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SkinBetter Science Alto Advanced Defense and Repair Serum Ingredients Explained

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Published on June 08, 2022 Submitted by lizery

Overview

What it is

Serum with 71 ingredients that contains ceramides, niacinamide, peptides, Vitamin C and Vitamin E

Cool Features

It is 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, oils, parabens, silicones or sulfates

Fun facts

SkinBetter Science is from United States. This product is used in 44 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.

Ingredient List (71)

Water, Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Ethylhexyl Olivate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Chlorogenic Acids, Niacinamide, Lauryl Lactate, Dimethyl Isosorbide, Pyrroloquinoline Quinone Allyl Ester, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Ergothioneine, Benzylidene Dimethoxydimethylindanone, Arabidopsis Thaliana Extract, Carnosine, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract, Theobroma Cacao Seed Extract , Curcuma Longa Root Extract, Olea Europaea Fruit Extract, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Trifluoroacetyl Tripeptide-2, Buddleja Officinalis Flower Extract, Coffea Arabica Leaf Cell Extract, Crocus Sativus Leaf Cell Culture Extract, Superoxide Dismutase, Ubiquinone, Plankton Extract, Micrococcus Lysate, Arginine, Zingiber Officinale Root Extract, Ceramide NP, Ceramide AP, Ceramide EOP, Linoleic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Sea Whip Extract, Bisabolol, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cholesterol, Phytosphingosine, Jojoba Esters, Sodium PCA, Pentylene Glycol, Methyl Gluceth-20, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus Seed Wax, Acacia Decurrens Flower Wax, Lecithin, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Dicetyl Phosphate, Propanediol Dicaprylate/Caprate, Polyglycerin-3, Ceteth-20 Phosphate, Diisostearyl Malate, Xanthan Gum, Steareth-2, Acacia Senegal Gum, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Carbomer, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Dextran, Ricinoleth-40, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Sodium Phytate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol

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 C
Vitamin E (2)
Niacinamide
Ceramides (3)
Peptides

Benefits

Hydrating (7)
Good For Oily Skin
Redness Reducing (7)
Reduces Irritation (5)
Skin Texture
Reduces Large Pores (2)
Anti-Aging (7)
Dark Spots (3)
Scar Healing
Acne Fighting (2)
Brightening (4)

Concerns

May Worsen Oily Skin (2)
Acne Trigger (2)
Irritating

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
Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
1 / 0
3
Solvent
4
Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
5
Emollient, Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising
2 / 1
Fatty Alcohol IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconBad for Acne Prone Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
6
Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
Antioxidant Icon
7
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
8
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
9
Solvent
10
Antioxidant
Antioxidant Icon
11
Skin Conditioning
12
Bleaching, Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Smoothing, Soothing
Good for Dark Spots Icon
13
Antioxidant, Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Vitamin C IconAntioxidant IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
14
Antioxidant
Antioxidant Icon
15
Skin Protecting
16
Antioxidant
Antioxidant Icon
17
Skin Conditioning
18
Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Astringent, Emollient, Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Tonic
Antioxidant IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconHelps fight Acne Icon
19
Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Skin Protecting, UV Absorber
Antioxidant Icon
20
Antioxidant
Antioxidant Icon
21
Masking, Perfuming
Fragrance Icon
22
Bleaching, Skin Conditioning
23
24
Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
Peptide Icon
25
UV Filter
26
Antioxidant
Antioxidant Icon
27
Skin Protecting
28
Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Antioxidant Icon
29
Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Antioxidant IconHelps with Anti-Aging Icon
30
Skin Conditioning
31
Skin Conditioning
32
Masking, Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
33
Masking, Skin Conditioning, Tonic
34
Skin Conditioning
Ceramide IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconHelps with Anti-Aging Icon
35
Skin Conditioning
Ceramide IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconHelps with Anti-Aging Icon
36
Skin Conditioning
Ceramide IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconHelps with Anti-Aging Icon
37
Cleansing, Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconBad for Acne Prone Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
38
Cleansing, Emollient, Perfuming, Skin Conditioning
Fragrance IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
39
Skin Conditioning
40
Masking, Skin Conditioning, Soothing
Helps reduce irritation Icon
41
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
42
Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0
Vitamin E IconAntioxidant IconHelps brighten skin Icon
43
Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning, Stabilising
0 / 0
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness Icon
44
Skin Conditioning
45
Emollient, Moisturising, Skin Conditioning, Soothing
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
46
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0
47
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
48
Humectant, Moisturising
49
Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
0 / 0
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
50
Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
51
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
52
Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning
53
Emulsifying
54
Emulsifying
55
Emollient
56
Humectant
57
Cleansing
58
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
59
Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming, Skin Conditioning
60
Emulsifying
2 / 2
61
Masking
62
Antioxidant
Antioxidant Icon
63
Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
1 / 0
64
Emulsion Stabilising
65
66
Cleansing, Emulsifying
67
Buffering
68
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
69
70
Skin Conditioning
71
Preservative
Preservative Icon

