Glossary of Skin Care Terms, Buzz Words & Ingredients Listings

Twenty years ago, the majority of consumers had never heard the words Dehydration, Keratinization, and Exfoliation. Classification of skin types was then divided into a Dry, Oily, or Combination categories. Just a short time ago, Para-Medical Estheticians and Custom Blended Products were also rare.
Para-Medical Esthetician: Medically trained in skin structure and function, anatomy and physiology, and cosmetic chemistry.
Through the past twenty years, greater knowledge has come into play revealing many misconceptions as well as knowledge or information. It was impossible for everyone to fit into one of the three skin types: Dry, Oily, or Combination. How could a skin care product know what part of the skin it was "dissolving oil" on, and which part it was "hydrating"? All skins are some type of combination with different areas of the face having different conditions, fluctuating with factors such as seasons, diet, stress, medication, and travel. The following are some helpful tips to consumers because an educated consumer is a wise consumer.
It is advisable that consumers go to skin care professionals (paramedical estheticians) who understand cosmetic chemistry and ingredient listings, as well as skin structure and function.
They must also be aware of your medications, stress levels, and allergies, as each of these may prevent the use of a certain product or ingredient.
Education of the consumer should be the first priority of a skin care professional. The consumer must be armed with the information necessary to make intelligent choices for their particular skin to enhance smoothness, make it flawless, and help it glow in the 21st century
Example: What are the following ingredients and what are the differences between them? Are they comedogenic or non comedogenic (non acne causing)?

There is one exception to this list! Lanolin Oil
Lanolin Oil confuses many individuals. Natural Lanolin Oil comes from the wool of a sheep and does not cause acne.

Synthetic Lanolin s (man-made) do cause acne and leave you feeling very oily!
Lanolin Oil: from sheep wool non Comedogenic (non acne causing)
Anhydrous Lanolin: Comedogenic
Ethoxylated Lanolin: Comedogenic
Acetylated Lanolin: Comedogenic


