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Vitanutrient Ingredients
Free Radical Scavenger
Anti-oxidants & Vitamins

Algae - Algae are very simple, chlorophyll-containing organisms, in a family that includes more than 20,000 different known species. A number of these have been used for drugs, where they can work as anticoagulants, antibiotics, antihypertensive agents, blood cholesterol reducers, dilatory agents, insecticides, and anti-tumorigenic agents. In cosmetics, algae are used as thickening agents, water-binding agents, and antioxidants. Some algae are also potential skin irritants.

Allantoin - anti-oxidant, OTC/ FDA approved for soothing skin

all trans Retinol - stabilized form is epidermal stimulant at reasonable concentrations, useful anti-oxidant at lower concentrations.

Alpha lipoic acid - An enzyme that, when applied topically on skin, can be a very good antioxidant. Alpha lipoic acid is a potent antioxidant, but this isn't the only one and to date, there is no best one. See antioxidant.

Ascorbic acid - Form of vitamin C that has antioxidant properties and anticancer properties when taken orally. It can be difficult to stabilize in formulations. Its acid component is considered a skin irritant.

a-Tocopheryl acetate - active Vitamin E (a-Tocopherol) pre-cursor

Beta-carotene - Pre-cursor to retinoids, excellent anti-oxidant

Carrot extract - Can have antioxidant properties (Source: International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, November 2001, pages 501508)

Epigallocatechin-3-gallate - Green tea extract active agent, anti-oxidant

Glutathione - Tripeptide (g-Glu-Cys-Gly), in reduced state, a powerful anti-oxidant

l-Ascorbic acid - excellent as AHA/ BHA treatment

l-Ascorbyl palmitate - very useful as counter-irritant or anti-inflammatory, fat soluble

Magnesium l-ascorbyl phosphate (MagCÒ) - stabilized form of l-ascorbic acid,
long acting, photoprotector, allows collagen stimulants to maximize effects

N-acetyl cysteine - Similar to a-lipoic acid and glutathione in anti-oxidant action

Panthenol - Vitamin B complex factor

Retinyl palmitate - stable form of retinol, less active, requires higher concentrations for bioactivity (i.e., >10,000 IU/ oz). It is a vitamin A derivative that is an essential skin nutrient necessary for healthy skin maintenance and repair. It is useful in cosmetics to moisturize dry skin and reduce excess oil.

Uric acid - anti-oxidant

Vitamin A - Considered a good antioxidant in some of its various forms, particularly as retinol and retinyl palmitate.

Vitamin B1 - Anti-oxidant

Vitamin B12 - May be effective in the treatment of psoriasis (Source: Dermatology, 2001, volume 203, number 2, pages 141147). Overall there is limited research showing vitamin B12 to have any benefit when applied topically on skin.

Vitamin B2 - There is no research showing this to have any benefit when applied topically to skin. However, there is a small amount of research showing that riboflavin may be photosensitizing and thus cause the breakdown of skin.

Vitamin B3 - niacinamide. niacin, and nicotinic acid. There are a handful of studies demonstrating that a 4% concentration of niacinamide applied topically in gel form can have effects similar to those of clindamycin, a prescription-only topical antibiotic. However, most of the research was performed by the company that makes this product (Papulex, 4% Niacinamide), and it can cause dryness and inflammation. Some existing animal studies and in vitro studies on human fibroblasts (cells that produce connective tissue such as collagen) have demonstrated that niacinamide may have a mitigating effect on skin tumors (Source: Nutrition and Cancer, 1997, volume 29, number 2, 157162). Topical application of niacinamide has been shown to increase ceramide and free fatty acid levels in skin and to prevent skin from losing water content (Source: British Journal of Dermatology, September 2000, pages 524531).

Vitamin B5 - pantothenic acid. Often touted as being effective for acne. There is only one study supporting this notion and it dates from the early 1980s (Source: International Journal of Dermatology, 1981, volume 20, pages 278285). There is no current research showing this to be an effective treatment for acne, but there is a small amount of research showing that it can be effective for hydration and wound healing (Source: American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2002, volume 3, number 6, pages 427433).

Vitamin B6 - There is no research showing it to have benefit for skin.

Vitamin C - Considered a potent antioxidant for skin. Claims that vitamin C can prevent or eliminate wrinkling are not proven. An article in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (January 2000, pages 464465) discussed the issue of vitamin C and concluded that "Vitamin C is a valuable antioxidant and protectant against photodamage that is created by sunlight in both the UVB and UVA bands. Although oral supplementation may also be useful, topical preparations are able to deliver a higher dosage to the needed area. Topical vitamin C does not absorb or block harmful ultraviolet radiation like a sunscreen. Instead, it augments the skin's ability to neutralize reactive oxygen singlets [free-radical damage] that are created by the ultraviolet radiation, thereby preventing photodamage to the skin. It becomes an integral part of the skin and remains unaffected by bathing, exercise, clothing, or makeup. Used appropriately, topical vitamin C is an important adjunct to the use of sunscreens, an adjunctive treatment to lessen erythema [redness] in skin resurfacing, a helpful adjunct or an alternative to Retin-A in the treatment of fine wrinkles, and a stimulant to wound healing."

