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Best Skincare Dictionary A-Z Glossary

Updated: Mar 17, 2022

Skincare Terms

If you're like me, it can be overwhelming to keep track of all the skincare terms and trends. Some lists are only ingredients, some lists are just products or devices. This list combines all terms skincare-related.

Your Exhaustive List Of Skincare Terminology

The next time you're stumped, perplexed, or rolling your eyes about something new or an ingredient on the jar... look no further. And, If I forgot one, tell me!

Skincare Vocabulary

Skincare lingo and keywords you always wanted to know or understand but didn't. Or in other words, if RF, PRP, ZIIP, as well as, CC or BB all confuse you, bookmark this article!


AÇAI - A palm tree known for its deep purple berries. Abundant in vitamins A, B, C, and E, as well as minerals, acai berry extract helps revive skin, heal damaged skin cells, and restore moisture. The fruit extract is used as a potent antioxidant in skin-care products.

ACETONE - A colorless, strong-smelling solvent found in many nail-polish removers, it works by softening and dissolving the polymer molecules in polishes, gels, and acrylics. Because it's drying to the nails and skin, many removers containing it are also spiked with moisturizers, like glycerin.

ACIDIC - Having a pH less than 7. The skin’s barrier is slightly acidic, with a pH hovering around 4.5 to 5.5. When it drops out of range, skin becomes prone to breakouts and irritation.

ACTIVES or ACTIVE INGREDIENT - The ingredient in a skin-care product that targets what you want the product to do.

ADENOSINE - Present in all living organisms, this molecule plays a critical role in regulating blood flow and providing cells with usable energy. When applied topically, the ingredient can smooth and firm the skin, repair sun damage, and relax wrinkles.

AGAR - A thickener skin-care product and shampoos, a gelatin-like, algae-derived sugar molecule also has mild antioxidant benefits.

ALGAE (sourced from seaweed) - Algae when a topical ingredient helps support natural collagen, reduce visible wrinkles, and maintain moisture balance. Algae provide vitamins, minerals, trace elements, amino acids and fatty acids that are important for youthful skin.

ALCOHOL - Undrinkable ethyl alcohol has many uses in skincare. It delivers other ingredients into the skin and drives them deeper down. In toners and acne products, it can help dissolve oil and temporarily tighten pores. When added to certain moisturizers, like gel-based lotions, it makes them less tacky and helps them dry down faster on the face.

ALGIN - These soothing, water-absorbing algae extract is commonly added to thicken hair- and skin-care products and to help makeup glide on smoothly. It's also found in the filmy coating created by some face masks and peels.

ALGURONIC ACID - A blend of naturally sourced, sustainably produced algae extracts developed and trademarked for the Algenist line, it claims to minimize wrinkles while firming and brightening the skin.

ALKALINE - Having a pH ("potential hydrogen") greater than 7. Alkaline substances are also known as "basic" — the opposite of acidic. When skin is too alkaline — as a result of eating the wrong foods or using the wrong products — it gets dry, irritated, inflamed, and more prone to wrinkling.

ALLANTOIN - Known for its soothing properties, this chemical moisturizes and encourages cell turnover.

ALOE – The same pH as skin, extracted from the leaf of the aloe plant for its soothing and cooling properties.

ALPHA HYDROXY ACID (AHA) - chemicals loosen the fluid that binds surface skin cells together, removes dead, allowing cell turnover to reveal younger-looking skin.

ALPHA LIPOIC ACID - Fatty acid found in all cells in the body contributes to skin's smoothness. Dissolves fat and water enabling it to penetrate well into all parts of skin cells.

AMINO ACIDS - The building blocks of the proteins that make up collagen and elastin — anti-aging.

ANTHOCYANINS - flavonoids, protect against inflammation and free-radical damage thereby slowing aging skin damage.

ANTIOXIDANT - ingredients that reduce free radical damage to the skin.

ARBUTIN (Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi) - Extracted from the bearberry plant, brightens the complexion.

