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Paula's Choice Discoloration Repair Serum Ingredients Explained

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Published May 1, 2021 Added by Daly

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Overview

What it is

Serum with 29 ingredients that contains AHA, 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 36 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.

Serum with 29 ingredients that contains AHA, niacinamide and Vitamin E

Quick info

You should know

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Ingredients 29

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.

Niacinamide 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
NiacinamideNiacinamide Icon 6 Benefits

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

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.
Tranexamic Acid Astringent, Skin Conditioning
Good for Dark Spots Icon
Good for Dark SpotsGood for Dark Spots Icon

Tranexamic Acid is best used for treating hyperpigmentation, discoloration, and melasma. It can also help build a stronger skin barrier.

C13-15 Alkane Solvent

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

Unknown Full details ->
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride Masking, Skin Conditioning

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

Dicaprylyl Carbonate Emollient, Skin Conditioning

Dicaprylyl Carbonate comes from carbonic acid and caprylyl alcohol, a fatty alcohol. It is an emollient and gives skin a velvet feel. The sources of Dicaprylyl Carbonate may be synthetic or from animals.

Ethyl Macadamiate Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Ethyl Macadamiate isn't fungal acne safe.

Disliked Full details ->
Behenyl Alcohol Emollient, Emulsion Stabilising
Fatty Alcohol Icon
Fatty AlcoholFatty Alcohol Icon

A type of fatty alcohol. Fatty Alcohols are most often used as an emollient or to thicken a product. They are usually derived from natural fats and oils and therefore do not have the same drying or irritating effect as traditional alcohols.

Disliked Full details ->
Glyceryl Stearate Emollient, Emulsifying
1 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Glyceryl Stearate is a mix of glycerin and stearic acid.

1 Com. / 0 Irr.
Disliked Full details ->
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.
Silybum Marianum Seed Oil Skin Conditioning
Oil IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
OilOil Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Silybum Marianum Seed Oil is an oil and isn't fungal acne safe.

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

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

0-3 Com. / 0-3 Irr.
Lactobacillus/Coconut Fruit Juice Ferment Filtrate Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Lactobacillus/Coconut Fruit Juice Ferment Filtrate.

Unknown Full details ->
Lecithin Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning

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.

Disliked Full details ->
Bakuchiol Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Emollient
Antioxidant IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconHelps brighten skin Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon 3 Benefits

Bakuchiol is a plant-derived antioxidant (it's vegan!). It is often called the replacement for retinol although it is not part of the same family.

Xanthan Gum Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming

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.

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

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

Hydrogenated Lecithin Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning

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

Allantoin Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Soothing
0 / 0 Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconGood for Scar Healing Icon
3 Benefits

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

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Glycine Soja Oil Emollient, Skin Conditioning
3 / 0 Oil IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
OilOil Icon Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

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

3 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
Hexylene Glycol Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
0-2 / 0-1

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

0-2 Com. / 0-1 Irr.
Disliked Full details ->
Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract Skin Protecting
Helps reduce irritation Icon
Helps reduce irritationHelps reduce irritation Icon

Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract comes from the Boerhavia Diffusa tree, or more commonly known as punarnava, red spiderling, spreading hogweed, or tarvine.

Unknown Full details ->
Glycine Soja Sterols Emollient, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Glycine Soja Sterols is derived from the soybean plant. Sterols are an organic compound and technically an alcohol.

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
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 ->
Sodium Phytate

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

Malic Acid Buffering
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

Malic Acid is an AHA derived from unripe fruit. The word "Malic" comes from the word "Malum". In Latin, "Malum" means apple.

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 ->
Ethylhexylglycerin Skin Conditioning

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

Ingredient Ratings

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

12
5
9
3
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 29 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Loved

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

So why is it so popular? Water most often acts as a solvent - this means that it helps dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

You'll also recognize water as that liquid we all need to stay alive. If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
Smoothing
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
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
Astringent, Skin Conditioning
Loved

Tranexamic Acid is best used for treating hyperpigmentation, discoloration, and melasma. It can also help build a stronger skin barrier.

