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Print Page Glossary of Terms A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z A
- Used in cosmetics use to remove dead skin cells or callus. Walnut shell powder or oatmeal are examples of these ingredients.
- A skin condition involving the oil glands and hair follicles of the skin, which is manifested by blackheads (a condition that occurs in acne, and is characterized by a black tip), white heads (a condition of the skin that occurs in acne that is characterized by a small firm whitish elevation of the skin), acne pimples (a small inflamed elevation of the skin), and acne blemishes (a flaw in the skin).
- Substances added to cosmetic products to draw away oil, water, and/or dissolved substances.
- Can be a solvent, emollient or wax, depending on its molecular weight or chain length. Alcohols with higher molecular weights and longer carbon chains have emollient properties (such as oleyl alcohol) or even wax-like properties (such as cetyl alcohol). Alcohols may also act as conditioners.
- Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
- An exfoliating agent that helps remove the outer layer of the skin giving a smoother renewed, and younger looking skin.
- Amino Acid
- The body's building blocks for protein. Widely used for skin-nurturing properties and for nutritional support.
- Anticaking Agents
- Commonly included in loose powders that must remain free-flowing. They prevent clumping in products.
- Describes ingredients that help reduce and prevent the signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles, dull complexion and dry skin.
- Antifoaming Agents
- Suppresses the formation of excess foam during production and/or during consumer use.
- Antimicrobial Agents
- Substances that help prevent, inhibit or reduce microorganism growth.
- Help protect the skin by scavenging and quenching free radicals such as singlet oxygen species. Antioxidants are also ingredients employed to prevent or retard product spoilage from rancidity (or deterioration from reaction with oxygen). Antioxidants play a vital role in maintaining the quality, integrity and safety of cosmetic products.
- Aromatic Agent
- Agent Also known as, or related to, an aromatic ingredient or substance used to augment an olfactory product's character, which may or may not have a distinctive aroma or characteristic scent.
- Substances that are added to dry powder mixtures to provide adhesive properties so that the solid ingredients stick together, as in a tablet, pressed powder or eye shadow.
- A minor imperfection that may make the skin appear irritated, inflamed or uneven. The most common examples of a blemish include an inflamed pore, a blackhead, a whitehead or a pimple. Dark spots, dark circles and scars are also referred to as complexion blemishes, though not as often.
- Plant-derived ingredients that have not undergone significant chemical modification and include preparations such as extracts, juices, distillates, powders and oils.
- Buffering Agents
- Commonly called buffers, these are chemical pH adjusters used to alter and to maintain a product's desired level of acidity or alkalinity, commonly referred to as the product's pH.
- Bulking Agents
- Inert, solid ingredients used to dilute other solids or to increase the volume of a product.
- Chelating Agents
- Ingredients that bind to excess electrolites/metals and purify water-based formulations to improve the stability and/or appearance of a cosmetic product.
- A clustered mass, excessive buildup, or thick grouping of matter.
- A fibrous protein found in skin, bone, cartilage, tendon, and other connective tissues. The skin's collagen is produced by dermal cells called fibroblasts. Collagen provides structure and firmness to the skin, while elastin provides skin with its flexibility.
- Ingredients that impart colour to the skin, hair and/or cosmetic product. Health Canada regulates colourants used in cosmetics sold in Canada.
- Combination Skin
- Combination skin is known to be the combination of both normal/dry and oily skin types. It is characterized by an oily skin on the T-zone (covering the forehead, chin and nose) and at the same time normal/dry skin on cheeks, areas around eyes and mouth. This type of skin is most common.
- Refers to the natural colour, texture, tone and appearance of the skin, especially that of the face.
- Cosmetic Astringent
- Ingredients intended to induce a tightening or tingling sensation on the skin.
- The extent or degree to which a product appears to cover the skin and/or lip. Coverage also refers to how sheer or dense, transparent or opaque a product appears when applied.
- Dehydrated Skin
- Skin that is not properly hydrated and lacking water. Skin dehydration often results from a hot, dry climate, not drinking enough water, prolonged exposure to sun, poor skin hygiene, air conditioning, harsh soaps, smoking, medications, etc. Some signs of dehydrated skin are surface tightness, fine crepe paper-like lines (mainly on cheeks, forehead and around the eyes), a lack of radiance, and pre-mature loss of elasticity.
- Dermatologist Tested
- Product that was evaluated by a dermatologist and was shown to not cause any adverse skin reactions.
- Substances that change the nature or natural qualities of another, rendering them unfit to eat or drink without chemically altering or destroying usefulness in other applications. Denaturants are mostly added to cosmetic products containing ethyl alcohol because their bitter taste renders the alcohol unpalatable.
- Deodorant Agents
- Substances added to cosmetic products to reduce or mask unpleasant body odours.
- Dry Skin
- Skin that lacks moisture or sebum. Symptoms can be characterized by a pattern of fine lines, scaling and itching.