ARGAN OIL - A fast-absorbing vitamin E-rich extract moisturizes without clogging pores, reduces the appearance of fine lines, and smooth’s ends of hair after shampooing.

ARGININE - A building block of collagen, which reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Arginine keeps your skin firm, plump and smooth. ARGIRELINE – A peptide known as “Botox in a cream” because it’s able to temporarily prevent tensing of facial muscles.

ARNICA - A medicinal herb with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Applied topically, it's been shown to help reduce bruising and swelling.

ASCORBIC ACID - Or L-ascorbic acid, a topical form of Vitamin C brightens the skin, increases collagen production, and deters free-radical damage.

AVENA SATIVA - Colloidal oatmeal, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant commonly used to help dryness, itch, and irritation, as in Aveno brand.

AVOBENZONE - Found in sunscreens which protects against both UVA and UVB light rays.

AVOCADO OIL - Has been shown to visibly minimize sun damage, and restore suppleness. Essential Fatty Acids add the benefit of radiant, soft skin.

AZELAIC ACID - Azelaic acid is a naturally occurring acid that helps skin renewal and reduces acne and rosacea.


BARLEY GF – An epidermal growth factor, bioengineered barley seeds, and used in skin-repairing products said to have the same amino acid structure as human EGF, ordering cells to grow, divide and rejuvenate.

BB CREAM - "BB" stands for "Beauty Balm" or "Blemish Balm". It's a foundation alternative that offers light coverage (tint) to even out facial skin tone. Addresses various skin concerns, moisturizes, camouflages uneven skin tones, redness, and blemishes, and provides SPF sun protection.

BENTONITE - Sometimes referred to as Montmorillonite, this absorbent clay is derived, most often, from weathered volcanic ash. Rich in antibacterial minerals, it’s commonly used in “purifying” or “detoxifying” cleansers and masks, as it pulls pollutants, sebum, and grime from pores. It draws toxins out.

BENZOYL PEROXIDE - Acne medicine that kills pimple-causing bacteria and exfoliates pores.

BETA CAROTENE – An orange-ish pigment found in certain foods in which the body, when eaten, the body converts beta carotene into antioxidant vitamin A (retinol), which is essential for normal cell growth and turnover, and improves the skin’s tone and texture.

BETA GLUCANS – Powerful humectants (holds water) that soothe, and strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier.

BETA HYDROXY ACID (BHA) – Chemical exfoliant smooths fine lines, One of the most common BHAs, salicylic acid, is found in many acne washes, creams, and peels.

BIOCELLULOSE - A biodegradable sheet-mask material known for its moisture retention and tight fit, which help drive active ingredients into the skin.

BISABOLOL - This floral-scented chamomile extract has been used topically as a moisturizer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial for centuries.

BLACKHEAD - A dark skin blemish that forms when pores are blocked by dead cells.

BOTOX - A trademarked name for one of the forms of botulinum toxin used in injections to reduce the appearance of wrinkles

BROAD SPECTRUM - A term for sunscreens regarding both UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) proven to protect against sun damage.

BROMELAIN - An anti-inflammatory enzyme from the stem or fruit of pineapples, minimizes bruising and swelling.

BUTYLENE GLYCOL – An ingredient commonly found in makeup removers as a solvent thinning formula to help glide on more easily.


CAFFEINE - When used topically in creams and serums constricts blood vessels, reducing redness and puffiness.

CANNABIDIOL (CBD) - In creams or serums, extracted from cannabis sativa plant is an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and moisturizer.

CARNITINE - it's anti-inflammatory which may temporarily reduce puffiness.

CARNOSINE - This naturally occurring amino -acid helps to reduce inflammation, glycation, and free-radical activity.

CASEIN - A protein found in mammalian milk that may contribute to acne in certain people.

CC CREAM - CC stands for “color correcting”. Provides coverage, hydration, and a multitude of other skincare benefits. CC creams typically have a more lightweight texture, offer fuller coverage, and are formulated with anti-aging ingredients including SPF.