Vitamin D - Provides no known benefit for skin when applied topically, though it may have antioxidant benefits. Vitamin D formed in the skin by sunlight, or in an oral supplement form, is essential for health.

Vitamin E - Considered an antioxidant superstar. Vitamin E is a lipid-soluble vitamin (meaning it likes fat better than water) that has eight different forms, of which some are known for being excellent antioxidants when applied topically to skin, particularly alpha tocopherol and the tocotrienols. However, other studies have indicated the acetate form (tocopherol acetate) is also bioavailable and protective for skin. Vitamin E is the major naturally occurring lipid-soluble antioxidant protecting skin from the adverse effects of oxidative stress including photoaging [sun damage]. Many studies document that vitamin E occupies a central position as a highly efficient antioxidant, thereby providing possibilities to decrease the frequency and severity of pathological events in the skin.

Vitamin E for scars - There is no evidence that vitamin E can help heal scars, and, because of skin sensitivity, it can actually impede the healing process for some. A report of research published in Dermatologic Surgery (April 1999, pages 311315), in an article titled -the effects of topical vitamin E on the cosmetic appearance of scars, concluded that the study shows that there is no benefit to the cosmetic outcome of scars by applying vitamin E after skin surgery and that the application of topical vitamin E may actually be detrimental to the cosmetic appearance of a scar. In 90% of the cases in this study, topical vitamin E either had no effect on, or actually worsened, the cosmetic appearance of scars. Of the patients studied, 33% developed a contact dermatitis to the vitamin E. Therefore we conclude that use of topical vitamin E on surgical wounds should be discouraged. The study was done double-blind ?ith patients given two ointments each labeled A or B. A was Aquaphor, a regular emollient, and the B was Aquaphor mixed with vitamin E. The scars were randomly divided into parts A and B. Patients were asked to put the A ointment on part A and the B ointment on part B twice daily for 4 weeks. Antioxidants are definitely an option for skin, but, for preventing scars, vitamin E directly applied on skin does not appear to be one of them.
Vitamin F - Name sometimes used to represent essential fatty acids of linoleic acid and linolenic acid. These are considered essential fatty acids (EFA) because they cannot be produced by the body. There are many fatty acids that have benefit for skin, including arachidonic, eicosapentaenoic, docosahexaenoic, and oleic acids to name a few. These all have emollient, water-binding, and often antioxidant properties for skin. See gamma linolenic acid, and linoleic acid.

Vitamin H - biotin. It is a water-soluble vitamin produced in the body by certain types of intestinal bacteria and obtained from food. Considered part of the B complex group of vitamins, biotin is necessary for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and amino acids (the building blocks of protein). However, it has no reported benefit for skin when applied topically.

Vitamin K - Some cosmetics companies sell creams and lotions containing vitamin K, claiming it can reduce or eliminate surfaced spider veins (technically referred to as telangiectasias). These creams can change spider veins. The only research concerning vitamin K's effectiveness on skin or surfaced spider veins comes from the companies selling these products. There are no published or peer-reviewed studies that add up to results you can even remotely count on (Source: Archives of Dermatology, December 1998, pages 15121514).


Counter irritants
Soothing agents

Aloe vera - There is no real evidence that aloe vera (Aloe barbadenis) helps the skin in any significant way. An article in the British Journal of General Practice (October 1999, pages 823828) stated that "Topical application of aloe vera is not an effective preventative for radiation-induced injuries. Whether it promotes wound healing is unclear. Even though there are some promising results, clinical effectiveness of oral or topical aloe vera is not sufficiently defined at present." There is research indicating that isolated components of aloe vera, such as glycoprotein, can have some effectiveness for wound healing and as an anti-irritant (Sources: Journal of Ethnopharmacology, December 1999, pages 337; Free-Radical Biology and Medicine, January 2000, pages 261265; and British Journal of Dermatology, October 2001, pages 535545). In pure form, aloe vera's benefits on skin are probably its lack of occlusion and the refreshing sensation it provides.

Bisabolol - an active ingredient in chamomile oil

Centurium extract - plant derived anti-inflammatory, ursolic acid is the herbal active, prostaglandin inhibitor

Cucumber extract - Claims of cucumber having anti-inflammatory or soothing properties are anecdotal, as there is no research supporting this contention.

