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Shani Darden Lactic Acid AHA Exfoliating Serum Ingredients Explained

Serum
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Published on March 15, 2023

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Overview

What it is

Serum with 39 ingredients that contains AHA, hyaluronic acid, PHA and Vitamin E

Cool Features

It is vegan, 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, silicones or sulfates

Fun facts

Shani Darden is from United States. This product is used in 5 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 39 ingredients that contains AHA, hyaluronic acid, PHA and Vitamin E

Quick info

You should know

Notable Ingredients

Benefits

Concerns

Ingredients 39

Rosa Damascena Flower Water Masking, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting

Rosa Damascena Flower Water comes from the Damask rose. It is a dilluted version of the Rose Essential oil.

Lactic Acid Buffering, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
AHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 6 Benefits 3 Concerns

Lactic Acid is an AHA that is derived from fermenting lactose, a carbohydrate from milk. It removes the top layer of old and dead skin cells and helps increase cell turnover.

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.
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.
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.

Heptyl Undecylenate Emollient
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Heptyl Undecylenate isn't fungal acne safe.

Disliked Full details ->
Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer Emulsion Stabilising

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

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.
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.
Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract Skin Conditioning

Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract comes from the bilberry plant. This plant is native to Eurasia.

Citrus Limon Fruit Extract Masking, Skin Conditioning
May cause irritation Icon
May cause irritationMay cause irritation Icon

Citrus Limon Fruit Extract comes from lemons. While lemon extract is exfoliating and antimicrobial, it can also cause skin sensitivity.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Skin Conditioning
Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation Icon
2 Benefits

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice comes from leaves of the aloe plant. Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice is best known for helping to soothe sunburns. It is also anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, antiseptic, and can help heal wounds.

Saccharum Officinarum Extract Moisturising, Skin Conditioning

This ingredient is also called sugarcane extract. It is a moisturizing humectant and has skin soothing properties.

Glyceryl Oleate Citrate Emulsifying
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Glyceryl Oleate Citrate isn't fungal acne safe.

Unknown Full details ->
Acer Saccharum Extract Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Acer Saccharum Extract.

Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Fruit Extract Masking, Skin Conditioning

Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Fruit Extract is more commonly known as the bitter orange. Native to Southeast Asia, this extract is commonly found in both cosmetics and foods.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Astringent
Antioxidant IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconHelps fight Acne Icon
AntioxidantAntioxidant Icon 5 Benefits

Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract is derived from the leaves of the tea plant. Black tea, green tea, and oolong tea are all harvested from this plant.

Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract Masking, Skin Conditioning
Helps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation Icon
2 Benefits

Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract comes from the Chamomile flower.

Tartaric 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

Tartaric Acid is an AHA. It can help to improve skin texture, reduce large pores, heal scars, and brighten skin. It can cause irritation and worsen rosacea.

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.

Sodium Hyaluronate Humectant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0 Hyaluronic Acid Icon
Hyaluronic AcidHyaluronic Acid Icon

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

0 Com. / 0 Irr.
Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate Humectant
Hyaluronic Acid Icon
Hyaluronic AcidHyaluronic Acid Icon

Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate is a type of Hyaluronic Acid.

Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate Skin Conditioning

This ingredient is created by putting sodium hyaluronate through hydrolysis.

Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Hyaluronic Acid Icon
Hyaluronic AcidHyaluronic Acid Icon

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

Sodium Benzoate Masking, Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

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.

Disliked Full details ->
Potassium Sorbate Preservative
Preservative Icon
PreservativePreservative Icon

Potassium Sorbate is a preservative used to prevent yeast and mold in products. It is commonly found in both cosmetic and food products.

Disliked Full details ->
Pentylene Glycol Skin Conditioning, Solvent

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.

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 ->
Polysorbate 60 Emulsifying
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

Polysorbate 60 is used to help stabilize products. It is a surfactant and emulsifier. These properties help keep ingredients together in a product. Surfactants help reduce surface tension between ingredients with different states, such as liquids and solids. Emulsifiers help prevent oils and waters from separating.

Very Disliked Full details ->
Sorbitan Isostearate Emulsifying
1-2 / 0 Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
Not safe for Fungal AcneNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon

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

1-2 Com. / 0 Irr.
Very Disliked Full details ->
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 ->
Glycolic Acid Buffering
AHA IconGood for Oily Skin IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
AHAAHA Icon 7 Benefits 2 Concerns

Glycolic Acid is arguably the most famous AHA with a ton of research to back up its benefits.

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 ->
Sodium Hydroxide Buffering

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.

Caprylyl Glycol Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning

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

Gluconolactone Skin Conditioning
PHA IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging Icon
PHAPHA Icon 2 Benefits

Gluconolactone is a PHA. PHAs are a great gentle alternative to traditional AHAs.

Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate

Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate is a chelating agent. Chelating agents help prevent metal ions from binding to other ingredients. This helps prevent unwanted effects and reactions from a product. These metal ions may come from water and are found in miniscule amounts.

