Paula's Choice 5% Niacinamide Body Serum Ingredients Explained

Published on December 01, 2022. Submitted by r2398.

Overview

What it is

Body serum with 38 ingredients that contains ceramides, exfoliants, niacinamide 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 and dark spots

Free From

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

Fun facts

Paula's Choice is from United States. This product is used in 9 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

Vitamin E
Exfoliators (2)
Niacinamide
Ceramides

Benefits

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

Concerns

May Worsen Oily Skin (2)
Acne Trigger
Irritating
Rosacea
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

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
Skin Conditioning
0 / 0
Helps reduce irritation Icon
3
Smoothing
Niacinamide IconGood for Oily Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Dark Spots IconHelps fight Acne IconHelps brighten skin Icon
4
Masking, Skin Conditioning
5
Emollient
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
6
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
0-5 / 2
May worsen Oily Skin IconBad for Acne Prone Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
7
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
8
Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
0 / 0
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
9
Solvent
10
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
11
Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
12
Skin Conditioning
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
13
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Oil IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
14
Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
15
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
0-2 / 0
Oil IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
16
Emulsifying
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
17
Solvent
18
Humectant
19
Absorbent, Emollient, Emulsion Stabilising, Skin Conditioning
20
Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning
21
Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
22
Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming, Skin Conditioning
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
Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
0-2 / 0-1
26
Emulsion Stabilising, Skin Conditioning
27
Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning
28
29
Abrasive, Skin Protecting
Exfoliant Icon
30
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
31
32
Abrasive, Absorbent
Exfoliant IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
33
Skin Conditioning
Ceramide IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconHelps with Anti-Aging Icon
34
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
35
Buffering, Masking
AHA IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Scar Healing IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
36
Buffering, Masking
37
Skin Conditioning
38
Preservative
Preservative Icon

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 38 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: 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
3
What it does: Smoothing
Community Rating: Loved

Niacinamide has emerged as an all-star ingredient due to its many benefits.

It is known to treat acne by reducing inflammation. It also helps fade dark-spots and strengthen the skin by promoting the growth of the ceramide barrier.

Other benefits include smoothing wrinkles and minimizing redness.

The cherry on top? Niacinamide can also help build keratin, a protein that keeps skin firm.

When incorporating niacinamide into your routine, look out for concentration amounts. Typically, 5% niacinamide provides benefits such as fading dark spots. However, if you have sensitive skin, it is better to begin with a smaller concentration.

Niacinamide can be mixed with other ingredients to boost benefits. For instance, it has shown to be effective when used with copper, folic acid, and zinc to treat acne.

Learn more about Niacinamide
4
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
5
What it does: Emollient
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Coco-Caprylate is created from fatty coconut alcohol and caprylic acid.

It is a lightweight emollient. Emollients create a thin barrier on the skin to trap moisture in. This helps keep your skin hydrated and soft.

Once applied, Coco-Caprylate is absorbed quickly and leaves a silky feel. It may help solubilize other ingredients, or help other ingredients be dispersed evenly.

Coco-Caprylate may not be fungal acne safe.

Learn more about Coco-Caprylate
6
What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Myristyl Myristate is created from the fatty acids of myristyl alcohol and myristic acid. In skincare, it is an emollient and texture enhancer.

On its own, this ingredient has a comedogenicity index of 5/5. This means it has the potential to clog pores. When diluted with cetyl alcohol or propylene glycol, the comedogenicity will decrease.

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

Nutmeg, palm kernel oil, and coconut oil all contain this ingredient naturally.

Learn more about Myristyl Myristate
7
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: 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
8
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
9
What it does: Solvent

C13-15 Alkane is a group of alkanes with 13 to 15 carbon atoms in the alkyl chain.

It is a solvent and texture enhancer. Solvents are used to keep ingredients together in a product. They can help dissolve ingredients to stable bases or help evenly distribute ingredients throughout the product.

