Ingredient Breakdown: Why You Don't Need to Be Afraid of Something Just Because You Can't Pronounce It

With all the focus on clean beauty these days—the practice of formulating cosmetic products without potentially harmful skincare ingredients, as well as being fully transparent about the ingredients you do use—products are under a lot of scrutiny. Consumers want to know what ingredients are in their cosmetics—and what’s not.

Like we’ve become more aware of food labels, we’ve all become savvier about reading cosmetic product labels. If you’re looking for a “clean” product, you might check the ingredient list to make sure it doesn’t contain harsh, unsafe, or possibly controversial ingredients such as parabens, formaldehyde (and formaldehyde-releasing ingredients), sulfates, phthalates, talc, mineral oil, coal tar, triclosan, and triclocarban. These days, many brands, including Perricone MD, formulate effective products without these ingredients.

You might also want something with the least amount of “chemicals” in it. Many people believe that if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, it must be a malicious chemical that’s bad for your health. But that’s not always the case.

It turns out, there are many ingredients in skincare that might be a mouthful when spoken aloud, but they’re proven to be completely safe and effective. Some of Perricone MD’s product lines are based upon - and named after - ingredients that might be difficult to pronounce, because they’re such top-performers!

Here, as part of our five-part series on clean beauty, we break down some of the most intimidating-sounding skincare ingredients in the Perricone MD lineup to show there’s nothing to fear. In fact, these ingredients are crucial for a more youthful, radiant, and healthier-looking complexion.  

Official name: S-palmitoylglutathione (s-palm-e-toil-glute-a-thigh-own)

A.K.A: Acyl-Glutathione

What is it?:

This proprietary molecule was modeled after glutathione, a naturally occurring antioxidant found inside every cell of the human body. It’s like a bodyguard for your skin. Its job is to help your body (including your skin) fight off environmental damage from free radicals, unstable molecules that destabilize our skin cells and cause trouble in the form of lines, wrinkles, and other symptoms of aging. As we age, our natural stores of glutathione deplete. Enter this topical version of glutathione! It’s paired with a fatty acid, which helps it penetrate skin.

What it does for your skin:

When applied topically, Acyl-Glutathione works to visibly plump up lines and helps to even out your skin tone over time.

Find it in:

Essential Fx Acyl-Glutathione Deep Crease Serum, which is designed to tackle our most stubborn (and deepest) lines: those dreaded frown lines, marionette lines (the parenthesis-shaped wrinkles on either side of the mouth), and forehead creases. Regular use helps minimize the appearance of these deep-set expression lines.

Ingredient Breakdown: Why You Don't Need to Be Afraid of Something Just Because You Can't Pronounce It | Perricone MD

Official name: Ascorbyl palmitate (ah-score-bul palm-e-tate)

A.K.A.: Vitamin C Ester

What is it?:

This form of topical vitamin C is potent and stable—two things that you don’t always get with other derivatives of the popular skincare vitamin. Many traditional forms of vitamin C used in skincare products are water soluble, which means they aren’t absorbed by the skin, or they’re highly unstable, meaning they degrade easily and are ineffective. What’s more, unstable vitamin C is highly acidic and can cause redness, dryness, and irritation on the skin’s surface. Like Acyl-Glutathione, this Vitamin C Ester combines a stable form of a vitamin C molecule with a fatty acid, which makes it a far better match for your skin’s lipid barrier.

What it does for your skin:

Vitamin C Ester is a supercharged antioxidant with brightening and smoothing effects. It visibly evens out discoloration in your skin tone, making your complexion appear more radiant. It can also soothe the visible appearance of redness. Vitamin C has also been proven to neutralize free radicals, which can help slow down the visible signs of aging on your skin.

Find it in:

Vitamin C Ester Brightening Amine Face Lift, a lightweight vitamin C-rich serum formulated to improve skin tone and boost the firmness of your skin. Here, the super vitamin is combined with glycolic acid for exfoliation, plus copper to visibly tighten skin.

Ingredient Breakdown: Why You Don't Need to Be Afraid of Something Just Because You Can't Pronounce It | Perricone MD

Official name: Dimethylaminoethanol (di-meth-el-a-meen-o-eth-en-all)

A.K.A.: DMAE

What is it:

DMAE is a protein found in the human body that plays a role in muscle contraction, and helps to promote firm, lean muscle tone. (Fun fact: It’s because of this that body-builders often take DMAE as a supplement.) As you probably know, we tend to lose muscle mass as we age, and the appearance of sagging skin starts to set in. Topical DMAE is designed to support this naturally-occurring protein on skin’s surface.

What it does for your skin:

File this under sad, but true: As we age, our skin loses elasticity and firmness—much like our muscles do. Topical DMAE is designed to visibly firm and tighten the appearance of skin’s surface, both instantly and over time.

Find it in:

No:Rinse DMAE Firming Pads, pre-soaked pads that are formulated to exfoliate a dull complexion and tighten the appearance of sagging skin. In Perricone MD clinical and consumer perception testing, DMAE Firming Pads showed an 84% of subjects showed an  increase in skin elasticity and 87 percent of users said their skin looked more toned.

Official name:  Alpha lipoic acid (Al-fa lye-poe-ick ass-id)

A.K.A.: ALA

What is it:

ALA is a fatty acid that’s found inside the body. It’s referred to as nature’s most potent antioxidant because the naturally-occurring kind works to neutralize free radical damage both outside and inside cells. It’s said to be 400 times more powerful than vitamins C and E.

What it does for your skin:

Like vitamin C, topical ALA supports your body’s natural source of ALA to squash free radicals. Having this kind of protection over time means you may see a decrease in the visible signs of aging on your skin: lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. It’s also referred to as an “eraser” because it minimizes the appearance of imperfections such as enlarged pores and fine lines. ALA promotes skin cell turnover for a glowing, refreshed-looking complexion.

Find it in:

High Potency Classics Face Firming Serum. This contains a high concentration of ALA alongside skin-plumping and hydrating hyaluronic acid. In Perricone MD’s clinical testing, a whopping 94% percent of users saw a visible reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles when using this product after 4 weeks.

Ingredient Breakdown: Why You Don't Need to Be Afraid of Something Just Because You Can't Pronounce It | Perricone MD

What about natural skincare ingredients? 

Botanical-based ingredients can also be tricky on an ingredient list, because they are listed by their Latin plant names, not the names we typically associate with them. And unless you took Latin in high school, these official names can also be hard to pronounce! For example, curcuma longo…any guesses? It’s the Latin name for turmeric extract. Perricone MD calls this botanical an “antioxidant super spice.” Turmeric has been used for thousands of years because of its skin-soothing properties, and its ability to protect and rejuvenate the appearance of skin. You can find it in any of the products in Perricone MD’s Pre:Empt Series: a cleanser, mask, serum, and pore refiner.

Ingredient Breakdown: Why You Don't Need to Be Afraid of Something Just Because You Can't Pronounce It | Perricone MD

Perricone MD formulates its products with cutting-edge, active skincare ingredients that are not only safe to use, but also deliver results. So, next time you’re reading the back of a product and come across names such as dimethylaminoethanol or s-palmitoylglutathione, know there’s nothing to fear, and so much to gain in the form of smoother, more radiant, and youthful-looking skin.