COSRX The Retinol 0.1 Cream Ingredients Explained

Published on October 10, 2022. Submitted by Pwincessduckie.

Overview

What it is

Facial treatment with 51 ingredients that contains hyaluronic acid, retinoid, Vitamin C 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, dry skin, 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, parabens or sulfates

Fun facts

COSRX is from South Korea. This product is used in 111 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.

You should know

Here's our breakdown of the notable ingredients, benefits, and concerns we determined from the ingredients in this product. Click any item to learn more.

Notable Ingredients

Retinoid
Vitamin C (2)
Vitamin E (2)
Hyaluronic Acid (5)

Benefits

Hydrating (4)
Good For Oily Skin
Redness Reducing (3)
Reduces Irritation (2)
Skin Texture (3)
Reduces Large Pores
Anti-Aging (5)
Dark Spots (3)
Scar Healing (6)
Acne Fighting
Brightening (6)

Concerns

Drying
May Worsen Oily Skin (6)
Acne Trigger (3)
Irritating (2)
Eczema

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and view relevant ingredients.
alcohol-free
silicon-free
fragrance-free
sulfate-free
paraben-free
oil-free
fungal-acne safe
reef-safe
eu-allergen-free
vegan
cruelty-free
ph level
6.8

Ingredients Overview

Here's our quick-to-read summary of the ingredients in this product. Keep scrolling if you'd like to learn more about what each ingredient does!
Ingredient
Features
1
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
2
Masking, Skin Conditioning
3
Solvent
4
Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
0 / 0
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
5
Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0
Vitamin E IconAntioxidant IconHelps brighten skin Icon
6
Emollient, Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising
2 / 1
Fatty Alcohol IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconBad for Acne Prone Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
7
Skin Conditioning
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
8
Skin Conditioning
0 / 0
Helps reduce irritation Icon
9
Humectant, Moisturising
10
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
3 / 0
Oil IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
11
12
Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
1 / 0
Silicon Icon
13
14
Emollient, Masking, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0
Oil IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
15
Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
16
Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning
17
Emulsion Stabilising
18
Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
1 / 0
19
Buffering, Masking
20
Emollient, Emulsifying
1 / 0
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
21
22
Preservative
Preservative Icon
23
Antioxidant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
0-3 / 0-3
Vitamin E IconAntioxidant IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconMay cause irritation IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin Icon
24
Skin Conditioning
25
Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Soothing
0 / 0
Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconGood for Scar Healing Icon
26
Emollient, Emulsifying
27
Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
28
Skin Conditioning
Retinoid IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconGood for Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconMay worsen Eczema IconHelps brighten skin Icon
29
Skin Conditioning, UV Absorber
30
Cleansing, Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Masking
2-3 / 0
May worsen Oily Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
31
Emulsifying
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
32
Emollient, Emulsifying
2 / 0
May worsen Oily Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
33
34
Skin Conditioning
35
Skin Conditioning
Helps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Scar Healing Icon
36
Emulsifying
1-2 / 0
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
37
Emollient
Oil IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
38
Antioxidant, Masking
Antioxidant Icon
39
Skin Conditioning
40
Cleansing, Emulsifying
3 / 0
Bad for Acne Prone Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
41
Cleansing, Emulsifying
4 / 1
May worsen Oily Skin IconBad for Acne Prone Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
42
Skin Conditioning
Vitamin C IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing Icon
43
Antioxidant, Buffering, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Vitamin C IconAntioxidant IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin Icon
44
45
Skin Conditioning
Oil IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
46
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0
Hyaluronic Acid Icon
47
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
48
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Hyaluronic Acid Icon
49
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Hyaluronic Acid Icon
50
Humectant, Moisturising, Skin Conditioning
Hyaluronic Acid IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin Icon
51
Humectant
Hyaluronic Acid Icon

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 51 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
1
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: 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. Talk about multi-purpose! If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
2
What it does: Masking, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

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

Within a product, Caprylic Triglyceride can thicken the product and make spreadability easier by dissolving clumping compounds. An added benefit of Caprylic Triglyceride is its antioxidant properties.

Caprylic Triglyceride is made by combining glycerin with coconut oil, forming a clear liquid. Caprylic Triglyceride has not been found to be toxic for human use in concentrations under 50%.

While there is an assumption Caprylic Triglyceride can clog pores due to it being derived from coconut oil, there is no research supporting this.

Learn more about Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
3
What it does: Solvent
Community Rating: Liked

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.

Propanediol is not likely to cause sensitivity and considered safe to use.