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 71 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: Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: 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.

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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
4
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Ethylhexyl Olivate isn't fungal acne safe.

5
What it does: Emollient, Emulsifying, Emulsion Stabilising
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Cetearyl alcohol is a mixture of two fatty alcohols: cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol. It is mainly used as an emulsifier. Emulsifiers help prevent the separation of oils and products. Due to its composition, it can also be used to thicken a product or help create foam.

Cetearyl alcohol is an emollient. Emollients help soothe and hydrate the skin by trapping moisture.

Studies show Cetearyl alcohol is non-toxic and non-irritating. The FDA allows products labeled "alcohol-free" to have fatty alcohols.

This ingredient is usually derived from plant oils such as palm, vegetable, or coconut oils. There is debate on whether this ingredient will cause acne.

Due to the fatty acid base, this ingredient may not be Malassezia folliculitis safe.

Learn more about Cetearyl Alcohol
6
What it does: Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting

Chlorogenic acid refers to a group of related acids including caffeic acid, ferulic acid and p-coumaric acid.

Our cells use chlorogenic acids to help build cell walls.

As an antioxidant, it protects our skin against free-radical damage. This may help reduce the signs of aging.

Learn more about Chlorogenic Acids
7
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
8
What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Lauryl Lactate.

9
What it does: Solvent
Community Rating: Mixed

Dimethyl Isosorbide is a solvent and helps deliver actives into your skin. It is created from sorbitol.

As a solvent, dimethyl isosorbide helps dissolve other ingredients. This helps ensure even distribution of an ingredient. It may also be used to decrease the thickness of a product.

Studies show dimethyl isosorbide is able to penetrate skin to deliver other ingredients into the skin, making them more effective.

Learn more about Dimethyl Isosorbide
10
What it does: Antioxidant

Pyrroloquinoline Quinone Allyl Ester is an antioxidant.

11
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: 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
12
What it does: Bleaching, Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Smoothing, Soothing
Community Rating: Liked

Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract is an extract of the roots of Licorice. It has been found to have several benefits such as skin hydrating, conditioning, and soothing.

One component, glabridin, has extra potent antioxidant and soothing properties. It has also been found to block pigmentation from UVB rays in guinea pigs.

Licorice Root also contains a flavonoid. Flavonoids are a natural substance from in plants. Flavonoids also have antioxidant properties.

Another component, glycyrrhizin, has been found to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits. This may make licorice root extract effective at treating acne. However, more research is needed to support this.

Liquiritin is one of the flavone compounds found in licorice. It has been found to help lighten skin by preventing tyrosinase from reacting with tyrosine. When the two react, protein is converted to melanin. Melanin is the substance in your body that gives your features pigmentation.

Learn more about Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract
13
What it does: Antioxidant, Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate is a version of ascorbic acid, or pure Vitamin C.

Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate has many benefits including reducing wrinkles, skin soothing, dark spot fading, and fighting against free radicals.

Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate interferes with the process of skin darkening, helping to reduce hyperpigmentation. It also encourages the skin to produce more collagen.

As an antioxidant, it helps fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells.

One study found Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate to degrade in sunlight, but is stabilized when conbined with acetyl zingerone.