Dimethicone - OTC/ FDA soothing ingredient, a silicone

Sensicalmine - Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester, de-sensitizer

Sigesbeckia Orientalis Extract - Plant derived anti-inflammatory,
darutosides are the herbal actives, prostaglandin inhibitor



Lysozyme - natural antimicrobial mucoamidase enzyme from eggs

Parabens - Para-hydroxy benzoic acid esters, mild tyrosinase inhibitors and excellent antimicrobial agents for skincare products, does not produce formaldehyde or organic cholines, no estogenic activity.

Tricolsan - anti-microbial agent


Proliferative Peptides
Dermal Stimulants

Acetyl hexapeptide-3. A synthetically derived peptide. The company selling acetyl hexapeptide-3 (trade name Argirline), Centerchem, is based in Spain and, according to their Web site, "Argireline works through a unique mechanism which relaxes facial tension leading to a reduction in superficial facial lines and wrinkles with regular use. Argireline has been shown to moderate excessive catecholamines release." We strongly doubt that any of that is true because there isn't a shred of research substantiating any part of it. However, even if it were vaguely true, that would not be good news for your body because you wouldn't want a cosmetic without any safety data, efficacy documentation, or independent research messing around with your catecholamines. Catecholamines are compounds in the body that serve as neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, adrenaline, and dopamine. Epinephrine is a substance that prepares the body to handle emergencies such as cold, fatigue, and shock. A deficiency of dopamine in the brain is responsible for the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. None of that sounds like something you want a cosmetic to inhibit or reduce. What if you accidentally overuse the product or apply too much? It isn't known what excessive catecholamine release would mean for your body.

Argireline - acetyl hexapeptide-3

Collasyn - Oligopeptides and Lipopeptides, such as Tetrapeptide VA, C8-C16
Tetrapeptide VA, low irritation dermal proliferative/ stimulants  (go to science)

Collasyn/ Matrixyl Complex - A potent epidermal/ dermal stimulant. Outperforms Copper peptides, furfural adenine (i.e., Kinerase) and other known oligopeptides at similar concentrations in human cell culture. (go to science)

Cu2+ (Copper) - 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. Copper supplements have been shown to increase superoxide dismutase levels in humans (Source: Healthnotes Review of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, 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 (Sources: Journal of Clinical Investigation, November 1993, pages 23682376; and Federation of European Biochemical Sciences Letter, October 1988, pages 343346). However, wound healing is the result of many biophysical processes that have nothing to do with wrinkling. See superoxide dismutase.

copper peptides - See Cu2+ (copper gluconate).

GC-100 - Recent discoveries have shown that hydralytic fraction of the native collagen strand-a peptide signal sequence-in capable of stimulating the growth of fiberblasr-like cells and industry collagen synthesis. Modification of this peptide sequence generated a novel peptide signal sequence, which in turn was complexed to two cofactors known to be integral components in the collagen synthetic pathway; namely, ascorbic palmitale and electron iron. The complex is named GC-100, which is tetra-peptide.

M2 peptide - Developed by Clinical Resolution Lab, The M2 Peptide Complex System has been proven to be a highly effective, noninvasive way to counteract the fine lines and wrinkles that aging produces. This remarkable system also has been successful in restoring pigmentation.
This new big-engineered compound, derived from the novel peptide called GC-100, is a non-prescription skin care ingredient that offers more than twice Retin-A or Alpha-hydroxy acid's effectiveness for collagen stimulation to reduce lines and wrinkles. Accordingly, scientists are calling M2 Peptide the successor to Retin-A that works to reduce photo-damage without skin irritation or other side effects. After the series of treatments, skin is left smoother and fresher, with markedly improved skin tone and luminosity.

Matrixyl - A lipopeptide dermal stimulant, C18-KTTKS, palmityol pentapeptide-3

Oxy3 peptide - It increases oxygenation of the skin, promoting cell renewal by 25% and visibly reducing the appearance of the lines and wrinkles.

Palmitoyl pentapeptide 3 - Trade name Matrixyl. It is a fatty acid mixed with amino acids. The only research showing this to have significance for skin was carried out by the ingredient manufacturer, Sederma. In their research, three different "half-face" studies with a total of about 45 participants showed it to be better than a retinol or vitamin C product (Source: Journal of Cosmetic Science, January-February 2001, pages 7778). Without independent substantiation, however, there is no way to know how accurate this company-funded research is. Further, according to Sederma's research, the recommended concentration for this ingredient is 3% to 5% and there are few, if any, products using more then just a trace amount in their products.

