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Sunday Riley 5 Stars Retinoid + Niacinamide Eye Serum Ingredients Explained

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Published on September 24, 2021 Submitted by rm31

Overview

What it is

Eye moisturizer with 39 ingredients that contains ceramides, niacinamide, retinoid 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, dark spots and better texture

Free From

It doesn't contain any common allergens, parabens or sulfates

Fun facts

Sunday Riley is from United States. This product is used in 37 routines created by our community.

We independently verify ingredients and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Does this product need an update? Let us know.

You should know

Here's our breakdown of the notable ingredients, benefits, and concerns we determined from the ingredients in this product. Click any item to learn more.

Notable Ingredients

Retinoid (2)
Vitamin E
Niacinamide
Ceramides

Benefits

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

Concerns

Drying (3)
May Worsen Oily Skin
Irritating (4)
Rosacea
Eczema (2)

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
Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
1 / 0
Silicon Icon
3
Skin Conditioning
Silicon Icon
4
Humectant
5
Solvent
6
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
7
Emulsion Stabilising
Silicon Icon
8
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
1 / 2
9
Emollient, Masking
10
Masking, Skin Conditioning
11
Skin Conditioning
Silicon Icon
12
Masking, Perfuming, Skin Conditioning
0-2 / 0
Fragrance IconOil IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
13
Skin Conditioning
Retinoid IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconGood for Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne Icon
14
Skin Conditioning
Retinoid IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconGood for Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne IconMay worsen Eczema IconHelps brighten skin Icon
15
Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Antioxidant Icon
16
Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Antioxidant IconHelps reduce irritation Icon
17
Skin Conditioning, Stabilising
18
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
19
Skin Conditioning
20
Masking, Skin Conditioning
21
Skin Conditioning
22
Skin Conditioning
Ceramide IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconHelps reduce irritation IconHelps with Anti-Aging Icon
23
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
24
Emollient, Emulsifying, Skin Conditioning
25
Solvent
26
Emulsifying
0 / 0
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
27
Buffering
28
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
29
Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
30
Cleansing, Emulsifying
31
Emulsifying
32
Antioxidant
Antioxidant Icon
33
UV Absorber
34
Antimicrobial, Astringent, Masking, Solvent
Alcohol IconCan worsen Dry Skin IconMay worsen Oily Skin IconMay cause irritation IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea Icon
35
36
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
37
Buffering, Masking
38
Masking, Preservative
Preservative Icon
39
Preservative
Preservative Icon

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 39 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: Emollient, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Dimethicone is a silicone used for making products smooth and silky. It also has the added benefit of sealing in hydration. The amount of dimethicone found in beauty products is considered safe and non-comedogenic, meaning it won't clog pores.

Dimethicone has been found increase absorption in skin, boosting the benefits of other ingredients. While there is concern for the safety of dimethicone, the levels used in skincare are safe for use.

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What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Caprylyl Methicone is a type of silicone.

It helps soften and soothe the skin by creating a thin film on top. This film helps trap moisture, keeping your skin hydrated.

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What it does: Humectant

We don't have a description for Polyglycerin-6.

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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
6
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

Cetyl Diglyceryl Tris(Trimethylsiloxy)Silylethyl Dimethicone is a type of silicone.

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

Hydrogenated Polyisobutene is a synthetic polymer. Polymers are compounds with high molecular weight. Hydrogenated Polyisobutene is an emollient and texture enhancer.

In one study, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene showed better skin hydration levels than Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride. As an emollient, it helps keep your skin soft and hydrated by trapping moisture in.

Hydrogenated Polyisobutene is often used as a mineral oil replacement.

Learn more about Hydrogenated Polyisobutene
9
What it does: Emollient, Masking
Community Rating: Disliked

Octyldodecanol is a fatty alcohol. It is primarily used to enhance the texture of products.

As an emulsifier, Octyldodecanol helps prevent the oils and waters from separating. It also prevents ingredients from creating foam when shaken.

Octyldodecanol is created by reducing fatty acid to an alcohol.

Due to its high molecular weight, it does not get absorbed into the skin.

Learn more about Octyldodecanol
10
What it does: Masking, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

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

Within a product, Caprylic Triglyceride can thicken the product and make spreadability easier by dissolving clumping compounds. An added benefit of Caprylic Triglyceride is its antioxidant properties.