Unknown 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.

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 ->

Ingredient Ratings

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

17
8
12
2
liked
mixed
disliked
not rated

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 39 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
Masking, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
Liked

Rosa Damascena Flower Water comes from the Damask rose. It is a dilluted version of the Rose Essential oil.

The Damask Roses' petals have been found to help sooth skin. The petals also contain antioxidant compounds.

Antioxidants help fight free-radical molecules. Free-radical molecules are capable of damaging our cells and other genetic material. Antioxidants help stabilize free-radicals by donating extra electrons. This may help reduce the signs of aging.

The fragrance of Rosa Damascena Flower Water may be used for masking. Masking ingredients are used to obscure or block properties of other ingredients. They are commonly used to block the scent of a product.

Learn more about Rosa Damascena Flower Water
Buffering, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Loved

Lactic Acid is an AHA that is derived from fermenting lactose, a carbohydrate from milk. It removes the top layer of old and dead skin cells and helps increase cell turnover.

Benefits of Lactic Acid are that it can help to reduce large pores and reduce the effects of aging. Some potential downsides are that it can be bad for dry skin, cause irritation, worsen eczema, and worsen rosacea.

Not only does it help exfoliate the skin, it helps strengthen the skin's barrier. When applied, lactic acid helps the skin create ceramides.

Lactic acid is an over-the-counter chemical exfoliant that comes from the fermentation of lactose โ€” a carbohydrate found in milk.

Legend has it that Cleopatra used to bathe in sour milk to help reduce wrinkles.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Lactic Acid
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
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.

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
Disliked

Heptyl Undecylenate isn't fungal acne safe.

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.

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
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 skinโ€™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
Skin Conditioning
Liked

Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract comes from the bilberry plant. This plant is native to Eurasia.

Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract contains antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins help fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells. Fighting off these molecules can help reduce signs of aging.

Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract also helps reduce irritation.

Learn more about Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract
Masking, Skin Conditioning
Very Disliked

Citrus Limon Fruit Extract comes from lemons. While lemon extract is exfoliating and antimicrobial, it can also cause skin sensitivity.

Lemons contains antioxidants, which may help with anti-aging. They are also rich in citric acid, an AHA.

And of course, lemons are rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin C helps with skin-brightening and increasing collagen production.

The acidity of lemons may work as an astringent for acne.

However, lemons can also cause skin sensitivity due to its limonene content. It can also increase photosensitivity, or sensitivity to the sun.

This ingredient is also used to add a lemon scent to products.

Learn more about Citrus Limon Fruit Extract
Skin Conditioning
Liked

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice comes from leaves of the aloe plant. Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice is best known for helping to soothe sunburns. It is also anti-inflammatory, moisturizing, antiseptic, and can help heal wounds.

Aloe is packed with good stuff including Vitamins A, C, and E. These vitamins are antioxidants, which help fight free-radicals and the damage they may cause. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells, such as pollution.

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice also contains sugars. These sugars come in the form of monosaccharides and polysaccharides, folic acid, and choline. These sugars are able to help bind moisture to skin.

It also contains minerals such as calcium, 12 anthraquinones, fatty acids, amino acids, and Vitamin B12.

Learn more about Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
Moisturising, Skin Conditioning
Liked

This ingredient is also called sugarcane extract. It is a moisturizing humectant and has skin soothing properties.

Similar to hyaluronic acid, sugarcane can attract moisture to your skin.

Glycolic acid is a derivative of sugarcane. While glycolic acid is an AHA with exfoliating properties, sugarcane is not an AHA.

A study from 2021 found the compounds in sugarcane extract to have antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory activity. The study also suggests these compounds can inhibit skin ageing enzymes and promote collagen synthesis.

Learn more about Saccharum Officinarum Extract

Glyceryl Oleate Citrate isn't fungal acne safe.

Skin Conditioning
Liked

We don't have a description for Acer Saccharum Extract.

Masking, Skin Conditioning
Very Disliked

Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Fruit Extract is more commonly known as the bitter orange. Native to Southeast Asia, this extract is commonly found in both cosmetics and foods.

The bitter orange possesses antibacterial and antioxidant properties.

It can also be mildly exfoliating due to the citric acid, an AHA.

Citrus fruits are rich in flavonoids, alkaloids, and vitamin C.

Learn more about Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Fruit Extract
Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Astringent
Loved

Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract is derived from the leaves of the tea plant. Black tea, green tea, and oolong tea are all harvested from this plant.

This ingredient has many skin benefits:

This ingredient contains polyphenols, a strong antioxidant. Antioxidants help fight off molecules that damage skin cells.

On top of that, the antioxidants in green tea neutralize free-radicals from the sun. This gives the skin some extra UV protection, but should not replace sunscreen.

Many components of tea have anti-inflammatory properties.

Polyphenols and L-theanine help soothe the skin and reduce irritation. The caffeine in Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract helps calm inflamed blood vessels.