CERAMIDES – Reinforces the skin's protective barrier. Ceramides are used in skincare to help the skin retain water and improve the barrier function of the skin. The healthy barrier function ceramides create also minimizes visible fine lines and keep the skin supple and firm.

CETYL/STEARYL ALCOHOL - Fatty alcohols that stabilize creams and cleansers and create a silky feeling.

CHAMOMILE EXTRACT - A popular ingredient in cleansers and creams for sensitive skin, this moisturizing botanical is known for calming inflammation while combating free-radical damage.

CITRIC ACID - Found in fruits, an antioxidant alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) is used in peels, masks, and washes, to brighten and exfoliate, encouraging new collagen formation.

CLEAR + BRILLIANT Clear + Brilliant® treats fine lines, the appearance of pores, skin tone, and texture. This gentle fractional laser creates microscopic holes in the skin, leaving surrounding areas untouched, triggers the body’s natural healing process for new collagen growth, and promotes cell turnover for a more even tone.

COCOA BUTTER - Comes from the cacao bean seeds, when roasted and pressed the vegetable fat (butter) is extracted. Antioxidant, moisturizer, good for stretch marks and scars.

COENZYME Q10 (UBIQUINONE) - This antioxidant in the skin declines with age and sun damage. CoQ10 is added creams and gels to preserve skin-cell function and improve skin texture.

COLLAGEN - This protein is 80 percent of the skin, and its fibers give skin its firmness and strength. Collagen naturally breaks down with aging, but certain ingredients such as retinol and peptides and Matrixyl, stimulate new collagen production.

COMBINATION SKIN - Having 2 different skin types -Normal to dry areas on the face, yet oilier in the T-Zone. It is a common skin type, and many products are formulated with that in mind.

COMEDONE - A broad term for clogging pores and causing blockages when the sebum can't drain. Noncomedogenic is a term pertaining to skincare products formulated to not clog pores.

COPPER PEPTIDES - Found in many formulas, these amino acids help to heal skin irritation, wounds and promote new collagen formation.

CoQ10 (Ubiquinone) - CoQ10 in skincare protects lipids and proteins from oxidation and increases the effectiveness of other antioxidants.

CYSTIC ACNE - A severe acne when bacteria lodges deep inside a pore, creating a tender, pus-filled bump that sometimes ruptures the pore wall.


DERMA ROLLER - improves pigmentation issues, as well as, fine lines, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation by causing micro-injury thereby triggering the skin to heal.

DIFFERIN GEL - An OTC brand that contains retinoid adapalene 0.1 percent, normalizes cell turnover to minimize pore-clogging and fights inflammation.

DIHYDROXYACETONE (DHA) - A natural carbohydrate, DHA is the active ingredient in most sunless tanners.

DIMETHICONE - A slippery form of silicone that hydrates and protects the skin; often found in oil-free moisturizers.

DMAE - dimethylaminoethanol found in sardines and small fish, oral and topical forms claim to protect skin-cell membranes from free-radical damage, while firming, smoothing and brightening the complexion.

DNA REPAIR ENZYMES – Known to correct sun damage causing wrinkles, brown spots, and skin cancer, in clinical trials, 68% reduction in the development of precancerous lesions, and 30% fewer basal cell carcinomas.

DOUBLE CLEANSE – A Korean routine of using a cleansing oil then a water-based face wash to thoroughly dissolve dirt, make-up, and pollutants and pollutants.

DYSPORT - Like Botox, another injectable form of botulinum toxin that combats wrinkles by paralyzing underlying muscles. (Dysport works better on me!)


ECZEMA - atopic dermatitis of itchy, red, scaly patches that often show up on the inner elbows, behind the knees, and around the neck and eyes.— and may flare with exposure to harsh soaps, fragrances, and foods that provoke an allergic response.

ELASTIN – As in elasticity, stretchy proteins that allow the skin to snap back into place, elastin is particularly vulnerable to sun damage.

