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Skincare Ingredients: What are they & what do they do?

Ever wonder what a certain ingredient, antioxident, peptide or {whatever that word is} does for your skin?  Here is your complete skincare ingredient guide to help answer your ingredient questions. 

 

Acacia farnesiana extract
A fragrant extract from a type of acacia tree. Typically used in perfumes.

Acacia senegal
Herb that can have anti-inflammatory properties, but that is used primarily as a thickening agent.

Accutane
Generic name: isotretinoin. A prescription-only drug derived from vitamin A, and which is taken orally. It essentially stops the oil production in sebaceous glands (the oil-producing structures of the skin) and literally shrinks these glands to the size of a baby's. This prevents sebum (oil) from clogging the hair follicle, mixing with dead skin cells, and rupturing the follicle wall to create an environment where a bacterium (Propionibacterium acnes) can thrive, which can result in pimples or cysts. Normal oil production resumes when treatment is completed, and the sebaceous glands slowly begin to grow larger again, but rarely as large as they were before treatment. "Because of its relatively rapid onset of action and its high efficacy with reducing more than 90% of the most severe [acne] inflammatory lesions, Accutane has a role as an effective treatment in patients with severe acne that is recalcitrant to other therapies". However, Accutane is controversial for many reasons, principally because of its most insidious side effect: It has been proven to cause severe birth defects in nearly 90% of the babies born to women who were pregnant while taking it. Other commonly reported, although temporary, side effects of Accutane include dry skin and lips, mild nosebleeds (your nose can get really dry for the first few days), hair loss, aches and pains, itching, rash, fragile skin, increased sensitivity to the sun, headaches, and peeling palms and hands. More serious, although much less common, side effects include severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, changes in mood, depression, severe stomach pain, diarrhea, decreased night vision, bowel problems, persistent dryness of eyes, calcium deposits in tendons, an increase in cholesterol levels, and yellowing of the skin.

Acerola fruit extract
An antioxidant that may also have some skin lightening effects.

Acetyl glucosamine
An agent that has good water-binding properties for skin. In large concentrations it can be effective for wound healing. Some studies indicate that acetyl glucosamine used topically helps reduce visible fine lines and wrinkles.

Acetyl glyceryl ricinoleate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Acetyl hexapeptide-3
Also known as Argireline, acetyl hexapeptide-3 is a synthetic anti-wrinkle cosmetics ingredient. Commonly found in products marketed as "Botox alternatives." Acetyl hexapeptide-3 inhibits the reactions that cause muscles to move or contract. This helps reduce deep wrinkles and lines on the forehead and around the eyes.

Acetylated castor oil
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Acetylated hydrogenated cottonseed glyceride
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Acetylated lanolin
Emollient derived from lanolin.

Acetylated palm kernel glycerides
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Acid
The word "acid" comes from the Latin acidus, meaning "sour." All acids are sour to some degree. Acidity is found in many natural ingredients such as wine (tartaric acid), lemon juice (citric acid), sour-milk products (lactic acid), and apples (malic acid). When used in skin care products, acids-such as wine and lemon juice-are natural exfoliants because they break down the cements that hold dead skin cells on the surface of the skin.  Acids have a pH lower than 7. Water has a pH of 7. Human skin has an average pH of 5.5. This acidity is part of our skin's natural protection from harmful bacteria.

Active ingredient
The active ingredients list is the part of an ingredient label that must adhere to specific regulations mandated by the FDA. Active ingredients must be listed first on an ingredient label. The amount and exact function of each active ingredient is controlled and must be approved by the FDA. Active ingredients are considered to have a pharmacological altering effect on skin, and these effects must be documented by scientific evaluation and approved by the FDA. Active ingredients include such substances as sunscreen ingredients, skin-lightening agents, and benzoyl peroxide.

Adenine
A component of DNA that carries genetic information to the cell.

Age spot
There is no such thing as an "age spot." The skin can develop brown patches for many reasons, but the characteristic small ones on the hands, arms, and face are caused by sun damage. These are possibly indications of pre-cancerous conditions and should be watched carefully for changes.

AHA
Acronym for Alpha Hydroxy Acid. AHAs are derived from various plant sources or from milk. However, 99% of the AHAs used in cosmetics are synthetically derived. In low concentrations (less than 3%) AHAs work as water-binding agents. At concentrations over 4% and in a base with an acid pH of 3 to 4, these can exfoliate skin cells by breaking down the substance in skin that holds skin cells together. The most effective and well-researched AHAs are glycolic acid and lactic acid. Malic acid, citric acid, and tartaric acid may also be effective but are considered less stable and less skin-friendly; there is little research showing them to have benefit for skin. AHAs may irritate mucous membranes and cause irritation. However, AHAs have been widely used for therapy of photodamaged skin, and also have been reported to normalize hyperkeratinization (over-thickened skin) and to increase viable epidermal thickness and dermal glycosaminoglycan content. A vast amount of research has substantially described how the aging process affects the skin and has demonstrated that many of the unwanted changes can be improved by topical application of AHAs, including glycolic and lactic acid.

Alfalfa extract
Can be an antioxidant in skin care products.

Algae Extract
Firming properties, anti-inflammatory properties

All-trans retinoic acid
Active ingredient in Retin-A and Renova.

Allantion
Soothes and softens while rejuvenating skin.

Allantoin
By-product of uric acid extracted from urea and considered an effective anti-irritant.

Almond oil
Oil extracted from the seeds of almonds and used as an emollient.

Almond oil PEG-6 esters
Used as emollient and thickening agents in cosmetics.

Aloe vera gel
For centuries, the gel of the aloe vera plant has been used as a soothing topical remedy for minor burns and wounds. It continues to be popular for treating sunburns and other first-degree burns because it appears to speed healing. In addition, aloe vera gel is used to treat minor surface irritations, to reduce psoriasis symptoms, to lessen the painful effects of shingles, and to shrink warts. It even has a reputation as a beauty aid.

Alpha Arbutin
Alpha-Arbutin is a pure, water-soluble, biosynthetic active ingredient that promotes lightening and even skin tone on all skin types. Even in very low concentration, a-arbutin can inhibit the activity of tyrosinase. Alpha Arbutin's inhibitory mechanism is different from that of arbutin and its intensity is 10 times as much as that of arbutin.  A-Arbutin offers higher stability and efficancy than the B form in the related Beta-Arbutin. This leads to a skin lightening active that acts faster and more efficacy than existing single components, minimizes liver spots and reduces the degree of skin tanning after UV exposure. A skin lightening study on 80 Chinese women showed that an emulsion containing 1% Alpha-Arbutin results in a faster and more pronounced skin lightening effect after 1 month when compared with other commonly used mono-substances at 1% ea.

Alpha-glucan oligosaccharide
Used as an emollient and has water-binding properties.

