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Urban Skin Retinol Rapid Repair and Dark Spot Treatment Ingredients Explained

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Published on July 13, 2020

Overview

What it is

Facial treatment with 32 ingredients that contains AHA, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, retinoid, Vitamin C 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, 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

Urban Skin is from United States. This product is used in 14 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

AHA
Retinoid (2)
Vitamin C (2)
Vitamin E
Niacinamide
Hyaluronic Acid

Benefits

Hydrating (4)
Good For Oily Skin (3)
Redness Reducing (4)
Skin Texture (5)
Reduces Large Pores (5)
Anti-Aging (5)
Dark Spots (8)
Scar Healing (8)
Acne Fighting (4)
Brightening (6)

Concerns

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

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
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
3
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
0-2 / 0
Oil IconHelps hydrate Dry Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
4
5
Antioxidant
Antioxidant IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing Icon
6
Emollient, Solvent
May worsen Oily Skin IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
7
Preservative
Preservative Icon
8
Skin Conditioning
1-3 / 1-3
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 IconNot safe for Fungal Acne IconHelps fight Acne Icon
9
Emulsifying
10
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
11
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
12
Emulsifying
0 / 0
Not safe for Fungal Acne Icon
13
Antioxidant, Preservative
Antioxidant IconPreservative Icon
14
Skin Conditioning
15
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
16
17
Emollient, Skin Conditioning
1 / 0
Helps hydrate Dry Skin Icon
18
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
19
Humectant, Skin Conditioning, Skin Protecting, Solvent
0 / 0
Helps hydrate Dry Skin IconHelps brighten skin Icon
20
Antioxidant, Bleaching, Skin Conditioning
Antioxidant IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing Icon
21
Antioxidant, Buffering, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Vitamin C IconAntioxidant IconHelps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Skin Texture IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps brighten skin Icon
22
23
Buffering, Masking
Helps reduce Skin Redness IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconHelps fight Acne Icon
24
Astringent, Skin Conditioning
25
Skin Conditioning
26
Skin Conditioning
27
Skin Conditioning
28
Astringent, Skin Conditioning
29
Skin Conditioning
30
Preservative
Preservative Icon
31
Humectant, Skin Conditioning
0 / 0
Hyaluronic Acid Icon
32
Skin Conditioning

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 32 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: 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
3
What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

This ingredient is the fixed oil extracted from seeds of the desert shrub Jojoba. It is more commonly known as jojoba oil. The seed oil is liquid wax ester from the plant. It is non-comedogenic.

Jojoba oil does not contain fragrance and has many fatty-acids, making it a great soothing ingredient. Jojoba contains Vitamin E, a great moisturizing ingredient. Vitamin E is also an antioxidant. Antioxidants help protect your skin against free-radical damage. This may help in anti-aging.

Jojoba seed oil is a humectant, meaning it helps draw moisture from the air. This helps keep your skin hydrated.

While jojoba has antibacterial properties, it is only able to kill some bacteria. It has also been shown to help in wound healing. Indigenous cultures have used jojoba as a moisturizer and to help treat burns.

It is found to be similar to natural human skin sebum, so it has a great effect on dry skin. Jojoba oil may even help with regulating sebum production.

Although jojoba oil is non-comedogenic, we recommend speaking with a professional about using this ingredient if you have any concerns.

Jojoba oil may not be fungal acne safe. We recommend speaking with a professional if you have any concerns.

Jojoba is native to the southwestern US.

Learn more about Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil
4
What it does:
Community Rating: Disliked

Polyacrylamide is a synthetic polymer. It is used to stabilize products and bind ingredients. When hydrated, Polyacrylamide forms a soft gel.

Polyacrylamide is low-toxicity. If source properly, it is deemed safe to use in cosmetics.

It should be noted the precursor to Polyacrylamide is acrylamide. Acrylamide is a carcinogen. Most reputable sources of Polyacrylamide will screen for residual acrylamide to make sure the count is in a safe range. Acrylamide is not able to be absorbed through the skin.

We recommend speaking with a professional if you have concerns.

Learn more about Polyacrylamide
5
What it does: Antioxidant
Community Rating: Loved

Kojic acid comes from fungi and can also be from fermented foods. It helps even out skin tone and reduce hyperpigmentation.

This ingredient works by blocking tyrosine, an enzyme that starts the process of skin darkening.

Kojic Acid is antifungal and often used to treat fungal infections. Additionally, it can help fight bacteria with its antimicrobrial properties. A side effect may be treating acne caused by bacteria.