Once applied, Tranexamic Acid starts decreasing inflammation from UV exposure. Tranexamic Acid also prevents our skin cells from meeting the pigment production cells.

Fun fact: Tranexamic Acid is also a medication used to reduce heavy bleeding.

This acid is derived from lysine, an amino acid.

Learn more about Tranexamic Acid
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.

Masking, Skin Conditioning
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
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Liked

Dicaprylyl Carbonate comes from carbonic acid and caprylyl alcohol, a fatty alcohol. It is an emollient and gives skin a velvet feel. The sources of Dicaprylyl Carbonate may be synthetic or from animals.

As an emollient, Dicaprylyl Carbonate creates a film on the skin. This film traps moisture in, keeping your skin soft and hydrated.

Skin Conditioning
Disliked

Ethyl Macadamiate isn't fungal acne safe.

Emollient, Emulsion Stabilising
Disliked

A type of fatty alcohol. Fatty Alcohols are most often used as an emollient or to thicken a product. They are usually derived from natural fats and oils and therefore do not have the same drying or irritating effect as traditional alcohols.

Emollients help keep your skin soft and hydrated by creating a film that traps moisture in.

Behenyl Alcohol is usually derived from the fats in vegetable oils.

In 2000, Behenyl Alcohol was approved by the US as medicine to reduce the duration of cold sores.

Learn more about Behenyl Alcohol
Emollient, Emulsifying
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
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.

Skin Conditioning
Liked

Silybum Marianum Seed Oil is an oil and isn't fungal acne safe.

Antioxidant, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Liked

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more about Tocopherol

We don't have a description for Lactobacillus/Coconut Fruit Juice Ferment Filtrate.

Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning
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
Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Emollient
Loved

Bakuchiol is a plant-derived antioxidant (it's vegan!). It is often called the replacement for retinol although it is not part of the same family.

It has similar effects as retinol: skin smoothing, reducing discoloration, and preventing wrinkles. It does not cause as much irritation as traditional retinoids.

Bakuchiol works by breaking down free radicals and stimulating collagen production in skin.

Combining bakuchiol with retinol will not have adverse side effects. Studies show using them will just boost the benefits. Bakuchiol is also found to help stabilize retinol.

While bakuchiol does not make the skin more sun sensitive, we recommend wearing SPF on a daily basis.

Read more about traditional retinol

Learn more about Bakuchiol
Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
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
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
Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning
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
Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Soothing
Loved

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

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

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

Learn more about Allantoin
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
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
Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
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

Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract comes from the Boerhavia Diffusa tree, or more commonly known as punarnava, red spiderling, spreading hogweed, or tarvine.

This tree is native to India and commonly used in ayurvedic medicine.

Studies show this extract helps soothe and hydrate skin. This root contains many amino acids that help moisturize skin, such as arginine and glycine.

Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract also contains antioxidants, antioxidants help fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells.

Learn more about Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Mixed

Glycine Soja Sterols is derived from the soybean plant. Sterols are an organic compound and technically an alcohol.

Unlike solvent alcohols, glycine soja sterols have emollient properties and help hydrate the skin.

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

Sterols can be found in plants, animals, and fungi.

Learn more about Glycine Soja Sterols
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

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.

Buffering
Mixed

Malic Acid is an AHA derived from unripe fruit. The word "Malic" comes from the word "Malum". In Latin, "Malum" means apple.

Malic Acid has both AHA and BHA properties, but is considered an AHA because its AHA properties are stronger. Like other AHAs, it removes the top layer of old and dead skin to reveal the newer layer underneath. It also helps with improving fine lines, wrinkles, skin tone, skin texture, and acne blemishes.

Due to its exfoliating properties, you should wear SPF when using Malic Acid.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Malic Acid
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.

Skin Conditioning
Mixed

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

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

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