- Gentle removal of dead surface skin cells by natural, mechanical removal, or application of cosmetic product.
- The degree of flexibility or resilience in the skin. Reflects the ability of youthful skin to keep its shape.
- Substances that contribute to the spreadability of a cosmetic product.
- Substances that help bind two incompatible liquids together, such as oil and water.
- Mixture of two non-miscible substances (i.e., substances that do not normally mix, such as water and oil) bound together by a surfactant system.
- Emulsion Stabilizers
- Cosmetic ingredients that assist in the stabilization of cosmetic formulas.
- The chemical or mechanical removal of dead or non-functioning skin cells.
- Ingredients that initiate or accelerate removal of the layers of dead skin cells from the skin surface.
- Agents Ingredients used to condition and enhance the appearance of eyelashes. This group includes materials that improve the gloss or sheen of eyelashes, coat the eyelash hair to increase the appearance of its diameter and length, or aid in the separation of the eyelash hair when formulated in a mascara or as a mascara pre-treatment product.
- Film Formers
- Materials which, upon drying, produce a continuous film on skin, hair or nails.
- Describes a property that improves skin's tightness and tonicity, contributing to a younger-looking appearance.
- Flavouring Agents
- Ingredients that enhance a product's taste. Also known simply as flavours.
- Hair-Conditioning Agents
- Enhances the appearance and texture of the hair and facilitates styling. Conditioning agents also can detangle, improve gloss, sheen and texture of damaged hair.
- Hair Fixatives
- Ingredients that impart hold or style-retention properties to hair.
- Human Repeat Insult Patch Testing (HRIPT)
- A safety test used worldwide to determine if a material has the potential to cause contact sensitization or skin allergies after repetitive patch applications to the skin of human subjects. In the HRIPT, a small patch of the test material is applied for 24 hours to the skin of each volunteer panelist. The material is generally reapplied several times a week for 2-3 weeks at the same skin site. The site is then evaluated for irritancy.
- Ingredients that have the capacity to retain or increase the moisture content in the top layers of the skin.
- To supply water to the skin.
- Micro-Challenge Testing
- Preservative efficacy testing performed to determine the effectiveness of the preservative system. It is an essential part of maintaining the integrity as well the look and feel of the product.
- Normal Skin
- A well-balanced skin with smooth texture that looks neither greasy nor dry. There are no visible pores or blemishes on the surface of normal skin.
- Oily Skin
- Caused by over-active sebaceous glands, that produce a substance called sebum. When skin produces excess sebum it may look oily and shiny with enlarged pores. This skin type is susceptible to blemishes.
- Opacifying Agents
- Ingredients deliberately added to cosmetic products to reduce their clear or transparent appearance and for the purpose of covering or hiding blemishes.
- Ophthalmologist Tested
- Clinically tested products that have been determined by an ophthalmologist to be mild, non-irritating and gentle to the eye.
- Exposure to oxygen accelerates product spoilage and rancidity (due to deterioration from reaction with oxygen).
- Pediatrician Tested
- Clinically tested products that have been determined by a pediatrician to be mild, non-irritating, and gentle.
- pH Adjusters
- Ingredients used to alter and to maintain a product's desired level of acidity or alkalinity, commonly referred to as the product's pH.
- Substances that help reduce, prevent or inhibit microorganism growth. The use of preservatives is required to prevent product damage caused by microorganisms and to protect the product from inadvertent contamination by the consumer during use.
- Plant-based nutrients.
- Sensitive Skin
- Skin that is susceptible to irritants and can be prone to allergic reactions from food and environmental factors.
- The natural oil that is secreted by the skin. Excessive sebum may lead to oily skin and clogged pores.
- Science Source
- A man-made ingredient.
- Skin-Brightening Agents
- Ingredients that help to diminish dark spots and skin discolouration, and help to improve the appearance of dull complexions by providing clarity and brightness for a more luminous, even-toned appearance.
- Skin Protectants
- A combination of ingredients that form a protective barrier or film over the skin to protect against irritation and excess dryness.
- Skin-Conditioning Agents
- Cosmetic ingredients that help to maintain the soft, smooth, and pliable appearance of skin; retard water loss from evaporation; or create a special positive sensorial feel.
- Liquids used to dissolve cosmetic ingredients.
- Sun protection factor, measured in multiples of the skin's natural protection. SPF 15 is equal to 15 times the skin's natural sun defense.
- Sunscreen Agents
- Filters out harmful UV rays by scattering, reflecting, and/or absorbing harmful UV rays.
- Changes the surface tension of water to assist with cleansing, wetting, foaming and emulsifying.
- Suspending Agents
- Help to keep product ingredients mixed together, and prevent separation and settling.
- T-Zone Location on face consisting of forehead, nose and chin areas.
- Resistance or lack of resistance of a liquid to flow. For example, lotions have a thin viscosity and creams have a thicker viscosity.
- Viscosity Modifiers
- Ingredients that increase or decrease the thickness of a product.
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