Prolifersyn - A family of selected peptide fragments from IGF-1, IL-1b and Fibronectin which cause proliferation of keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts.

Stimulysin - A family of small cationic peptides which cause stimulation of mammalian cells yet lyse or destroy bacteria.


AHA’s and BHA’s

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 glycosaminoglycans 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 (Sources: Cutis, August 2001, pages 135142; Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, July 2000, pages 280284; American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, March-April 2000, pages 8188; Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology, May-June 1999, pages 111119; Dermatologic Surgery, August 1997, pages 689694 and May 2001 pages 15; Journal of Cell Physiology, October 1999, pages 1423; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 1996, pages 867875).

Beta-Glucaderm-lactate - Lactic acid reacted with Beta-1,3-d-Glucan and excess lactic acid. Acts as an AHA with less irritation.

BHA - See salicylic acid.

Glycolic acid - not any more effective than lactic acid for exfoliation, difference in size between Glycolic and lactic acid does not have biological significance.

Lactic acid - an effective exfoliating AHA, useful as reaction product with beta-d-glucans for acne prone skin

Salicylic acid - Referred to as beta hydroxy acid (BHA), it is a multifunctional ingredient that addresses many of the systemic causes of blemishes (Source: Seminars in Dermatology, December 1990, pages 305308). For decades dermatologists have been prescribing salicylic acid as an exceedingly effective keratolytic (exfoliant), but it also is an anti-irritant This is because salicylic acid is a derivative of aspirin, and so it also functions as an anti-inflammatory. As an exfoliant, in concentrations of 8% to 12%, it is effective in wart-remover medications. In concentrations of 0.5% to 2%, it is far more gentle, and, much like AHAs (See AHAs), can exfoliate the surface of skin. In addition, BHA has the ability to penetrate into the pore (AHAs do not), and thus can exfoliate inside the pore as well on the surface of the skin; that makes it effective for reducing blemishes, including blackheads and whiteheads.

PEG compound. PEG stands for polyethylene glycol. Various forms of PEG compounds are mixed with fatty acids and fatty alcohols to create a variety of substances that have diverse functions in cosmetics, including surfactants, binding agents (to keep ingredients blended), stabilizers, and emollients.



Ammonium Laureth (3) sulfate - ethoxylated, less irritating than SLS or ALS

Pectin - Natural substance found in plants, especially apples, and used in cosmetics as an emulsifier and thickening agent.

Polysorbate 20 or 60 - ethoxylated sorbitol, low irritation

Sulfosuccinates - very mild will not de-fat the skin, can be used after most procedures

Sodium or ammonium lauryl sulfates - great foamers, very safe (i.e., see FDA Website), more irritating than Sulfosuccinates



Benzophenone 3 - organic chemical UVB sunscreen

Octyl methoxycinnimate - organic chemical UVB sunscreen

Octyl salicylate - organic chemical UVB sunscreen

Parsol 1789 (Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane) - organic chemical UVA sunscreen

Titanium dioxide - inorganic agent which reflects sunlight in 290-340 nm, UVB

Zinc oxide - inorganic agent which reflects sunlight in 340-400 nm, UVA


Lightening Agents

Arbutin - water soluble glycosylated hydroquinone derivative, lightening agent. Hydroquinone derivative isolated from the leaves of the bearberry shrub, cranberry, blueberry, and most types of pears. Because of arbutin's hydroquinone content, it can have melanin-inhibiting properties. Although the research describing arbutin's effectiveness is persuasive (even if almost all of the research has been done on animals or in vitro), concentration protocols have not been established. That means we just don't know how much arbutin it takes to have an effect in lightening the skin. Moreover, most cosmetics companies don't use arbutin in their products because there are Shiseido-owned patents controlling its use in skin-care products for skin lightening. To get around this problem, many cosmetics companies use plant extracts that contain arbutin, such as bearberry.

Bearberry extract - plant derived lightening agent. Alternative solution to Arbutin.

Hydroquinone - lightening agent. Substance that is known to successfully reduce the intensity of freckles, melasma, and general brown patching by inhibiting melanin production. For continued and increased effectiveness it must be used long term. Unprotected sun exposure should be avoided, because it reverses the effect of hydroquinone by increasing melanin production. Occasionally, at higher concentrations, persons with a darker skin type will experience increased pigmentation, but this is rare. It can cause mild skin irritation and there is the possibility of an allergic reaction. Hydroquinone in 1% to 2% concentrations is available in over-the-counter products; 4% concentrations are available by prescription only (Source: American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2000, pages 261268).

