Kiehl's Vital Skin-Strengthening Hyaluronic Acid Super Serum Ingredients Explained
Published on July 13, 2020.
What it is
Serum with 38 ingredients that contains BHA, hyaluronic acid and Vitamin E
It is reef safe
It has ingredients that are good for fighting acne, anti aging, dry skin, brightening skin, oily skin, reducing pores and scar healing
It doesn't contain any parabens or sulfates
Kiehl's is from United States. This product is used in 16 routines created by our community.
We independently verify ingredients, and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Spot an error? Let us know.
Ingredient List (38)
Water, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Hamamelis Virginiana Water, Propanediol, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopherol, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Schisandra Chinensis Fruit Extract, Capryloyl Carnosine, Salicylic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Peg-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Disodium EDTA, Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract , Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil, Limonene, Adenosine, Sodium Hydroxide, Methyldihydrojasmonate, Citric Acid, Eugenol, Sodium Benzoate, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Citral, Potassium Sorbate, Lavandula Angustifolia Oil, Cymbopogon Nardus Oil, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil, Citronellol, Linalool, Geraniol, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil
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Ingredients in this product that are types of silicon:
This product is free of sulfates 🎉
This product is free of parabens 🎉
This product is free of ingredients that damage reefs 🎉
This product is not vegan 😥
Not Cruelty Free
This product is not cruelty-free 😥
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
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.
Glycerin is already naturally found in your skin. It helps moisturize and protect your skin.
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.
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
Alcohol Denat. is an alcohol with a denaturant property. It is created by mixing ethanol and other additives. It has a low molecular weight and will evaporate quickly. This helps other ingredients become better absorbed and dry once applied.
Alcohol Denat. is volatile and may cause irritation. It helps draw out natural oils in skin and dry out your skin.
One study from 2005 found adding emollients to propanol-based sanitizer decreased irritation.
Alcohol is antibacterial by nature. This can help preserve products and increase their shelf life.
Other types of astringent alcohols include:Learn more about Alcohol Denat.
Hamamelis Virginiana Water is made used distilled parts of the witch hazel plant. The witch hazel plant is native to eastern North America.
The name 'Hamamelis Virginiana Water' refers to the distillation while the name 'Witch Hazel' is used when it is an active drug ingredient. Unless it is specified to be non-alcohol, many types of witch hazel are distilled in denatured alcohol.
Witch Hazel water is an astringent, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial ingredient. The tannin in witch hazel has a drying effect when used on skin and constricts proteins. This helps minimize the look of large pores. The tannins present and the fragrance may be sensitizing. The catechins in witch hazel have anti-inflammatory properties while the gallic acid is antibacterial.
Indigenous groups have used witch hazel to help treat inflammation, which was then used by early settlers to North America.Learn more about Hamamelis Virginiana Water
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
Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent germ and 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.
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
Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate is a polymer made from ammonium salts. It helps add stability and texture to a product.
Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate is stable over a wide pH range. Due to its ability to absorb water, it can help thicken the texture of a product.
As an emulsion stabilizer, this ingredient is able to stabilize and mix the other ingredients. This creates a consistent texture.Learn more about Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate
We don't have a description for Schisandra Chinensis Fruit Extract.
We don't have a description for Capryloyl Carnosine.
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
Caprylyl Glycol is a humectant, meaning it retains and preserves moisture. It is a common ingredient in many products, especially those designed to hydrate skin. The primary benefits are retaining moisture, skin softening, and promoting a healthy skin barrier.
Though Caprylyl Glycol is an alcohol derived from fatty acids, it is not the kind that can dry out skin.
This ingredient is also used as a preservative to extend the life of products.Learn more about Caprylyl Glycol
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.
On the technical side of things, xanthan gum is a polysaccharide - a combination consisting of multiple sugar molecules bonded together.
Xanthan gum is a pretty common and great ingredient. It is a natural, non-toxic, non-irritating ingredient that is also commonly used in food products.Learn more about Xanthan Gum
Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil comes from hydrogenated castor oil. It is a solubilizer and emulsifier.
As a solubilizer, it helps dissolve ingredients into a water-based version. It is also an emulsifer. Emulsifier help prevent oils and water from separating. Both these properties help create evenly-spread and uniform products.
Basically, Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil helps hold ingredients together.Learn more about Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil
Panax Ginseng Root is a popular herb from Asia. This root contains antioxidants, favonoids, and vitamins B12 and D.
Ginseng Root helps increase skin hydration, even out texture and tone, and helps improve wrinkles.
