Explore Routine Login

COSRX The AHA BHA PHA LHA 35 Peel Ingredients Explained

5.0   (1 ratings)
10
0
11
1

Updated October 31, 2023 Added by RoseCapito

Save

Overview

What it is

Exfoliator with 27 ingredients that contains AHA, BHA, hyaluronic acid, PHA and Vitamin E

Cool Features

It is cruelty-free and reef safe

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for fighting acne, anti aging, brightening skin, sensitive skin, oily skin, reducing pores, scar healing, dark spots and better texture

Free From

It doesn't contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, fragrances, oils, parabens, silicones or sulfates

Fun facts

COSRX is from South Korea. This product is used in 28 routines created by our community.

We independently verify ingredients and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Does this product need an update? Let us know.

Exfoliator with 27 ingredients that contains AHA, BHA, hyaluronic acid, PHA and Vitamin E

Quick info

You should know

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Ingredients 27

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.

Glycolic Acid Buffering
AHA IconGood for Oily Skin 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 Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 7 Benefits 2 Concerns

Glycolic Acid is arguably the most famous AHA with a ton of research to back up its benefits.

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.

Potassium Hydroxide Buffering

Potassium hydroxide is commonly known as caustic potash. It is used to fix the pH of a product or as a cleaning agent in soap. In cleansers, it is used for the saponification of oils.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Gluconolactone Skin Conditioning
PHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging Icon
PHAPHA Icon 2 Benefits

Gluconolactone is a PHA. PHAs are a great gentle alternative to traditional AHAs.

Mandelic Acid Antimicrobial
AHA IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 2 Benefits 2 Concerns

Mandelic Acid helps exfoliate skin. It also contains antioxidant properties.

Dipropylene Glycol Masking, Solvent

Dipropylene Glycol is a synthetically created stabilizer and solvent. It is a part of the glycol class in the alcohol family.

Disliked Full details ->
Panthenol Skin Conditioning
0 / 0 Helps reduce irritation Icon
Helps reduce irritationHelps reduce irritation Icon

Panthenol is a common ingredient that helps hydrate and soothe the skin. It can be found naturally in our skin and hair.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
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.

Methylpropanediol Solvent

Methylpropanediol is a synthetic solvent and humectant.

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.

Octyldodeceth-16 Emulsifying

Octyldodeceth-16 comes from the fatty-alcohol Octyldodecanol.

Unknown Full details ->
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 ->
Hydroxyethylcellulose Emulsion Stabilising, Stabilising

Hydroxyethylcellulose is used to improve the texture of products. It is created from a chemical reaction involving ethylene oxide and alkali-cellulose. Cellulose is a sugar found in plant cell walls and help give plants structure.

Pentylene Glycol Skin Conditioning, Solvent

Pentylene glycol is typically used within a product to thicken it. It also adds a smooth, soft, and moisturizing feel to the product. It is naturally found in plants such as sugar beets.

Sodium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate Emulsion Stabilising

Sodium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate is a polymer and used to help stabilize other ingredients.

Cyanocobalamin Skin Conditioning

Cyanocobalamin is the manufactured version of vitamin B12. Our bodies use B12 for cell production.

Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6 Emulsion Stabilising

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

Disliked Full details ->
Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate

Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate is a modified starch used to help thicken a product.

Unknown Full details ->
Ethylhexylglycerin Skin Conditioning

Ethylhexylglycerin (we can't pronounce this either) is commonly used as a preservative and skin softener. It is derived from glyceryl.

Capryloyl Salicylic Acid Skin Conditioning

Capryloyl Salicylic Acid comes from salicylic acid, the famous acne-fighting BHA.

Polysorbate 60 Emulsifying
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polysorbate 60 is used to help stabilize products. It is a surfactant and emulsifier. These properties help keep ingredients together in a product. Surfactants help reduce surface tension between ingredients with different states, such as liquids and solids. Emulsifiers help prevent oils and waters from separating.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Disodium Phosphate Buffering, Masking

We don't have a description for Disodium Phosphate.

Unknown Full details ->
Sodium Phosphate Buffering

We don't have a description for Sodium Phosphate.

Unknown Full details ->
Tocopherol Antioxidant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
0-3 / 0-3 Vitamin E IconAntioxidant IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation Icon
Vitamin EVitamin E Icon AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon 4 Benefits May cause irritationMay cause irritation Icon

Tocopherol (also known as Vitamin E) is a common antioxidant used to help protect the skin from free-radicals and strengthen the skin barrier. It's also fat soluble - this means our skin is great at absorbing it.

