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Mario Badescu Clarifying Serum with Azelaic Acid Versus Paula's Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster

Serum
Facial Treatment
American Brand United States
American Brand United States

Updated on July 18, 2023

Overview

What they are

These products are both cruelty-free and reef safe . They have a total of 4 ingredients in common

Suited For

They're both likely to be good for fighting acne, anti aging, dry skin, brightening skin, sensitive skin, reducing pores, scar healing and dark spots

Free From

They both do not contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, fragrances, oils, parabens or sulfates

We independently verify ingredients, and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Spot a product that needs an update? Let us know.

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and see relevant ingredients

At a glance

Click on any of the items below to learn more

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Ingredients Side-by-side

found in both products
Clarifying Serum with Azelaic Acid
Water Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

Lactobacillus Ferment Lysate Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Lactobacillus Ferment Lysate.

Glycerin Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
0 / 0 Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
2 Benefits

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Skin Conditioning
Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation Icon
2 Benefits

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice comes from leaves of the aloe plant. Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice is best known for helping to soothe sunburns. It is also anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, antiseptic, and can help heal wounds.

Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate Skin Conditioning

Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate (PAD) comes from the condensation of azelaic acid mixed with glycine.

2-Hydroxyethyl Acrylate

We don't have a description for 2-Hydroxyethyl Acrylate.

Disliked Full details ->
Azelaic Acid Buffering, Masking
Helps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne Icon
5 Benefits

Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acid derived from grains. This ingredient is effective in treating acne, rosacea, and other skin conditions.

Inulin Skin Conditioning

Inulin is a polysaccharide (carbohydrate) with prebiotic and antioxidant properties.

Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6 Emulsion Stabilising

Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6 is a texture enhancer and pH adjuster.

Disliked Full details ->
Phenoxyethanol Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract Astringent, Humectant, Soothing
Good for Scar Healing Icon
Good for Scar HealingGood for Scar Healing Icon

Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract comes from the Baikal skullcap or Chinese skullcap plant. This plant is native to Northeast Asia and can be found in China, Mongolia, Korea, and Siberia.

Magnolia Officinalis Bark Extract Antimicrobial, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Magnolia Officinalis Bark Extract.

Unknown Full details ->
Betaine Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation Icon
3 Benefits

Betaine is a common humectant (a substance that promotes retention of moisture). It's known to be gentle on the skin and can help balance hydration.

Polysorbate 20 Emulsifying
0 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polysorbate 20 is made by combining ethoxylation of sorbitan, ethylene oxide, and lauric acid. It is a mild cleansing agent, surfactant, and emulsifier.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Chlorphenesin Antimicrobial, Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Chlorphenesin is a synthetic preservative. It helps protect a product against bacteria in order to extend shelf life. In most cases, Chlorphenesin is paired with other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol and caprylyl glycol.

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Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide Cleansing, Skin Conditioning, Smoothing

Alpha-Glucan Oligosaccharide is a prebiotic. It prevents harmful bacteria from growing on skin by keeping the skin's microbiome in balance.

Caprylyl Glycol Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning

Caprylyl Glycol is a humectant and emollient, meaning it attracts and preserves moisture.

Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer

Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer (let's call it AAVC for short) is a synthetically created polymer. It's used as a film-forming agent and used to thicken the consistency of products.

Disliked Full details ->
Sodium PCA Humectant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0

Sodium PCA is the sodium salt of pyroglutamic acid and is naturally occurring on human skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Sodium Lactate Buffering, Humectant

Sodium Lactate is the sodium salt of lactic acid, an AHA. It is a humectant and used to adjust the pH of a product.

Sodium Sulfite Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Sodium Sulfite is a preservative. Preservatives help prevent mold and bacteria from growing in cosmetics.

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PCA Humectant, Moisturising

PCA is derived from amino acids and is naturally found in our skin's barrier.

Lactic Acid Buffering, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
AHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 6 Benefits 3 Concerns

Lactic Acid is an AHA that is derived from fermenting lactose, a carbohydrate from milk. It removes the top layer of old and dead skin cells and helps increase cell turnover.

Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate Skin Conditioning

This ingredient is created by putting sodium hyaluronate through hydrolysis.

Serine Masking, Skin Conditioning

Serine is an amino acid naturally found in our body. Our bodies use amino acids to create protein.

Sodium Benzoate Masking, Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Sodium Benzoate is a preservative. It's used in both cosmetic and food products to inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria. It is typically produced synthetically.

Disliked Full details ->
Alanine Masking, Skin Conditioning

Alanine is an amino acid and is already found in the human body.

