Phenylethyl Resorcinol



Phenylethyl Resorcinol description

Phenylethyl resorcinol is a synthetic antioxidant often seen in skin-brightening products. The most compelling research looked at the results of a cream with phenylethyl resorcinol plus three other skin-brightening agents. The product was applied over a period of 3 months by 20 women, all of whom also used sunscreen. At the end of the study, it was determined that the women’s uneveness decreased by 43%. The problem is we don’t know how much of this improvement is due to phenylethyl resorcinol, as it wasn’t used alone, which is the case with most products using this ingredient as a means to improve the appearance of an uneven skin tone. Until more research comes to light, this isn’t an ingredient to bank on for great results if an uneven skin tone is your concern; however, it’s fine to use in products that also contain other skin-brightening ingredients with established track records of success.

Phenylethyl Resorcinol references

  • Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2013, issue 1, pages 12-17

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.