0-3 Com. / 0-3 Irr.
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.
Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Hyaluronic Acid Icon
Hyaluronic AcidHyaluronic Acid Icon

Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid is a form of hyaluronic acid. It is created by the hydrolysis of hyaluronic acid with a high molecular weight. Once created, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid has a low molecular weight.

Ingredient Ratings

Based on the number of likes and dislikes each ingredient has received.

12
6
5
4
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 27 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
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
Buffering
Loved

Glycolic Acid is arguably the most famous AHA with a ton of research to back up its benefits.

Its main role is to remove the top layer of dead skin cells, allowing newer skin cells to emerge.

Specifically, AHAs work by breaking down the structural "glue" holding the old skin cells in place. Getting rid of the old skin cells allows skin to regenerate newer skin cells in its place. A build up of dead skin cells can lead to tired and dull looking skin.

Due to this, glycolic acid helps with:

Fun fact: Glycolic acid increases skin hydration by playing a role in creating molecules that create hyaluronic acid naturally.

When starting glycolic Acid, it is normal to feel slight stinging.

The pH value and concentration of glycolic acid play a role in the effectiveness of the product. Concentrations between 5-20% glycolic acid have been shown to be effective in clinical studies.

Recent studies have shown Glycolic Acid may protect the skin against UV damage. However, you should always wear SPF, especially when using exfoliants.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Glycolic Acid
Buffering, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Loved

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.

Benefits of Lactic Acid are that it can help to reduce large pores and reduce the effects of aging. Some potential downsides are that it can be bad for dry skin, cause irritation, worsen eczema, and worsen rosacea.

Not only does it help exfoliate the skin, it helps strengthen the skin's barrier. When applied, lactic acid helps the skin create ceramides.

Lactic acid is an over-the-counter chemical exfoliant that comes from the fermentation of lactose β€” a carbohydrate found in milk.

Legend has it that Cleopatra used to bathe in sour milk to help reduce wrinkles.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Lactic Acid
Buffering
Very Disliked

Potassium hydroxide is commonly known as caustic potash. It is used to fix the pH of a product or as a cleaning agent in soap. In cleansers, it is used for the saponification of oils.

Sapnification is the process of creating fatty acid metal salts from triglycerides and a strong base. During this process, Potassium Hydroxide is used up and is not present in the final product.

Using high concentrations of Potassium Hydroxide have shown to irritate the skin.

Learn more about Potassium Hydroxide
Skin Conditioning
Liked

Gluconolactone is a PHA. PHAs are a great gentle alternative to traditional AHAs.

When applied, Gluconolactone has the same affect on skin as AHAs such as lactic acid. It helps dissolve the dead skin cells in the top layer of your skin. This improves texture and brightens the skin.

PHAs are more gentle than AHAs due to their larger structure. They do not penetrate as deeply as AHAs and take a longer time to dissolve dead cells. Studies show PHAs do not cause as much irritation.

Gluconolactone has some interesting properties:

In a 2004 study, Gluconolactone was found to prevent UV damage in mouse skin cells. Gluconolactone has not been found to increase sun sensivity. However, we still recommend wearing SPF daily.

This ingredient is is an created by reacting gluconic acid with an alcohol.

Learn more about Gluconolactone
Antimicrobial
Liked

Mandelic Acid helps exfoliate skin. It also contains antioxidant properties.

As an AHA, Mandelic Acid removes the top layer of skin cells from the newer layer of skin underneath. This helps skin to remove dark spots and look more even.

Mandelic Acid may be an alternative to Glycolic Acid for those with sensitive skin.

Mandelic Acid may help reduce wrinkles, acne, and hyperpigmentation.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Mandelic Acid
Masking, Solvent
Disliked

Dipropylene Glycol is a synthetically created stabilizer and solvent. It is a part of the glycol class in the alcohol family.

Dipropylene Glycol helps dissolve and evenly distribute ingredients. It also helps decrease viscosity and thin out texture.

As a masking agent, Dipropylene Glycol can be used to cover the smell of other ingredients. However, it does not have a scent.

Studies show Dipropylene Glycol is considered safe to use in skincare.

Learn more about Dipropylene Glycol
Skin Conditioning
Loved

Panthenol is a common ingredient that helps hydrate and soothe the skin. It can be found naturally in our skin and hair.

This ingredient is also referred to as pro-vitamin B5 or dexpanthenol in dermatology.