AMINOPROPYL ASCORBYL PHOSPHATE. The most stable and effective form of vitamin c (L-ascorbic Acid) available. Non Comedogenic.
ALGAE EXTRACT: comes from seaweed and pond scum. It is widely claimed to have beneficial uses for the skin, however the American Medical Association denies any benefit to therapeutic usage. Comedogenic or acne causing
ALGIN: the sodium salt of alginic acid. Comedogenic or acne causing. Alginic acid is used as a stabilizer in cosmetics (extract of brown dried seaweed) and is treated with acid to achieve a gelatin form.
ALMOND OIL: Almond oil is obtained from the almond tree, which grows in Europe and America.
ALPHA HYDROXY ACID: there are many forms of aha s, however the most effective form is Glycolic Acid from the sugar cane plant. It is also contained in juices from grapes, citrus fruits and milk or lactic acid. Glycolic acid is often used as a Buzz Word to describe all AHA products. It is used to refine the skin and removes discoloration, fine lines and wrinkles, small acne lesions and keratinocytes or dead skin cells leaving the skin lighter, fresher, with less discoloration and a smaller looking pore size. Since AHA or glycolic acid does not change the structure and function of the skin it is not classified as a drug. Preparations containing glycolic acid range from 4% to 20% for everyday use on the skin and should be combined with other skin helpers like salicylic, hyaluronic and Vitamin C or AMINOPROPYL ASCORBYL PHOSPPHATE to give maximum results without irritation. Non Comedogenic. See Smoothing, Firming & Brightening Creme and Smoothing Gel with Acetyl Hexapeptide 8 for more information!
ALANTOIN: allantoin is a synthetic form of uric acid. It was discovered during world war I for wound healing. When the soldiers in the trenches were wounded, their wounds became infected with gangrene and started to rot. Maggots became active in the wound and abrading the skin (killing the necrotic skin or gangrene). It was discovered that the ureic acid in the maggot s fecal material is what was healing the necrotic tissue making it a wonderful keratolytic. Allantoin is used synthetically (a colorless crystal dissolvable in hot water) in cosmetics for skin calming, exfoliation, hydration and healing. Non Comedogenic
ALOE VERA GEL COLD PRESSED: Aloe peryi,Aloe barbadensis; there are over 300 varieties of the south African Lilly like plant and only a few are used as aloe Vera for medicinal purposes or skin care product use. The aloe Vera is extracted or expressed from the leaf of the aloe plant. When the aloe Vera is extracted using a cold press method it is much more effective in skin care products! It is used for calming, soothing, wound healing, hydration and skin softening. Non Comedogenic. See Sage's complete list of skin care products all made with cold pressed aloe vera.
AMMONIUM LAURETH SULFATE: Non-comedogenic or non-acne causing a surfactant that breaks up oil and soil for removal from the skin. Used in many baby shampoos and Sage s grains and cleansers. No tears formula and very gentle to the skin and eyes. Non Comedogenic. Made with Cold Pressed Aloe Vera instead of water. See Corrective Beads all strengths and Facial Shampoo all strengths!  
AMMONIUM LAURYL SULFATE: Non- comedogenic or non-acne causing a surfactant that breaks up oil and soil for removal from the skin. Used in baby shampoos, this (surfactant or cleanser) is the base of Sage Corrective Grains and Facial Shampoo, has a no tears formula and is gentle to the face and eyes. Non Comedogenic. Made with cold pressed aloe Vera instead of water. See Corrective Beads and Facial Shampoo all strengths!
DEHYDRATION: the lack of moisture, not oil, in the skin. Dehydration causes the skin to look less plump, healthy, flat, dull or off color and is not cured with heavy creams or oils. . Dehydration may be caused by very cold or hot weather, medication, illness, harsh skin care products and heavy creams. Creams and lotions do not moisturize, they seal because their molecules are too large to penetrate the surface of the skin.  Moisture starts as trans epidermal moisture in the germinative layer of the skin and slowly rises to the surface hydrating the skin. Unfortunately much of it evaporates off, hence the terms dehydration or dehydrated. Moisture or hydration must be infused into the skin with hydrators (real moisturizers) that have a small enough molecules to penetrate the surface layers of the skin. These products are called emulsions because of their ability to penetrate surface layers of the skin. Then the skin may be sealed with a cream to prevent trans-epidermal moisture loss or dryness.
EMULSION: the blending of two non mixable ingredients like oil and water so they may penetrate the surface layers of the skin.
HYDRATOR: commonly called a moisturizer infuses moisture on the surface of dehydrated skin. A hydrator must be sealed with a cream.
EXFOLIATION: Keratinization or dead skin cells build up on the surface by being glued down with sebum or oil, heavy sealants and cosmetics. They must be removed daily by gently exfoliating with physical or chemical exfoliants to allow your skin care, Rosacea, anti aging or acne products to work. Nobody looks healthy with "snowflakes" glued into their make up.
PHYSICAL EXFOLIANTS: A physical exfoliant is applied to the skin and used manually: i.e. massaging gently with water in order to work. Exfoliants like Corrective Grains (which contain polyethylene beads and do not scratch or irritate the skin) gently remove the keratinocytes or dead skin cells from the surface of your skin. Be careful to avoid exfoliants containing smashed or crushed fruit pits, seeds, nuts, etc. as these can scratch the surface of the skin and cause irritation.
CHEMICAL EXFOLIANTS: A chemical exfoliant actually does the work itself when applied to the skin. Chemical Exfoliants like At Home Peel, Glycolic or AHA Acids, Salicylic Acid, Benzoyl Peroxide and Papain or Papaya; remove layers of the skin simply by their application. The kind of skin you have determines the percentage of this type of ingredient to be used as well as the length of time it is left on the skin for optimum results without irritation.