EMOLLIENT – A popular term and ingredient that increases water in the skin. A moisturizer.

ENZYMES - Dissolve surface skin cells for better product absorption and at the same time enhance skin compatibility. Enzymatic exfoliation is a favorite method for fresh, glowing, skin. Look for the 'Three P's': Papaya, Pineapple, and Pumpkin, which are frequently used in skincare.

ESSENCE - A Korean skincare term of concentrated formulas used after cleansing to boost hydration and prepare the skin for adding skincare products.

ETWO LASER - This non-ablative device offers both infrared light and radiofrequency (RF). For fading wrinkles, fine lines, and acne scars to even tone.

EXILIS - By directing radio-frequency heat one to three centimeters under the skin, this device claims to tighten and contour the arms, legs, abdomen, jawline, and regions around the eyes.


FERULIC ACID - A plant-derived antioxidant that reduces sun damage and helps stabilize vitamins C and E in skincare products.

FEVERFEW - A plant extract, it reduces redness, fights free radicals, and calms inflammation.

FIBROBLASTS - in connective tissue in the dermis, these cells produce the collagen and elastin responsible for keeping skin pliant and supple. Topical retinoids increase collagen production in fibroblasts.

FILLER - Also known as injectables made from FDA-approved hyaluronic acid or to restore fullness to the face. They are used to plump lips, minimize wrinkles and scars, smooth eye hollows, and contour cheeks jawlines.

FRACTIONAL LASER - less downtime than CO2 lasers, fractional devices produce small columns of thermal injury to the skin, which, upon healing, promote improvements in skin tone.

FRAGRANCE - The generic term for natural and/or synthetic scent products. Typically not tolerated well by sensitive skin types.

FREE RADICALS - molecules created in the body by sunlight, cigarette smoke, and pollution that damage cells that then may lead to roughness, sagging, and wrinkling.

FRUIT ENZYMES - a mild form of exfoliation.


GENISTEIN - A phytoestrogen, or plant hormone, found in soybeans. In skincare, it’s known for its skin-brightening and antioxidant effects.

GLABRIDIN - found in the root extract of licorice, a skin brightening antioxidant that inhibits pigmentation production.

GLUCOSAMINE - Found throughout the human body, the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory ingredient has long been used as an oral supplement to relieve arthritis. Research shows that topical application may reduce hyperpigmentation and boost hyaluronic acid production, smoothing fine lines and wrinkles.

GLYCATION - A process in aging skin that results in free-radical damage and inflammation. Weakens collagen and elastin fibers responsible for keeping skin smooth and supple.

GLYCERIN - It's a humectant (think humidity) and a friend to the skin pulling moisture from the atmosphere to hydrate skin. Commonly used in moisturizers and works well as a conducting gel for micro-current devices.

GLYCOLIC ACID - An AHA, alpha hydroxy aiding in exfoliation and improving skin texture.

GLYCYRRHIZA GLABRA - Licorice. Licorice root extract targets pigment problems and it’s also used as a skin-soothing ingredient.

GOJI EXTRACT - Derived from a small fruit native to Asia, it's rich in zinc, fatty acid, and antioxidants. Taken orally or applied topically, the ingredient claims to slow the signs of aging and fend off environmental damage to the skin, though there have been no large clinical studies on humans.

GRAPE-SEED OIL - This hydrating ingredient's high fatty acid and antioxidant content makes it a popular addition to moisturizers, wrinkle creams, and hair-care products.

GREEN TEA - (Camellia) Green tea leaves are a potent antioxidant that quiets inflammation.

GROWTH FACTORS (GF) - Produced by stem cells in the body relevant to cell growth. Helps to rejuvenate skin, stimulates collagen and elastin, and improves glow.

GUARANA – a caffeine-packed seed extract smooths the skin by increasing blood flow.


HEMP SEED OIL - from the seeds of hemp plants, a moisturizer with vitamins, minerals, and anti-inflammatory acids.