10
What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Squalene is naturally found in plants and animals, including our skin and sebum. It is a lipid our bodies naturally produce and makes up about 10-12% of the oil on our skin. Our skin produces squalene to keep itself naturally hydrated.

Squalene is a potent antioxidant and can help fight against skin damage.

Sources of squalene include olives and rice bran. Some sources may be animals such as from shark liver.

Squalane comes from squalene and is created using hydrogenation. Squalane is lighter than squalene.

Hydrogenation is the conversion from unsaturated oil to saturated oil. This makes squalane more stable and have a longer shelf life than squalene.

Read more about squalane with an "a".

Learn more about Squalene
11
What it does: Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Glyceryl Stearate Citrate is a citric acid ester of glyceryl stearate.

It is an emulsifier, emollient, and a surfactant.

Emulsifiers help stabilize a product. It does this by preventing certain ingredients from separating. Common ingredients include oils and water, which do not mix naturally. Emulsifiers have properties that help keep ingredients such as these together.

Emollients help soothe and soften the skin. They do 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.

Surfactants help gather oils, dirt, and other pollutants from the skin. This helps them to be easily rinsed away.

Learn more about Glyceryl Stearate Citrate
12
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
13
What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

Citrullus Lanatus Seed Oil is made by expressing watermelon seeds. It is a non-fragrant oil with antioxidant and hydrating properties.

Watermelon seed oil contains a high percentage of linoleic acid and other fatty acids. These fatty acids make it a great skin hydrator.

14
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Disliked

Mangifera Indica Seed Butter isn't fungal acne safe.

15
What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil is the fixed oil expressed or extracted from seeds of the desert shrub Jojoba, or Simmondsia chinensis. Jojoba is native to the southwestern US. The seed oil is liquid wax ester from the plant. It is non-comedogenic.

Jojoba oil does not contain fragrance and has many fatty-acids, making it a great soothing ingredient. Jojoba contains Vitamin E, a great moisturizing ingredient. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants help protect your skin against free-radical damage. This may help in anti-aging.

Jojoba seed oil is a humectant, meaning it helps draw moisture from the air. This helps keep your skin hydrated.

While jojoba has antibacterial properties, it is only able to kill some bacteria. It has also been shown to help in wound healing. Indigenous cultures have used jojoba as a moisturizer and to help treat burns.

It is found to be similar to natural human skin sebum, so it has a great effect on dry skin. Jojoba oil may even help with regulating sebum production.

Although jojoba oil is non-comedogenic, we recommend speaking with a professional about using this ingredient if you have any concerns.

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

Learn more about Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil
16
What it does: Emulsifying

Polyglyceryl-3 Stearate isn't fungal acne safe.

17
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
18
What it does: Humectant
Community Rating: Liked

Saccharide Isomerate comes from sugars found in corn. It is altered so the structure is more similar to the carbohydrates found in our skin. Its ability to match these carbohydrates makes it a great moisturizer and humectant.

Humectants help draw moisture from the air to our skin. Studies show Saccharide Isomerate to be an effective moisturizer.

19
What it does: Absorbent, Emollient, Emulsion Stabilising, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

Sodium Polyacrylate is the sodium salt of polyacrylic acid.

Sodium Polyacrylate is a super-absorbent polymer. It can absorb 100 to 1000 times its mass in water. As an emollient, Sodium Polyacrylate helps soften and soothe skin. Emollients work by creating a barrier to trap moisture in. This helps keep your skin hydrated.

Sodium Polyacrylate is also used to stabilize products.

Learn more about Sodium Polyacrylate
20
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
21
What it does: Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Caprylyl Glycol is a humectant and emollient, meaning it attracts 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. It has slight antimicrobial properties.

Learn more about Caprylyl Glycol
22
What it does: Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Disliked

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
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: 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.

25
What it does: Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Disliked

Hexylene Glycol is a surfactant. Glycols are a class of alcohols. Hexylene Glycol is a surfactant and emulsifier.

As a surfactant, Hexylene Glycol helps gather dirt and oil on your skin to be washed away.