Learn more about Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate
14
What it does: Antioxidant
Community Rating: Loved

Ergothioneine is an antioxidant.

15
What it does: Skin Protecting

We don't have a description for Benzylidene Dimethoxydimethylindanone.

16
What it does: Antioxidant

Arabidopsis Thaliana Extract is an antioxidant.

17
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

We don't have a description for Carnosine.

18
What it does: Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Astringent, Emollient, Humectant, Masking, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Tonic
Community Rating: 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.

Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract has many benefits. It contains polyphenols, a strong antioxidant. Antioxidants help fight off free-radical molecules that damage skin cells. 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. L-theanine is an amino acid that makes up most of the amino acids found in tea leaves. The caffeine in Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract helps calm inflamed blood vessels.

Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract also contains Vitamin Bs, linoleic acid, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc.

Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract also has antimicrobial properties.

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
19
What it does: Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, Skin Protecting, UV Absorber
Community Rating: Loved

Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract comes from the grape vine. Grape seeds are a byproduct of creating grape juice or wine.

The components of grape seeds have many skin benefits. Research has found it to be antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. It also contains many potent antioxidants such as Vitamin E , Vitamin C, proanthocyanidins, polyphenols, flavonoids, and anthocyanins. Proanthocyanidin has been shown to help even out skin tone.

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. Grape seed extract may help reduce the signs of aging.

The antimicrobial properties of grape seed may help treat acne. However, more research is needed to support this claim.

Grape seed has also been found to help absorb UV rays. Grape seed extract should not replace your sunscreen.

Learn more about Vitis Vinifera Seed Extract
20
What it does: Antioxidant
Community Rating: Loved

Theobroma Cacao Seed Extract comes from the Theobroma cacoa, or Cacao tree. Cacao trees are native to tropical landscapes.

Cacao seed butter extract antioxidants known as polyphenols. Antioxidants help fight free-radical molecules by stabilizing them. Unstable free-radicals may cause damage to your skin cells. Antioxidants may help with anti-aging.

21
What it does: Masking, Perfuming
Community Rating: Liked

Curcuma Longa Root Extract is from the spice, turmeric. Besides being a healthy and delicious spice, turmeric also has plenty of skincare benefits. It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-microbial properties.

Turmeric contains curcumin, an antioxidant. Antioxidants help neutralize unstable free-radical molecules. Free-radical molecules may damage your skin's cells and DNA. Curcumin may help with anti-aging.

Curcumin also has anti-inflammatory properties. It can help soothe skin and reduce irritation. On top of that, curcumin has been shown to help prevent hyperpigmentation from sun damage.

The anti-microbial property of turmeric can make it effective in treating acne. It has also been shown to help regulate the production of sebum.

Learn more about Curcuma Longa Root Extract
22
What it does: Bleaching, Skin Conditioning

Olea Europaea Fruit Extract is extract from the olive fruit.

The squalene in olives make it a great emollient. Emollients help soothe and soften your skin by trapping moisture in. This makes olive oil a great skin moisturizer.

23
What it does:
Community Rating: Liked

This extract comes from the Cabbage Palm, AKA the Açaí berry! It has skin soothing, antioxidant, and anti-aging properties.

Acai berries are rich in antioxidants, including ferulic acid (The famous vitamin C stabilizer). Antioxidants protect your skin against damaging free-radical molecules.

You can also find carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, minerals, vitamin A, and Vitamin C in these berries.

Learn more about Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract
24
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
Community Rating: Liked

Trifluoroacetyl Tripeptide-2 is a peptide.

25

We don't have a description for Buddleja Officinalis Flower Extract.

26
What it does: Antioxidant

Coffea Arabica Leaf Cell Extract is an antioxidant.

27
What it does: Skin Protecting

We don't have a description for Crocus Sativus Leaf Cell Culture Extract.

28
What it does: Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Superoxide Dismutase is found in all living cells. This ingredient is AKA as 'SOD'.

SOD is a strong antioxidant. It protects living cells against oxidative damage by breaking down radical molecules into regular oxygen and hydrogen peroxide.