It is derived from corn or petroleum with a clear color and no scent.

Learn more about Propanediol
4
What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
Community Rating: 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
5
What it does: Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Tocopheryl Acetate is AKA Vitamin E. It is an antioxidant and protects your skin from free radicals. Free radicals damage the skin by breaking down collagen.

One study found using Tocopheryl Acetate with Vitamin C decreased the number of sunburned cells.

Tocopheryl Acetate is commonly found in both skincare and dietary supplements.

Learn more about Tocopheryl Acetate
6
What it does: Emollient, Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising
Community Rating: Very Disliked

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.

Cetearyl alcohol is an emollient. Emollients help soothe and hydrate the skin by trapping moisture.

Studies show Cetearyl alcohol is non-toxic and non-irritating. The FDA allows products labeled "alcohol-free" to have fatty alcohols.

This ingredient is usually derived from plant oils such as palm, vegetable, or coconut oils. There is debate on whether this ingredient will cause acne.

Due to the fatty acid base, this ingredient may not be Malassezia folliculitis safe.

Learn more about Cetearyl Alcohol
7
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Disliked

Butyrospermum Parkii Butter is a plant lipid from the fruit of the Shea Tree. It is an effective skin hydrator and emollient.

Emollients help soothe and soften your skin. It does this by creating a protective film on your skin. This barrier helps trap moisture and keeps your skin hydrated. Emollients may be effective at treating dry or itchy skin.

Shea butter is rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight free-radicals, or molecules that may harm the body. It is also full of fatty acids including stearic acid and linoleic acid. These acids help replenish the skin and keep skin moisturized.

While Shea Butter has an SPF rating of about 3-4, it is not a sunscreen replacement.

Shea butter may not be fungal acne safe. We recommend speaking with a professional if you have any concerns.

Learn more about Butyrospermum Parkii Butter
8
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Panthenol (also referred to as pro-vitamin B5) is a common ingredient that helps hydrate and soothe the skin.

lt is a humectant, meaning that it helps the skin attract and retain moisture.

Another benefit is the anti-inflammatory abilities. This means that it's great for sensitive, irritation-prone skin.

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

Learn more about Panthenol
9
What it does: Humectant, Moisturising
Community Rating: Loved

Trehalose is a disaccharide made of two glucose molecules (glucose is sugar!). Trehalose is used to help moisturize skin. It also has antioxidant properties.

As a humectant, trehalose helps draw moisture from the air to your skin. This helps keep your skin hydrated.

Due to its antioxidant properties, trehalose may help with signs of aging. Antioxidants help fight free-radical molecules, unstable molecules that may damage your skin.

In medicine, trehalose and hyaluronic acid are used to help treat dry eyes.

Some animals, plants, and bacteria create trehalose as a source of energy to survive freeze or lack of water.

Learn more about Trehalose
10
What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Glycine Soja Oil comes from the soybean. Glycine Soja is native to eastern Asia.

Soybean oil is an emollient. It is rich in antioxidants and fatty acids including palmitic, stearic, oleic, and linoleic acids.

As an emollient, the fatty acids in soybean oil helps keep your skin soft and hydrated. It does so by creating a film on top that traps moisture in.

Soybean oil is also rich in vitamin E, a potent antioxidant. Vitamin E is also anti-inflammatory and provides a soothing effect.

Studies show soy may help fade hyperpigmentation from UVB. It does so by disrupting the melanin process from UVB induced skin inflammation.

This ingredient may not be malassezia folliculitis, or fungal-acne, safe.

Soybeans are rich in proteins and are part of the legume family. Foods made with soybeans include tofu, soymilk, edamame, miso, and soy sauce.

Learn more about Glycine Soja Oil
11
What it does:
Community Rating: Mixed

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.

AAVC is able to increase the consistency and viscosity of products due to its large molecule size. It also prevents ingredients from separating.

12
What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
Community Rating: Very Disliked

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.

Dimethicone has been found increase absorption in skin, boosting the benefits of other ingredients. While there is concern for the safety of dimethicone, the levels used in skincare are safe for use.

13
What it does:
Community Rating: Mixed

We don't have a description for Glyceryl Polymethacrylate.

14
What it does: Emollient, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Disliked

Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil is the oil derived from the seeds of a Sunflower. Sunflower seed oil is non-fragrant. It is an emollient, meaning it helps to soften the skin.