Kojic acid - Low toxicity lightening agent. Kojic acid is an extremely unstable ingredient in cosmetic formulations. Upon exposure to air or sunlight it turns a strange shade of brown and loses its efficacy. Many cosmetics companies use kojic dipalmitate as an alternative because it is far more stable in formulations. However, there is no research showing that kojic dipalmitate is as effective as kojic acid, though it is a good antioxidant. There is a small amount of research showing kojic acid to be a skin irritant (Source:, "Skin Lightening/Depigmenting Agents," November 5, 2001).

Kojic Dipalmitate - fat soluble Kojic Acid derivative for lightening

Leucocyte extract - biotechnology product, derived from human leucocyte cell culture, tyrosinase inhibitor

Licorice extract - plant derived lightening agent

Methyl gentisate - plant derived lightening agent ,less irritating than hydroquinone, powerful tyrosinase inhibitor

Paper Mulberry extract - plant derived lightening agent

Ultra Fade - Developed by CRL. Clinically proven to provide a natural alternative to hyfroquinone for skin lightening and more youthful skin tone. Outperformed Kojic Acid and, more importantly, hydroquinone.



Bromalin - proteolytic ( breaks down dermal protein)  enzyme from pineapples

Catalase - enzyme which breaks down hydrogen peroxide into oxygen and water

Papain - proteolytic ( breaks down dermal protein)  enzyme from papaya



Gamma-linolenic acid - essential fatty acid (type of Omega 3), necessary in mature skin

Omega 3 fatty acids - essential fatty acid, necessary in mature skin

General Terms for Skin Care Ingredients

Absorbent - Capable of incorporating or assimilating moisture or oil.

Acne - Chronic inflammatory follicular disorder with papular and pustular eruption of the skin caused by over-active sebaceous apparatus (oil glands)during adolescence. Usually related to hormonal changes. Acne ranges from non-contagious pimples to deep-seated skin conditions. Acne primarily afflicts teenagers at the onset of puberty, but may also appear in adults.

Acne Cosmetics - Acne caused by certain irritating preparations.

Actinic Keratosis - Thickening of the skin caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays. Also called age spots, liver spots, or solar keratosis.

Actives - 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.

Additives - Ingredients designed to perform the main activity of a product.

Age Spots - Brown spots found on the skin which are visible evidence of accumulated long term sun damage. Also called "liver spots." 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 precancerous conditions and should be watched carefully for changes.

Aging Skin
- Skin starts to lose it firmness and elasticity. Small lines begin to form, especially around the eyes, mouth and forehead. Generally begins around the age of 35. The state of health, diet, heredity, climate and environment influence the conditions of the skin.

- Alcohols may be drying or lubricating to the skin. They may range from clear liquids to waxy solids. May be used as emollients, humectants, lubricants, emulsifiers.

Allergen - A substance which would produce an allergic response. Allergens are at times confused with irritants. (See irritants)

Allergy - An allergy occurs when the body creates histamines to fight a harmless substance when it may seem to be a threat.

Amino acid - Fundamental constituents of all proteins found in the body, such as: alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, cystine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, proline, serine, threonine, tryptophan, tyrosine, and valine. Some of these amino acids can be synthesized by the body; others, the essential amino acids, must be obtained from protein in the diet. In skin-care products, these types of ingredients work primarily as water-binding agents, and some have antioxidant properties and wound-healing abilities as well. However, these substances cannot affect, change, or rebuild wrinkles. Whether the protein in a skin-care product is derived from an animal or a plant, the skin can't tell the difference. See also protein, and natural moisturizing factors.

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

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

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

Antioxidant - Describes the function a specific ingredient can have on skin to reduce the effects of free-radical damage. Free-radical damage can be caused by the presence of oxygen or any compound that contains an oxygen molecule (such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen peroxide, and superoxide), 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.

So what do free-radical damage and antioxidants have to do with wrinkles or skin damage? No one is exactly sure, but, theoretically, when free-radical damage originates from natural environmental factors and fails to be cancelled out by antioxidant protection, then wrinkles appear. If we don't get enough antioxidant protection, either from our own body's production, from dietary sources, or from other sources (including antioxidants we put on our skin), free-radical damage continues unrestrained, causing cells to break down and impairing or destroying their ability to function normally. Free-radical damage destroys collagen and other skin components. There are problems, however, with the hope that stopping free-radical damage with antioxidants can protect your skin, and these problems are that free-radical damage is constant and extensive. How could you ever use enough antioxidants to stop it? How much is needed? How much oxygen, sunlight, or pollution can you really keep away from all skin cells, or even some skin cells? How fast do the antioxidants you apply to your skin get used up? Do they last 20 minutes, one hour, two hours, or more on the skin? At this time, no one knows the answers to any of these questions for sure. Major investigations are currently under way in this fascinating area of human aging (intrinsic aging) and sun damage (extrinsic aging), factors that most unquestionably influence wrinkling. However, even though many respected researchers are working on this issue, the research is still in its infancy, and suggesting anything beyond that is sheer fantasy. See free-radical damage.