Antioxidants help fight free-radical molecules that may damage your skin's DNA. This may help with the signs of aging. Due to its antioxidant property, it is used to help treat chronic inflammation.

In cosmetics, SOD is usually obtained from marine phytoplankton, bovine liver, horseradish, cantaloupe, and certain bacteria.

The three major families of SOD include: Copper/Zinc, Iron/Manganese, and Nickel.

When eating SOD-rich foods, our bodies break it down into amino acids before absorption. Foods that contain SOD include: melons, citrus, spinach, broccoli, kale, almonds, sunflower seeds, and blue-green algae.

Learn more about Superoxide Dismutase
29
What it does: Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10) is a molecule already found in our bodies. It is a potent antioxidant and skin-soothing ingredient.

Aging and environmental exposure diminishes our skin's natural ubiquinone levels. This is much like our natural collagen and elastin.

The good news is: studies show applying this ingredient topically replenishes ubiquinone levels in our skin. This also comes with a ton of skin benefits. These benefits include:

Ubiquinone is considered a large molecule and cannot be absorbed into the lower layers of skin. This is why it is believed to be such an effective antioxidant: it protects our skin in the upper layers and prevents damage in the deeper layers.

When used in sunscreen, ubiquinone is shown to increase ingredient stability, increase SPF factor, and add to infrared protection.

Fun fact: ubiquinone is fat-soluble.

Learn more about Ubiquinone
30
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

We don't have a description for Plankton Extract.

31
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

We don't have a description for Micrococcus Lysate.

32
What it does: Masking, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: 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
33
What it does: Masking, Skin Conditioning, Tonic
Community Rating: Liked

Zingiber Officinale is more commonly known as ginger.

Ginger root has antioxidant, anti-inflammation, and antimicrobial properties.

The antioxidant properties help protect your body from free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells. As a result, ginger may help slow down signs of aging such as hyperpigmentation and wrinkles.

Studies show ginger inhibits the enzyme that breaks down collagen. It also helps with:

Ginger has no negative side-effects and is safe to use for all skin types. (Be sure to patch test just in case you have a ginger allergy!)

Ginger originates from Southeast Asia but has spread throughout the world. It is now a common spice used in many cultures.

Learn more about Zingiber Officinale Root Extract
34
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Ceramide NP is a type of ceramide.

Ceramides are intercellular lipids naturally found in our skin that bonds dead skin cells together to create a barrier. They are known for their ability to hold water and thus are a great ingredient for dry skin.

Ceramides are an important building block for our skin barrier. A stronger barrier helps the skin look more firm and hydrated. 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 AP Ceramide EOP

Learn more about Ceramide NP
35
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
36
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Ceramide EOP is a type of Ceramide. EOP stands for a linked Ester fatty acid, a linked Omega hydroxy fatty acid, and the Phytosphingosine base.

Ceramides are intercellular lipids naturally found in our skin that bonds dead skin cells together to create a barrier. They are known for their ability to hold water and thus are a great ingredient for dry skin.

Ceramides are an important building block for our skin barrier. A stronger barrier helps the skin look more firm and hydrated. 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 AP Ceramide NP

Learn more about Ceramide EOP
37
What it does: Cleansing, Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

Linoleic Acid is Vitamin F and a fatty acid. It is an emollient and helps thicken texture. Linoleic acid helps with hydrating skin and nourishing the skin's barrier. The top layer of skin, or epidermis, contains high amounts of linoleic acid naturally.

Your body uses linoleic acid to build ceramides and prostaglandins. Ceramides keep your skin's barrier plump and firm. Prosaglandins help control inflammation and healing.

This makes linoleic acid effectives for reducing inflammation, hydrating skin, and firming skin. A side effect may include extra protection against UV damage and free radicals. This is due to linoleic acid strengthening the skin barrier.

Low levels of linoleic acid is also associated with acne-prone skin. By keeping sebum soft, it prevents pores from clogging.

Linoleic acid can is in common foods such as nuts, sunflower oil, corn oil, and soybean oil.