Ginseng root helps improve blood circulation and oxygen flow. This in turn helps nourish the skin and improve wrinkles. By speeding up circulation, ginseng root can also help drain fluids.
Ginseng root contains both Vitamin D and B12. Both of these vitamins help boost collagen production in your skin. Collagen gives you skin the appearance of looking plump and firm.
Ginseng Root can also aid in decreasing inflammation.
Studies also show ginseng may help with hyperpigmentation. Ginseng disrupts the production of tyrosinase, an enzyme that starts the process of skin darkening.
Historically, people in East Asia have used ginseng as both food and medicine.Learn more about Panax Ginseng Root Extract
Peg-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate isn't fungal acne safe.
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
Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract comes from the Holy Basil plant. Holy Basil is native to India.
Holy Basil is rich in antioxidants due to its high romarinic acid, ferulic acid, and rutin content. The ferulic acid may help with skin brightening and help soothe the skin.
Antioxidants may help with anti-aging due to its ability to neutralize free-radical molecules. These molecules may damage skin cells and DNA.
While Holy Basil has many claims to help fight acne, more research is needed.
One thing to note is the presence of tannins. Tannins are naturally found in nature. This compound may be skin-sensitizing.Learn more about Ocimum Sanctum Leaf Extract
Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil is oil from the peel of an orange fruit.
Citrus peel is also a rich source of flavonoids. Flavonoids are natural antioxidants and help protect your skin against damage. Flavonoids are a group of compounds naturally found in vegetables and fruits.
The term 'fragrance' is not regulated in many countries. In many cases, it is up to the brand to define this term. For instance, many brands choose to label themselves as "fragrance-free" because they are not using synthetic fragrances. However, their products may still contain ingredients such as essential oils that are considered a fragrance.Learn more about Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil
Limonene is a fragrance that adds scent and taste to a formulation.
It's found in the peel oil of citrus fruits and other plants such as lavender and eucalyptus. The scent of limonene is generally described as "sweet citrus".
Limonene acts as an antioxidant, meaning it helps neutralize free radicals.
When exposed to air, oxidized limonene may sensitize the skin. Because of this, limonene is often avoided by people with sensitive skin.
The term 'fragrance' is not regulated in many countries. In many cases, it is up to the brand to define this term. For instance, many brands choose to label themselves as "fragrance-free" because they are not using synthetic fragrances. However, their products may still contain ingredients such as essential oils that are considered a fragrance.Learn more about Limonene
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
Sodium Hydroxide is also known as lye or caustic soda. It is used to adjust the pH of products; many ingredients require a specific pH to be effective.
In small amounts, sodium hydroxide is considered safe to use. However, large amounts may cause chemical burns due to its high alkaline.
Your skin has a natural pH and acid mantle. This acid mantle helps prevent harmful bacteria from breaking through. The acid mantle also helps keep your skin hydrated.
"Alkaline" refers to a high pH level. A low pH level would be considered acidic.Learn more about Sodium Hydroxide
We don't have a description for Methyldihydrojasmonate.
Citric Acid is an AHA derived from citrus fruits (think oranges, lemons, and limes!).
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.
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 look more even.
Read more about some other popular AHA's here:Learn more about Citric Acid
Eugenol is naturally found in cloves, basil, and bay leaves. It is an aromatic oil used to add fragrance to a product. The scent of eugenol is described as "clove-like". Eugenol is a known EU allergen, meaning it causes contact allergies.
Studies show eugenol possesses antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
Besides cosmetics, eugenol is also added as a flavor in teas and cakes.Learn more about Eugenol
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.
Both the US FDA and EU Health Committee have approved the use of sodium benzoate. In the US, levels of 0.1% (of the total product) are allowed.
Sodium benzoate works as a preservative by inhibiting the growth of bacteria inside of cells. It prevents the cell from fermenting a type of sugar using an enzyme called phosphofructokinase.
Sodium Benzoate is the salt of benzoic acid. Foods containing sodium benzoate include soda, salad dressings, condiments, fruit juices, wines, and snack foods.
Studies for using ascorbic acid and sodium benzoate in cosmetics are lacking, especially in skincare routines with multiple steps.
We always recommend speaking with a professional, such as a dermatologist, if you have any concerns.Learn more about Sodium Benzoate
Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil is the pressed oil of the Rose Geranium plant. It is volatile, meaning it evaporates off the skin.
Rose Geranium contains antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. It has been shown to reduce bacteria and fungus. Due to these properties, Rose Geranium may help reduce acne.
The antioxidants may help reduce the signs of aging, such as fine-lines and wrinkles.