Anti-Phlogistic - Anti-inflammatory, reduces redness.

Antiseptic - A chemical agent that prevents the growth of bacteria.

Aromatic - When a product has a fragrant smell.

Astringent - Performs a tightening action on the skin.

Base - The base product is a group of ingredients which provide the basis for the formula.

Binder - A substance which causes the product to increase in consistency, therefore holding the ingredients together.

Botanical - Derived from plants.

Botox - The brand name of the nontoxic form of botulinum toxin type A. When injected into specific area of the face, particularly of the forehead, it prevents movement by partially and almost completely paralyzing the muscles of that area. The resulting inability to use particular face muscles causes certain wrinkles to disappear completely. This helps eliminate almost all of the wrinkles of the forehead, in the crow's-feet area (by the eyes), and the lines that run from the nose to the mouth (the naso-labial folds). Over 800,000 Botox treatments were administered in 2001. Since 1973, Botox has been used by ophthalmologists to treat patients with disabling eye ticks, as well as to treat crossed eyes. It is also used by other medical specialists to treat spasmodic neck muscles, spasmodic laryngeal muscles, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, some post-stroke states, spinal cord injuries, nerve palsies, Parkinson's disease, facial spasms, and, most recently, migraine headaches. This extensive use (and the corresponding research) has shown that Botox has a great success rate, with minimal risk or detrimental side effects. In rare cases, depending on what parts of your face were injected, you may experience temporary facial or eye-area drooping, bruising, or jaw and neck weakness, but it lasts only for the duration of the Botox effect, so it goes away in three to six months. (Sources: FDA Consumer magazine, July-August 2002,; Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, August 2002, pages 601611; The Medical Letter, May 2002, pages 4748; Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, October 2001, pages 619-630; and Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, June 2002, pages 840849.)

Buffer - To lessen the effect of the product.

Calming - Soothing, having a sedating effect.

Chemical - A substance formed by altering the molecular structure of a natural material or combining two or more elements to form a new substance. (See synthetic)

Collagen - A major component of skin that gives it structure. Sun damage causes collagen in skin to deteriorate. Collagen can be derived from both plant and animal sources and is used in cosmetics as a good water-binding agent. Collagen in cosmetics, regardless of the source, has never been shown to have an effect on the collagen in skin.

Collagen amino acid - Amino acids hydrolyzed from collagen. These have good water-binding properties for skin. See amino acid, and natural moisturizing factors.

Comedone - A mass of solidified sebum, blackened by oxidation, clogging the follicle.

Congestion - Excessive internal buildup. This prevents the skin from functioning properly.

Corynebacterium - Bacterial organism associated with acne in sebaceous follicles.

Cosmetic - According to the original 1938 legal definition, cosmetics are: "(1) articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled or otherwise applied to the human body or any part thereof for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness or altering the appearance and, (2) articles intended for use as a component of any such articles; except that such term shall not include soap."

Cyst - Large raised and swollen skin disorder formed when several impacted follicles break down and merge together. Severe infection of the follicle that appears as a large, hard and painful lump or swelling underneath t skin's surface. A severe pimple that takes a longer time to reach the surface of the skin. As it works its way to the surface, it destroys many live cells and often leaves a scar; often referred to as "acne pits" or "ice pick" scars. Medical intervention is often used to clear the condition.

Cytochemical - Chemistry of a cell.

Cytokines - Polypeptides produced by cells and certain organs to direct local and global cellular activities (i.e., daily repair, wound healing, fighting infection, etc.). From the Greek, “Cyto” or cell and “kine” meaning active.
They stimulate the production of other substances to help protect the body. Cytokines encourage cell growth, promote cell activation, direct cellular traffic, and destroy target cells?ncluding cancer cells. Interleukins, transforming growth factor, and interferon are types of cytokines. It is also important to point out that cytokines can also cause unwanted, potentially serious side effects (Sources:; and the National Cancer Institute, or Even the notion that skin-care products can directly affect cytokine production in some way to change the appearance of skin is a scary thought, given that cosmetic ingredients are not tested for safety the way pharmaceuticals or drugs are.

Cytoplasm - Fluid part of a cell containing organelles.

Cytoxity - Condition of damaging or poisoning of a cell.

Decongestant - To diminish and break down unwanted deposits within the skin.

Dehydration - A common esthetic condition in which the skin has a tissue paper-like appearance with superficial lining which is caused by external factors.

Dermography - Form of urticaria in which whealing occurs in the site and in configuration of application of stroking (pressure, friction) of the skin.