Alpha-hydroxy Acids (AHAs)
Over-the-counter skin care products containing alpha-hydroxy acids (glycolic, lactic, tartaric and citric acids) have become increasingly popular over the last five years. In the U.S. alone, there are over 200 manufacturers of skin care products containing alpha-hydroxy acids. Creams and lotions with alpha-hydroxy acids may help with fine lines, irregular pigmentation and age spots, and may help decrease enlarged pores. Side effects of alpha-hydroxy acids include mild irritation and sun sensitivity. For that reason, sunscreen also should be used every morning. To help avoid skin irritation with alpha-hydroxy acids, it is advisable to start with a product with concentrations of AHA (10-15 percent) Also, make sure you ease into it. You want to get your skin used to alpha-hydroxy acids, so you should only initially apply the skin care product every other day, gradually working up to daily application.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid
You may have heard of alpha-lipoic acid as "the miracle in a jar" for its anti-aging effects. It's a newer, ultra-potent antioxidant that helps fight future skin damage and helps repair past damage. Alpha-lipoic acid has been referred to as a "universal antioxidant" because it's soluble in both water and oil, which permits its entrance to all parts of the cell. Due to this quality, it is believed that alpha-lipoic acid can provide the greatest protection against damaging free radicals when compared with other antioxidants. Alpha-lipoic acid diminishes fine lines, gives skin a healthy glow and boosts levels of other antioxidants, such as vitamin C.

Alumina
Aluminum oxide, used as an abrasive, thickening agent, and absorbent in cosmetics.

Amyl cinnamate
Fragrant component.

Amyl salicylate
Fragrant component.

Amyris oil
A fragrant oil. It has no other known benefit for skin.

Andiroba oil
Extracted from the Brazilian mahogany tree; it has anti-inflammatory properties.

Anti-inflammatory
Any ingredient that reduces certain signs of inflammation, such as swelling, tenderness, pain, irritation, or redness.

Antibacterial
Any ingredient that destroys or inhibits the growth of bacteria, particularly in the case of bacteria that cause blemishes.

Antioxidant
An antioxidant is an agent the prevents or inhibits oxidation. In skin care products antioxidants may protect cells from the damaging effects of oxygen radicals caused by sunlight, and pollution. Any substance that impedes or slows free-radical damage by preventing the oxidative action of molecules is referred to as an "antioxidant." Many vitamins have antioxidant properties, including vitamins A, C, and E, as do amino acids such as methionine, L-cysteine, and L-carnitine; enzymes such as superoxide dismutase and ecatalase; and coenzymes such as alpha lipoic acid and coenzyme Q10. Other antioxidant compounds include glutathione and methylsufonylsulfate.

Apricot kernel
A seed that, especially when finely ground, is a natural exfoliant.

Arachidic acid
Derived from peanut oil and used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Argania Spinosa Kernal Oil
Argania Spinosa Kernal Oil is a plant oil unusually rich in tocopherols. The most well known tocopherol is Vitamin E or alpha-tocopherol. Tocopherols are, next to carotene the most important antioxidants in the human cell and provide protection from the cell destroying free radicals. Argania Spinosa Kernal Oil prevents the skin from drying out and so helps to keep its flexibility by smoothing, softening and revitalizing the skin. The skin aging process resulting from the loss of elasticity is slowed down thus preventing wrinkles.

Arginine
Amino acid that has antioxidant properties and can be helpful for wound healing.

Aromatic Oils
Has an anti-inflammatory effect.

Ascorbic Acid
Form of vitamin C that has antioxidant properties. This is the only form of vitamin C that you should look for in your skin care products. There are many skin care products on the market today that boast vitamin C derivatives as an ingredient (magnesium ascorbyl phosphate or ascorbyl palmitate, for example), but L-ascorbic acid is the only useful form of vitamin C in skin care products. Vitamin C is the only antioxidant that is proven to stimulate the synthesis of collagen as well, which is essential since your body's natural collagen production decreases as you age. Sun exposure will also accelerate the decrease in collagen. Studies have shown that vitamin C helps to minimize fine lines, scars, and wrinkles.

Ascorbyl glucoside
Form of vitamin C combined with glucose. It can function as an antioxidant.

Ascorbyl methylsilanol pectinate
Form of vitamin C that is considered stable and functions as an antioxidant and thickening agent.

Aspalathus linearis
Also known as the source of Rooibos Tea. It provides relief for skin problems like eczema, skin rash and acne. It also contains antioxidants which may protect against free radical damage. Recent research has shown that this tea contains a substance similar to superoxide dismutase, an antioxidant compound that is thought to retard the aging process.

Astaxanthin
Astaxanthin is ten times stronger than Beta-Carotene and up to 500 times stronger than vitamin E as an antioxidant.

Avobenzone
Synthetic sunscreen ingredient (also known as Parsol 1789, Eusolex 9020, Escalol 517 and butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane) that can protect against the sun's UVA rays. Avobenzone's ability to absorb ultraviolet light has led to its use in many "broad spectrum" sunscreens. Avobenzone has an absorption maximum of 357 nm. Avobenzone has been shown to degrade significantly in light, resulting in less protection over time. Photostabilizers like octocrylene can be used to reduce this degradation.

Avocado oil
Emollient oil similar to other nonfragrant plant oils.

Azulene
Chamomile extract used primarily as a coloring agent in cosmetics. It can have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. See chamomile.

Banana extract
Has some weak antioxidant properties.

Barium sulfate
Earth mineral used as a whitening agent in cosmetics. It can be a skin irritant.

Batyl alcohol
Derived from glycerin and used as a stabilizing ingredient and skin conditioning agent.

Bay leaf oil
Can be a potent antioxidant. However, it can also be a potent skin irritant due to its fragrant component.

Behenic acid
Fatty acid used as a thickening agent and surfactant.

Behentrimonium chloride
An antistatic and hair-conditioning agent.

Behenyl alcohol
A thickening agent used in cosmetics. It is not related to irritating forms of alcohol.

Bentonite
Clay like material used as an absorbent in cosmetics. It can be drying for skin.

Benzocaine
A topical anesthetic.

Benzoyl peroxide
Considered the most effective over-the-counter choice for a topical antibacterial agent in the treatment of blemishes. The amount of research demonstrating the effectiveness of benzoyl peroxide is exhaustive and conclusive. Among benzoyl peroxide's attributes is its ability to penetrate into the hair follicle to reach the bacteria that are causing the problem, and then killing them with a low risk of irritation. It also doesn't pose the problem of bacterial resistance that some prescription topical antibacterials (antibiotics) do. Benzoyl peroxide solutions range in strength from 2.5% to 10%. It is best to start with less-potent concentrations, because a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide product is much less irritating than a 5% or 10% concentration, and it can be just as effective. The necessary concentration completely depends on how stubborn the strain of bacteria in your pores happens to be.

Beta Hydroxy Acids
In cosmetics, the term beta hydroxy acid refers specifically to salicylic acid, which is used in some "anti-aging" creams and acne treatments.

Beta hydroxy acid works mainly as an exfoliant. It causes the cells of the epidermis to become "unglued" allowing the dead skin cells to slough off, making room for regrowth of new skin.  Unlike water-soluble alpha hydroxy acids, beta hydroxy acid is lipid (oil) soluble. This means that beta hydroxy acid is able to penetrate deeper into the pore, which contains sebum, and exfoliate the dead skin cells that are built up inside the pore. Because of this beta hydroxy acid often used ti treat oily, acne prone skin.

