BEST PICK: MEISHOKU BIGANSUI MEDICATED SKIN LOTION

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Ingredient name what-it-does irr., com. ID-Rating
Salicylic Acid exfoliant, anti-acne, soothing, preservative superstar
Homosulfamine antimicrobial/​antibacterial
Geraniol perfuming icky
Denatured Alcohol antimicrobial/​antibacterial, solvent, viscosity controlling icky
Propylene Glycol moisturizer/​humectant, solvent, viscosity controlling 0, 0
Fragrance perfuming icky

It's one of the gold standard ingredients for treating problem skinIt can exfoliate skin both on the surface and in the poresIt's a potent anti-inflammatory agentIt's more effective for treating blackheads than acneFor acne combine it with antibacterial agents like benzoyl peroxide or azelaic acid Read all the geeky details about Salicylic Acid here >>


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Geraniol is a common fragrance ingredient. It smells like rose and can be found in rose oil or in small quantities in geranium, lemon and many other essential oils.

Just like other similar fragrance ingredients (like linalool and limonene) geraniol also oxidises on air exposure and becomes allergenic. Best to avoid if you have sensitive skin.

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It's a super common and super debated skincare ingredientIt has several benefits: great solvent, penetration enhancer, creates cosmetically elegant, light formulas, great astringent and antimicrobialIt can be very drying if it's in the first few ingredients on an ingredient listSome experts even think that regular exposure to alcohol damages skin barrier and causes inflammation though it's a debated opinion (read more in geeky details tab) Read all the geeky details about Alcohol Denat. here >>


It's a helper ingredient that improves the freeze-thaw stability of productsIt's also a solvent, humectant and to some extent a penetration enhancerIt has a bad reputation among natural cosmetics advocates but cosmetic scientists and toxicology experts do not agree (read more in the geeky details section) Read all the geeky details about Propylene Glycol here >>


Exactly what it sounds: nice smelling stuff put into cosmetic products so that the end product also smells nice. Fragrance in the US and parfum in the EU is a generic term on the ingredient list that is made up of 30 to 50 chemicals on average (but it can have as much as 200 components!).

If you are someone who likes to know what you put on your face then fragrance is not your best friend - there's no way to know what’s really in it.

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Also, if your skin is sensitive, fragrance is again not your best friend. It’s the number one cause of contact allergy to cosmetics. It’s definitely a smart thing to avoid with sensitive skin (and fragrance of any type - natural is just as allergic as synthetic, if not worse!).