Sunflower seed oil contains many fatty acids. The fatty acids found in sunflower seeds include (from highest amount to least): linoleic acid, myristic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, arachidic acid, oleic acid, and linolenic acid.

These fatty acids help the skin create ceramides. Ceramides play a role in repairing the skin barrier.

Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil helps moisturize the skin. This in turn helps the skin look more rejuvenated and smoother.

Sunflowers are rich in vitamin E.

Historians believe Indigenous cultures of North America domesticated sunflowers before corn. Thus they relied on sunflower oil for a variety of uses. One such use is moisturizing skin and hair.

Sunflower seed oil may not be fungal acne safe. We recommend speaking with a professional if you have any concerns.

Learn more about Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil
15
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate is a skin conditioner with emollient and emulsifier properties.

It is an esther of stearic acid and Polyglycerin-10.

This ingredient may not be Malassezia folliculitis, or fungal-acne safe.

Learn more about Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate
16
What it does: Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Hydrogenated Lecithin is created from the hydrogenation of lecithin. Hydrogenation is a chemical reaction between molecule hydrogen and another element.

Hydrogenated Lecithin is an emollient and emulsifier. As an emollient, it helps soften skin by trapping moisture within.

The phospholipids in Hydrogenated Lecithin can produce liposomes. Liposomes help other ingredients get through the skin barrier to be better absorbed.

As an emulsifier, it prevents oil and water ingredients from separating.

Learn more about Hydrogenated Lecithin
17
What it does: Emulsion Stabilising
Community Rating: Mixed

This is a synthetic polymer. It helps improve the texture of products by adding thickness and gel-like feel.

It is also an emulsifer, meaning it prevents ingredients such as oil and water from separating. It also helps evenly disperse other ingredients.

18
What it does: Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
Community Rating: Disliked

Carbomer is a polymer of acrylic acid. Its main role is to create gel consistency within products.

Carbomer is commonly found in many types of cosmetics products. It is found to be safe in concentrations up to 15%. However, a high amount of carbomer can cause pilling or balling up of products. Most products contain 1% of less of carbomer.

19
What it does: Buffering, Masking
Community Rating: Liked

Tromethamine is an aliphatic compound. An aliphatic compound is an organic compound with open-chained carbon atoms. It is synthetically created. Tromethamine is used to balance pH and improve texture.

As an emulsifier, Tromethamine prevents oil and water ingredients from separating. This helps stabilize the product and elongate a product's shelf life. Tromethamine also makes a product thicker.

Tromethamine helps balance the pH level of a product. Normal pH level of skin is slightly acidic (~4.75-5.5). The acidity of our skin is maintained by our glands and skin biome. Being slightly acidic allows our skin to create an "acid mantle". This acid mantle is a thin barrier that protects our skin from bacteria and contaminants.

Oral Tromethanmine is an anti-inflammatory drug but plays the role of masking, adding fragrance, and/or balancing pH in skincare.

1,3-Propanediol, 2-amino-2-(hydroxymethyl)-

Learn more about Tromethamine
20
What it does: Emollient, Emulsifying
Community Rating: Disliked

Glyceryl Stearate is a mix of glycerin and stearic acid.

Glyceryl Stearate is used to stabilize the mixing of water and oil ingredients. By preventing these ingredients from separating, it can help elongate shelf life. It can also help thicken the product's texture.

As an emollient, it helps soften skin and supports barrier-replenishing ingredients.

In cosmetics, Glyceryl Stearate is often made from vegetable oils or synthetically produced. The human body also creates Glyceryl Stearate naturally.

Learn more about Glyceryl Stearate
21
What it does:
Community Rating: Disliked

We don't have a description for Polysilicone-11.

22
What it does: Preservative
Community Rating: Very Disliked

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

This ingredient has been shown to break the bonds in hair, acting as a natural straightener.

It is commonly used in food. It should be noted sodium sulfite degrades both vitamins B1 and E.

Fun fact: Sulfites are naturally occuring in wine.

Learn more about Sodium Sulfite
23
What it does: Antioxidant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: 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
24
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Daucus Carota Sativa Root Extract comes from the root commonly known as carrot (the orange kind we eat!).

This extract contains beta-carotene, a pigment responsible for giving plants the orange color. Beta-carotene is a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants may help reduce the signs of aging.

Beta-carotene is the reason we turn orange if we eat too many carrots.

It should be noted coming into contact with the leaves of wild carrots can cause skin irritation. The sap causes phytophotodermatitis, or sensitivity when the sap comes in contact with sunlight.