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

CHEM: 9,12-Octadecadienoic acid (9Z, 12Z)-

Learn more about Linoleic Acid
38
What it does: Cleansing, Emollient, Perfuming, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

Linolenic Acid is a fatty acid. Our bodies need to consume this to use it. Linolenic Acid helps condition and restore skin. It is also used to treat inflammation and hyperpigmentation.

Linolenic Acid reduces hyperpigmentation by disrupting melanin production.

Linolenic Acid is in many oils, include argan, rosehip, and hemp seed.

Read about Linoleic Acid

Learn more about Linolenic Acid
39
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

We don't have a description for Sea Whip Extract.

40
What it does: Masking, Skin Conditioning, Soothing
Community Rating: Loved

Bisabolol is pimarily used to add fragrance to a product. However, it is also famous for helping soothe skin.

Bisabolol comes from German chamomile essential oil. Synthetic Bisabolol has been shown to be less effective.

Bisabolol helps soothe skin. It does this by blocking the inflammatory signals, helping to reduce your body's reaction to irritation.

Bisabolol also interferes with the process of hyperpigmentation. This can help with reducing dark spots and uneven tone.

Bisabolol is an antioxidant. Antioxidants help fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells. By fighting these free-radicals, Bisabolol may slow down signs of aging.

Studies have shown Bisabolol to have antimicrobial properties and may be a fungicide. These properties help preserve a product's shelf life.

Bisabolol also helps the absorption of other ingredients.

Learn more about Bisabolol
41
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
42
What it does: Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Tocopheryl Acetate is AKA Vitamin E. It is an antioxidant and protects your skin from free radicals. Free radicals damage the skin by breaking down collagen.

One study found using Tocopheryl Acetate with Vitamin C decreased the number of sunburned cells.

Tocopheryl Acetate is commonly found in both skincare and dietary supplements.

Learn more about Tocopheryl Acetate
43
What it does: Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning, Stabilising
Community Rating: Liked

Cholesterol is a class of organic molecules called lipids. It helps hydrate your skin and is essential to having a healthy skin barrier.

Our skin naturally contains cholesterol in the outermost layer. Besides cholesterol, it also contains ceramides and fatty acids. Cholesterol makes up about 1/4 of your skin's outer layer and barrier. Your skin barrier is responsible for keeping allergens and microbes out. Having a healthy skin barrier is also responsible for keeping your skin firm and plump.

Our bodies use cholestrol to create vitamin D, steroid hormones, and more.

Learn more about Cholesterol
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What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Phytosphingosine is a phospholipid naturally found in our skin. It helps moisturize, soothe, and protect skin.

Phytosphingosine is already present in our skin. On our skin, it is a building block for ceramides.

Phytosphingosine tells our skin to increase its natural moisturizing factor (NMF). The NMF is responsible for hydration, a strong barrier, and plasticity. Our NMF decreases with age. Increasing NMF leads to more healthy and hydrated skin.

Studies show products formulated with NMF ingredients help strengthen our skin's barrier. Having a healthy skin barrier reduces irritation and increases hydration. Our skin barrier is responsible for having plump and firm skin. It also helps protect our skin against infection, allergies, and inflammation.

Phytosphingosine is also abundant in plants and fungi.

More ingredients that help boost collagen in skin:

Learn more about Phytosphingosine
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What it does: Emollient, Moisturising, Skin Conditioning, Soothing
Community Rating: Disliked

Jojoba Esters is a wax created from Jojoba oil. It is an emollient and film-forming ingredient. In bead form, it is an exfoliator.

This ingredient has high oxidative stability, meaning it doesn't break down when exposed to oxygen.

Its similarity to our skin's natural oils makes it a great emollient. Emollients help soften and soothe our skin by creating a barrier on top. This barrier helps trap moisture in, keeping skin hydrated.

It is created using either the hydrogenation or transesterification processes on jojoba oil.

Learn more about Jojoba Esters
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What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Sodium PCA is the sodium salt of pyroglutamic acid and is naturally occurring on human skin.

The PCA stands for pyrrolidone carboxylic acid, a natural amino acid derivative.