Beta Sitosterol
Supporters of beta sitosterol claim immune benefits, allergy relief, anti-inflammatory and pain relief benefits. Beta sitosterol is also commonly used in hair loss prevention products as a DHT blocker.

Biotin
Biotin is necessary for cell growth, the production of fatty acids, and the metabolism of fats and amino acids. Biotin is often recommended for strengthening hair and nails. As a consequence, it is found in many cosmetics and health products for the hair and skin, though it cannot be absorbed through the hair or skin itself.

Birch bark (betula alba) extract
Derived from the white birch plant. It can have potent antioxidant properties, but it can also have astringent properties, which makes it a potential irritant for skin if it is one of the main ingredients in a product.

Bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Bisabolol
Can be extracted from chamomile or derived synthetically. It is an anti-irritant.

Bismuth oxychloride
A naturally occurring, grayish-white powder used as a skin protectant, thickener, and absorbent agent. Permanently listed by the FDA as a coloring agent since 1977.

Black Cohosh
Helps stop hormone-related loss of hair in both men and women and even brings a modest thickening of growth.

Black elderberry
Has potent antioxidant properties.

Black locust extract
A plant extract that can have antioxidant properties, though it may have toxic components as well.

Black raspberry
A fruit that has potent antioxidant properties.

Blackberry
Berries that have potent antioxidant properties.

Bladderwrack extract
Derived from a seaweed; it can be an effective antioxidant and has water-binding properties for skin.

Bloodroot
A potent skin irritant.

Bloodwort
Also known as yarrow.

Bois oil
Fragrant oil that has no research showing it to have benefit for skin.

Borage Oil
A hair conditioner and should be reserved for damaged and over-processed hair.

Borage seed extract
From the plant Borago officinalis. Can have anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Borage seed oil
Contains gamma linolenic acid.

Borax
Also known as sodium borate decahydrate, is a mineral composed of sodium, boron, oxygen, and water. It has fungicide, preservative, insecticide, herbicide, and disinfectant properties. Borax functions as a bleaching agent by converting some water molecules to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which generates free-radical damage and is a problem for skin. The pH of borax is about 9 to 11 and it can therefore be a significant skin irritant when used in cosmetics.

Boron nitride
A synthetic, inorganic powder. It has absorbent properties in cosmetics similar to organic powders such as talc.

Boxwood extract
Can have constricting properties, which makes it a skin irritant.

Boysenberry
Berry that can have potent antioxidant properties .

Broad spectrum
Meant to refer to a sunscreen's ability to protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays from the sun. This term is not regulated by the FDA, so a cosmetic company can make this claim about a product even when it does not actually provide adequate broad-spectrum protection.

Bromelain
Enzyme found in pineapple. Theoretically bromelain breaks down the connecting structure that holds surface skin cells together, which causes exfoliation, but it can also cause irritation.

Bronopol
Technical name 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol, a formaldehyde-releasing preservative.

Brown Algae
Act as stimulants, promote cellular-level exchanges, tone tissue and have an anti-aging effect. By restoring balance they reinforce our natural defenses. In addition to re-mineralising, promoting blood circulation, firming and slimming, algae are endowed with anti-infection and anti-rheumatic power.

Bupleurum falcatum extract
A plant used in Chinese medicine for a variety of ailments ranging from the common cold to liver problems. Some research has shown this extract to have anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Whether or not these benefits can be delivered to skin in a lotion or cream is unknown.

Burdock root
A small amount of research shows this plant it to be effective as an anti-inflammatory agent and antioxidant .

Butylated hydroxyanisole (bha)
Abbreviation for butylated hydroxyanisole, a potent, synthetic antioxidant. The abbreviation BHA should not be confused with beta hydroxy acid (salicylic acid), which is an exfoliant. Salicylic acid is abbreviated in discussions as BHA, but it would never be shown that way on a cosmetic ingredient list.

Butylated hydroxytoluene (bht)
A lipophilic (fat-soluble) organic compound that is primarily used as an antioxidant additive in cosmetics.

Butyrospermum fruit
Fruit from the karite tree, scientific name Butyrospermum parkii, used to obtain the fat that makes shea butter.

C10-18 triglycerides
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

C12-15 alkyl benzoate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

C12-18 acid triglyceride
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

C18-36 acid triglyceride
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Cabbage rose extract
Highly fragrant substance that can be a skin irritant.

Calamine
Preparation of zinc carbonate, colored with ferric oxide (a form of rust). Zinc carbonate is considered a counter-irritant and is used to reduce itching.

Calcium ascorbate
A form of vitamin C. There is very little research concerning its health benefits, either topically or orally, in regard to its antioxidant benefits.

Calcium carbonate
Chalk; used as an absorbent in cosmetics.

Calcium gluconate
Calcium is an essential mineral for the body. A small amount of research shows it to be a good anti-inflammatory and healing agent when applied topically .

Calcium pantetheine sulfonate
A small amount of in vitro research shows this to have melanin-inhibiting properties.

Calcium pantothenate
Also known as pantothenic acid.

Calendula extract
Derived from the plant commonly known as pot marigold this extract may have antibacterial and antioxidant properties for skin.

Camphor
Aromatic substance obtained from the wood of a southeast Asian tree, Cinnamomum camphora, or manufactured synthetically. When applied to the skin it produces a cooling effect and dilates blood vessels, which can cause skin irritation and dermatitis with repeated use .

Cananga extract
Fragrance used in cosmetics; it can be a skin irritant, much like ylang-ylang.

Candelilla wax
Derived from candelilla plants; used as a thickening agent and emollient to give products such as lipsticks or stick foundations their form.

Canola oil
Plant lipid that has barrier-repair and anti-inflammatory properties.La Roche-Posay Active C Eyes Anti-Wrinkle Dermatological Treatment, contains Canola oil

Caprylic/capric triglyceride
Derived from coconut, and considered to be a good emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Capsaicin
Component of capsicum. When used topically, capsaicin can prevent the transmission of pain. It is also a potent topical irritant and can trigger dermatitis.

Capsicum
A large group of plants consisting primarily of the pepper family, including chili peppers and paprika. These are used as counterirritants to relieve muscle aches. Capsicum and substances derived from it can cause allergic reactions or skin irritation and should never be applied to abraded skin .

Capsicum oleoresin
Fatty resin derived from capsicum plants. It can be a skin irritant and should not be applied to abraded skin.

Carnauba wax
A natural, hard wax obtained from the leaves of palm trees. Used primarily as a thickening agent, but can also have film-forming and absorbent properties.

Carnitine
A naturally occurring amino acid, deficiencies of this small but essential component can result in muscle loss and a multitude of other problems. Research abounds for carnitine, especially acetyl-L-carnitine, which is considered to have more bio-availabilty in terms of its effect on aging and brain function.

Carnosic acid
Component of rosemary that is considered a potent antioxidant.

Carnosine
Composed of amino acids, it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Carrot extract
Can have antioxidant properties.