HYALURONIC ACID - A sugar molecule that stops water loss. It can hold 1000x its weight in water and is used in many creams and serums.

HYDROLYZED COLLAGEN - Found in supplements and drinks aiming to plump and hydrate the skin.

HYDROXYPINACOLONE RETINOATE - A wrinkle-fighting form of vitamin A shown to be less irritating and more stable than traditional retinol.

HUMECTANTS - A group of moisturizing ingredients that pull water from the atmosphere into the top layer of the skin. (Think of humidity!)

HYDROQUINONE - Up to 2% OTC or 4% in prescriptions inhibits pigment production to lighten dark spots.

HYPERPIGMENTATION - Often triggered by the sun or hormonal changes creation of darker spots, melasma patches.


INJECTABLE – Injected fillers and fat dissolvers.

(IPL) INTENSE PULSED LIGHT - A machine that emits wavelengths of light to remove hair or acne, dark spots, wrinkles, spider veins. Not a laser.

ISOLAZ - for mild to moderate acne, vacuum suction and light to extract dirt from pores prior to skin treatments.


JELLY or GELÉE - A non-drip gel consistency.

JESSNER'S PEEL - A solution of 3 peeling agents: resorcinol, lactic acid and salicylic acid to remove dead skin cells to improve acne, dark spots and melasma.

JOJOBA OIL – A skin-similar oil, excellent hydrating moisturizer.

JUVÉDERM - The trademarked name of a hyaluronic gel that is injected into wrinkles to restore lost volume.


K-BEAUTY – Refers to the Korean skincare industry, essences, sheet masks, cushion compacts, double-cleansing and multiple stepped skincare routines, and trends (glass skin) that emphasize glowing skin.

KAOLIN - A claylike mineral that absorbs oil and stamps down shine.

KINETIN - A hydrating compound encourages cell division, known to reduce wrinkling

KERATOSIS PILARIS – Those red bumps on the legs and backs of arms when hair follicles join to form a plug, preventing them from being whisked away through routine exfoliation. May be improved with lactic acid creams or scrubs.

KOJIC ACID – A skin lightener, brightener hailed from Japan skincare, proven to block new melanin production.

KYBELLA ACID - An injectable to dissolve fat under the chin.


LACTIC ACID - A type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA; see above) derived from milk, fruit, or vegetable sources. Lactic acid is a commonly used chemical exfoliant (see above).

LANOLIN - A waxy substance secreted by sheep, this fatty ingredient is highly moisturizing

LAMINARIA SACCHARINA - A type of sea algae that diminishes oil and soothes skin.

LASER - Intense, concentrated beams of various colors of light used to treat a variety of skin problems, including dark spots, spider veins, wrinkles, and unwanted hair or tattoos.

LASER GENESIS - This no-downtime treatment delivers pulses of heat just below the epidermis, stimulating collagen production, reducing wrinkles, and minimizing redness.

LED - Light-emitting diode devices give off a narrow range of a specific wavelength of light. Blue light kills the bacteria known to cause acne. Red light boosts blood flow and collagen production.

LICOCHALCONE - A molecule in licorice-root, soothes inflammation, helps control the production of oil in the skin, helpful for acne and redness.

LIPIDS - Organic compounds (meaning they contain carbon) found all over your body. They occur both on the top of your skin (as sebum) and within the stratum corneum (as ceramides, cholesterol, and fatty acids).

LOTION - Lighter with more water content and less oil. Creams are heavier, with more oil content.

LYCOPENE - A red pigment as in tomatoes, watermelon, the antioxidant helps protect from sun damage when applied topically.


MANUKA HONEY - seals moisture into the skin, also known as an antibacterial and antifungal agent.

MARULA OIL -Made African marula tree fruit, fast-absorbing oil boasts essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and flavonoids.

MATRIXYL 3000 - A patented peptide complex shown to stimulate collagen production and reduce the look of fine lines when used consistently over time.