HYALURONIC ACID: This is the skin's own moisturizer and found in umbilical cords and fluid around the joints. In skin care we use this ingredients from plant sources not humans. It is very hydrating and calming to the skin and the most moisture per drop you can add to a skin care product. See Smoothing, Firming & Brightening Creme, Smoothing Gel with Acetyl Hexapeptide 8, Hydrating Emulsion, and Eye & Lip Balm.
HYDROLYZED: hydrolysis occurs in a chemical process in which the decomposition of a compound is brought about by water making it into a simpler compound. It is derived from the Greek hydro, meaning water and lusis, meaning a setting free. Hydrolyzation is used in the process of making emulsions so they penetrate the surface layers of the skin. An oil and water or cold pressed aloe Vera is combined to form a product that is hydrating. A hydrolyzed ingredient refers to the process by which an ingredient's molecule has been changed to a significantly smaller size to penetrate the surface of the skin. Without this process, a cream, oil, or lotion remains a sealant and may not provide moisture. Alpha Hydroxy Acid or Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid and Vitamin C Acid must by hydrolyzed if in cream or lotion in order to work properly and give good results. See Smoothing, Firming & Brightening Creme, Smoothing Gel with Acetyl Hexapeptide 8 , Hydrating Emulsion, Eye & Lip Balm and Gelloid Moisturizer & Mask.
KERATINIZATION: process by which dead skin cells (keratinocytes), sebum (oil) and cosmetics build up an unattractive layer on the skin. This build up prevents hydrators (moisturizers), exfoliants (glycolic and salicylic acids) and acne products from working well on the skin. The skin will look flat or dull with a shiny surface. It looks as if the skin is coated with a thin layer of plastic wrap.
KERATINOCYTES: (otherwise known as dead skin cells) Humans go through a process called mitosis every 28 days. This means that we make a whole new skin from the inside out. (It gives you a chance to start over each month.) The cells rise from the bottom or dermis until they are exposed on the surface and fall or slough off. We interfere with this process because of the large amounts of "oily" moisturizers, sun blocks, and shaving creams and make up with Comedogenic ingredients that we use as well as external factors like pollution, medication, and sun damage, etc.Unfortunately, the cells don't complete their process and fall off.  What complicates this whole cycle is that when you have Acne, your face acts like a hand or a foot and makes thousands of extra keratinocytes or dead skin cells. These extra cells love to bind with Oil (which acts like glue) and Bacteria to make our special friend the ZIT.
KERATOLYTICS: a product, which loosens or dissolves dead skin cells so they may be easily removed. See exfoliants chemical and physical as well as MSSR Liquid,  Smoothing, Firming & Brightening Creme, Smoothing Gel with Acetyl Hexapeptide 8, Miracle Zit, Fix Zit, Biological Redefining Mask, At Home Peels, and Corrective Beads.
LACTIC ACID: lactic acid is also a form of the family of Alpha Hydroxy Acids. It is odorless and colorless and made from the metabolism of glucose and glycogen in blood and muscle tissue. It is also present in sour milk, beer, pickles and sauerkraut as well as any food made by bacterial fermentation. Lactic acid may cause stinging in sensitive and fair skinned individuals.
NEUTRALIZED: salt, potassium, or sodium chloride is added to Glycolic Acid, thus rendering it ineffective or neutralized.
SALICYLIC ACID: it occurs naturally in wintergreen leaves and sweet birch. It is used in skin care products as an anti microbial, antipruriitic (anti-itch) and preservative in skin care manufacture and as over the counter aspirin. Because of it s wonderful properties its main use is as a keratolytic in treating acne, Rosacea and oily skin. Please see MSSR Liquid, Smoothing, Firming & Brightening Creme and Smoothing Gel with Acetyl Hexapeptide 8.
SEBUM: fatty lubricant matter secreted by sebaceous (oil) glands, which glue down Keratinocytes (dead skin cells) and make pores look larger. Sebum also mixes with keratinocytes and anaerobic bacteria to from acne lesions. Formula: Oil + Dead Skin Cells + Bacteria = Zits, SPF, Skin Protection Factor: amount of sunscreen needed to block UVB and UVA rays. Sunscreens range from an SPF 4 to SPF 45. However, nothing under an SPF 15 works on UVA rays. UVA rays cause skin cancer, wrinkles and brown marks or Lentigos and red marks or actinic keratosis. UVA also travels through windows and umbrellas. According to the American Cancer Society and the American Academy of Dermatology, 90% of all skin cancer shows up on the left side of the face and hands, the driver's window side. Note that UVA is just as strong in the Winter as it is in the Summer. SPF means the length of time you may stay in the sun without burning! The fairer you are the more quickly you will burn in less time.
This is a MUST for ferreting out "secret oils" in skin care products. Apply a pea-sized amount of the product in question to a small square of brown paper bag or small square of notebook paper. Allow the sample of the product to sit undisturbed for up to 24 hours on your counter. If an oil ring forms at any point during the 24-hour period, then you will know that the product is not oil free.
Why is it so important that I use oil free ingredients in my Acne products?
An Acne Lesion needs three components to form and torment you: Sebum, Keratinocytes, and Bacteria.
By adding additional oil to your skin you add more fuel to the fire because the oil binds with the keratinocytes (dead skin cells) and bacteria to form your lesions. We often seem to think that we should use a huge amount of product because if a little works, then a lot will work better. Unfortunately, oil does not penetrate the surface of the skin it just sits there, so as the day progresses you become more and more oily on the surface and remain dry underneath.
Anaerobic Bacteria: bacteria, which lives in the skin and requires no oxygen to live. This type of bacteria is present all throughout the body. In the case of acne however, anaerobic bacteria or corynebacterium acnes are what forms the acne lesions.