Carrot oil
Emollient plant oil similar to other nonfragrant plant oils.

Catalase
Enzyme that decomposes hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen and that has significant antioxidant properties .

Cedarwood
Fragrant plant extract. There is evidence that cedarwood oil is allergenic and can cause skin irritation.

Cedrus atlantica bark extract
Fragrant oil that can be a skin irritant.

Celandine
Extract from the plant Chelidonium majus that has some amount of research showing it to have anti viral properties.

Centella asiatica
Herb that may appear on labels as asiatic acid, hydrocotyl, or gotu kola. It has antibacterial, anti-psoriatic, and wound-healing properties.

Centipeda cunninghami extract
Derived from an Australian plant commonly known as sneeze weed or old man's weed. It has been used by aborigines for burns, wounds, and skin infections.

Cephalin
A phospholipid.

Cera alba
Beeswax; used as a thickening agent in cosmetics.

Ceramide 1
When topically applied, Phytoceramide I optimizes dermal water retention to effect smoother, glossier and softer skin. It is particularly suitable for treating aged or extra dry skin. This class of ceramides is believed to function as a molecular rivet, cross linking lamellar structures in the barrier layer of the stratum corneum.

Ceramide 3
Ceramide 3 supports the renewal of the skin's natural protective layer and forms an effective barrier against moisture loss. These human-skin-identical barriers are therefore particularly suitable for long term protection and repair of sensitive and dry skin. Ceramide 3 has the same stereo-chemical configuration as the Ceramides present in the human skin. This unique configuration is regarded to be crucial for optimal performance. In hair care formulations Ceramide 3 is able to restore damaged hair and to protect hair against chemical and UV damage.  Ceramide 3 has also been found to inhibit tyrosinase activity in melanocytes. It therefore lends itself well to skin brightening products offering better clarity of skin color tone. Ceramide 3 is typically used in applications such as skin whitening products, eye care products, products for age-spots,and anti-aging products.

Ceramide 6
Efficacy studies have shown Ceramide 6 to have a potent ability to smooth rough skin by the modification of desquamation (removal of dead skin cells). Ceramide 6, supports the renewal of the skin's natural protective layer and forms an effective barrier against moisture loss. These human-skin-identical barriers are particularly suitable for long term protection and repair of sensitive and dry skin. Due to its AHA like structure, Ceramide 6 normalizes the skins natural desquamatory process resulting in a smoother, softer complexion. As a natural skin barrier lipid, it is particularly suited as a mild desquamation agent for sensitive skin products. It rejuvenates dull, rough, and tired skin, and reduces the appearance of fine lines.

Ceresin
Derived from clay, it is a waxy ingredient used as a thickening agent in cosmetics.

Ceteareth-20
Fatty alcohol that is used to thicken cosmetics and keep ingredients mixed together and stable.

Cetearyl alcohol
Fatty alcohol used as an emollient, emulsifier, thickener, and carrying agent for other ingredients. Can be derived naturally, as in coconut fatty alcohol, or synthetically.

Cetyl acetate
A mixture of cetyl alcohol and acetic acid (see both) used as a skin-conditioning agent and emollient.

Cetyl alcohol
Fatty alcohol used as an emollient, emulsifier, thickener, and carrying agent for other ingredients. Can be derived naturally, as in coconut fatty alcohol, or synthetically. It is not an irritant and is not related to SD alcohol or ethyl alcohol.

Cetyl dimethicone
A silicone polymer that functions as skin conditioning agent.

Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1- dimethicone
A silicone that functions as a skin-conditioning agent and emulsifier.

Chamomile
Herb that has research showing it to have anti-irritant, soothing, and antioxidant properties.

Chaste Tree
It helps provide additional nutrients necessary for the healthy scalp.

Chicory extract
Has antioxidant properties and may also have anti-inflammatory properties.

Chitosan
Derived from chitin, a polysaccharide found in the exoskeleton of shellfish such as shrimp, lobster, and crabs. It is used widely in pharmaceuticals as a base in formulations. There is also extensive research showing it can be effective in wound healing, as well as having antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Chlorphenesin
An alcohol used as a preservative in cosmetics.

Cholecalciferol
Technical name for vitamin D.

Cholesterol
A lipid (a type of human or animal fat) used in cosmetics as a stabilizer, an emollient, and a water-binding agent.

Chondrus crispus
Form of red seaweed.

Chromium hydroxide green
An earth mineral used as a coloring agent/additive and permanently listed (as of 1977) by the FDA for use in cosmetic products.

Chrysanthemum extract
Can have anti-inflammatory benefit for skin.

Cichorium intybus
Source of a plant extract with antioxidant properties.

Cinchona succirubra bark extract
It is used topically as an astringent with bactericidal, and anesthetic effect.

Cinnamon
Can have antimicrobial properties and can also be a skin irritant.

Citric acid
Derived from citrus and used primarily to adjust the pH of products to prevent them from being too alkaline.

Citruline
It is known to be effective against acne, pimples, black heads, boils, cysts, dermatitis and other skin problems.

Citrullus colocynthis
Bitter apple; considered a skin irritant.

Citrus aurantium extract
Bitter orange extract. It can have antioxidant properties when eaten, however, used topically its methanol content makes it potentially irritating for skin.

Cobalt gluconate
Element found in trace amounts in tissues of the body. Cobalt plays a vital role in the formation of some body systems. Topically it may act as an antioxidant.

Cocamidopropyl betaine
Considered one of the more gentle surfactants used in skin-care products.

Cocamidopropyl hydroxysultaine
Mild surfactant.

Cocoa butter
Oil extracted from cocoa beans, used as an emollient and with properties similar to those of all non-fragrant plant oils.

Cocoa extract
Can have potent antioxidant properties.

Coconut
Has degreasing and cleansing properties, which is why detergent cleansing agents are frequently derived from coconut oil.

Coffea arabica extract
Coffee arabica is the coffee plant, and there is research showing coffee extract to have antioxidant properties.

Coleus barbatus
Member of the mint family; can be a skin irritant.

Collagen
A major component of skin that gives it structure. In the skin, collagen provides texture, resiliency, and shape. As we age collagen production slows dramatically. This reduction causes wrinkles to appear and become deeper. Sun damage is an external factor that causes collagen in skin to deteriorate. This allows premature aging to occur.  Collagen is derived from animal sources but plant derivatives that act like collagen (pseudo-collagen) are also used. In any form, collagen is a good water-binding agent.

Collagen amino acid
Amino acids hydrolyzed from collagen. These have good water-binding properties for skin.

Collagen Type II (Hyaluronic Acid and Chondroitin Complex)
This Collagen Type II complex has high levels of the anti-aging nutrient Hyaluronic Acid. This powerful and research proven ingredient contains key components like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate which can help support healthy skin and joint function to combat the degenerative effects of aging. It helps improve the appearance of skin, hair, and nails because it naturally contains key beauty amino acids like hydroxyproline.

Colloidal silver
Refers to ground-up silver suspended in solution.