This ingredient is created using the edible parts of the carrot.

Learn more about Daucus Carota Sativa Root Extract
25
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Soothing
Community Rating: 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
26
What it does: Emollient, Emulsifying
Community Rating: Mixed

Glyceryl Caprylate comes from glycerin and caprylic acid, a fatty acid from coconut.

Glyceryl Caprylate is used for its emollient and emulsifier properties.

As an emollient, it helps hydrate your skin. Emollients work by creating a barrier on your skin to trap moisture in, helping to keep your skin soft and smooth.

Glyceryl Caprylate helps keep the ingredients such as oil and water together as an emulsifier.

Learn more about Glyceryl Caprylate
27
What it does: Skin Conditioning

Oryza Sativa Bran Wax is wax from the outer layer of a rice kernel. It is a byproduct of milling rice, or the operation to produce a whole grain rice product.

Oryza Sativa Bran is moisturizing. This is due to its components of polysaccharides and omega-3 fatty acids.

28
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Retinol is a form of Vitamin A and proven to help with anti-aging.

It promotes collagen production, increases new cell turnoever, and protects your skin as an antioxidant.

Retinol boosts collagen production and increases cell turnover. This makes retinol effective in removing wrinkles, fading dark spots, and reducing the appearance of pores.

Retinol is less effective when exposed to sun. Be sure to look for appropriate packaging to keep your retinol potent.

Using retinol and retinoids will increase sun-sensitivity in the first few weeks of use. Though studies show retinoids increase your skin's natural SPF with continuous use, it is best to always wear sunscreen and sun-protection.

We recommend speaking with a medical professional about using this ingredient during pregnancy.

Retinol may cause irritation in some people, so be sure to patch test. Experts recommend 'ramping up' retinol use: start using this ingredient once a week and work up to using it daily.

Read about Tretinoin

Learn more about Retinol
29
What it does: Skin Conditioning, UV Absorber

We don't have a description for Tocotrienols.

30
What it does: Cleansing, Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Masking
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Stearic Acid is a fatty acid. It is an emollient, emulsifier, and texture enhancer.

As an emollient, stearic acid helps soften skin. It aids the skin's protective barrier by preventing water loss. It also provides a gentle cleansing effect without stripping away natural oils.

Stearic acid may also be used to enhance the texture of products. It can add volume and stabilize ingredients such as water and oil. This can help water and oil ingredients from separating.

Sources of stearic acid include animal or vegetable fats/oils such as coconut or shea. It can be naturally found in butter, cocoa butter, shea butter, vegetable fats, and animal tallow.

This ingredient may not be Malassezia folliculitis, or fungal-acne safe.

Learn more about Stearic Acid
31
What it does: Emulsifying
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate is created from the diester of stearic acid and the condensation product of methylglucose and Polyglycerin-3.

As an emulsifier, it is used to bind ingredients together. Many ingredients, such as oils and water, separate naturally. Emulsifiers prevent them from separating to ensure even consistency in texture.

One of the manufacturer for this ingredient states it is vegetable-based. It is also claimed to be stable at both high and low temperatures.

This ingredient may not be safe for fungal acne. We recommend speaking with a professional if you have any concerns.

Learn more about Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate
32
What it does: Emollient, Emulsifying
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Palmitic Acid is a fatty acid found in our skin. In cosmetics, it is usually derived from palm oil. It is a cleanser, emollient, and emulsifier.

As an emollient, it helps hydrate the skin. The emulsifying properties keep ingredients together in a product.

Palmitic Acid may not be fungal-acne safe. It can worsen oily skin and cause breakouts due to its emollient nature.

Learn more about Palmitic Acid
33
What it does:
Community Rating: Disliked

Disodium EDTA plays a role in making products more stable by aiding other preservatives.

It is a chelating agent, meaning it neutralizes metal ions that may be found in a product.

Disodium EDTA is a salt of edetic acid and is found to be safe in cosmetic ingredients.

Learn more about Disodium EDTA
34
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: 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.

35
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

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

Adenosine has many benefits when used. These benefits include hydrating the skin, smoothing skin, and reducing wrinkles. Once applied, adenosine increases collagen production. It also helps with improving firmness and tissue repair.

Studies have found adenosine may also help with wound healing.

In skincare products, Adenosine is usually derived from yeast.

Learn more about Adenosine
36
What it does: Emulsifying

Sorbitan Isostearate is an emulsifer and cleaning agent. It is created from isostearic acid and sorbitol.

