So you want to build a skin care routine ? Well, that seemed like a great idea before about 800 Google searches – and then you found that skin care learning is a bit more about learning a whole new language (or returning to Bio 101) and a little less cool pampering is like you hoped.
That's what we're here for. In addition to our comprehensive Guide to Skin Care we've put together this cheat sheet with terms for skincare that lets you analyze everything from the posts of your favorite blogger to the back of your sunscreen bottle. We sorted the terms in alphabetical order. If you think we have missed something, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know, and we will do our best to update this post as soon as it makes sense.
Acne: The root of every acne is a pore that is clogged with dirt, dead skin cells and sebum. In addition, there are many ways that acne can manifest such as whiteheads (also called closed comedones), blackheads (also called open comedones), and cystic acne (which occurs deeper in the skin). If the acne is inflamed ̵
Active Ingredient: In general, an ingredient is part of a skin care product that does exactly what you want to do with the product. In an acne cleanser, the active ingredient may be something like benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. However, depending on the formulation of the information on the package, the ingredient may be displayed in a Drug Facts box or not displayed, and the product may be considered as a medicine rather than a cosmetic.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs): AHAs are a kind of chemical peel (see below). They loosen the bonds that hold the skin cells together and allow them to be wiped off easily, revealing new skin cells underneath. Glycolic acid and lactic acid are two popular AHA types.
Antioxidant: Ingredients that can contribute to the neutralization of free radicals (highly reactive molecules in the environment). If the balance between free radicals and antioxidants in the skin is not right, free radicals can cause damage that may lead to premature aging of the skin.
ascorbic acid: See "Vitamin C".
Azelaic Acid Acid: An acid synthesized by yeast, barley and wheat that is believed to exert a gentle exfoliant. Studies have shown that it is effective in both acne and canine bumps, which are a common symptom of rosacea. Azelaic acid is available in a prescription and over-the-counter form.
Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs): A type of chemical peel (see below) in which BHAs release the bond that holds the skin cells together so they can easily be swept away and new skin cells become visible underneath. Salicylic acid is a known type of BHA.
Benzoyl Peroxide: Benzoyl peroxide, an anti-acne drug, can kill bacteria that are often responsible for inflamed acne. Benzoyl peroxide can also irritate or dry out the skin. Therefore, it is important to use a moisturizer when using it.
Wide Spectrum: A sunscreen label that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Contributes to your risk of skin cancer.
Chemical Peel: Chemical Peels are the gentler relatives of physical peels. While physical peels manually scrub or brush off dead skin cells, chemical peels (ingredients such as lactic acid, glycolic acid and salicylic acid) break the bonds between these dead skin cells so they can be easily washed off.
Collagen: ] A protein found in many parts of the body, including bones, muscles and ligaments. In the skin, it is important that the face looks tight and rounded. However, collagen production in our body slows down with age, and exposure to UV radiation also reduces collagen. For this reason, collagen – and products allegedly enhancing the production of collagen – have become such popular skin care ingredients in recent years . Collagen, however, is too large a molecule to reach the deeper layers of the skin when applied topically. Eating or drinking collagen supplements has not been proven to help much. The most helpful thing you can do for your collagen is to wear sunscreen to prevent the loss of the existing material.
Comedones: Clogged pores. They can be open (blackheads) or closed (whiteheads). For more information, see "Acne".
Contact dermatitis: A condition that causes contact with something, often a make-up or skin care product, stinging, redness, burning, flaking or dandruff. The reaction may be related to either an irritant or an allergy .
Detoxification: The concept of removing toxins from your body. Some skin care products claim they could "detoxify" you, but does not work that way . In reality, detoxification products generally only remove dead skin cells and excess oil.
Double Cleaning: A technique using two cleaners – an oil-based cleanser followed by a typical foam or water-based cleanser – to more effectively remove heavy makeup, sunscreen or oil.
Eczema: A skin condition that causes itchy, bumpy skin rashes in infants and children. In adults, eczema can also lead to patches of thickened and very dry skin. The term atopic dermatitis is often used interchangeably with eczema, but atopic dermatitis is actually just a form of eczema. The skin feels softer and smoother. Face oils such as squalane oil Argan oil and jojoba oil generally act as softeners and / or occlusive.
Free radicals: Molecules that have gained or lost an extra amount of electron which means they must "steal" electrons from surrounding sources. Free radicals are sometimes produced in small amounts through normal and natural processes in the body. However, they can also be produced by irradiation with certain types of rays, including UV rays. And in sufficiently high doses, free radicals can damage the skin. Antioxidants are designed to neutralize free radicals and prevent this damage.
Fragrance Free: Perfumes are another common irritant for sensitive skin. Therefore, it may be helpful to look for products that are fragrances-free ie no fragrances have been added to the product. But beware of those labeled as "not perfumed," which may indicate that a fragrance has been added to mask the natural fragrance of the product.
Glycolic acid: One type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA, see above) derived from sugarcane. Glycolic acid is a commonly used chemical peel (see above).
Humectant: A type of moisturizing ingredient that is contained in moisturizers and actually pulls water into your skin does not necessarily keep it there. Common ingredients such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid are humectants.
Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic acid naturally occurs in the skin and acts as a humectant. Products with these molecules allow moisture to bind to the skin without feeling greasy or heavy.
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 peel (see above).
Lipids: Organic compounds (that is, they contain carbon) that occur throughout your body. They occur both on the top of your skin (as sebum) and in the stratum corneum (as ceramides cholesterol and fatty acids).
Keratosis pilaris: Sometimes referred to as "chicken" skin " Keratosis pilaris looks like small, often red, white or flesh-colored bumps on the skin. It is completely harmless and is caused by an accumulation of keratin around the hair follicle, which can clog the pores and cause inflammation or redness in the region.
