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Ingredient Glossary

We listed all of the ingredients used in our products by their common names, which is how Dr. Idriss usually refers to them in conversation. We also listed the INCI name in parenthesis if it differs from the common name. INCI (International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients) is the standardized system for naming ingredients that’s used in the United States, European Union, China, Japan, and many other countries


4-Butyl Resorcinol

This is a derivative of resorcinol, an ingredient that can be synthesized in a lab or created using extracts of plant resins (PillowtalkDerm products use a lab-created version). 4-Butyl Resorcinol improves discoloration in two ways: it inhibits melanin synthesis and reduces the activity of tyrosinase (a naturally occurring enzyme that regulates melanin production in the skin).
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Alpha-Arbutin

A safe and effective ingredient for improving discoloration. Alpha arbutin is a synthesized version of arbutin, a derivative of hydroquinone that’s found in the leaves of plants such as bearberry and cranberry. It works by inhibiting melanin production and reducing the activity of tyrosinase (a naturally occurring enzyme that regulates melanin production in the skin). Alpha arbutin has also been shown to have antioxidant activity that enhances its skin-brightening properties.
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Arnica (Arnica Montana Flower Extract)

This flower extract helps to increase circulation when applied topically. It’s traditionally used to reduce puffiness and inflammation, and also to help with bruising.
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Ash Bark Extract (Fraxinus Excelsior Bark Extract)

This flower extract helps to increase circulation when applied topically. It’s traditionally used to reduce puffiness and inflammation, and also to help with bruising.
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Centella Asiatica Extract

Also known as cica, gotu kola, or tiger grass extract, this ingredient has a long history of use for healing wounds. It can help to relieve skin redness and hydrate and is thought to strengthen skin by boosting fibroblast production and increasing the synthesis of collagen. It also has antioxidant properties.
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Diglucosyl Gallic Acid

This lab-created molecule has a multi-pronged effect on discoloration. The proprietary version used in PillowtalkDerm products is called Brightenyl®, or Trihydroxybenzoic acid glucoside (THBG). When applied topically, it acts as an antioxidant, inhibiting the production of reactive oxygen species, or ROS (a type of free radical that triggers skin damage). It also has an anti-inflammatory effect, which can help to decrease redness, and it prevents UV-induced DNA damage that can lead to dark spots. Most importantly, it disrupts your skin’s pigmentation process by acting on the MITF (Melanocyte Inducing Transcription Factor) gene to control melanin production, inhibit melanin transfer to the top layer of skin, and prevent UV light from triggering more melanin production.
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Glycerin

This hydrating ingredient can be derived naturally from the fats in certain plants or created in a lab (PillowtalkDerm products use a lab-created version). It’s a humectant, meaning it attracts moisture from the air and locks it into the top layer of the skin, leaving it more hydrated. It’s also a component of skin’s Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMFs).
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Glycolic Acid

This is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that is primarily used to exfoliate skin and stimulate collagen production. It occurs naturally in plants, such as sugarcane, and can also be produced in a lab (PillowtalkDerm products use a lab-created version). As an AHA, it works by breaking down the adhesions between cells in the upper layer of skin, allowing old skin cells to slough off. As a collagen stimulator, glycolic acid works by stimulating fibroblasts, cells that produce collagen.
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Hexapeptide-2

This is a lab-created anti-aging peptide. The proprietary version used in PillowtalkDerm products is called DermostatylIS™. When applied topically, it binds to α-MSH (Alpha Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone), which is a naturally occurring neuropeptide in your body that stimulates skin pigmentation. By doing so, it reduces melanin synthesis and decreases the melanin in skin cells that causes dark spots. In clinical studies, it’s been shown to brighten skin tone and reduce skin redness and also improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
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Kojic Acid

A natural byproduct of fermentation, this ingredient is primarily used to help reduce discoloration. It works by inhibiting the activity of tyrosinase (a naturally occurring enzyme that regulates melanin production in the skin).
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Lactic Acid

Like glycolic acid, this is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that exfoliates, stimulates collagen production, and also has moisturizing properties. It occurs naturally in sour milk products and can also be produced in a lab (PillowtalkDerm products use a lab-created version). As an exfoliator, it works by breaking down the adhesions between cells in the upper layer of skin, allowing old skin cells to slough off. Used in slightly higher doses (as in Major Fade Flash Mask), it can inhibit the activity of tyrosinase (a naturally occurring enzyme that regulates melanin production in the skin), thereby reducing abnormal pigmentation so skin looks brighter. It’s also a component of skin’s Natural Moisturizing Factors (NMFs) and can function as a humectant, leaving skin more hydrated.
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Niacinamide

This form of vitamin B3 can reduce inflammation, fortify the skin barrier, improve skin texture, and improve discoloration. It works by strengthening the top layer of skin, improving the quality and thickness of skin, and protecting against transepidermal water loss (TEWL). It has also been shown to fade existing discoloration and can also reduce future discoloration by inhibiting the movement of melanin to the surface of the skin.
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Rapeseed Extract (Brassica Napus Seedcake)

This skin-brightening botanical extract is from the oil-rich seeds of rapeseed, a plant in the cabbage family. The proprietary version used in PillowtalkDerm products is called Achromaxyl ISR™, and it was designed to help optimize the activity of tyrosinase (a naturally occurring enzyme that regulates melanin production in the skin) in order to limit skin darkening in the presence of UV light and decrease the color intensity of existing age spots. In clinical tests, it has been shown to increase skin luminosity, brighten skin tone, and fade age spots.
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Tranexamic Acid

This synthetic derivative of an amino acid improves all types of discoloration. It improves skin discoloration by inhibiting both the synthesis of melanin and the movement of melanin to the top layer of skin.
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Vitamin C (TetraHexyldecyl Ascorbate or THD)

Vitamin C comes in many forms and has multiple skin benefits. TetraHexyldecyl Ascorbate, a lab-created form of the vitamin, is oil-soluble, meaning it can penetrate the skin more effectively than water soluble versions. When formulated at the correct pH, as in PillowtalkDerm’s products, it is also highly stable. This form of vitamin C also acts as an antioxidant, essential cofactor in collagen synthesis, and exfoliator, promoting cell turnover. Plus, it can brighten skin tone by decreasing the activity of tyrosinase (a naturally occurring enzyme that regulates melanin production in the skin), which helps to inhibit irregular production of melanin.
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