As an emulsifier, Sorbitan Isostearate prevents oils and water from separating.

Due to its isostearic acid base, it may not be safe for Malassezia or fungal acne.

Learn more about Sorbitan Isostearate
37
What it does: Emollient
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Elaeis Guineensis Oil comes from the African Palm tree. This tree is native to Western and Southwestern Africa.

This oil is rich in antioxidants such as Vitamin E. Antioxidants may help with anti-aging.

The Vitamin E and fatty acid content give palm oil a skin-hydrating property. Emollients help trap moisture in by creating a film on the skin.

Palm oil is created by either squeezing the fruit or crushing the kernel at the center of the fruit. In the 1800s, archaeologists discovered a 6000 year old Egyptian tomb containing palm oil.

Palm oil is controversial due to its social and environmental impacts. Several organizations are working to make palm oil harvest more sustainable, such as the RSPO.

Learn more about Elaeis Guineensis Oil
38
What it does: Antioxidant, Masking
Community Rating: Very Disliked

BHT is a synthetic antioxidant. As an antioxidant, it helps your body fight off free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells.

BHT also helps stabilize products and prevent them from degrading. Many products are sensitive to air and light. BHT prevents them from breaking down when exposed.

39
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Beta-Carotene is a carotenoid. It is an antioxidant that converts to Vitamin A. Antioxidants help fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells, such as pollution.

It gives plants the red, orange, and yellow color. Some foods with Beta-Carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, apricots, and cantaloupe.

40
What it does: Cleansing, Emulsifying
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Myristic Acid is a saturated fatty acid. It is naturally found in milk fat. Other sources include palm oil, coconut oil, and butter fat.

Myristic Acid is an emulsifer and cleanser. As an emulsifer, it stabilizes a product by preventing ingredients from separating. Myristic Acid helps clean your skin by acting as a surfactant. It tends to gather oil and dirt on your skin to be easily rinsed away.

One study from 2021 found Myristic Acid to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Learn more about Myristic Acid
41
What it does: Cleansing, Emulsifying
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Lauric Acid is a fatty acid or lipid. About half of fatty acids in coconut oil is lauric acid.

This ingredient helps hydrate and sooth skin. As a humectant, it helps trap moisture. It also aids in cleaning and enhancing the texture of products.

Emerging studies show Lauric Acid to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. The antimicrobial property helps strengthen the skin barrier by fighting off bad bacteria.

Lauric acid may not be Malassezia folliculitis, or fungal acne, safe.

Learn more about Lauric Acid
42
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

You might know this ingredient as Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, a more stable version of ascorbic acid.

Like other types of vitamin C, this ingredient has many benefits including reducing wrinkles, skin soothing, dark spot fading, and fighting against free radicals.

3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid interferes with the process of skin darkening, helping to reduce hyperpigmentation. It also encourages the skin to produce more collagen.

Once applied, 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid is converted to Vitamin C deeper in the skin's layers. This process is slow but makes this ingredient more tolerable for skin.

The optimum pH range for this ingredient is 4 - 5.5

Learn more about 3-O-Ethyl Ascorbic Acid
43
What it does: Antioxidant, Buffering, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Ascorbic Acid is is pure Vitamin C. This form makes up the largest amount of vitamin C found naturally in our skin.

Not only is vitamin C great for your overall health and immune system, it also has plenty of benefits on your skin.

Vitamin C is best used for brightening skin. It improves dark spots, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation. This is because it blocks the process of skin darkening when exposed to UV.

Remember: Vitamin C should not replace sunscreen!

Your skin uses vitamin C to build collagen. Collagen is one key component in having a strong skin barrier and plump skin. Vitamin C also plays a role in regulating collagen, thus making it effective in improving wrinkles and fine lines.

Ascorbic acid shows potent antioxidant activity. As an antioxidant, it helps fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells. These antioxidants also protect skin against UV damage.

The best formulations include Vitamin E and/or ferulic acid. These two ingredients help stabilize and provide a boost in the benefits of ascorbic acid. This is because ascorbic acid becomes unstable when exposed to UV and air. In fact, you can tell your ascorbic acid has oxidized when it turns an orange-yellow color.

Ascorbic acid is generally compatible with other ingredients. However, using ascorbic acid with other active ingredients might cause irritation. Two ingredients: copper ions and benzoyl peroxide, will inactivate ascorbic acid completely.

Read more about other types of Vitamin C:

Foods rich with vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, broccoli, bell peppers, and more. When consuming Vitamin C, your skin receives a portion of the nutrients.