Caprylic Triglyceride is made by combining glycerin with coconut oil, forming a clear liquid. Caprylic Triglyceride has not been found to be toxic for human use in concentrations under 50%.

While there is an assumption Caprylic Triglyceride can clog pores due to it being derived from coconut oil, there is no research supporting this.

Learn more about Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
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What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Peg-12 Dimethicone is a type of silicone.

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What it does: Masking, Perfuming, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Olea Europaea Fruit Oil is the fixed oil obtained from the ripe fruit of the Olive. In other words - olive oil.

The primary contents of olive oil are glycerides of the fatty acids linoleic, oleic and palmitic.

Olive oil also contains antioxidants such as Vitamin E. Antioxidants may help reduce signs of aging by fighting unstable free-radical molecules. It also contains Vitamins A (retinol), D, and K.

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

Studies show olive oil to have antibacterial and antifungal properties in low concentrations. Another study found olive oil irritated sensitive oily skin. We always recommend speaking with a professional about using this ingredient in your routine.

Learn more about Olea Europaea Fruit Oil
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What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

This ingredient is a retinoid. It usually goes by a more common name: "Granactive".

Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate (HPR) belongs to the class of retinoids that also includes retinol and tretinoin.

Retinoids have been proven to:

So what is the difference between all the retinoids? Most retinoids need to go through a conversion line to become effective on skin. The ending product is retinoic acid. Retinoic acid is AKA tretinoin.

HPR is an ester of tretinoin. Emerging studies suggest HPR to have an added benefit that other retinoids don't have: Low irritation.

A study from 2021 found HPR to have the greatest stability when exposed to light and temperature out of all the commercial retinoids.

A note about naming: The name "Granactive" is the trade name and the name most commonly used on packages.

Granactive is the name of the mixture - about 90% solvent and 10% HPR. A product with 5% granactive has 0.5% HPR.

Learn more about Hydroxypinacolone Retinoate
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What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Retinol is a gold-standard ingredient for anti-aging. It is a form of Vitamin A and belongs to the class of retinoids that also includes tretinoin.

Why is retinol famous?

It has the most scientific studies backing up its skin benefits out of all the non-prescription ingredients.

Retinol is proven to:

This is why retinol is effective at removing wrinkles, fading dark spots, treating acne, and reducing the appearance of pores.

Studies show retinol is less effective when exposed to UV. Be sure to look for appropriate packaging to keep your retinol potent (similar to Vitamin C).

Using retinol or any retinoids will increase sun-sensitivity in the first few months. Though studies show retinoids increase your skin's natural SPF with continuous use, it is best to always wear sunscreen and sun-protection.

We recommend speaking with a medical professional about using this ingredient during pregnancy.

Retinol may cause irritation in some people, so be sure to patch test. Experts recommend 'ramping up' retinol use: start using this ingredient once a week and work up to using it daily.

Read about Tretinoin

Learn more about Retinol
15
What it does: Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Asiaticoside comes from the super popular skin-soothing ingredient, Centella asiatica. It is one of four active compounds found in the extract of Centella Asiatica.

Asiaticoside is an antioxidant and helps with wound healing. It has been shown to increase antioxidant activity during the wound healing process.

16
What it does: Antioxidant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Madecassoside comes from the super popular skin-soothing ingredient, Centella asiatica. It is one of four active compounds found in the extract of Centella Asiatica.

Madecassoside has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and hydrating properties. It contains fatty acids, amino acids, beta-carotene, and phytochemicals.

One study found using Madecassoside with ascorbic acid helped reduce the signs of aging and improved skin hydration.

Learn more about Madecassoside
17
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Stabilising
Community Rating: Loved

Asiatic Acid is a major component of Centella Asiatica Extract. It has wound-healing, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.

Studies show Asiatic Acid is able to block the pathway for skin inflammation receptors, helping to soothe skin.

As an antioxidant, asiatic acid helps protect our skin against damaging environmental factors.

Learn more about Asiatic Acid
18
What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Papaver Rhoeas Extract.

19
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

Daisy extract has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

A study from 2021 found this extract to protect the skin against UV-A damage. This should not replace your sunscreen!

20
What it does: Masking, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Hieracium Pilosella Extract.

21
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer is a silicone used to improve the texture of products and absorb oil. It does not get absorbed into the skin.