Panthenol is famous due to its ability to go deeper into the skin's layers. Using this ingredient has numerous pros (and no cons):

Like hyaluronic acid, panthenol is a humectant. Humectants are able to bind and hold large amounts of water to keep skin hydrated.

Once oxidized, panthenol converts to pantothenic acid. Panthothenic acid is found in all living cells.

Learn more about Panthenol
Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
Liked

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.

This multitasking property makes it a great ingredient for cleaning out pores, controlling oil production, and reducing inflammation.

Unlike AHAs which are water soluble, Salicylic Acid is oil soluble. This means that it's able to exfoliate the inside of pores and reduce blackheads.

Concentrations of 0.5-2% are recognized by the U.S. FDA as an over-the-counter topical acne product.

It can cause irritation and/or dryness if one's skin already has a compromised moisture barrier, so it's best to focus on repairing that before introducing a Salicylic Acid into your routine.

In general, Salicylic Acid is a great ingredient for oily acne-prone skin.

While salicylic acid does not increase sun-sensitivity, we still recommend wearing SPF.

If you are looking for the ingredient called BHA or Butylated Hydroxyanisole, click here.

Learn more about Salicylic Acid
Solvent
Mixed

Methylpropanediol is a synthetic solvent and humectant.

As a solvent, it helps dissolve other ingredients, helping to evenly distribute ingredients throughout the product. This ingredient has also been shown to have antimicrobial properties which makes it a preservative booster.

Methylpropanediol is able to add a bit of moisture to the skin. It also helps other ingredients be better absorbed into the skin, such as salicylic acid.

Learn more about Methylpropanediol
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Mixed

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.

In products that are water-based, this ingredient can help stabilize perfumes and fragrances. It can also help make the texture of products softer and more smooth.

Emulsifying

Octyldodeceth-16 comes from the fatty-alcohol Octyldodecanol.

Emulsifers keep oils and water ingredients together to create a more even consistency.

Buffering, Masking
Disliked

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

As an AHA, Citric Acid removes the top layer of skin cells from the newer layer of skin underneath. This helps skin to remove dark spots and even out skin tone.

If you spot Citric Acid near the end of an ingredient list, it's likely there as a pH adjuster rather than an active ingredient.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Citric Acid
Emulsion Stabilising, Stabilising
Mixed

Hydroxyethylcellulose is used to improve the texture of products. It is created from a chemical reaction involving ethylene oxide and alkali-cellulose. Cellulose is a sugar found in plant cell walls and help give plants structure.

Hydroxyethylcellulose helps stabilize products by preventing ingredients from separating. It can also help thicken the texture of a product.

This ingredient can also be found in pill medicines to help our bodies digest other ingredients.

Learn more about Hydroxyethylcellulose
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Mixed

Pentylene glycol is typically used within a product to thicken it. It also adds a smooth, soft, and moisturizing feel to the product. It is naturally found in plants such as sugar beets.

The hydrophilic trait of Pentylene Glycol makes it a humectant. As a humectant, Pentylene Glycol helps draw moisture from the air to your skin. This can help keep your skin hydrated.

This property also makes Pentylene Glycol a great texture enhancer. It can help thicken or emulsify a product. Emulsifiers help stabilize a product. It does this by preventing certain ingredients from separating.

Pentylene Glycol also acts as a mild preservative and helps to keep a product microbe-free.

Some people may experience mild eye and skin irritation from Pentylene Glycol. We always recommend speaking with a professional about using this ingredient in your routine.

Pentylene Glycol has a low molecular weight and is part of the 1,2-glycol family.

Learn more about Pentylene Glycol
Emulsion Stabilising
Mixed

Sodium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate is a polymer and used to help stabilize other ingredients.

Emulsion stabilizers hold ingredients together, helping to create an even texture throughout the product.

Sodium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate can also be used to thicken the texture.

Learn more about Sodium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate
Skin Conditioning
Loved

Cyanocobalamin is the manufactured version of vitamin B12. Our bodies use B12 for cell production.

There is limited research on how Cyanocobalamin affects your skin.

Emulsion Stabilising
Disliked

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

It is be used to thicken water-based products and create a gel-texture with a velvet feel.

One manufacturer claims this ingredient to have a pH range of 2-8 and to be biodegradable.

Learn more about Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6

Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate is a modified starch used to help thicken a product.

It is also used in foods.

Skin Conditioning
Mixed

Ethylhexylglycerin (we can't pronounce this either) is commonly used as a preservative and skin softener. It is derived from glyceryl.