MELANIN: The pigment that gives skin its color, created by cells called melanocytes.

MELASMA: A skin condition that causes grayish or brown patches of skin, primarily on the face. It’s often triggered by hormonal changes, including pregnancy, which is why melasma is sometimes called the “mask of pregnancy.”

MICELLAR WATER: Used as a cleanser, micellar water is made up of micelles (spherical clusters of surfactants) and water. Rather than washing it off like a typical cleanser, micellar water is usually wiped on with a cotton round, which also wipes off dirt and excess oil, and then left to dry before continuing with the rest of your skin-care routine.

MEXORYL SX - A sunscreen ingredient effective as a chemical filter for protecting the skin from UV-A light.

MICRODERMABRASION - Treatment exfoliates the top layer of dead skin cells with a wand that sprays on and then vacuums off extremely fine aluminum-oxide crystals. A newer form of technology uses a vibrating diamond tip.

MICRONEEDLING - A cosmetic procedure during which a device with tiny needles pierces the skin (causing micro-injury) to incite the body's natural healing response, resulting in increased cell turnover and collagen production to improve skin tone and texture.

MMPI.20 - An ingredient used in luxury brand skincare products, known to inhibit the production of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP), enzymes that increase the breakdown of collagen and lead to skin damage.

MURUMURU BUTTER - Made from murumuru nuts Amazon palm trees. Rich in omega 3, 9, and vitamins A, E, and C. Anti-inflammatory, moisturizer, not recommended for acne-prone skin.


NIACINAMIDE - A form of vitamin B3 (niacin) that when applied topically helps with managing acne, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles.

NON-COMEDOENIC - A skin-care ingredient doesn't clog pores. (see Comedone).

NUFACE - An at-home handheld device that delivers microcurrents to your face to stimulate facial muscles in order to encourage tightening, brighter skin tone, reduce wrinkles, and give a lifted appearance.


OCTOCRYLENE - A sunscreen ingredient with only limited protection against UVA and UVB rays on its own.

OCCLUSIVE - Sometimes referred to as used slugging in skincare, meaning a thick moisturizing ingredient, such as vaseline and Aquaphor that blocks the evaporation of water from the skin's surface and notably serums, seals the skin.

OILY SKIN - Being oily all over; pores are more visible and consistently over-produce oil leading to blackheads, whiteheads, and blemishes. Fine lines and wrinkles are less likely to appear until the skin progresses to a Combination skin type with age.


Abundant in herring, mackerel, wild salmon, walnuts, flaxseed, and olive oil, essential fatty acids maintain the function of cell membranes throughout the body. In skin care, this means more supple, hydrated skin.


PANTHENOL - A B-vitamin that moisturizes and strengthens both skin and hair.

PANTOTHENIC ACID -Vitamin B5 strengthens the skin’s barrier to stop water loss.

PAPAIN - Enzyme from papaya used as a gentle exfoliant in some serums, cleansers, masks, peels.

PARABENS - A preservative used in some skincare products that can be irritating to sensitive skin types.

PEPTIDES - Tiny amino acids that act as building blocks of proteins like collagen, elastin, and keratin, the foundations of skin and are responsible for its texture, strength, and resilience.

PETROLATUM - petroleum jelly. A thick, sticky gel-like substance that forms a barrier on the skin that locks in moisture. Use it to promote healing and treat chapped lips and flaky eyelids.

pH balance - A measure of acidity or alkalinity (0-14). Water is a neutral pH of 7. A healthy skin barrier has an acidic pH of 4.5 to 5.5. pH-balanced skincare products generally fall on the slightly acidic side of neutral.

PSORIASIS - A skin condition when the normal life-cycle of skin cells speeds up, which most commonly results in a thick, scaly buildup of what is called plaques on the skin's surface.

PHYTONUTRIENTS - or phytochemicals help prevent inflammation and free radicals.

