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Rating Ingredient
Poor

alcloxa

More technically known as aluminum chlorhydroxy allantoinate, alcloxa has constricting properties...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

aliphatic hydrocarbon

Hydrocarbon contained in natural gas and mineral oils. It is a synthetic fluid with varying...

Categories: Uncategorized
Poor

alkaline

Anything with a pH higher than 7 is alkaline; a pH below 7 is acidic. Water has a pH of 7; skin has...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

aluminum

Aluminum is the most common element on Earth. It's also a common source of confusion in terms of its presence in cosmetics, specifically whether that presence poses a health risk.

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

aminomethyl propanediol

Used to adjust pH in cosmetics.

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

aminomethyl propanol

Synthetic ingredient used in cosmetics as a pH adjuster.

Categories: Uncategorized
Average

ammonium hydroxide

Clear, colorless liquid used in cosmetics to adjust a product's pH level. Ammonium hydroxide is...

Categories: Uncategorized
Best

Azelex

Categories: Uncategorized
Best

Bambusa vulgaris (bamboo) leaf/stem extract

Extract from the common bamboo plant. Like many plant extracts, research has shown...

Categories: Uncategorized
Poor

bee pollen

Can have antioxidant properties (Source: Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, April 2001, pages...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

casein

Substance derived from milk protein that may have some antioxidant properties when applied...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

disodium EDTA

Short for disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid. Used as a chelating agent...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

disodium lauriminodipropionate tocopheryl phosphates

A complex mixture of esters formed from a blend of tocopherol phosphates with lauriminodipropionic...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

disteardimonium hectorite

Used as a suspending agent, often with pigments.

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

chelating agent

Any of numerous ingredients that bind with metal ions or metallic compounds, preventing them from...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

citric acid

Extract derived from citrus and used primarily to adjust the pH of products to prevent them from...

Categories: Uncategorized
Poor

colloidal silver

Refers to ground-up silver suspended in solution.

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

copper lysinate/prolinate

An amino acid/mineral complex that limited yet potentially exciting research has shown...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

copper PCA

A synthetic skin-conditioning agent composed of the copper salt of PCA (Pyrrolidone Carboxylic...

Categories: Uncategorized
Average

copper sulfate

Effective for soothing skin, but there is no research showing it has any impact when used...

Categories: Uncategorized
Average

dehydroepiandrosterone

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

deionized/demineralized water

Filtered water used in cosmetics. All water used in cosmetic formulations goes through this process...

Categories: Uncategorized
Average

deoxyribonucleic acid

Categories: Uncategorized
Average

deuterium oxide

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

DHA

Categories: Uncategorized
Average

dibutyl phthalate

Also known as DBP, it is a common ingredient in nail polish and most synthetic fragrances sold...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

dihydroxyacetone

Ingredient present in all self-tanners that affects the color of skin. Derived from sugar, it...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

dimethyl capramide

Functions as a stabilizer and solvent in cosmetics.

Categories: Uncategorized
Poor

dimethyl ether

Colorless gas used as a propellant in aerosol products. It is potentially harmful if inhaled…

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

dimethyl isosorbide

A solvent derived from the sugar sorbitol...

Categories: Uncategorized
Poor

grapefruit seed extract

Labelled as Citrus paradisi (grapefruit) seed extract, this is often claimed as a natural preservative...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

PEG-14

A synthetic ingredient that functions as a humectant and solvent. With any PEG...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

PEG-33

The synthetic polymer of ethylene oxide used as a binding agent and humectant. With any PEG...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

PEG-8 dimethicone

A synthetic skin and hair replenishing agent...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

PEG/PPG-18/4 copolymer

A synthetic polymer compound that functions as a solvent.

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

pentasodium pentetate

Used as a chelating agent in cosmetics to prevent various mineral components from binding together...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

phosphoric acid

Used as a pH adjuster in cosmetics and skincare products.

Categories: Uncategorized
Poor

photosensitizer

Ingredient that can cause the skin to have a sensitizing reaction when exposed to...

Categories: Uncategorized
Average

phthalates

Phthalates refers to a wide range of substances that are very different from one another...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

phytantriol

Hair- and skin-conditioning agent that also has water-binding properties.

Categories: Uncategorized
Best

Mexoryl SX

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

polyhydroxystearic acid

Synthetic polymer related to stearic acid. It functions as a suspending agent.

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

polymer

A word that literally means “many parts.” Any of numerous compounds having a high molecular weight...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

polypropylene glycol

Also known by the acronym PPG, polypropylene glycol is...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

potassium phosphate

An inorganic (not composed of plant or animal matter) salt used as a buffering agent and pH...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

PPG-14 butyl ether

Used as a hair- and skin-conditioning agent.

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

PPG-2-deceth-30

An emulsifying agent partially derived from a fatty alcohol.

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

PPG-20 methyl glucose ether

A synthetic ingredient that funtions as hair- and skin-replenishing agent. The "PPG" designation...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

propanediol

A glycol that can enhance the absorption of ingredients…

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

propylene glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate

A gel-textured ingredient used in many lightweight moisturizers. It is a mix of propylene glycol...

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

purified water

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

quaternium ammonium compounds

A wide range of ingredients, called “quats” for short, that share a unique molecular structure that...

Categories: Uncategorized
Average

royal jelly

The myriad claims about royal jelly are anecdotal and have no research to substantiate them.

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

silanetriol

Categories: Uncategorized
Good

sodium acetate

The sodium salt derived from acetic acid, it serves as a buffering agent when used in small amounts.

Categories: Uncategorized
Average

Yucca schidigera

Categories: Uncategorized
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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!