Cosmeceutical Glossary

The term cosmeceutical was coined in 1980 by Dr. Kligman, who was a world-renowned dermatologist.  Cosmeceuticals are the combination of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals containing biologically active ingredients. 
Dermatological research suggests that the active ingredients used in cosmeceuticals have benefits above and beyond traditional skincare products. Where cosmetic skincare products only cleanse and beautify, Cosmeceuticals alter the structure and function of the skin penetrating deeply to work at cell level rather than just the surface layer of the skin.
Here are some of the common ingredients and how they work:
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) – Help exfoliate and renew cells to even skin tone and soften fine lines. Glycolic acid is the most widely known AHA, but there are also citric, malic, and lactic acids; found naturally in foods like sugar cane, citrus fruits and milk.
Amino Acids – Organic compounds essential for the body. Vital for body growth, maintenance and repair.
Antibacterial – Substances which can kill bacteria, helping to treat infections.
Anti-inflammatory – A substance which soothes irritated and inflamed skin or prevents irritation.
Antioxidant – Impedes oxidation and protects skin from environmental damage caused by free radicals.
Ascorbic Acid – Vitamin C; occurs naturally in fruit and green vegetables. Essential for normal metabolism levels, wound healing, and tissue repair. Commonly used as a preservative and anti-oxidant.
Astringent - Removes oil from the skin. Usually used as a toner after cleansing. Designed to shrink superficial tissues by reducing water and oil content.
Benzoyl Peroxide – An oxygen-releasing chemical which causes drying, peeling and an antibacterial function on skin. Commonly used for treating acne.
Beta Hydroxy Acid – An exfoliator with a smaller molecule size than AHAs. more suitable for sensitive skin than AHAs.
Botanical – A plant-derived organic product or ingredient.
Capsicum – Prevents skin blemishes.
Citric Acid – Vitamin C, derived from citrus fruit. Common in hair and skincare products for its astringent and antioxidant properties.
Collagen – Naturally occurs within body tissues. During aging collagen becomes less flexible.
Comedogenic – May contribute to the promotion of non-inflammatory acne
DMAE - a natural substance that stabilizes and strengthens the cell's plasma membrane.
Elasticity - The ability of hair or skin to stretch without snapping.
Elastin - A protein is responsible for the elasticity of skin and body tissue
Extract - A herbal concentrate produced by separating the active part of a plant or flower into a solvent.
Free Radicals – Highly reactive molecules which attribute to aging and degenerative diseases. These free radicals often result from ozone, cigarette smoke, herbicides and pesticides, solvents, petrochemicals, drugs and the sun’s rays.
Glycolic Acid - a naturally occuring fruit acid which speeds up the cellular turnover.
Humectant - An ingredient which pulls moisture from the air to hydrate the skin.
Hyaluronic Acid – Occurs naturally in the skin and holds many times more moisture than collagen. Retains essential moisture in the skin and therefore reduces fine lines caused by dehydration.
Hydroquinine - A strong inhibitor of melanin production, preventing the skin from making the substance responsible for skin colour
Kojic Acid-This mushroom extract is an extremely popular skin lightening treatment.
Mineral Oil – Hydrocarbons sourced from petroleum. An effective solvent for removing oil, grease and make-up.
Natural – Ingredients obtained from natural sources not synthetics.
Omega-3 – Essential fatty acids. Control the body’s production of cholesterol as well as strengthening skin cells whilst fortifying them against the invasion of viruses and bacteria.
Peptides -  The constituent parts of proteins.
Retin-A – Vitamin A derivative used as an anti-acne or anti-aging treatment.
Retinoid - Vitamin A derivative with a wide range of therapeutic applications.
Retinol - A vitamin A acid used in the treatment of fine lines and acne.
Salicylic Acid – A Beta Hydroxy Acid which improves the appearance and condition of the skin. Causes exfoliation.

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