Fragrant components of Rose Geranium include citronellol and geraniol. These may cause allergies and skin-sensitivity. We recommend speaking with a professional if you have any concerns. The scent of Rose Geranium closely resembles traditional roses.Learn more about Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil
Citral is a fragrance and used to add a lemon-like scent to products. It is both naturally found in plants and created synthetically. In plants, it is commonly occurring in lemon myrtle, lemongrass, lemon tea-tree, lemon verbena, and other citruses.
The EU mandates Citral be listed separately as a fragrance. It is a known allergen and may cause contact dermatitis. Citral can also used as a masking ingredient.
The term 'fragrance' is not regulated in many countries. In many cases, it is up to the brand to define this term. For instance, many brands choose to label themselves as "fragrance-free" because they are not using synthetic fragrances. However, their products may still contain ingredients such as essential oils that are considered a fragrance.
The term 'citral' is a collective term for two geometric isomers: geranial/Citral A and neral/Citral B.Learn more about Citral
Potassium Sorbate is a preservative used to prevent yeast and mold in products. It is commonly found in both cosmetic and food products.
Potassium sorbate is potassium salt derived from sorbic acid. Sorbic acid is a natural antibiotic and effective against fungus.
Potassium sorbate and sorbic acid can be found in baked goods, cheeses, dried meats, dried fruit, ice cream, pickles, wine, yogurt, and more.
Potassium sorbate is often used with stronger preservatives.Learn more about Potassium Sorbate
Lavandula Angustifolia Oil is more commonly known as lavender essential oil. Lavandula Angustifolia is known as the English Lavender and famous for creating purple fields in Provence, France.
Lavender imparts a scent and may sensitize skin. It contains linalool, a known allergen.
While lavender essential oil is commonly used in aromatherapy to help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and stress, more research is needed to confirm this.
However, lavender essential oil has shown to have anti-inflammatory activity due to its prostanoids and histamine content.
Lavandula Angustifolia Oil is the volatile oil obtained from the flowers of the Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, Labiatae. ISO 8902:2009Learn more about Lavandula Angustifolia Oil
Cymbopogon Nardus Oil is an oil.
Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil is also known as lemongrass oil. It is used as a fragrance in cosmetics.
Lemongrass oil is being researched for its antibacterial properties.
This is the volatile oil created from the steam distillation of fresh Lemon Grass, Cymbopogon schoenanthus (L.), Poaceae. Lemongrass is native to South Asia and Northern Africa. It is commonly used to make tea.Learn more about Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil
Citronellol is used to add fragrance/parfum to a product. It is often derived from plants such as roses. In fact, it can be found in many essential oils including geranium, lavender, neroli, and more. The scent of Citronellol is often described as "fresh, grassy, and citrus-like".
Since the Citronellol molecule is already unstable, Citronellol becomes irritating on the skin when exposed to air.
Citronellol is a modified terpene. Terpenes are unsaturated hydrocarbons found in plants. They make up the primary part of essential oils.
Citronellol is not able to be absorbed into deeper layers of the skin. It has low permeability,
Citronellol is also a natural insect repellent.Learn more about Citronellol
Linalool is a fragrance and helps add scent to products. It's derived from common plants such as cinnamon, mint, citrus, and lavender.
Linalool has the same effect as Limonene when exposed to air. Oxidized linalool can cause allergies and skin sensitivity.
Linalool has a scent that is floral, spicy tropical, and citrus-like.Learn more about Linalool
Geraniol is used to add fragrance/parfum to a product. It is the main component of citronellol. It is a monoterpenoid and an alcohol.
Monoterpenes are naturally found in many parts of different plants.
Geraniol can be found in many essential oils including Rose Oil and Citronella Oil. The scent of Geraniol is often described as "rose-like". Many foods also contain Geraniol for fruit flavoring.
Geraniol can irritate the skin when exposed to air. However, irritation depends on the ability of geraniol to penetrate into the skin. In general, geraniol is not able to penetrate skin easily.
Geraniol is colorless and has low water-solubility. However, it is soluble in common organic solvents.
Like citronellol, it is a natural insect repellent.
2,6-Octadien-1-ol, 3,7-dimethyl-, (2E)-Learn more about Geraniol
Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil is oil expressed from the leaves of the rosemary plant.
Rosemary Leaf Oil is a fragrance and helps give your product a scent. If you are sensitive to irritating fragrances, this one contains camphor. Camphor has been found to irritate skin.
This oil also contains antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. As an antioxidant, it may protect you skin against damage. This can help slow down the signs of aging.Learn more about Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Oil
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