Dermatologist - Physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders of the skin, hair, nails and mucous membranes.

Dermis - The layer of the skin beneath the epidermis. The dermis is largely fibrous and contains collagen and elastin - the proteins responsible for the support and elasticity of the skin. The dermis also contains tiny sensory nerve endings and blood vessels.

Disencrustation - Any chemical action used to break down excess keratinization.

Disinfectant - An agent used to destroy germs.

Distended Capillarie- s An expansion of the circulatory system caused by dietary intake, physical, mental or environmental abuse producing an overly red appearance to the skin.

Eczema - Generic term for acute chronic inflammatory conditions of the skin, typically erythematous, edematous, papular, vesicular, and crusting; followed often by lichenification and scaling and occasionally by duskiness of the erythema and, infrequently, hyperpigmentation. Often accompanied by sensations of itching and burning. A very common dermatosis, representing almost half of the professional dermatitis conditions.

Edema - Accumulation of excess fluid in skin tissue.

Elasticity - This is a condition in which the skin has the ability to "spring back" into shape and is usually found in more youthful skins.

Elastin - Connective tissue that resembles a net-like sheet of fibers that are cross-linked. It is made up of protein and is a major component in the skin, lungs, ligaments and large blood vessels.

Emollient - Softens and soothes the skin. Provides a mild seal to the skin. Usually refers to oil-soluble substances, but can also refer to water-soluble ingredients, especially esters. While the terms moisturizer and emollient are often used interchangeably, the two functions are different; however, they often occur at the same time.

Emulsifier - A substance capable of physically binding oil to water.

Enzyme - Organic catalyst produced by living cells; may stimulate or accelerate biochemical reactions at the body's normal temperature. Class of protein compounds produced by a living organism which acts as a catalyst capable of accelerating or producing biochemical changes. Also referred to as organic catalysts; they are not consumed in the reactions they catalyze but are regenerated at the end of such reactions. In the food and drug industries they are referred to as proteases (proteolytic), amylases, lipases, and pectinase. In topical skin care, an enzyme such as papain (papaya) and bromelain (pineapple) dissolve the build-up of keratinezed cells at the skin's surface.

Epidermis - Uppermost layer of the skin. The epidermis is highly cellular and divided into layers: the basal (bottom) layer that produces new cells and contains melanocytes or pigment-producing cells; a thick prickle cell layer; the granular cell layer and the stratum corneum or top layer.

Esthetician - A qualified skin care specialist trained to administer beauty treatments for the skin.

Exfoliate - To remove, as in the removal of dead surface skin by a scrub, peel or mask. Exfoliation is a popular method for the control of cell regeneration.

Extract - An herbal concentrate produced by separating the essential or active part of an herb into a solvent material.

Fibroblast - Basic cell making up the dermis. Produces the matrix composed of collagen, elastin, and glycoaminoglycosans (GAGs)

Follicle - Excretory sac or gland.

Fragrance - A synthetic oil added to a product to make its aroma more appealing to the consumer.

Grow factors - Polypeptides which include the cytokines control the growth and maintenance of all body components.

Humectant - Used to attract or retain moisture in the skin.

Hydration - The absorption or penetration of water into the skin.

Hyperactivity - A skin that is excessively active is considered to be hyper. It is usually characterized by inflammation, irritation, increased circulation, dilated capillaries, papules, pustules, etc. This skin type needs to be sedated.

Hypoactivity - This is a sluggish, inactive skin type. It is usually characterized by asphyxiation, suffocation, poor color, etc.

Irritant - A substance that produces an adverse response (such as reddening, swelling, etc.)

Irritation - A physiological response to allergies, injury, shock or excessive stimulation of the skin. Often times it produces red patches, inflammation, edema and feels warm to touch.

Keratinized - This condition is typified by excess flaking of dead skin cells and has surface resistance to penetration and evacuation.

Keratinocyte - The basal layer of the epidermis is composed of these immortal cells. Known as corneocyte as they differentiate and begin transformation to stratum corneum.

Liposome - Lecithin (i.e., alkyl phospholipid) containing bilipid layer droplet with an inner water core, ~200-2000 nm in size, multi-laminar (many layers of phospholipid) liposomes will be at the upper size range.

Langerhan’s cell - immune cell found in epidermis, believed to be sensitive to beta-d-glucans, responds to possible antigens (viruses, yeast bacteria etc.) by the production of cytokines

Lines - This condition is typified by excess flaking of dead skin cells and has surface resistance to penetration and evacuation.

Lymphocyte - certain types of lymphocytes are involved in the inflammatory process, located in the dermis

Merkel Cell - pressure sensitive cell within the dermis

Melanin - A brown pigment produced by pigment producing skin cells (melanocytes). Increased amount of melanin pigment results in a tanned hue following exposure to UV light.

