Skincare-News Presents: First Comprehensive “Beauty Glossary”

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Confused by the dizzying variety of skincare information out there? Both media outlets and consumers can learn all they need to know about key skincare ingredients, conditions, treatments and procedures in this A-to-Z guide to all things skin-related. From peptides to parabens, free radicals to ferulic acid, a little knowledge can go a long way when it comes to caring for skin.

Before investing in a new product or treatment, it pays to do some homework. Curious about common beauty terms like “non-comedogenic” or “botanical skincare”? Looking for information about acne, exfoliation or spider veins? The Skincare-News Glossary can help consumers and journalists get a handle on industry jargon. Get educated on everything from antioxidants to zinc oxide with’s handy guide, “Skincare-News Glossary: Learning Skincare Lingo.”


Alpha hydroxy acids: Exfoliating acids that can come from fruits, milk or sugar cane. Lower strengths appear in skincare products to treat fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and dull skin. Higher strengths are used by professionals in chemical peels to rejuvenate the skin.


Collagen: This protein is naturally found in the skin, and works with another protein — elastin — to support the skin’s structure and prevent it from sagging. Collagen gives skin its youthful appearance and keeps it plump and supple. With age, collagen production slows down and skin starts to sag, develops lines and wrinkles and gets drier. Some topical treatments and injectable fillers can help.


Free radicals: Unstable molecules that try to steal electrons from stable molecules, creating a chain of other unstable molecules that can damage the skin, leading to wrinkles and aging skin. Environmental factors like pollution, UV rays, smoke and pesticides all contribute to create skin-threatening free radicals.


Hyperpigmentation: A darkening of the skin in areas where melanin production increases. Sun exposure is a major cause of hyperpigmentation, but wounds or inflammation caused by acne or injury can also cause temporary or permanent hyperpigmentation. Sun spots or liver spots are more permanent, but many lightening treatments can help. Larger areas of hyperpigmentation can occur during pregnancy, known as melasma.


Keratosis pilaris: A harmless but frustrating skin condition that affects up to 50 percent of the population. It occurs when the protein keratin blocks hair follicles, creating small white bumps on the backs of the upper arms, thighs, buttocks and sometimes the face. Treatments include exfoliating ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids that unclog the pores.


Natural skincare: Tons of products claim to feature “natural” ingredients; unfortunately, because the term “natural” isn’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it’s difficult to confirm a company’s claims. Also, keep in mind that there’s no scientific evidence that natural ingredients are safer or superior to synthetic ingredients. That’s why it’s wise to do your homework when deciding between natural and synthetic options. Also, be sure not to confuse “natural” skincare with “organic” formulas.


Parabens: Chemical compounds used as preservatives in personal care and beauty products to extend shelf life by preventing the growth of fungi, mold and bacteria.

Peptides: Strands of amino acids that naturally occur in skin, providing it with strength and structure. As a skin care ingredient, peptides may have some anti-aging benefits, such as reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Psoriasis: A common autoimmune skin condition that causes redness, flaking and silvery patches called scales. Psoriasis most often occurs on the elbows, knees and torso, but can appear anywhere on the body.


Retinoids: Derivatives of vitamin A, these prescription-strength topical treatments are the gold standard in anti-aging, because they build collagen, reduce wrinkles and fine lines and improve overall skin tone and texture. Retinoids are also highly effective in unclogging pores and treating acne. Because they’re so potent — and can cause irritation and dryness — it’s crucial to work with a dermatologist to find the best way to make a retinoid formula part of your regimen.

Rosacea: A chronic skin condition that causes inflammation, redness, red lines (called telangietctasias), swelling or pimples across the forehead, chin, cheeks and nose. Rosacea most often affects adults between the ages of 30 and 50 and individuals with fair skin.


Varicose and spider veins: Enlarged dark, purple or blue veins that appear near the surface of the skin. Both varicose veins and spider veins occur when blood leaks into and

Vitamin C: An antioxidant that counteracts harmful free radical effects, decreasing skin damage, and boosts collagen to reduce the look of lines. While it has great benefits, vitamin C is notoriously unstable. When vitamin C is exposed to oxygen, it breaks down, loses its potency and can even create damaging radicals. Look for more stable derivatives of vitamin C, such as ascorbyl palmitate.


Zinc oxide: A mineral that treats minor skin irritations, including diaper rash, mild burns and chapped skin. Zinc oxide is also commonly used in sunblocks because it blocks or reflects ultraviolet rays, and doesn’t irritate the skin.

See the complete “A-to-Z” Skincare Glossary at
About—“Your Source for Intelligent Skin Care” is the online source for consumers seeking intelligent beauty and skin care news, advice, tips and articles. Founded in 2005, features articles, news items and frequently asked questions on skincare and beauty-related issues. is located in Sacramento, California, but receives visitors from all around the world. For more information, visit

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Bobby Lyons

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