Categories: Skin-Soothing
Best

ergothioneine

A substance derived from animal tissue or various types of mushrooms that has potent antioxidant...

Best

evening primrose oil

Can have significant soothing and emollient benefits for skin.

Good

Evodia rutaecarpa extract

A species of Asian tree whose fragrant fruit functions as a good soothing agent in...

Best

chitosan

Derived from chitin, a polysaccharide found in the exoskeletons of shrimp, lobster, and crabs. It...

Average

chrysanthemum extract

Can have soothing benefit for skin.

Best

coenzyme Q10

Also known as ubiquinone, it is a vitamin-like, fat-soluble substance present in skin....

Best

colloidal oatmeal

Categories: Skin-Soothing
Good

coneflower

Another name for echinacea; has soothing properties.

Best

cornflower

Can have soothing properties for skin…

Good

Cornus extract

Best

cranberry seed extract

Extract of the cranberry fruit. Natural components known as proanthocyanidins are responsible for...

Best

curcumin

Antioxidant spice that can be effective in soothing skin…

Best

decarboxy carnosine HCL

Best

dipotassium glycyrrhizate

Best

dipotassium glycyrrhizinate

Good

feverfew extract

A plant that can be very soothing but also potentially sensitizing to the skin...

Best

Filipendula rubra

Best

fireweed extract

Extract from the Epilobium angustifolium plant; also known as willow herb.

Best

Fu ling

Best

genistein

Plant component (most often from soy) that is a rich source of antioxidants, though it can also be...

Best

Gentiana lutea (Gentian) root extract

Part of the gentian plant, constituents of which are soothing to skin...

Good

ginger extract

Extract from a plant in the Zingiberacae family that has research showing it has soothing...

Best

Ginkgo biloba leaf extract

Potent antioxidant and soothing ingredient.

Best

glabridin

Main ingredient in licorice extract. It has soothing properties. There is research showing...

Best

glucosamine HCL

A form of glucosamine, an amino sugar that can be considered a skin-restorative...

Good

Ju hua

Good

jujube fruit extract

Asian plant extract that has soothing properties and may also provide other benefits...

Poor

juniper berry

Can have sothing properties for skin…

Poor

Juniperus communis

Poor

kava-kava extract

Extract of the Piper methysticum plant that has soothing properties, but can...

Poor

kawa extract

Average

Kigelia africana extract

Extract of African plant commonly known as the sausage tree. The African lore about this extract is...

Best

L-ascorbic acid

Form of vitamin C that is a potent antioxidant and skin-soothing agent...

Good

Laminaria ochroleuca extract

The Latin name for a species of kelp, also known as brown seaweed. Applied topically, it helps...

Best

Lamium album flower extract

A species of the nettle plant that is used topically as as a soothing ingredient...

Good

lappa extract

Best

Leontopodium alpinum extract

Plant extract whose constituents are capable of provding antioxidant and soothing benefit...

Best

glycyrrhetic acid

Extract from licorice that has skin-soothing properties…

Best

Glycyrrhiza glabra

Best

Glycyrrhiza uralensis root extract

Best

green tea

Significant amounts of research have established that tea, including black, green, and white tea...

Best

gromwell

Best

honey

Substance produced by bees from the nectar of flowering plants. Composed primarily of the...

Best

honey extract

Best

honeysuckle flower extract

Plant extract that functions as a soothing agent. It is a very good source of flavonoids...

Good

horse chestnut extract

May have soothing properties for skin...

Best

hydrolyzed soy protein

Best

Ilex paraguariensis

Best

licorice extract

Plant extract that has skin-soothing properties. In addition, licorice root may be effective in...

Best

licorice root

Best

linoleic acid

Unsaturated fatty acid used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics. There is some...

Best

Lithospermum erythrorhizon

Also known as gromwell, the root of this plant is believed to have antioxidant and...

Best

Lonicera caprifolium flower extract

Best

Lonicera japonica

Honeysuckle extract. A plant with soothing properties for skin.

Best

Lonicera japonica flower extract

Best

lotus seed extract

Extract that can have soothing and antioxidant properties...

Best

peptides

Peptides are portions of short or long-chain amino acids, and amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Skin...

Average

Perilla ocymoides

Also known as beefsteak plant. Like many plants, the leaves contain flavones which help the plant...

Best

Persicaria hydropiper

Also known as water pepper. All parts of this plant extract have been shown in vitro to be not only...

Good

petrolatum

Vaseline is pure petrolatum, and petrolatum is a rich emollient and FDA-approved skin protectant.

Categories: Skin-Soothing, Emollients
Best

Phyllanthus emblica fruit extract

Extract that has antioxidant and soothing properties…

Best

phytosterol

Cholesterol-like molecules found in all plant foods; the highest concentrations are found in...

Best

Picea abies extract

Latin name for Norway spruce. Research has shown its bark...

Best

mallow

Can be used as a texture enhancer in cosmetics and may have soothing...

Good

Malva sylvestris extract

Extract from the blue mallow flower, it may have some soothing properties for...

Good

marigold

Best

marshmallow

A flowering plant native to Africa that has soothing effects...

Best

mate extract

Best

meadowsweet extract

Extract that can have skin-soothing properties...

Good

Morinda citrifolia

Average

nettle extract

Extract that may have soothing properties...

Best

niacinamide

Also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid, niacinamide is a very effective skin-restoring ingredient...

Good

noni juice

Also known as morinda or Morinda citrifolia, comes from a small evergreen tree. The juice from this...