Melanocyte - melanin producing cell, located in the epidermis, the enzyme tyrosinase is involved in this process

Macroemulsion - Standard oil-in-water white creamy emulsion generally associated with moisturizers. large particle size > 2000 nm

Microemulsion - oil or lipid containing droplet with monolayer of surfactants, very small in size < 60 nm

Milia - Small keratinized cysts lodged in the epidermis. Formed by the encasement of sebum and appearing as a white, hardened grain.

nanoDelivery - Nanosome or droplet containing lipid core with lecithin containing surface monolayer,  very small < 100 nm. Penetrates stratum corneum rapidly.

Papule - Trapped sebum and bacteria surrounded by swollen tissue due to prolonged follicular congestion.

Peptide - A short chain of amino acids. This is in contrast to proteins, which are long chains of amino acids. In the body, peptides regulate the activity of other molecules such as proteins. This regulation is achieved by interaction of the peptide with the target molecule. Peptides have many functions, as some can have hormonal activity and others antibiotic activity. Whether peptides can have benefit when applied topically to skin for wound healing, skin barrier repair, or as disinfectants is difficult to ascertain, as they generally cannot penetrate skin and remain stable (Source: Biotechniques, July 2002, pages 190192).

pH - Directly defined as power of the hydrogen molecule. Amount of hydrogen present in a substance determines the acid or alkaline level of a product. In the skin it is the pH of the acid mantle (the protective fluid made up of perspiration, oils and other debris lying over the horny layer) considered important to the health of the skin. pH at the skin surface normally is between 4.5 and 5.5

Phospholipid - Lipid containing phosphorus.

Photodamage - Harmful effects of the sun resulting in thickening of the skin, roughness and/or hyper-pigmentation.

Photosynthesize - To make sensitive to ultraviolet light. Fragrances primarily of the citrus family are well known photsysthesizers. Many antibiotics and hormones may cause photosensitivity Reactions appear as a reddening to dark spots on exposed skin.

Phyto - Prefix referring to plants. Phytotherapy is plant therapy. Phyto-oils are plant oils.

Pigmentation - This condition is the excessive or underdeveloped pigmentation resulting in freckles, birthmarks, liver or age spots.

Proliferation - To encourage regeneration of new cells.

Purge - To flush the skin of its impurities.

Pustule - The advanced stage of a papule.

Retinoic Acid - Vitamin A acid typically used in products for the treatment of acne, and certain signs of photodamage.

Rubefactant - Produces redness in the skin through stimulation of the circulatory system.

Scarring - This condition is the result of trauma to the skin resulting in irregular tissue formation and should be noted on the facial zone chart.

Sealant - Aids in binding moisture to the skin and prevents moisture loss.

Sebum - Grease-like secretion of the sebaceous gland. Contains fat and cellular debris.

Stratum Corneum - Outermost layer of dead cells in the epidermis which protects living tissue from external stimuli and forms a barrier to keep moisture in.

Surfactant. - Acronym for surface active agent. Surfactants degrease and emulsify oils and fats and suspend soil, allowing them to be washed away, as laundry products do. I refer to these substances throughout my writing as ?etergent cleansing agents. Surfactants and detergent cleansing agents are often used interchangeably by chemists and researchers (Sources: Food and Drug Administration, Office of Cosmetics and Colors Fact Sheet, February 3, 1995,; Dermatology, 1995, volume 191, number 4, pages 276280; Tenside, Surfactants, Detergents, 1997, volume 34, number 3, pages 156168; and Surfactants are used in most forms of cleansers and many of them are considered gentle and effective for most skin types. There are several types of surfactants that can be sensitizing, drying, and irritating for skin.

Suffocation - The skin's inability to react through a positive exchange with the environment leading to discoloration, excessive dryness and comedone formation.

Sun Damage - Redness, flaking and pain are the indications of over-exposure to the sun's damaging rays which can result in sunburn, a variety of skin eruptions, irregular pigmentation, premature aging and possibly skin cancer.

Toxic Reaction - A counterproductive condition induced by the application of an outside agent. Usually a temporary condition.

Ultraviolet A (UVA), Ultraviolet B (UVB) - Two types of solar radiation within the ultraviolet range that reach the earth's surface, resulting in photodamage, suntan, sunburn and potentially, skin cancer.

Vasco-constructive - Causes narrowing of the blood vessels/capillaries.

Vasco-dilator - Causes expansion of the blood vessels/capillaries.

Wrinkles - Condition in which the skin starts to show its first signs of aging, due to gravitational force, dryness, facial expressions and a thinning of texture.