Commiphora wightii extract
Has been shown to have cytotoxic components that may have a toxic effect on skin cells.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid, Water, Lecithin, Glycerin, Polysorbate 80
Conjugated Linoleic Acid, Water, Lecithin, Glycerin, Polysorbate 80 is a complex of plant derived active ingredients that is able to decrease the accumulation of new lipids, at the same time to stimulate the breakdown of lipids in the adipocytes. It is particularly appropriate for body/face contouring products, slimming treatments and anti-cellulite products.

Copper gluconate
Copper is an important trace element for human nutrition. The body needs copper to absorb and utilize iron, and copper is also a component of the powerful antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. The synthesis of collagen and elastin is in part related to the presence of copper in the body, and copper is also important for many other processes. For example, there is research showing that copper is effective for wound healing.

Copper Peptide
Copper peptide is often referred to as the most effective skin regeneration product, even though it's only been on the market since 1997. Here's why: Studies have shown that copper peptide promotes collagen and elastin production, and also acts as an antioxidant. It also promotes production of glycosaminoglycans (think hyaluronic acid, as an example). Studies have also shown that copper-dependent enzymes increase the benefits of the body's natural tissue building processes. The substance helps to firm, smooth, and soften skin, doing it in less time than most other anti-aging skin care products. Clinical studies have found that copper peptides also remove damaged collagen and elastin from the skin and scar tissue because they activate the skin's system responsible for those functions.

Copper sulfate
Chemical effective for topical wound healing.

Coriander
Herb and spice plant, the source of a fragrant component; it can be a potential skin irritant. It may also have some antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Corn glycerides
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Corn oil
Emollient oil with properties similar to those of other nonfragrant plant oils.

Cornflower
Can have anti-inflammatory properties.

Cornmint
Also known as wild mint; it can be a skin irritant.

Costus root
Has anti-inflammatory properties.

Crithmum maritimum
Extract of algae that has weak antioxidant properties.

Curcumin
Potent antioxidant that can be effective in wound healing.

Cyclomethicone
Silicone with a drier finish than dimethicone. Cyclomethicone, Dimethiconol, Octyl Cocoate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Ceramide 3, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterol
Developed to help restore, replenish and restructure lipids within the stratum corneum in order to counter their loss as part of the natural process of aging or as a result of damage caused by washing, stress, environmental aggression or excessive UV exposure. Non-animal in origin; it contains no surfactants to compromise the delivery of these essential lipids to the functional layers of the stratum corneum. When directly applied to the skin, it delivers the lipids to replenish those which have been lost to aging, environmental factors or chemical exposure.

Dandelion extract
Can be a potent allergen.

Daucus carota
Also known as wild carrot. It can have antioxidant properties, but topically it can cause dermatitis.

Decyl glucoside
Used as a gentle detergent cleansing agent.

Dextran
A polysaccharide that has water-binding properties for skin.

Diisostearoyl trimethylolpropane siloxy silicate
A skin conditioning agent in the silicone family.

Dimethicone fluoroalcohol dilinoleic acid
A film-forming agent that has water-binding properties due to its linoleic acid component.

Dimethyl capramide
Functions as a stabilizer and solvent.

Dipentaerythrityl hexacaprylate/hexacaprate
A mixture of fatty acids used as an emollient and thickening agent.

Disodium ascorbyl sulfate
Form of vitamin C.

Disodium cocoamphodiacetate
Mild detergent cleansing agent.

Disodium diglyceryl phosphate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Disodium glyceryl phosphate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Disodium lauraminopropionate
Mild surfactant.

DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol)
If you've heard of fish referred to as brain food, you can thank DMAE. This substance is naturally produced in the brain, but DMAE is also present in anchovies, salmon and sardines, boasting the production of acetylcholine, which is important for proper mental functions. DMAE in skin care products shows remarkable effects when applied topically to skin, resulting in the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles.

Dong Quai
Conditions and nourishes dry hair making it healthy and lively.

Duboisia leichardtii leaf extract
Due to its alkaloid content can be a potent skin irritant.

Echium lycopsis extract
Has a small amount of research showing it to have antibacterial properties.

Echium lycopsis oil
Emollient oil that also has potent antioxidant properties.

Eicosapentaenioc acid
A fatty acid derived from salmon oil; it is a good emollient for skin.

Elderberry
Has potent antioxidant properties.

English ivy extract
Can be a skin irritant due to its stimulant and astringent (skin-constricting) properties.

Ergocalciferol
Technical name for vitamin D.

Ergothioneine
Component of animal tissue that has potent antioxidant properties.

Erucic acid
Fatty acid widely used to produce emollients, especially for skin and healthcare products. Like other fatty acids it also gets converted into surfactants

Erythropoietin (Epo)
Stimulates the growth of cells that carry oxygen throughout the body.

Ethyl macadamiate
A mixture of fatty acids from macadamia nut oil.

Ethyl vanillin
A flavoring agent derived from vanilla. It has antioxidant properties.

Extracts of Chamomile, Calendula, Arnica, Ivy and Grapefruit Oil
Chamomile extract along with the other extracts helps provide relief from wounds, skin rashes, eczema. This combination also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory capabilities.

Extracts of Sea Kelp, Bladderwrack and Spirulina
Extracts of Sea Kelp helps condition the skin and coat while enhancing natural shine. Also helps with Sun UV protection. Bladderwrack helps condition the skin and has Inflammatory balancing effects. Spirulina assists in inhibiting viral replication, strengthen both the cellular and humoral arms of the immune system. Spirulina contains all 8 essential amino acids, organic iron, vitamin B12 and B-complex, beta carotene, antioxidants, chlorophyll and a high concentration of all-vegetable protein (approx. 60%). There are scientifically proven results of increased moisture retention qualities and proven wrinkle reduction.

Extracts of Witch Hazel
Known properties of this herb are antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, astringent, homeostatic, sedative, styptic, and tonic. Topical use of this herb include its application to treat bedsores, bruises, eczema, insect bites, poison ivy or oak and sunburn. This herb has also been used as an after shave, and applied to blemishes & pimples. Native Americans used poultices of Witch Hazel leaves & bark to treat hemorrhoids, wounds, painful tumors, insect bites, and skin ulcers.

False Unicorn
It helps prevent hair from damage and can repair damaged hair thereby helps avoid hair loss.

Fatty alcohols
Made from fatty acids; in cosmetics these are thickening agents and emollients.

Fennel
Helps moisturizing and conditioning the hair and Leaves hair naturally clean and conditioned.

Fennel extract
Can have antioxidant properties, but on skin it can be a skin irritant and photosensitizer.

Fennel seed extract
Can have antioxidant properties, but on skin it can be a skin irritant and photosensitizer.

Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)
Within the body, stimulates growth of the nervous system and bone formation.

Flax
Plant source of linen and edible seeds. Seeds and seed oil have antioxidant properties. Seeds are also a source of linolenic acid.

Flaxseed Oil
The abundant omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil have been shown to contribute to healthy hair growth (in fact, low levels of these acids may cause dry and lackluster locks). Hair problems exacerbated by psoriasis or eczema of the scalp may respond to the skin-revitalizing and anti-inflammatory actions of flaxseed oil as well.