PLANT STEM CELLS - Plant stem cells may promote the production of new collagen, which can also make your skin appear more youthful. When part of a living plant, cells have the ability to divide and stimulate growth within that plant. There is still ongoing research about the regenerating effects on human skin when plant stem cells are applied topically.

PRP, PLATELET-RICH PLASMA - A portion of one's own blood that's rich in growth factors. After drawing blood from a patient's arm, and spinning it down in a centrifuge (best if twice spun) to isolate the PRP, doctors inject it topically into the skin to cell turnover and collagen renewal.

PROPOLIS - Used for many eons to heal wounds, this honeybee-made resin has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits, a soothing antioxidant.

PYCNOGENOL - An antioxidant derived from the bark of the French Maritime pine tree.


RADIOFREQUENCY (RF) - Non-surgically procedure to tighten skin, RF energy heats the deeper layers of tissue (leaving the surface intact) to spur new collagen and elastin growth for firmer, thicker skin. tightening skin, as mentioned earlier, but also restoring contours to create toned, firm, youthful-looking skin. This firming action makes RF especially well-suited to the chin, neck, and jawline.

RESTYLANE - Filler made from hyaluronic acid that doctors use to replace lost volume in the skin; it is especially effective for plumping the lips.

RESVERATROL - An antioxidant from grapes, neutralizes free radicals to protect skin cells.

RETIN-A - A prescription medication to treat acne and anti-aging cream. Retin-A is a brand name for the generic drug called Tretinoin. Retin-A fights aging skin by speeding up exfoliation, repairing skin on a molecular level, and boosting collagen production. It helps soften fine lines, fade some dark spots/discolorations, and leave your complexion looking brighter and smoother.

RETINOID/S - A group category to describe vitamin A products and derivatives used in skincare. A product is a retinoid if it has Retin-A or Retinol in it.

RETINOL - Retinol is derived from vitamin A and Alpha Hydroxyl Acid. Retinol helps soften fine lines and brighten the skin, fighting products to stimulate the turnover of skin cells and increase collagen production. It doesn’t work as quickly or deeply as prescription retinoids because it is not as strong. Retinol is sold over-the-counter (OTC) in skincare products. The maximum amount allowed in over-the-counter products is typically about 1%. Retinyl palmitate and retinaldehyde are weaker, less-irritating forms of retinol.

RHAMNOSE - A plant-derived sugar molecule acts as a messenger to help stimulate cellular activity in the skin, to rev-up collagen and elastin production, which thickens the skin’s foundation and combats crepiness, wrinkles, and fine lines.

ROSACEA - A common skin condition with symptoms of persistent redness on the face, easy flushing, broken blood vessels, and pimples on the nose and cheeks primarily. The cause is unknown and there is no cure, although products to manage it. Good to avoid the heat, sun, spicy foods, and alcohol.


SALICYLIC ACID (BHA) - derived from willow bark. Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid. It's well-known for reducing acne by exfoliating the skin and keeping pores clear. It's used in nonprescription cleansers, moisturizers in concentrations of 0.5% - 2%. When it's absorbed SA dissolves skin grime that clogs pores, is an anti-inflammatory for acne.

SEBUM - The oil on the top of your skin is composed of lipids, particularly wax esters, triglycerides, and squalene. Some people naturally produce more sebum than others, giving them oilier skin. Sebum can also contribute to the development of acne.

SERUM - A skincare product (usually in a dropper) that contains high concentrations of active ingredients (like hyaluronic acid, peptides, vitamin C) and claims superior penetration of the skin's surface when applied due to being more easily absorbed than a heavy lotion or cream.

SENSITIVE SKIN - A general term if someone's skin is easily irritated by various ingredients or fragrances.

SHEA BUTTER - Derived from African shea tree nuts, rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins A and E, great for hydrating. moisturizing and protecting the skin barrier.

SHEET MASKS - Made from paper, cotton, lace, plant fiber, or hydrogel, and formulated with skincare ingredients and shaped to lay on your face delivering moisture and luminosity in a 20-minute session.