Like other silicones, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer helps condition the skin by creating a barrier. In this sense, it can act as an emollient and trap moisture in.

22
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
23
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
24
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
25
What it does: Solvent
Community Rating: Mixed

Methylpropanediol is a synthetic solvent and humectant.

As a solvent, it helps dissolve other ingredients, helping to evenly distribute ingredients throughout the product. This ingredient has also been shown to have antimicrobial properties which makes it a preservative booster.

Methylpropanediol is able to add a bit of moisture to the skin. It also helps other ingredients be better absorbed into the skin, such as salicylic acid.

Learn more about Methylpropanediol
26
What it does: Emulsifying
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Polysorbate 20 is made by combining ethoxylation of sorbitan, ethylene oxide, and lauric acid. It is a mild cleansing agent, surfactant, and emulsifier.

As a surfactant, it helps collect dirt and oils for washing. Emulsifiers prevent oils and water from separating.

Polysorbate 20 also adds scent to a product. Since it is made using sorbitol, it has a sweet scent. Sorbitol can also be found in fruits such as apples and peaches.

The lauric acid used to create Polysorbate 20 is often derived from coconuts.

Polysorbate 20 may not be fungal acne safe.

Learn more about Polysorbate 20
27
What it does: Buffering
Community Rating: Liked

Potassium Phosphate is the term for the salts of potassium and phosphate ions. Our bodies naturally create and use potassium phosphate.

In cosmetics, potassium phosphate is used to adjust the pH level of products. Our skin has a natural pH level. Maintaining this pH level is important for our skin barrier. If the skin barrier is disrupted, our skin can experience dehydration and irritation.

This ingredient is used in medicine to help treat low blood levels of phosphorus.

Learn more about Potassium Phosphate
28
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
29
What it does: Emollient, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Liked

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

It is a common ingredient in many products, especially those designed to hydrate skin. The primary benefits are retaining moisture, skin softening, and promoting a healthy skin barrier.

Though Caprylyl Glycol is an alcohol derived from fatty acids, it is not the kind that can dry out skin.

This ingredient is also used as a preservative to extend the life of products. It has slight antimicrobial properties.

Learn more about Caprylyl Glycol
30
What it does: Cleansing, Emulsifying

We don't have a description for Polyquaternium-80.

31
What it does: Emulsifying

We don't have a description for Didecyldimonium Chloride.

32
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
33
What it does: UV Absorber

We don't have a description for Benzotriazolyl Dodecyl P-Cresol.

34
What it does: Antimicrobial, Astringent, Masking, Solvent
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Alcohol comes in many different forms. Different types of alcohol will have different effects on skin. This ingredient is usually an astringent alcohol.

These alcohols are drying on the skin. They may strip away your skin's natural oils and even damage your skin barrier. Astringent alcohols may also irritate skin.

Other types of astringent alcohols include:

According to the National Rosacea Society based in the US, you should be mindful of products with these alcohols in the top half of ingredients.

Any type of sanitizing product will have high amounts of alcohol to help kill bacteria and viruses.

Fatty alcohols come from plant oils such as coconut oil. These can help hydrate the skin and are non-irritating. Some fatty alcohols include cetyl and stearyl alcohol.

Learn more about Alcohol
35
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.

36
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
37
What it does: Buffering, Masking
Community Rating: Mixed

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

Sodium Citrate helps maintain the pH of a product. Normal pH level of skin is slightly acidic (~4.75-5.5). The acidity of our skin is maintained by our glands and skin biome. Being slightly acidic allows our skin to create an "acid mantle". This acid mantle is a thin barrier that protects our skin from bacteria and contaminants.

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

Learn more about Sodium Citrate
38
What it does: Masking, Preservative
Community Rating: 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
39
What it does: Preservative
Community Rating: Loved

This ingredient is a preservative with antimicrobial properties. It is the sodium salt of dehydroacetic acid.

It is especially effective at preventing bacterial and fungal growth in low concentrations.

Embed Ingredients

Here's what our community thinks of the 39 ingredients in this product ✨

41% are loved or liked
13% have mixed ratings
28% are disliked or very disliked
18% have no rating yet

When to use

We've created a guide with info on when you should use Sunday Riley 5 Stars Retinoid + Niacinamide Eye 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 5 Stars Retinoid + Niacinamide Eye Serum ->
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