Melanin: The pigment that gives the skin its color and is formed by cells called melanocytes.
Melasma: A skin condition that causes gray or brown spots on the face, especially on the face. It is often triggered by hormonal changes
including pregnancy, which is why melasma is sometimes referred to as a "mask of pregnancy".
Micellar Water: Used as Detergent Micellar Water consists of micelles (spherical clusters of surfactants) and water. Instead of washing it off like a typical detergent, micellar water is usually wiped with a cotton ball that also wipes off dirt and excess oil and then lets it dry before proceeding with the rest of your skin. Care routine.
Niacinamide: This is a form of vitamin B3 (niacin) that can be applied to the skin. There is some research suggesting that niacinamide: may be helpful in the treatment of acne, rosacea, and signs of aging, including hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Non-comedogenic: Comedogenic care can clog pores. So, if you have acne-prone skin, it's important to look for products that are not comedogenic.
Occlusive: Another type of ingredient often found in moisturizers that do not moisturise but seal the skin so as to minimize the loss of fluid through the stratum corneum. Occlusives such as petrolatum and silicones are a mainstay of the treatment of eczema and other dry skin problems. Parabens: A type of preservative in skin care products that can be irritating, especially for people who already have sensitive skin or a skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis. For more information on parabens see our article on 10 Controversial Ingredients of Cosmetics .
Peptides: Chains of amino acids that are part of a protein. Peptides are used in skin care because they are believed to penetrate deeper into the skin than large, full proteins like collagen.
Psoriasis: A skin condition in which the normal life cycle of the skin expires cells are accelerated, most often resulting in a thick, scaly accumulation of so-called "plaques" on the skin surface. Other types of psoriasis cause different types of rashes and can also affect the nails or joints.
Phthalates: Phthalates are mainly used as plasticizers to prevent plastic becoming brittle and breaking. They are also used in some fragrances in products like lotions and shampoos. There are many different types of phthalates that we are often exposed to. For more information on phthalates, see our post about what the science says about 10 controversial cosmetic ingredients here .
Retinoids: These compounds – retinol, retinal (or retinaldehyde), retinoic acid, and synthetic retinoids such as adapalene and Tazerac are just two proven methods to prevent signs of aging. (The other is sunscreen!) Retinoids, which are forms of Vitamin A, stimulate the process of delivery of skin cells from below, resulting in smoother skin and a reduction in the signs of aging and acne. These are included in both prescription and over-the-counter products. So, if you are not satisfied with the results of an over-the-counter option, check with a dermatologist to see if you have a prescription version. Retinoids are also notorious for causing irritation
when you first use them. Therefore, it is important to apply them only for a few days a week initially and to apply a moisturizer immediately after the application.
Rosacea: A common skin condition that results in excessive facial flushing typically in the form of redness, small red raised bulges, or broken blood vessels. It can be triggered by anything, from the weather over the training to skin care ingredients and foods.
Salicylic acid: A type of beta-hydroxy acid (BHA, see above), which is obtained from willow bark. Salicylic acid is oil-soluble and thus penetrates deeper into the oily pores. It is a popular type of chemical peel (see above) in acne treatment products.
Sebum: The oil on your skin consisting of lipids, in particular wax esters, triglycerides and squalene . Some people naturally produce more sebum than others and give them a greasier skin. Sebum can also contribute to the development of acne.
Sensitive Skin: Unfortunately, sensitive skin is not exactly a clinical term so it may be somewhat subjective. However, if you find that your skin is easily irritated – possibly due to a skin condition such as eczema, psoriasis or rosacea – or if you have allergies to skincare products, it can be assumed that you have sensitive skin.  SPF: A measure of the amount of additional protection that a particular product offers against sunbeams. It is important to note, however, that the sun protection factor is not an indication of the time you need to burn (the SPF 50 must be used as often as the SPF 30), and the sun protection factor of a sunscreen only takes into account UVB protection.
Squalane: Squalane is a slightly moisturizing oil that mimics a component of sebum, the fatty substance that our skin produces. The effect of topical squalane on the skin has been studied only to a limited extent. In general, however, it acts like a plasticizer when applied to the skin. This means that it can squeeze into the interstices between the skin cells and make your face feel smoother and wetter without it becoming damp too heavy or occlusive.
Stratum corneum: The outermost layer of the skin. It consists of skin cells held together by intercellular lipids and a layer of dead skin cells and oil on top. It keeps out the hydration and potential irritants and allergens.
Sulfates: Ingredients commonly found in detergents and shampoos that help the product froth and remove dirt and oil . For some people, however, they can be too harsh, freeing the skin and hair of too many natural oils, resulting in dry or irritated skin. If you have sensitive skin you should avoid using sulphate products or at least only use them minimally. For more information on sulfates, see our review of what science says about 10 controversial cosmetic ingredients .
Toner: A type of skin care product that was originally developed to balance the pH of the skin. Toners are commonly used today to deliver drugs such as chemical peels or antioxidants.
Vitamin C: This vitamin is essential for the production of collagen and other important compounds in the body. And when used topically, it can act as an antioxidant, preventing UV damage. It can also inhibit the production of melanin (pigment) in the skin, making it a good option for lightening dark spots due to photoageing or other types of damage. Note, however, that not all forms of Vitamin C are produced equally – some are more or less effective or stable than others. Vitamin C often appears on the ingredient label as these derivatives – look for ingredients such as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl-6-palmitate, ascorbic acid sulfate or L-ascorbic acid (also referred to simply as ascorbic acid).