A similar ingredient is arbutin.

Learn more about Kojic Acid
6
What it does: Emollient, Solvent
Community Rating: Very Disliked

C13-14 Isoparaffin is created from petroleum-based mineral oils. It is an emollient and helps thicken a product.

As an emollient, it helps keep the skin soft and smooth by creating a barrier on top. This barrier traps moisture in, keeping the skin hydrated.

C13-14 Isoparaffin may not be fungal-acne safe.

Learn more about C13-14 Isoparaffin
7
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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What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

Retinyl palmitate is a form of retinoid. Retinoids are the superstar class of anti-aging ingredients that include tretinoin and retinol.

This particular ingredient has had a bumpy year with its rise and fall in popularity.

First, Retinyl palmitate is created from palmitic acid and retinol. It is a retinol ester and considered one of the weaker forms of retinoid.

This is because all retinoids have to be converted to Tretinoin, AKA retinoic acid. Retinyl Palmitate is pretty far down the line and has to go through multiple conversions before its effects are seen.

Due to this long and ineffective conversion line, the benefits of Retinyl Palmitate are debated.

Studies show Retinyl Palmitate to help:

Dermatologists say this ingredient is ineffective because it isn't used in high enough concentrations in cosmetics.

This ingredient used to be found in sunscreens to boost the efficacy of sunscreen filters.

The downfall of Retinyl Palmitate was due to released reports about the ingredient being correlated to sun damage and skin tumors.

While there is a study showing this ingredient to cause DNA damage when exposed to UV-A, there is no concrete proof of it being linked to skin cancer. It is safe to use when used correctly.

All retinoids increase your skin's sensitivity to the sun in the first few months of usage. Be especially careful with reapplying sunscreen when using any form of retinoid.

Currently, this ingredient is still allowed in cosmetics all over the world. In Canada, cosmetics must have a warning label stating the product to contain Retinyl Palmitate

Fun fact: This ingredient is often added to low-fat milk to increase the levels of Vitamin A.

Learn more about Retinyl Palmitate
9
What it does: Emulsifying
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Laureth-7 is created by the ethoxylation of lauryl alcohol using ethylene oxide. Lauryl alcohol is a fatty alcohol with hydrating properties.

Laureth-7 is an emulsifier and cleansing ingredient. As an emulsifier, it is used to prevent ingredients from separating. It also helps cleanse the skin by gathering dirt, oil, and pollutants to be rinsed away.

10
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
11
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
12
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
13
What it does: Antioxidant, Preservative
Community Rating: Mixed

Sodium Metabisulfite is an antioxidant and is a preservative.

14
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.

15
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.

17
What it does: Emollient, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Squalane is an emollient that helps the skin hold onto moisture. It's an oily liquid that occurs naturally in certain types of fish and plant oils.

Because squalane boosts hydration in the skin, it also comes with plenty of benefits: it is an antioxidant and can help fight free radicals and skin damage. Squalane is also found to have a detoxifying effect when applied.

Squalane comes from squalene, which occurs naturally within the sebum of our skin. It is one of the oils our skin produces to keep itself hydrated. Squalane is the hydrogenated version of squalene and has a longer shelf life.

Research shows that squalane is non-irritating (even at 100% concentration).

In general, it's a fantastic ingredient. It does a great job at hydrating the skin, and it's suitable for those with sensitive skin.

The source of squalane may impact malassezia / fungal acne. This is because olive oil derived squalane can contain impurities such as fatty acids and plant waxes. Sugarcane derived squalane is recommended for anyone with malassezia concerns.

Is squalane vegan? This depends on the source. Squalane can be derived from both plants and animals. Most squalane used in skincare comes from plants.

Please note: the source of squalane is only known if disclosed by the brand. We recommend reaching out to the brand if you have any questions about their squalane.

Read more about squalene with an "e".

Learn more about Squalane
18
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
19
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
20
What it does: Antioxidant, Bleaching, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Alpha-Arbutin is made from hydroquinone and glucose. It may be derived from the fermentation of soybeans.

It is an antioxidant. Antioxidants help fight free-radicals, or molecules that may damage your skin cells.

Studies show this ingredient helps improve hyperpigmentation and fade discoloration.

Alpha-Arbutin may be used with other ingredients that help with hyperpigmentation. These ingredients include retinol, Vitamin C, niacinamide, and tranexamic acid.

Learn more about Alpha-Arbutin
21
What it does: Antioxidant, Buffering, Masking, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Ascorbic Acid is is pure Vitamin C. This form makes up the largest amount of vitamin C found naturally in our skin.