As an emulsifier, Hexylene Glycol helps keep water and oil together. This prevents them from separating in a product. Hexylene Glycol also thins out the texture of a product by lessening viscosity.

Hexylene Glycol has a small molecular weight.

Learn more about Hexylene Glycol
26
What it does: Emulsion Stabilising, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Disliked

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

In cosmetics, Sclerotium Gum is used to thicken the texture and to help stabilize other ingredients.

As an emulsifier, Sclerotium Gum helps prevent ingredients from separating, such as water and oil.

Learn more about Sclerotium Gum
27
What it does: Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Disliked

Lecithin is a term for a group of substances found in plants, animals, and humans. They are made up of mixture of fatty acids. These fatty acids usually are a mixture of phosphoric acid's choline ester connected to stearic, oleic, and palmitic acids. Most lecithins are created from plant ingredients scuh as sunflower.

Lecithin is an emollient. Emollients help soften the skin and creates a barrier to keep moisture in.

As an emulsifier, it also helps prevent water and oil ingredients from separating. Lecithin can help ingredients be better absorbed by the skin. The phospholipids in Lecithin can produce liposomes. Liposomes help other ingredients get through the skin barrier.

Learn more about Lecithin
28
What it does:

We don't have a description for Pullulan.

29
What it does: Abrasive, Skin Protecting

Hydrolyzed Opuntia Ficus-Indica Flower Extract is an exfoliant.

30
What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

Pantolactone is a synthetically created humectant.

As a humectant, Pantolactone helps draw moisture to the skin. It can help add hydration to your skin.

31
What it does:
Community Rating: Liked

Sodium Phytate is the synthetic salt form of phytic acid. Phytic acid is an antioxidant and can be found in plant seeds.

Sodium Phytate is a chelating agent. Chelating agents help prevent metals from binding to water. This helps stabilize the ingredients and the product.

32
What it does: Abrasive, Absorbent
Community Rating: Disliked

Silica is a mineral naturally found in our skin. It helps to thicken and smooth the texture of a product. It also acts as an agent for other ingredients by increasing the absorption of other ingredients into the skin.

Silica is often used for absorption and can help reduce shine when products are applied. Silica occurs in naturally in materials like clay and sandstone, and it can also be produced synthetically.

Silica is present naturally within the skin during collagen production and when reducing inflammation.

Learn more about Silica
33
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Ceramide AP is a type of Ceramide.

Ceramides are intercellular lipids naturally found in our skin that bonds dead skin cells together to create a barrier. Having a strong skin barrier leads to more firm and hydrated skin.

They are known for their ability to hold water and thus are a great ingredient for dry skin. By bolstering the skin ceramides act as a barrier against irritating ingredients. This can help with inflammation as well.

If you would like to eat ceramides, sweet potatoes contain a small amount.

Read more about other common types of ceramides here:
Ceramide NP
Ceramide EOP

Learn more about Ceramide AP
34
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.

35
What it does: Buffering, Masking
Community Rating: Disliked

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
36
What it does: Buffering, Masking
Community Rating: Mixed

Sodium Citrate is the sodium salts of citric acid. In skincare, it is used to alter pH levels and acts as a preservative.

Sodium Citrate helps maintain the pH 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.

Sodium Citrate is a chelating agent. It neutralizes metal ions from water and prevents them from binding to other ingredients. This ensures the other ingredients will not be altered.

Learn more about Sodium Citrate
37
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

We don't have a description for Bacillus Ferment.

38
What it does: Preservative
Community Rating: Very Disliked

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.

Embed Ingredients

Here's what our community thinks of the 38 ingredients in this product ✨

32% are loved or liked
26% have mixed ratings
32% are disliked or very disliked
11% have no rating yet

When to use

Here's some more info on how this product is used by our community.

Directions

Apply a thin layer to areas of concern from the neck down and follow with moisturizer if needed.

Apply a thin layer to areas of concern from the neck down and follow with moisturizer if needed.

When to use

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