Other compounds found in tea include: Vitamin Bs, linoleic acid, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Research has shown both drinking Camellia Sinensis Leaf Tea and applying it to the skin can help boost skin elasticity and hydration. Studies also show using tea extract may reduce sebum, or oil, production.

Learn more about Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract
Masking, Skin Conditioning
Liked

Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract comes from the Chamomile flower.

Chamomile is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. Several compounds found in chamomile help with soothing, such as bisbolol.

Antioxidant components in chamomile make it an effective ingredient to help slow the signs of aging. Antioxidants help fight free-radical molecules, or molecules that may damage your skin.

Essential oils from chamomile have been found to improve wound healing due to its antimicrobial properties.

Ancient Greeks and Egyptians used Chamomile to treat skin redness and dryness. Chamomile has also been used to help treat stomach issues.

Learn more about Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract
Buffering, Masking
Mixed

Tartaric Acid is an AHA. It can help to improve skin texture, reduce large pores, heal scars, and brighten skin. It can cause irritation and worsen rosacea.

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
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
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

Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate is a type of Hyaluronic Acid.

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

Skin Conditioning
Mixed

This ingredient is created by putting sodium hyaluronate through hydrolysis.

You might know this as 'mini' or 'ultra low-molecular weight' hyaluronic acid. The small molecule size means it is able to travel deeper in the skin.

According to studies, low molecular-weight hyaluronic acid can:

One study from 2011 found ultra-low weight HA to show pro-inflammatory properties. Another study from 2022 found it to downregulate UV-B induced inflammation.

Hydrolysis is a process of changing a molecule using water or enzymes.

This ingredient is water-soluble.

Learn more about Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
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
Masking, Preservative
Disliked

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
Preservative
Disliked

Potassium Sorbate is a preservative used to prevent yeast and mold in products. It is commonly found in both cosmetic and food products.

This ingredient comes from potassium salt derived from sorbic acid. Sorbic acid is a natural antibiotic and effective against fungus.

Both potassium sorbate and sorbic acid can be found in baked goods, cheeses, dried meats, dried fruit, ice cream, pickles, wine, yogurt, and more.

You'll often find this ingredient used with other preservatives.

Learn more about Potassium Sorbate
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
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
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

Polysorbate 60 is used to help stabilize products. It is a surfactant and emulsifier. These properties help keep ingredients together in a product. Surfactants help reduce surface tension between ingredients with different states, such as liquids and solids. Emulsifiers help prevent oils and waters from separating.

Polysorbate 60 is sorbitol-based and created from the ethoxylation of sorbitan. Ethoxylation is a chemical reaction used to add ethylene oxide. Sorbitan is a the dehydrated version of sorbitol, a sugar found in fruits.

In this case, the 60 comes from reacting 60 units of ethylene oxide with sorbitan.

Polysorbates are commonly used in medicine and foods.

Learn more about Polysorbate 60
Emulsifying
Very Disliked

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
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
Buffering
Loved

Glycolic Acid is arguably the most famous AHA with a ton of research to back up its benefits.

Its main role is to remove the top layer of dead skin cells, allowing newer skin cells to emerge.

Specifically, AHAs work by breaking down the structural "glue" holding the old skin cells in place. Getting rid of the old skin cells allows skin to regenerate newer skin cells in its place. A build up of dead skin cells can lead to tired and dull looking skin.

Due to this, glycolic acid helps with:

Fun fact: Glycolic acid increases skin hydration by playing a role in creating molecules that create hyaluronic acid naturally.

When starting glycolic Acid, it is normal to feel slight stinging.

The pH value and concentration of glycolic acid play a role in the effectiveness of the product. Concentrations between 5-20% glycolic acid have been shown to be effective in clinical studies.

Recent studies have shown Glycolic Acid may protect the skin against UV damage. However, you should always wear SPF, especially when using exfoliants.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Glycolic Acid
Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
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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.

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Buffering
Mixed

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.

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Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
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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.

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Skin Conditioning
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Gluconolactone is a PHA. PHAs are a great gentle alternative to traditional AHAs.

When applied, Gluconolactone has the same affect on skin as AHAs such as lactic acid. It helps dissolve the dead skin cells in the top layer of your skin. This improves texture and brightens the skin.

PHAs are more gentle than AHAs due to their larger structure. They do not penetrate as deeply as AHAs and take a longer time to dissolve dead cells. Studies show PHAs do not cause as much irritation.

Gluconolactone has some interesting properties:

In a 2004 study, Gluconolactone was found to prevent UV damage in mouse skin cells. Gluconolactone has not been found to increase sun sensivity. However, we still recommend wearing SPF daily.

This ingredient is is an created by reacting gluconic acid with an alcohol.

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Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate is a chelating agent. Chelating agents help prevent metal ions from binding to other ingredients. This helps prevent unwanted effects and reactions from a product. These metal ions may come from water and are found in miniscule amounts.

Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate can also help other preservatives be more effective.

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.

Preservative
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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.

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