LENTIGO: A pre cancerous lesion which 99% of the time is treatable and removable. Caused by chronic solar exposure. If untreated it may raise up and become hypertrophic or (look like a raised mole).  Lentigos most often appear around 30 or 40 in fair skinned individuals including Asians and around 50 60 in darker skinned individuals in areas chronically exposed to the sun like the forehead, cheeks, nose, hand and forearm, upper back and chest.
They range in size from Small Macules 1-3 cm (up to 5cm) which are light yellow to light or dark brown in color with a round or oval with slightly irregular border. They are easily treated with Light Cryotherapy and or Liquid Nitrogen. Consults your physician to see which is right for you. The best preventative is SPF 27 for everyday use.

SEBORRHEIC KERATOSIS:  This lesion usually occurs in patients over age 30 with the number of lesions increasing with age. Men and women are effected equally. This lesion is an autosomal dominant characteristic inheritance. Early (Flat lesions) are small (less than 3 mm), slightly elevated with variable hyperpigmented coloration. Late or raised pigmented lesions are 1 6 cm, warty or keratotic in appearance and look rough or like they were stuck on with clay. They are tan, brown or black in color with a sharp border. They most frequently appear on the trunk, face, scalp and upper extremities. Seborrheic keratoses are not thought to be related to either seborrheic dermatitis or actinic keratoses

ACTINIC KERATOSIS:  A small red lesion. An actinic keratosis (AK), also known as a solar keratosis, is a scaly or crusty bump that arises on the skin surface. The base may be light or dark, tan, pink, red, or a combination of these. . . or the same color as your skin. The scale or crust is horny, dry, and rough, and is often recognized by touch rather than sight. Occasionally it itches or produces a pricking or tender sensation. It can also become inflamed and surrounded by redness. In rare instances, actinic keratoses can even bleed.

The best way to prevent actinic keratosis is to protect yourself from the sun. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that these sun safety habits be part of everyone's daily health care:
Avoid unnecessary sun exposure, especially during the sun's peak hours (10 AM to 4 PM).
Seek the shade.

Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, and UV-blocking sunglasses.

Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.
Avoid tanning parlors and artificial tanning devices.
Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens can be used on babies over the age of six months.
Teach children good sun-protective practices.
Examine your skin from head to toe once every month.
Have a professional skin examination annually
The skin abnormality or lesion develops slowly and generally reaches a size from an eighth to a quarter of an inch. Early on, it may disappear only to reappear later. You will often see several AKs at a time.
An AK is most likely to appear on the face, ears, scalp, neck, backs of the hands and forearms, shoulders, and lips - the parts of the body most often exposed to sunshine. The growths may be flat and pink or raised and rough. What is the cause?
Chronic sun exposure is the cause of almost all actinic keratosis Sun damage to the skin accumulates over time, so that even a brief exposure adds to the lifetime total.

The likelihood of developing AK is highest in regions near the equator. However, regardless of climate, everyone is exposed to the sun. About 80 percent of solar UV rays can pass through clouds. These rays can also bounce off sand, snow, and other reflective surfaces, giving you extra exposure.

Actinic Keratosis can also appear on skin that has been frequently exposed to artificial sources of UV light (such as tanning devices). More rarely, they may be caused by extensive exposure to X-rays or specific industrial chemicals.
People who have fair skin, blonde or red hair, and/or blue, green, or gray eyes are at greatest risk. Because their skin has little protective pigment, they are most susceptible to sunburn. But even darker-skinned people can develop Actinic Keratosis if exposed to the sun without protection. Individuals whose immune systems are weakened as a result of cancer chemotherapy, AIDS, or organ transplantation are also at higher risk. Such individuals typically burn following midday summer sun exposure and tan minimally, if at all. Darker-skinned people who burn minimally and tan well are somewhat less susceptible. African-Americans are rarely affected. AKs are especially common in people whose occupations or recreational pursuits result in repeated exposure to high-intensity sunlight over many years. Examples are farmers, construction workers, commercial fishermen, park rangers, lifeguards, sailors, frequent sunbathers, and golfers. Similarly, those living at latitudes closer to the equator and at higher altitudes are exposed to more lifetime solar radiation and display more AKs. The prevalence of AKs increases with advancing age, reflecting the impact of years of excessive sun exposure. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, an estimated 60% of predisposed persons older than 40 years of age have at least one lesion. AKs are also more prevalent in males, especially in the early decades of life when occupational and recreational exposure to sunlight may vary by sex. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, an estimated 60% of predisposed persons older than 40 years of age have at least one lesion. AKs are also more prevalent in males, especially in the early decades of life when occupational and recreational exposure to sunlight may vary by sex.
The most important risk factors in the general population are a combination of skin type and cumulative sun exposure:
Skin Type 1 or 2 (fair skin that burn easily after exposure to the sunlight and does not tan well)
A high cumulative (over a life-time) exposure to UV radiation (sun and/or other sources such as tanning booths, medical or occupational exposure)
Medical conditions or genetic disorders
Advancing age
AK is the most common type of pre cancerous skin lesion. Older people are more likely than younger ones to develop these lesions, because cumulative sun exposure increases with the years. Some experts believe that the majority of people who live to the age of 80 will have AK.
On average, however, more than half of our lifetime sun exposure occurs before age 20. Thus, AKs also appear in people in their early twenties who have spent too much time in the sun with little or no protection.
There are many effective methods for eliminating AKs. All cause a certain amount of reddening, and some may cause scarring, while other approaches are less likely to do so. You and your doctor should decide together the best course of treatment, based on the nature of the lesion and your age and health.
The most common treatment for AK, it is especially effective when a limited number of lesions exist. No cutting or anesthesia is required. Liquid nitrogen is applied to the growths with a spray device or cotton-tipped applicator to freeze them. They subsequently shrink or become crusted and fall off. Some temporary swelling may occur after treatment, and in dark-skinned patients, some pigment may be lost.

This method makes use of trichloroacetic acid (TCA) or a similar agent applied directly to the skin. The top skin layers slough off, usually replaced within seven days by new epidermis (the skin's outermost layer). This technique requires local anesthesia and can cause temporary discoloration and irritation.

Barbara Strickland 1998-2016. This information is published and may not be reprinted.

Sage Skin Care, Inc.