SPF - A measure of the amount of added protection a particular product provides against the sun’s rays. It’s important to note, however, that SPF is not an indication of the time it will take you to burn (SPF 50 needs to be applied just as frequently as SPF 30, for instance), and the SPF value of sunscreen only takes into account its UVB protection.

SQUALENE / SQUALENE- Squalane is a moisturizing oil that is like sebum, the oil on the top of your skin. In skincare products, it can be derived from olives, rice bran, wheat germ, sugarcane, or palm trees. Squalene and squalane are used in skincare products as emollient and antioxidant. Using squalane in a product can reduce wrinkles, eliminate scars, reverse UV damage, lighten freckles and pigmentation.

STRATUM CORNEUM - Also referred to as the Skin Barrier. The outermost layer of your skin. It keeps hydration in and irritants and allergens out.

SULFATES - Ingredients commonly found in cleansers that make a lather. They can be harsh and strip the facial skin versus clean the skin resulting in dry or irritated skin.


TCA (TRICHLOROACETIC ACID) - A key ingredient in chemical peels used to treat sun damage and hyperpigmentation. When applied to the skin, TCA peels exfoliate the top layer of skin over the course of several days, exposing a smoother and more attractive new layer of skin underneath by shedding the outer layer. TCA peels are generally light to medium strength, with the former requiring a series of 2-3 for better results, and typically one session needs a week of downtime to peel.

TONER - A type of skincare product typically made to help balance the skin’s pH. More and more, toners are made with active ingredients like chemical exfoliators or antioxidants.

THERMAGE - A trademarked device that uses radio-wave technology and heat technology to penetrate deeper layers of the skin and stimulate the formation of new collagen to firm and tighten skin. Thermage is thought to be beneficial for saggy skin and turkey neck.


A mineral in sunscreens that shields the skin from UVA and UVB rays.

TRANEXAMIC ACID - A synthetic amino acid from lysine. Both topical and oral forms are used to treat melasma and pigmentation.


UV-A RAYS - The kind of ultraviolet light that leads to aged skin by destroying collagen and elastin. These UV-A causes skin cancer, and they are also generated in tanning beds.

UV-B RAYS - The kind of ultraviolet light that leads to darker pigmentation like tanning, freckles, and age spots. They are stronger in the summer.


VAMPIRE FACIAL - An in-office procedure of combining microdermabrasion or micro-needling with PRP, is a cosmetic procedure that involves drawing blood from your arm, separating platelets, and applying them back onto your face. The procedure has many benefits, including younger-looking skin and encouraging cell turnover and collagen growth.

VBEAM - A pulsed-dye laser used to treat vascular issues, like broken capillaries, rosacea, bruises. Safe for all skin types.

VITAMIN C - Important for collagen production. When it’s applied topically, it can function as an antioxidant thus preventing UV-related damage. It also inhibits pigment in the skin, making it a serum for lightening dark spots.

VITAMIN D - is used in skincare to enhance firmness and to smooth skin texture.

VITAMIN E (TOCOPHEROL) - A moisturizing antioxidant that protects against free-radical damage.

VITAMIN K - is used in skincare to reduce visible redness and in eye treatments to address the appearance of dark circles.


WATER - Deionized, distilled, or purified, it's often used as a vehicle to deliver other ingredients into the skin.

WITCH HAZEL - Frequently in toners, to have a soothing effect and anti-redness benefits.


XEOMIN - A neurotoxin, like Botox and Dysport, to block muscle contractions that cause wrinkles.


ZIIP - The at-home device uses both Nanocurrent and Microcurrent to tighten, tone, define, lift and sculpt skin, contouring the face while giving it a glowing boost. It's painless. ZIIP has pioneered the use of nanocurrent, which are tiny electrical currents that are in sync with the human body.

ZINC OXIDE - A mineral in sunscreen that prevents UVA and UVB light from causing skin damage.

(a work in progress, constantly being updated with the times!)

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