Sodium Chloride Masking
Can worsen Dry Skin IconBad for Acne Prone Skin IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
3 Concerns

Chances are, you eat sodium chloride every day. Sodium Chloride is also known as table salt.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Glycine Buffering, Skin Conditioning

Glycine is an amino acid that helps build proteins. It is already present in our skin as our bodies produce them naturally.

Polyglycerin-6 Humectant

We don't have a description for Polyglycerin-6.

Unknown Full details ->
Glutamic Acid Humectant

Glutamic Acid is an amino acid that is found in all living organisms. Our bodies use this to help nerve cells in the brain communicate with other cells.

Lysine Hcl Skin Conditioning
Helps hydrate Dry Skin Icon
Helps hydrate Dry SkinHelps hydrate Dry Skin Icon

Lysine HCl is an alpha amino acid salt.

Threonine

Threonine is an amino-acid. It helps hydrate the skin and has antioxidant benefits.

Arginine Masking, Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Arginine is an amino acid that is important for human development. Your body uses is it to produce hair keratin and skin collagen.

Potassium Sorbate Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Potassium Sorbate is a preservative used to prevent yeast and mold in products. It is commonly found in both cosmetic and food products.

Disliked Full details ->
Orthosiphon Stamineus Leaf Extract Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Orthosiphon Stamineus Leaf Extract.

Unknown Full details ->
Hydroxyacetophenone Antioxidant
Antioxidant Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon

Hydroxyacetophenone is antioxidant and helps with skin conditioning.

Proline Skin Conditioning

Proline is an amino-acid. It helps moisturize the skin and plays an important role in creating proteins.

1,2-Hexanediol Skin Conditioning, Solvent

1,2-Hexanediol is a multi-tasker ingredient. It acts as a preservative to increase shelf-life and can aid other preservatives in preventing microbe growth. 1,2-Hexanediol also helps the skin retain moisture as a humectant.

Citric Acid Buffering, Masking
AHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 4 Benefits 2 Concerns

Citric Acid is an AHA derived from citrus fruits (think oranges, lemons, and limes!).

Disliked Full details ->
10% Azelaic Acid Booster
Water Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

Azelaic Acid Buffering, Masking
Helps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne Icon
5 Benefits

Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acid derived from grains. This ingredient is effective in treating acne, rosacea, and other skin conditions.

C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate Antimicrobial, Emollient, Skin Conditioning

C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate is made up of Benzoic Acid and long chain alcohols. It has a low molecular weight.

Disliked Full details ->
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride Masking, Skin Conditioning

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride is an emollient, solvent, and texture enhancer. It is considered a skin-softener by helping the skin prevent moisture loss.

Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate isn't fungal acne safe.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Glycerin Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
0 / 0 Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
2 Benefits

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Cetearyl Alcohol Emollient, Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising
2 / 1 Fatty Alcohol IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconBad for Acne Prone Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Fatty AlcoholFatty Alcohol Icon 3 Concerns

Cetearyl alcohol is a mixture of two fatty alcohols: cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol. It is mainly used as an emulsifier. Emulsifiers help prevent the separation of oils and products. Due to its composition, it can also be used to thicken a product or help create foam.

2 Com. / 1 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Glyceryl Stearate Emollient, Emulsifying
1 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Glyceryl Stearate is a mix of glycerin and stearic acid.

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Disliked Full details ->
Dimethicone Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
1 / 0 Silicon Icon
SiliconSilicon Icon

Dimethicone is a silicone used for making products smooth and silky. It also has the added benefit of sealing in hydration. The amount of dimethicone found in beauty products is considered safe and non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog pores.

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Salicylic Acid Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
BHA IconPreservative IconGood for Oily Skin IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconHelps brighten skin IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
BHABHA Icon PreservativePreservative Icon 5 Benefits 4 Concerns

Salicylic Acid (also known as beta hydroxy acid or BHA) is one of the most well-known ingredients for treating skin that struggles with blackheads and acne. It helps to exfoliate both the skin's surface and pores, and also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

Adenosine Skin Conditioning
Helps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Scar Healing Icon
2 Benefits

Adenosine is in every living organism. It is one of four components in nucleic acids that helps store our DNA.

Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract Bleaching, Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Good for Dark Spots Icon
Good for Dark SpotsGood for Dark Spots Icon

Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract is an extract of the roots of Licorice. It has been found to have several benefits such as skin hydrating, conditioning, and soothing.

Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract Skin Protecting
Helps reduce irritation Icon
Helps reduce irritationHelps reduce irritation Icon

Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract comes from the Boerhavia Diffusa tree, or more commonly known as punarnava, red spiderling, spreading hogweed, or tarvine.