You might see Ethylhexylglycerin often paired with other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol. Ethylhexylglycerin has been found to increase the effectiveness of these other preservatives.

Skin Conditioning
Liked

Capryloyl Salicylic Acid comes from salicylic acid, the famous acne-fighting BHA.

It usually goes by a more common name of LHA, or lipohydroxy acid.

Like salicylic acid, this ingredient is a chemical exfoliant that can help break down the oil in your pores and reduce inflammation.

Though studies for LHA do show it to be less effective than salicylic acid. To be fair, salicylic acid is the reigning monarch of acne treatments.

However, a study from 2009 found LHA to be comparable to BPO, making it a good alternative for people with sensitive skin. Another study of 14 patients found a significant decrease in comedones after using LHA.

Another pro of LHA? It is less irritating than salicylic acid due to its large molecule size.

Large molecules cannot penetrate skin as well, so they are gentler on the skin. LHA is much less penetrative than salicylic acid.

An in-vitro study (not done on a living organism) found only 6% of LHA penetrated past the statum corneum compared to 58% of salicylic acid. An in-vivo (done on a living organism) analysis revealed ~17% of LHA was still present in the top layer of skin after 4 days, versus ~9% of salicylic acid.

Interestingly, a study from 2008 found LHA comparable to another famous acid, glycolic acid.

This study found about 10% of LHA is as effective as 20-50% of glycolic acid in treating hyperpigmentation and fine-lines.

Hydroxy acids have been found to stimulate skin protein, lipids, and thermal thickening. This may have anti-aging benefits.

Learn more about Capryloyl Salicylic Acid
Emulsifying
Very Disliked

Polysorbate 60 is used to help stabilize products. It is a surfactant and emulsifier. These properties help keep ingredients together in a product. Surfactants help reduce surface tension between ingredients with different states, such as liquids and solids. Emulsifiers help prevent oils and waters from separating.

Polysorbate 60 is sorbitol-based and created from the ethoxylation of sorbitan. Ethoxylation is a chemical reaction used to add ethylene oxide. Sorbitan is a the dehydrated version of sorbitol, a sugar found in fruits.

In this case, the 60 comes from reacting 60 units of ethylene oxide with sorbitan.

Polysorbates are commonly used in medicine and foods.

Learn more about Polysorbate 60
Buffering, Masking

We don't have a description for Disodium Phosphate.

Buffering

We don't have a description for Sodium Phosphate.

Antioxidant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Liked

Tocopherol (also known as Vitamin E) is a common antioxidant used to help protect the skin from free-radicals and strengthen the skin barrier. It's also fat soluble - this means our skin is great at absorbing it.

Vitamin E also helps keep your natural skin lipids healthy. Your lipid skin barrier naturally consists of lipids, ceramides, and fatty acids. Vitamin E offers extra protection for your skin’s lipid barrier, keeping your skin healthy and nourished.

Another benefit is a bit of UV protection. Vitamin E helps reduce the damage caused by UVB rays. (It should not replace your sunscreen). Combining it with Vitamin C can decrease sunburned cells and hyperpigmentation after UV exposure.

You might have noticed Vitamin E + C often paired together. This is because it is great at stabilizing Vitamin C. Using the two together helps increase the effectiveness of both ingredients.

There are often claims that Vitamin E can reduce/prevent scarring, but these claims haven't been confirmed by scientific research.

Learn more about Tocopherol
Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Soothing
Loved

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

Some studies have shown this ingredient can promote wound healing with higher concentrations.

Allantoin is derived from the comfrey plant but produced synthetically for cosmetic products to ensure purity.

Learn more about Allantoin
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Liked

Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid is a form of hyaluronic acid. It is created by the hydrolysis of hyaluronic acid with a high molecular weight. Once created, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid has a low molecular weight.

Low molecular weight HA has been shown to hydrate and increase elasticity of the skin. Increasing elasticity is also associated with reduction of wrinkle depth.

One study found topical low molecular weight hyaluronic acid may be considered for the treatment of rosacea in the adult population. However, we always recommend speaking with a professional about your skin concerns.

Hyaluronic acids are a humectant. This means they draw moisture from the air. Hyaluronic acids help moisturize, soothe, and protect the skin.

Read more about other common forms of hyaluronic acid:

Learn more about Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid

Reviews

5.0
from 1 rating
Verified by SkinSort

We're dedicated to providing you with the most up-to-date and science-backed ingredient info out there.

The data we've presented on this page has been verified by a member of the SkinSort Team.

Read more about us