Sodium PCA is a has conditioning, anti-inflammatory, and humectant properties. Humectants help hydrate your skin by drawing moisture from the air. This helps keep your skin moisturized.

Learn more about Sodium PCA
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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
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What it does: Humectant, Moisturising
Community Rating: Liked

Methyl Gluceth-20 is a humectant. Humectants help draw moisture from the air to your skin.

It is created by combining polyethylene glycol with glucose.

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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
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What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Disliked

Helianthus Annuus Seed Wax is created from the common sunflower.

Sunflower seed wax is made up of long chain non-glyceride esters, a small amount of fatty alcohols, and fatty acids.

This ingredient is often used to enhance the texture of products. The fatty acid properties also help hydrate the skin.

Learn more about Helianthus Annuus Seed Wax
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What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning

Acacia Decurrens Flower Wax isn't fungal acne safe.

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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
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What it does: Emulsifying
Community Rating: Liked

Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate is the lauric acid sodium salt of lactyl lactate.

Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate is an emulsifier and surfactant.

Emulsifiers help stabilize a product. They do this by preventing ingredients from separating, such as oils and water which do not mix naturally. Surfactants reduce surface tension, making it easier to rinse pollutants off skin.

Due to its relation to lauric acid, it may provide antimicrobial benefits.

Learn more about Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate
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What it does: Emulsifying

We don't have a description for Dicetyl Phosphate.

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What it does: Emollient

We don't have a description for Propanediol Dicaprylate/Caprate.

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What it does: Humectant
Community Rating: Liked

Polyglycerin-3 is a 3-unit glycerin polymer.

Like glycerin, this ingredient is a humectant. Humectants help hydrate your skin by drawing water to it.

Having moisturized skin helps improve the skin barrier. Your skin barrier helps protect against irritants and bacteria.

Learn more about Polyglycerin-3
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What it does: Cleansing

We don't have a description for Ceteth-20 Phosphate.

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

Diisostearyl Malate is an emollient and most often used in lip products. It comes from isostearyl alcohol, a fatty acid, and malic acid, an AHA.

As an emollient, Diisostearyl Malate helps create a thin film on your skin to trap moisture in. This helps keep your skin soft and smooth.

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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
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What it does: Emulsifying
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Steareth-2 is a waxy compound used to emulsify ingredients. It is created from polyethylene glycol and stearyl alcohol.

The 2 stands for the number of ethylene oxide units used to create this ingredient.

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What it does: Masking
Community Rating: Disliked

We don't have a description for Acacia Senegal Gum.

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What it does: Antioxidant
Community Rating: Liked

Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate (long name, huh?) is a synthetic antioxidant.

It is used to help stabilize other antioxidants or prevent the color from changing in a product.

As an antioxidant, it helps fight free-radical molecules. Free-radical molecules are capable of damaging our cells and other genetic material. Thus, antioxidants may reduce the signs of aging.

This ingredient is oil-soluble.

Learn more about Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate
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What it does: Emulsion Stabilising, Gel Forming
Community Rating: Disliked

Carbomer is a polymer of acrylic acid. Its main role is to create gel consistency within products.

Carbomer is commonly found in many types of cosmetics products. It is found to be safe in concentrations up to 15%. However, a high amount of carbomer can cause pilling or balling up of products. Most products contain 1% of less of carbomer.

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What it does: Emulsion Stabilising
Community Rating: Disliked

Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer is a synthetic polymer. It is used to thicken and improve the texture of products.

Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer is also an emulsifier. Due to its properties, it can prevent water and oil ingredients from separating.

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What it does:

We don't have a description for Dextran.

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What it does: Cleansing, Emulsifying

We don't have a description for Ricinoleth-40.

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What it does: Buffering
Community Rating: 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.

Learn more about Sodium Hydroxide
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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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When to use

We've created a guide with info on when you should use SkinBetter Science Alto Advanced Defense and Repair Serum. We've also included some recommended products to use it with, as well as some routine inspiration!

Read our guide on when to use Alto Advanced Defense and Repair Serum ->
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