Unknown Full details ->
Allantoin Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Soothing
0 / 0 Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconGood for Scar Healing Icon
3 Benefits

Allantoin plays a role in soothing and moisturizing the skin. Because of this, it is often added to products with strong active ingredients.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Bisabolol Masking, Skin Conditioning, Soothing
Helps reduce irritation Icon
Helps reduce irritationHelps reduce irritation Icon

Bisabolol is pimarily used to add fragrance to a product. However, it is also famous for helping soothe skin.

Cyclopentasiloxane Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Silicon Icon
SiliconSilicon Icon

Cyclopentasiloxane is a silicone used to improve texture and trap moisture. An easier name for this is D5.

Disliked Full details ->
Xanthan Gum Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming

Xanthan gum is used as a stabilizer and thickener within cosmetic products. It helps give products a sticky, thick feeling - preventing them from being too runny.

Disliked Full details ->
Sclerotium Gum Emulsion Stabilising, Skin Conditioning

Sclerotium Gum is a polysaccharide gum made by the fungus, Sclerotium rolfssii. It is similar to xanthan gum.

Disliked Full details ->
Propanediol Solvent

Propanediol helps absorb ingredients into your skin, boosting their benefits. It can act as an emollient, making your skin softer. Propanediol can help products last longer by boosting the properties of preservatives within the formulation.

Butylene Glycol Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
1 / 0

Butylene Glycol (or BG) is used within cosmetic products for a few different reasons:

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Phenoxyethanol Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

Very Disliked Full details ->

Ingredients Explained

These ingredients are found in both products.

Ingredients higher up in an ingredient list are typically present in a larger amount.

Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Loved

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

So why is it so popular? Water most often acts as a solvent - this means that it helps dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

You'll also recognize water as that liquid we all need to stay alive. If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
Loved

Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.

A study from 2016 found glycerin to be more effective as a humectant than AHAs and hyaluronic acid.

As a humectant, it helps the skin stay hydrated by pulling moisture to your skin. The low molecular weight of glycerin allows it to pull moisture into the deeper layers of your skin.

Hydrated skin improves your skin barrier; Your skin barrier helps protect against irritants and bacteria.

Glycerin has also been found to have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Due to these properties, glycerin is often used in wound and burn treatments.

In cosmetics, glycerin is usually derived from plants such as soybean or palm. However, it can also be sourced from animals, such as tallow or animal fat.

This ingredient is organic, colorless, odorless, and non-toxic.

Glycerin is the name for this ingredient in American English. British English uses Glycerol/Glycerine.

Learn more about Glycerin
Buffering, Masking
Loved

Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acid derived from grains. This ingredient is effective in treating acne, rosacea, and other skin conditions.

It has been shown to reduce the growth of acne-causing bacteria and helps reduce inflammation. On top of that, it helps reduce the production of sebum and unclog pores.

Azelaic Acid also has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants protect our skin cells from free-radical damage.

One of the main benefits of azelaic acid is that it is gentle and well-tolerated by most people. It is also non-comedogenic, meaning that it will not clog pores.

Fun fact: The lab-created form of azelaic acid is typically used within cosmetic products for its shelf-stability.

Learn more about Azelaic Acid
Preservative
Very Disliked

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

It's often used in formulations along with Caprylyl Glycol to preserve the shelf life of products.

Ingredient Ratings

Here's what our community thinks of the ingredients in these products.

Clarifying Serum with Azelaic Acid
23
3
11
3
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated
10% Azelaic Acid Booster
9
2
9
1
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

When to use

4 Routines
50% use in am
50% use in pm
75% use every day
500 Routines
43% use in am
57% use in pm
85% use every day
When to use See routines that use it ->

Reviews

Here's what our community thinks

Mario Badescu Clarifying Serum with Azelaic Acid 40 ingredients

Clarifying Serum with Azelaic Acid hasn't been rated yet.
Rate it now

Paula's Choice 10% Azelaic Acid Booster 21 ingredients

3.5 /5
from 6 ratings
Broke Me Out (1) Doesn't Work (1) Irritating (1)
thesunrising's avatar

tretiMia

3 months ago Β· Normal Skin
Review

Did nothing for my fungal acne. Actually did nothing at all.
(Compared to my cheap no-name Russian brand Azelaic acid cream which worked wonders).

BubbIes's avatar

BubbIes

4 months ago Β· Combination Skin
Review

Paula's Choice at it again with cetearyl alcohol high up on the ingredient list. I'm disappointed by their ingredients fairly consistently now.