Geranium extract
Can have potent antioxidant properties.

Germaben II
Trade name for diazolidinyl urea.

Glucose
Monosaccharide that has water-binding properties for skin.

Glucose oxidase
Enzyme that has antibacterial and water-binding properties when used on skin.

Glutamine
Can help improve the barrier function of skin.

Glutathione
Potent antioxidant.

Glycereth-17 cocoate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Glycereth-20 stearate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Glycereth-26 phosphate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Glycerol monostearate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Glycerol triacetate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Glycerol trioleate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Glyceryl cocoate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Glyceryl dipalmitate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Glyceryl distearate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Glyceryl glycyrrhetinate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Glyceryl hydroxystearate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Glyceryl isopalmitate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Glyceryl isostearate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Glyceryl myristate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Glyceryl oleate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Glyceryl palmitate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Glyceryl stearate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Glyceryl tricapryl-caprate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Glycine soja oil
Oil derived from wild soybeans; it has emollient properties.

Glycogen
Polysaccharide that has water-binding properties for skin.

Glycol stearate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent.

Glycolic acid
Glycolic acid helps to accelerate the removal of dead, dull skin, increase collagen, and reduce the appearance of fine lines, sun damage and hyperpigmentation. Along with reducing the appearance of large pores and acne scarring, it will also help to clear up blackheads and oily/acne prone skin.

Glycoproteins
Cell-to-cell communicating ingredients created when a protein links with a carbohydrate. Glycoproteins play a critical role in the body with how various systems recover from internal and external stresses. They are also fundamentally involved in cellular repair, among other functions. Additionally, when glycoproteins are combined with saccharides they form substances that comprise the skin's intercellular matrix. This matrix keeps skin cells and the skin's structure intact, with glycoprotein derivatives such as polysaccharides and glycosaminoglycans such as hyaluronic acid.

Glycosaminoglycan (GAG)
Glycosaminoglycans form viscous solutions with good lubricant characteristics. They attract water have considerable influence on the turgor and tension of the skin. Glycosaminoglycans when applied to the skin imparts a unique lubricity and moisturization to the surface of the skin with a special feeling of softness and smoothness.

Glycosaminoglycans
Glycosaminoglycans form viscous solutions with good lubricant characteristics. They attract water and play a conclusive part regarding the supply of water and electrolytes in the connective tissue and have considerable influence on the turgor and tension of the skin. Glycosaminoglycans when applied to the skin imparts a unique lubricity and moisturization to the surface of the skin with a special feeling of softness and smoothness.

Gnaphalium leontopodium flower extract
Fragrant plant extract; it has no known benefit for skin.

Grape seed oil
Emollient oil that also has good antioxidant properties.

Green Algae
Green Algae works to nourish and moisturize the skin.

Grindelia Robusta extract
Also known as tar weed or gum weed. It can be a potential skin irritant.

Guanine
A component of DNA that carries genetic information to the cell. 

Hazelnut oil
Oil extracted from the hazelnut; used as an emollient.

Hematin
Iron-containing portion of blood. It has no known benefit for skin.

Hemolymph extract
Extract of crustacean blood. It can be a source of proteins or other water-binding agents, but there is no research showing it to have special benefit when applied topically on skin.

Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)
Stimulates division in cells lining the liver, skin cells, and cells that produce skin color.

Hexyl laurate
A skin conditioning agent and emollient that is a mixture of hexyl alcohol and lauric acid.

Hierochloe Odorata extract
Commonly known as sweet grass, it may have antioxidant properties.

Honeysuckle extract
Fragrant plant extract that can be a skin irritant, but may also have anti-irritant properties.

Horseradish
Can irritate skin and should never be applied to abraded skin.

Hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a glycosaminoglycan (GAG), which is a substance that attaches to collagen and elastin. Hyaluronic acid is present in every tissue of the body, and it performs many important functions. It helps deliver nutrients to and carry toxins from cells that do not have a blood supply. HA also encourages water retention in other bodily tissues. It is found in large concentrations in the fluid-filled space between cells. Hyaluronic acid locks moisture into the skin, keeping collagen and elastin moist and promoting a youthful appearance.  Cosmetic products containing hyaluronic acid help to hydrate the skin, allowing it to appear smoother and more radiant. Clinical studies have shown that it also helps wounds heal more quickly, and can reduce the appearance of both old and new scars.

Hybrid sunflower seed oil
Non-volatile plant oil used as an emollient. A natural source of tocopherols (vitamin E).

Hydrogenated castor oil hydroxystearate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Hydrogenated coco-glycerides
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Hydrogenated palm glyceride
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Hydrogenated polyisobutene
A synthetic polymer used as a skin-conditioning agent and emollient.

Hydrolyzed actin
Form of protein that has water-binding properties for skin.

Hydrolyzed conchiolin protein
A component of oyster shell. It can have water-binding properties for skin.

Hydrolyzed Elastin
With high affinity to skin and hair, Hydrolyzed Elastin provides a natural protein layer of protection against environmental factors. It provides excellent smoothing properties and substantivity to skin. Hydrolyzed Elastin is mainly composed of Beta-Elastin, the low molecular weight elastin peptide. The B-Elastin and the elastin peptides are incorporated into the elastin matrix of the skin consequently increasing the elasticity of the skin.

Hydrolyzed Rice Bran Protein, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Oxido Reductases
Hydrolyzed Rice Bran Protein, Glycine Soja (Soya Bean) Protein, Oxido Reductases is an important new skin treatment active that reduces dark circles and puffiness around the eyes. It improves micro-circulation, strengthens native collagen and elastin matrix, and reduces the presence of free radicals to delay the visible signs of premature aging. Because the complex inhibits elastase and collagenases, it reduces the effects of chronic UV radiation on the connective tissue, to help the skin retain its natural firmness.

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Helps to stabilize collagen fibers and prevent a some degradation thus helping to avoid premature aging of the skin. Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein shows a significant moisturizing profile and penetrates the stratum corneum.  It can be incorporated in cosmetic formulations such as emulsions, gels, sera, etc., where a skin regeneration effect is desired.

Hydroquinone
Skin care products containing hydroquinone are popularly referred to as bleaching creams or lightening agents. These skin care products are used to lighten hyperpigmentation, such as age spots and dark spots related to pregnancy or hormone therapy (melasma or chloasma). Some over-the-counter skin care products contain hydroquinone, but your doctor can also prescribe a solution with a higher concentration of hydroquinone if your skin doesn't respond to over- the-counter treatments. If you are allergic to hydroquinones, you can use products containing kojic acid instead.

Hyssop
Fragrant plant extract that may have some antibacterial properties.

Insulinlike growth factor (IGF)
Stimulates fat cells and connective tissue cells.

Interleukins (IL)
Stimulates growth of white blood cells.

Isoceryl Alcohol, Ceramide 3
Reinforces the skin's and hair's natural protective lipid barrier. Good at reinforcing the natural lipid barrier of dry and aging skin. Improves long term moisturization and protects the skin from external influences. Repairs and protects damaged hair (mechanical properties, liveliness, comb ability, shine). Ready-to-use solutions of Ceramide 3 are effective at low concentrations.