Best

oat beta-glucan

Best

oat bran extract

Oat bran extract is a portion of the oat plant that contains antioxidant and soothing properties...

Best

oat kernel extract

Best

oatmeal

Can have skin-soothing properties…

Best

Oenothera biennis oil

Best

oleanolic acid

A skin-soothing ingredient, especially when used in synthetic rather than natural form...

Good

P. elisabethae

The “P.” is short for the genus Pseudopterogorgia.

Average

pansy extract

Extract for which there is a small amount of research showing it has skin soothing and...

Best

Passiflora edulis seed oil

Non-fragrant plant oil from the passion fruit plant, and a rich source of fatty acids and antioxidants...

Best

Poria cocos extract

Also known as Hoelen and Fu ling. Extract derived from a mushroom, which has antioxidant and...

Best

Portulaca oleracea extract

Extract that may have soothing properties...

Good

propolis

Brownish, resinous material that is collected by bees and used to construct the hive. It has...

Average

Prunella vulgaris

Best

Pseudopterogorgia elisabethae

Good

Sonojell

Trade name for petrolatum.

Categories: Skin-Soothing, Emollients
Best

soothing agent

Any ingredient that reduces certain signs of sensitivity in skin...

Categories: Skin-Soothing
Best

soy extract

Potent antioxidant and soothing agent for skin...

Best

soy isoflavones

Best

soy oil

Emollient oil similar to all nonfragrant plant oils.

Best

Spiraea ulmaria

Best

stearyl glycyrrhetinate

The fatty acid form of the skin soothing glycyrrhetinic acid, which is derived from licorice.

Poor

Symphytum officinale extract

Good

tamanu oil

From a tree native to Polynesia. It is reputed to have wondrous skin-restoring properties, as well…

Good

red clover

Can have antioxidant and soothing properties...

Best

resveratrol

Potent polyphenolic antioxidant that is abundant in red grapes and, therefore, in red wine...

Average

Ruscus aculeatus

Good

salicin

Best

salicylic acid

Also called beta hydroxy acid (BHA), this multifunctional ingredient addresses many of the systemic causes of acne.

Good

Salix alba extract

Good

Salix nigra (willow) bark extract

Good

Sapindus mukurossi peel extract

A plant extract that is a natural source of saponin...

Good

saponin

Group of natural carbohydrates, found in plants, that have considerable potential...

Good

Scutellaria baicalensis extract

Best

sea whip extract

Extract from a creature that inhabits coral reefs, known for its soothing properties...

Categories: Skin-Soothing
Average

Serenoa serrulata extract

Best

silver tip white tea leaf extract

Good

skullcap extract

Herbal extract from Scutellaria baicalensis that has antioxidant soothing properties...

Good

slippery elm bark

Can be a skin-soothing ingredient.

Good

soapberry extract

Extract from the tree Sapindus saponaria. The berries contain a good amount of Saponins.

Best

sodium ascorbyl phosphate

Stable, water-soluble form of vitamin C that functions as an antioxidant...

Average

Tanacetum parthenium

Good

tea tree oil

Also known as Melaleuca, from the name of its native Australian plant source, Melaleuca alternifolia.

Best

tetrahydrobisdemethoxycurcumin

Antioxidant and skin-soothing plant extract.

Best

tetrahydrodemethoxycurcumin

Best

tetrahydrodemethoxydiferuloylmethane

A synthetic antioxidant that provides the effects of the antioxidant curcumin but...

Best

tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane

Antioxidant and skin-soothing plant extract.

Best

tetrahydromethoxycurcumin

Antioxidant and skin-soothing plant extract.

Good

Trifolium pratense

Good

turmeric

Spice made from the dried, ground root of a plant; its extract is called curcumin. A natural yellow...

Best

ubiquinone

it is a vitamin-like, fat-soluble substance.

Good

Ulmus fulva bark extract

Good

Ulva lactuca extract

Extract from the plant known as sea lettuce, it has some soothing and antioxidant...

Average

Uncaria tomentosa extract

Also known as cat’s claw, there is some research showing it to be an effective soothing...

Average

Urtica dioica

Best

Vaccinium macrocarpon fruit extract

Latin term for cranberry.

Good

Vanilla planifolia fruit extract

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

Average

Viola tricolor extract

Average

white nettle

Contains components that can have both soothing and sensitizing properties...

Good

white willow

Poor

wild ginger

Good

willow bark

Contains salicin, a substance that when taken orally is converted by the digestive process to...

Best

willow herb

Poor

witch hazel

Commonly used plant extract that can have antioxidant properties...

Poor

Xi xin

Poor

yarrow extract

Extract for which there is little research showing it to have any benefit for skin. What studies do...

Best

yerba mate extract

Plant ingredient used in the preparation of the most popular tea-like beverage in South America. It has...

Average

yucca extract

Plant extract that can have soothing benefits...

Best

zinc

There is growing evidence that zinc can be a significant soothing agent and antioxidant. It also can...

Best

zinc oxide

Zinc oxide is an inert earth mineral used as a thickening, whitening, lubricating, and sunscreen ingredient in cosmetics.

Poor

Zingiber officinale roscoe

Poor

Zingiber zerumbet

Poor

Zingiberaceae

Good

Zizyphus jujuba fruit extract

Best

atractylodes macrocephala root powder

A natural plant extract commonly used in Chinese and Korean herbal medicines.

Best

glycyrrhetinic acid

One of the components of licorice root extract...

Best

physalis angulata extract

This plant extract has a potent calming effect on skin.

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!