Learn more about Ascorbic Acid
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What it does:
Community Rating: Loved

Glutathione is an antioxidant naturally found in our bodies. It is also naturally occurring in plants, animals, fungi, and some bacteria. As an antioxidant, Glutathione helps prevent oxidative damage to parts of our cell.

While Glutathione is said to help with skin lightening, the results from research are inconclusive. Further studies are needed.

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What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

Limnanthes Alba Seed Oil is the oil extracted from the seeds of the meadowfoam plant. This oil is non-fragrant and is an emollient. As an emollient, meadowfoam seed oil helps soften and hydrate the skin.

Due to its structure, meadowfoam seed oil is stable and has a long shelf life. It has the highest concentration of stable fatty-acids among plant oils. This makeup helps prevent it from degrading once exposed to oxygen.

Meadowfoam, Limnanthes alba, Limnanthaceae., is native to California and Oregon.

Learn more about Limnanthes Alba Seed Oil
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What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Sodium Hyaluronate is hyaluronic acid's salt form. It is commonly derived from the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid.

Like hyaluronic acid, it is great at holding water and acts as a humectant. This makes it a great skin hydrating ingredient.

Sodium Hyaluronate is naturally occurring in our bodies and is mostly found in eye fluid and joints.

These are some other common types of Hyaluronic Acid:

Learn more about Sodium Hyaluronate
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What it does: Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: 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.

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What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: 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
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What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer is a type of hyaluronic acid. In fact, it is modified version of hyaluronic acid.

The structure of Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer allows it to stay in the skin's top layer for a longer period of time. This allows for even more hydration and humectant action than hyaluronic acid.

These are some other common types of Hyaluronic Acid:

Learn more about Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer
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What it does: Humectant, Moisturising, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in healthy skin. It is a humectant, meaning it draws moisture to your skin.

Hyaluronic Acid has the capacity to bind to large amounts of water. This ingredient helps hydrate, soothe, and protect the skin.

Fun fact: It is already naturally found in our bodies, such as the fluids of our eyes and our joints.

Studies find this ingredient to have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. This can help speed up wound-healing,

These are some other common types of Hyaluronic Acid:

Learn more about Hyaluronic Acid
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What it does: Humectant
Community Rating: Liked

Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate is a type of Hyaluronic Acid.

Hyaluronic Acids help moisturize, soothe, and protect the skin.

Embed Ingredients

Here's what our community thinks of the 51 ingredients in this product ✨

43% are loved or liked
16% have mixed ratings
35% are disliked or very disliked
6% have no rating yet

When to use

We've created a guide with info on when you should use COSRX The Retinol 0.1 Cream. We've also included some recommended products to use it with, as well as some routine inspiration!

Read our guide on when to use The Retinol 0.1 Cream ->
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Top Reviews

AshN.'s Avatar'
Jan 29, 2024

(Started Dec 2023) This was a bit of an impulse buy with a friend, but I'm honestly glad I got it! I have previous experience with using retinoids (specifically from The Ordinary Line) and wanted to try something a bit stronger. On...

(Started Dec 2023) This was a bit of an impulse buy with a friend, but I'm honestly glad I got it! I have previous experience with using retinoids (specifically from The Ordinary Line) and wanted to try something a bit stronger. On Amazon it is priced at $13, so I would say this is a wonderful budget buy. The formulation is very gentle given the strength and I experienced no problems with irritation! My skin actually ended up feeling smoother and softer the following morning with this. I would highly recommend this as a starter Retinol. Planning to get the .3 formulation after I go through another one.

Great Value
Light
Absorbs Well
Light Scent
Works Well

Latest Reviews

sarahabma's Avatar'
Jan 22, 2023

Wonderful beginner retinol
Ny first ever retinol but 2nd time using a retinoid. for context I have highly acne-prone skin.

I've been using this every other night for a couple weeks now and I see that my acne is healing much faster...

Wonderful beginner retinol
Ny first ever retinol but 2nd time using a retinoid. for context I have highly acne-prone skin.

I've been using this every other night for a couple weeks now and I see that my acne is healing much faster than usual, i.e. less redness and irritation on acne that I would usually experience.

Though there are ingredients rated by SkinSort as not good for acne-prone skin (Cetearyl Alcohol, Myristic Acid and Lauric Acid), I have not noticed a negative reaction whatsoever. So, I would still recommend this product for other retinol beginners, especially those with acne-prone skin like me.

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