Isodonis japonicus extract
Fragrant plant extract that contains terpenes. It can be a skin irritant.

Isodonis trichocarpus extract
Fragrant plant extract that contains terpenes. It can be a skin irritant.

Isopropyl lanolate
Derived from lanolin, it is used in cosmetics as a thickening agent and emollient.

Isostearamide DEA
Used as a surfactant, water-binding agent, and thickening agent.

Isostearic acid
A fatty acid used as a binding agent and thickener.

Jojoba Leaf
A powerful antioxidant and anti-irritant; helps calm and combat free radical damage to prevent the signs of aging.

Jojoba oil
Emollient oil similar to other nonfragrant plant oils.

Jonquil extract
Fragrant plant extract that poses a strong risk of skin irritation.

Juniper berry
Can have anti-inflammatory properties for skin though the methanol content, with repeated application, can cause skin irritation.

Kojic Acid
Kojic acid is a more recent remedy for the treatment of pigment problems and age spots. Discovered in 1989, kojic acid has a similar effect as hydroquinone. Kojic acid is derived from a fungus, and studies have shown that it is effective as a lightening agent, inhibiting production of melanin (brown pigment).

L-Cysteine
L-cysteine is an amino acid that helps promote hair growth and maintain healthy hair.

L-methionine
Helps prevent brittle hair.

Lactobionate
A polysaccharide. It has water-binding properties for skin.

Lactoperoxidase
Enzyme derived from milk; it has antibacterial properties for skin.

Lamium album
A flowering plant that is a member of the mint family; sometimes called dead nettle.

Lanolin alcohol
Emollient derived from lanolin.

Lauramphocarboxyglycinate
Mild detergent cleansing agent.

Lemon Juice
Like all citrus fruits, lemons are a good source of vitamin C which is viewed as an antioxidant.

Lemon oil
Can be a skin irritant, especially on abraded skin.

Lemongrass extract
Can have antibacterial properties but it may also be a skin irritant.

Lempuyang extract
A form of ginger. There is no research showing it to be effective or have benefit for skin.

Lettuce extract
Has weak antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Leucine
Amino acid.

Lime (oil or extract)
Can be a skin irritant and a photosensitizer.

Limnanthes alba
Commonly known as meadowfoam seed oil, a non-volatile plant oil used as a skin conditioning agent.

Linseed oil
Linoleic acid is a component of linseed oil.

Lithocarpus densiflorus extract
An evergreen bark. There is no research showing this to have any benefit for skin.

Locust Bean (Ceratonia Siliqua) Gum
Provides finished skin care formulations with exceptional lubricity, luxurious slip and a remarkable end-feel to the skin. Non-ionic specialty with characteristics and aesthetic qualities similar to those of hyaluronic acid.

Lotus seed extract
Can have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Lutein
Carotenoid that has antioxidant properties.

Lycopene
Carotenoid that has antioxidant properties.

Lysine
Amino acid.

Macadamia Nut Oil
This oil is very emollient, and is a great nutrient for dry and aging skin. Macadamia Nut Oil is great as massage oil, however it is readily absorbed by the skin. Also it helps to reduce fine lines when used in facial massage.

Magnesium
Earth mineral that has strong absorbent properties and some disinfecting properties.

Magnesium ascorbyl palmitate
Stable derivative of vitamin C that can be an effective antioxidant.

Magnesium laureth sulfate
Mild detergent cleansing agent.

Magnesium oleth sulfate
Mild detergent cleansing agent.

Magnesium sulfate
Commonly known as Epsom salt. A magnesium salt used as a thickening agent.

Mangifera indica root
Derived from the mango tree; it can have antioxidant properties.

Mannitol
Component of plants that has potent antioxidant properties.

Mare milk palmitate
Protein derivative from female horses; can have water-binding properties for skin.

Marionberry
Fruit that has potent antioxidant properties.

Marjoram
Herb with a fragrant component used in cosmetics; can be a skin irritant.

Meadowsweet extract
Can have anti-inflammatory properties.

Melamine
Derived from urea, it is used as a film-forming agent.

Melibiose
Saccharide that can have good water-binding properties.

Menthol
Menthol is the chief constituent of peppermint oil and is responsible for its odor and taste and the cooling sensation when applied to the skin and mucosal surfaces.

Menthone
Major constituent of peppermint.

Methylsilanol PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Mica
Earth mineral used to give products sparkle and shine.

Mint
Can be a skin irritant and cause contact dermatitis.

Mitracarpe scaber extract
Extract from a plant native to West Africa; it has been shown to have some antimicrobial properties.

Myobloc
An alternative to Botox. Myobloc is the botulinum toxin type B.

Myristic acid
Detergent cleansing agent that also creates foam and can be drying.

Mytilus edulis byssus extract
Extract of the blue mussel. There is no research showing it to have benefit for skin.

N6-furfuryladenine
Technical name for kinetin.

Narcissus poeticus wax
Fragrant flower extract that can cause irritation and dermatitis.

Native Collagen
A 1% solution of natural soluble porcine collagen. Excellent smoothing and hydrating qualities.

Natto gum
Fermentation product of soy protein. It may be a potent antioxidant.

Neroli oil
Fragrant plant oil; it can be a skin irritant and sensitizer.

Nonoxynols
Used as mild surfactants.

O-cymen-5-ol
Preservative used in cosmetics.

Oatmeal
Can have anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Octyldodecyl neopentanoate
A skin-conditioning agent and emollient.

Oleic acid
A fatty acid used as a surfactant and thickening agent.

Oleic/linoleic triglyceride
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Oleths
Mild surfactants.

Olive oil
An excellent addition to products for mature or dry skin. Olive oil is a good antioxidant and is a good moisturizing ingredient. It is suitable for use in the treatment of scalp conditions and dry skin.

Olive oil PEG-6 esters
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Orange blossom
Fragrant extract that can also be a skin irritant.

Orchid
Fragrant extract that can be a skin irritant.

Oregano
Has potent antibacterial and antifungal properties, but can also be a skin irritant.

Oryzanol
Component of plants and their products, such as rice bran, that has potent antioxidant properties.

Osmanthus
Fragrant plant; used in perfumes, it can also be a skin irritant.

Palm glyceride
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Palm oil
Has emollient and antioxidant properties for skin.

Palmitic acid
Detergent cleansing agent that also creates foam and can be drying.

Pantethine
Also known as pantothenic acid.

Panthenol
Alcohol form of vitamin B.

Panthenol (Vitamin B)
Helps impart long-lasting moisturization. Incites new cell growth and normalizes skin. Is absorbed on and into the skin cells.

Papaya extract
Source of papain that theoretically can have exfoliating properties on skin, though almost none of the research has been performed on skin. Papaya can be a skin irritant.

Patchouli
Fragrant oil derived from mint. It contains eugenol and can be a skin sensitizer and irritant.

Peanut oil
Emollient plant oil similar to all nonfragrant plant oils.

Pecan oil
Emollient plant oil similar to all nonfragrant plant oils.

PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil
An emollient ingredient that is the polyethylene glycol (PEG) mixture of castor oil.

PEG-80 sorbitan laurate
Mild surfactant.

Perfluoropolymethylisopropyl ether
Film-forming agent.

Phenyl trimethicone
Silicone with a drier finish than dimethicone.

Phyllanthus emblica fruit extract
Has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Phytantriol
A hair- and skin-conditioning agent that also has water-binding properties.

Phytic acid
A component of plants that has antioxidant properties.

Phytoplenolin
Trade name for the plant extract Centipeda cunninghami.

Pistachio seed oil
An emollient plant oil with uses similar to peanut oil in cosmetics.

Placenta protein
A good water-binding agent.

Placental enzymes
Placental Enzymes are derived from bovine placenta using a gentle extraction procedure. It is used as a tissue revitalizing additive in skin care and hair care products. Placental Enzymes can assist tissue regeneration by increasing oxygen consumption of the cells. In cosmetic preparations it supports skin regeneration by increasing the metabolic rate, whereby the skin appears fresh and healthy.

Placental Enzymes are free from pathological germs and have a very low microbial content which are often in the neighborhood of 0 and are thus lower than the WHO - limit of 100 germs per ml of extract.

Plum extract
Extract of Prunus americana that may have antioxidant activity when applied topically.

Polybutene
A polymer derived from mineral oil and used as a thickener and lubricant.

Polyglycerol monostearate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Polyglycerol polyricinoleate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Polyglyceryl-2 caprate
Used as an emollient and thickening agent in cosmetics.

Polysorbates
Fatty acids that are used as emollients and thickening agents in cosmetics.

Pongamia glabra seed oil
Has antimicrobial properties.

Pongamia pinnata extract
Can have anti-inflammatory properties.

Poppy seeds
Can have analgesic properties when applied topically.

Potassium cetyl phosphate
Used as a detergent cleansing agent.

Potentilla erecta root extract
Can have anti-inflammatory properties, though there is minimal research showing this to be the case.

Propylene Carbonate
Liquid used as a solvent and film-forming agent.

Propylene Glycol Stearate
Mixture of propylene glycol and stearic acid used as a skin-conditioning agent and emulsifier.

Protol
Trade name for mineral oil.

Prune seed extract
In large enough amounts can have antioxidant properties.

PVM/MA decadiene crosspolymer
A synthetic polymer used as a film-forming and thickening agent.

Pycnogenol
It is the most powerful antioxidant today and acts as a protector against environmental toxins. Research has demonstrated that Pycnogenol is 50 times more effective than Vitamin E and 20 times more powerful than Vitamin C.

Red sandalwood
Has a phytoestrogen component but it can also be a skin irritant.

Retinol
This is a derivative of vitamin A, and you will see that a lot of skin care products contain retinol. Retinol's stronger counterpart is tretinoin, which is the active ingredient in Retin-A and Renova. If your skin is too sensitive to use Retin-A, retinol is an excellent alternative. Here's why skin responds to skin care products with retinol: vitamin A has a molecular structure that's tiny enough to get into the lower layers of skin, where it finds collagen and elastin. Retinol is proven to improve mottled pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, skin texture, skin tone and color, and your skin's hydration levels. You may also hear about retinyl palmitate. This falls into the same family as retinol, but if the skin care product you choose contains retinyl palmitate, you will need to use more of this product than one that contains retinol to get the same effect.

Rice Peptides
Rice Peptides is a rice derived ingredient that protects the skin from collagen degrading effects of collagenase. This activity can help delay early skin aging characterized by wrinkle formation, reduced elasticity, skin dryness and age spots. Rice Peptides is an ideal component for anti-aging products and well suited for sun and environmental stress protection formulations.

Ricinoleate
Glyceryl triester used in cosmetics as a thickening agent and emollient.

Rosa damascena oil
A very fragrant pink rose, used as fragrance in cosmetics.

Rosa gallica flower extract
Fragrant extract.

Rose flower
Highly fragrant substance that can be a skin irritant.

Rose hip oil
Good emollient oil that has antioxidant properties.

Rose oil
Fragrant, volatile oil that can be a skin irritant and sensitizer.

Ulva lactuca extract
Extract of the plant known as sea lettuce. It has some anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties for skin.

Uvb
Ultraviolet B radiation.

VA/crotonates
Film-forming agent.

Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
Stimulates the growth of blood vessels.

Verbena extract
Fragrant extract that can be a skin irritant.

Vetiver oil or extract
Fragrant component in skin care products that also has some antibacterial properties.

Vitamin A
Vitamin A helps maintain the integrity of skin and mucous membranes that function as a barrier to bacteria and viruses.

Some forms of vitamin A have been shown to function as antioxidants in laboratory tests; helping to maintain the skins connective tissue framework and promote wound healing.

Vitamin C
Considered a potent antioxidant for skin. Vitamin C is a valuable antioxidant and protectant against photodamage that is created by sunlight in both the UVB and UVA bands. Unlike sunscreens, topical vitamin C does not absorb or block harmful ultraviolet. Instead, it boosts the skin’s ability to neutralize free radicals that are created by ultraviolet radiation, thereby preventing photodamage to the skin.

In addition to its antioxidant properties, vitamin C is also a vital co-factor to the formation of collagen, the connective tissue that supports the skin. Vitamin C benefits collagen production, wound healing, and the repair/maintenance of the skin.

Vitamin E
Considered an antioxidant superstar. Vitamin E is a lipid-soluble vitamin (meaning it likes fat better than water) that helps to protect the skin against damaging environmental elements. Also assists in conditioning the skin so it feels soft and smooth.

Vitamin E Acetate
All forms of vitamin E possess antioxidant activity. However, the most common form maintained in human tissue is known as d-alpha-tocopherol. Vitamin E is the principal antioxidant of the lipid domains of the body, such as cellular membranes.

Walnut extract
Can have antioxidant properties. There is no research showing this to have any benefit for skin.

Walnut oil
Emollient, nonfragrant plant oil.

Walnut-shell powder
Abrasive used in scrub products.

Water, Sodium Lauroly Lactylate, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6,Phytosphingosine, Ceramide 1, Cholesterol, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Methylparaben, Propyl Paraben
A skin-identical lipid concentrate for enhanced skin moisturization and protection. Restores the protective barrier function of the skin. Ideal for aging skin, dry skin and sensitive skin.

Wheat germ glycerides
Used as emollient and thickening agents in cosmetics.

Wheat germ oil
Emollient plant oil similar to all nonfragrant plant oils.

White nettle
Contains components that can have both anti-irritant as well as inflammatory properties.

Wintergreen oil
Fragrant oil, can be very irritating and sensitizing.

Wormword
Herb that has antioxidant properties.

Xylose
Form of sugar. Similar to other sugars, xylose has water-binding properties for skin.

Ylang-ylang
Fragrant, volatile oil that can also be a skin irritant.

Zanthoxylum alatum extract
Has no known benefit for skin when applied topically.

Zinc phenolsulfonate
Antimicrobial agent that can also be a skin irritant.

 

 

 

 

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