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Paula's Choice Clear Pore Normalizing Cleanser Ingredients Explained

5.0   (1 ratings)
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Updated July 18, 2023

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Overview

What it is

Face cleanser with 18 ingredients that contains BHA

Cool Features

It is cruelty-free and reef safe

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for fighting acne, dry skin, brightening skin, sensitive skin, oily skin, reducing pores and scar healing

Free From

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

Fun facts

Paula's Choice is from United States. This product is used in 276 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.

Face cleanser with 18 ingredients that contains BHA

Quick info

You should know

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Ingredients 18

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.

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.

Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate Cleansing, Emulsifying, Foaming

Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate is a cleansing agent and emulsifier. It is a surfactant derived from sarcosine, and a common source is coconut oil. As a surfactant, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate helps lift dirts, oil, and other molecules to be washed away. In leave-on products, this ingredient is used as an emulsifier. Emulsifier help prevent ingredients such as oils and waters from separating.

Disliked Full details ->
Acrylates/Steareth-20 Methacrylate Copolymer

We don't have a description for Acrylates/Steareth-20 Methacrylate Copolymer.

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

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

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Peg-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate Cleansing, Emulsifying, Solvent
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Peg-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate isn't fungal acne safe.

Disliked Full details ->
Sodium Laureth Sulfate Cleansing, Emulsifying, Foaming
Sulfate IconCan worsen Dry Skin Icon
SulfateSulfate Icon Can worsen Dry SkinCan worsen Dry Skin Icon

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is a foaming, cleansing, and emulsifying ingredient. It is created from palm kernel oil or coconut oil. SLES is not the same as sodium lauryl sulfate. It is much milder and less likely to irritate.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Arginine Masking, Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

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

Butylene Glycol Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
1 / 0

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

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Peg-7 Glyceryl Cocoate Emulsifying
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Peg-7 Glyceryl Cocoate is created from polyethylene glycol and fatty acids from coconut oil.

Very 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.
Disodium EDTA

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

Disliked 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 ->
Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil Emulsifying
Oil IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
OilOil Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Peg-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil comes from hydrogenated castor oil. It is a solubilizer and emulsifier.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Sodium Citrate Buffering, Masking

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

Phenoxyethanol Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

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

Very Disliked Full details ->
Caprylyl Glycol Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning

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

Chlorphenesin Antimicrobial, Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

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

Disliked Full details ->

Ingredient Ratings

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

5
3
9
1
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 18 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
Masking, Preservative, Skin Conditioning
Loved

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
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
Cleansing, Emulsifying, Foaming
Disliked

Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate is a cleansing agent and emulsifier. It is a surfactant derived from sarcosine, and a common source is coconut oil. As a surfactant, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate helps lift dirts, oil, and other molecules to be washed away. In leave-on products, this ingredient is used as an emulsifier. Emulsifier help prevent ingredients such as oils and waters from separating.

Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate is also commonly found as a foaming agent in shampoo, toothpaste, and shaving foam. It is amphiphilic, meaning it loves both water and fats.

We don't have a description for Acrylates/Steareth-20 Methacrylate Copolymer.

Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
Loved

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about Glycerin
Cleansing, Emulsifying, Solvent
Disliked

Peg-200 Hydrogenated Glyceryl Palmate isn't fungal acne safe.

Cleansing, Emulsifying, Foaming
Very Disliked

Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) is a foaming, cleansing, and emulsifying ingredient. It is created from palm kernel oil or coconut oil. SLES is not the same as sodium lauryl sulfate. It is much milder and less likely to irritate.

SLES helps create foam in personal products. It also prevents ingredients from separating, helping to elongate the shelf life.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate is a type of sulfate. It can be drying. We recommend speaking with a professional about using this ingredient if you have concerns.

Learn more about Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Masking, Skin Conditioning
Mixed

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

As a cosmetic ingredient, Arginine has antioxidant properties and can also help repair damaged skin. This ingredient is derived either synthetically or from animals.

Arginine isn't fungal acne safe when used in the presence of other lipids (fats, fatty acids, oils, esters, etc). Oils and fats occur naturally within the skin, so take caution when using Arginine if you're prone to fungal acne.

Learn more about Arginine
Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Mixed

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

  • It is a solvent, meaning that it helps to dissolve other ingredients. This also enhances the absorption of the product into one's skin.
  • It is a humectant, which means that it helps attract moisture into the skin.
  • It helps improve product application.

Overall, Butylene Glycol is a safe and well-rounded ingredient. It is unlikely to irritate skin, and works well with pretty much all other ingredients.

Emulsifying
Very Disliked

Peg-7 Glyceryl Cocoate is created from polyethylene glycol and fatty acids from coconut oil.

It is a synthetic polymer with emulsifying and cleansing properties.

As an emulsifier, Peg-7 Glyceryl Cocoate prevents ingredients such as oils and water from separating. It also helps rinse away oils, dirt, and pollutants from skin.

Peg-7 Glyceryl Cocoate may not be fungal acne safe. It can also dry out skin.

Learn more about Peg-7 Glyceryl Cocoate
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
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
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
Emulsifying
Very Disliked

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
Buffering, Masking
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
Preservative
Very Disliked

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

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

Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
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
Antimicrobial, Preservative
Disliked

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

Chlorphenesin is a biocide. This means it is able to help fight the microorganisms on our skin. It is also able to fight odor-releasing bacteria.

Chlorphenesin is soluble in both water and glycerin.

Studies show Chlorphenesin is easily absorbed by our skin. You should speak with a skincare professional if you have concerns about using Chlorphenesin.

Learn more about Chlorphenesin

Reviews

5.0
from 1 rating
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