Not only is vitamin C great for your overall health and immune system, it also has plenty of benefits on your skin.

Vitamin C is best used for brightening skin. It improves dark spots, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation. This is because it blocks the process of skin darkening when exposed to UV.

Remember: Vitamin C should not replace sunscreen!

Your skin uses vitamin C to build collagen. Collagen is one key component in having a strong skin barrier and plump skin. Vitamin C also plays a role in regulating collagen, thus making it effective in improving wrinkles and fine lines.

Ascorbic acid shows potent antioxidant activity. As an antioxidant, it helps fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells. These antioxidants also protect skin against UV damage.

The best formulations include Vitamin E and/or ferulic acid. These two ingredients help stabilize and provide a boost in the benefits of ascorbic acid. This is because ascorbic acid becomes unstable when exposed to UV and air. In fact, you can tell your ascorbic acid has oxidized when it turns an orange-yellow color.

Ascorbic acid is generally compatible with other ingredients. However, using ascorbic acid with other active ingredients might cause irritation. Two ingredients: copper ions and benzoyl peroxide, will inactivate ascorbic acid completely.

Read more about other types of Vitamin C:

Foods rich with vitamin C include oranges, strawberries, broccoli, bell peppers, and more. When consuming Vitamin C, your skin receives a portion of the nutrients.

Learn more about Ascorbic Acid
22
What it does:
Community Rating: Loved

Glutathione is an antioxidant naturally found in our bodies. It is made up of three amino acids: glycine, cysteine, and glutamic acid.

As an antioxidant, it prevents oxidative damage to parts of our cell.

While glutathione is said to help with skin lightening, the results from research are inconclusive. Further studies are needed.

However, gluthatione has been shown to protect our skin from UV-B induced damage.

This ingredient is naturally occurring in plants, animals, fungi, and some bacteria.

Learn more about Glutathione
23
What it does: Buffering, Masking
Community Rating: Loved

Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acid that is derived from grains. However, the lab-created form is typically used within cosmetic products as it has better shelf-stability.

It has been shown to be effective in the treatment of acne, rosacea, and other skin conditions. Azelaic acid helps reduce the growth of bacteria that cause acne and helps to reduce inflammation.

It also helps to improve the appearance of skin by reducing the production of sebum and unclogging pores.

Azelaic Acid also has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help fight free-radicals. Free-radicals are molecules that may damage your skin cells, such as pollution.

One of the main benefits of azelaic acid is that it is gentle and well-tolerated by most people. It is also non-comedogenic, meaning that it will not clog pores.

Learn more about Azelaic Acid
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What it does: Astringent, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Alchemilla Vulgaris Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract.

25
What it does: Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Malva Sylvestris Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract.

26
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Disliked

Mentha Piperita Leaf Extract is extract from peppermint leaves.

Studies show peppermint extract have antimicrobial properties against some bacteria and fungi.

In large percentages, peppermint extract may sensitize the skin.

Learn more about Mentha Piperita Leaf Extract
27
What it does: Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Primula Veris Flower Extract.

28
What it does: Astringent, Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Veronica Officinalis Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract.

29
What it does: Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract.

30
What it does: Preservative
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Sodium Sulfite is a preservative. Preservatives help prevent mold and bacteria from growing in cosmetics.

This ingredient has been shown to break the bonds in hair, acting as a natural straightener.

It is commonly used in food. It should be noted sodium sulfite degrades both vitamins B1 and E.

Fun fact: Sulfites are naturally occuring in wine.

Learn more about Sodium Sulfite
31
What it does: Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: 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
32
What it does: Skin Conditioning

We don't have a description for Achillea Millefolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract.

Embed Ingredients

Here's what our community thinks of the 32 ingredients in this product ✨

44% are loved or liked
13% have mixed ratings
25% are disliked or very disliked
19% have no rating yet

When to use

Here's some more info on how this product is used by our community.

Directions

#1 Thoroughly cleanse skin and pat dry.

#2 Apply sparingly over face and neck, making sure to avoid the eye area.

#3 Can be used once a day at bedtime or as directed by a physician.

#4 To avoid irritation, begin by applying every other day until your skin shows...

#1 Thoroughly cleanse skin and pat dry.

#2 Apply sparingly over face and neck, making sure to avoid the eye area.

#3 Can be used once a day at bedtime or as directed by a physician.

#4 To avoid irritation, begin by applying every other day until your skin shows improved tolerance.

When to use

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