A colorless, strong-smelling solvent found in many nail-polish removers, it works by softening and dissolving the polymer molecules in polishes, gels, and acrylics. Because it’s drying to the nails and skin, many removers containing it are also spiked with moisturizers, like glycerin.


Present in all living organisms, this molecule plays a critical role in regulating blood flow and providing cells with usable energy. When applied topically, the ingredient can smooth and firm the skin, repair sun damage, and relax wrinkles.


Used as a thickener in makeup, skin-care products, and shampoo, this gelatinous, algae-derived sugar molecule also has mild antioxidant benefits.


Undrinkable ethyl alcohol has many uses in skin care. It delivers other ingredients into the skin and drives them deeper down. In toners and acne products, it can help dissolve oil and temporarily tighten pores. When added to certain moisturizers, like gel-based lotions, it makes them less tacky and helps them dry down faster on the face.  All that said, alcohol as a prominent ingredient in any skin care product is a problem.


Algaes are beneficial to skin, as emollients, anti-inflammatory agents, and antioxidants.  Algin is commonly added to thicken hair and skin-care products and to help makeup glide on smoothly. It’s also found in the filmy coating created by some facemasks and peels.


With the same pH as skin, this extract is extremely soothing. It’s also an effective healing agent.


This fatty acid found in all cells in the body contributes to skin’s smoothness. It dissolves in both fat and water, enabling it to penetrate well into all parts of skin cells.


The building blocks of the proteins that make up collagen and elastin—substances that give the skin its structural support. Aging and a combination of external factors (including UV light and environmental toxins) reduce the level of amino acids in the body.  Amino acids are essential in one’s diet to ensure skin hair and nail health.


Any ingredient that reduces free radical damage to the skin.


Emollient plant oil pressed from the seeds of apricots, and similar to other nonfragrant plant oils.


A critical building block of skin collagen and hair keratin, synthetic versions of this wound-healing amino acid are found in anti-aging topicals (as well as sports drinks and oral supplements).


Also known as l-ascorbic acid, this topical form of antioxidant vitamin C brightens the skin, increases collagen production, and stems free-radical damage, making it a popular anti-aging ingredient.


An anti-inflammatory that improves elasticity, reduces redness, irritation, and itching, while aiding healing.


An acne medicine that kills pimple-causing bacteria and exfoliates pores. It can be found in concentrations up to 10 percent in over-the-counter products.


A sugar (e.g., starch and cellulose) that can be derived from yeast or oats. It has some antioxidant properties and is a strong anti-inflammatory agent.  It is considered an excellent ingredient for reducing redness and other signs of sensitive skin.


These chemical exfolliants can smooth fine lines, even pigmentation, and penetrate deeply into pores, dissolving sticky plugs of sebum and dead skin. One of the most common BHAs, salicylic acid, is found in many acne washes, creams, and peels.


Small amounts of this B vitamin are found in carrots, almonds, milk, and other foods. Aside from helping the body process fats and sugars, oral biotin is important for regulating hair and nail growth. Shampoos and conditioners containing it claim the ingredient reduces hair breakage and increases elasticity.


This floral-scented chamomile extract has been used topically as a moisturizer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial for centuries.


A skin blemish that forms when the sebum (oil) draining from a pore becomes blocked by a clump of dead skin cells. Its color results from the sebum’s pigment, which darkens when exposed to air.


Contains GLA, which is considered to promote healthy skin growth and is an anti-inflammatory agent.


The trademark name for one of the forms of botulinum toxin used in injections targeting facial wrinkles. Botox paralyzes facial muscles, such as those that cause frown lines, in order to soften wrinkles.


There is evidence showing that this extract can reduce edema and venous problems when taken orally.  It also has anti-inflammatory properties when applied to the skin.


A form of alcohol that draws water from the air, making it a lightweight moisturizing agent. The ingredient is commonly found in makeup removers as a solvent—as well as in makeup – where it thins formulas, helping them glide on more easily.


Produced in the leaves and seeds of various plants, it can also be made in a lab. Commonly used in cellulite creams and eye creams, it constricts blood vessels, reducing redness and puffiness.


Has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.


It is rich in vitamins A, B, and E, monounsaturated fats, plant collagen, and antioxidants.  Camellia oil is a non-greasy oil that revitalizes hair, skin, and nails, protects the skin from UV rays, reduces scars and new stretch marks, and gentle enough on sensitive skin.   It is similar to grape seed oil in texture yet absorbs quickly into hair, skin, and nails with exceptional penetration properties as it is close to skin’s natural sebum.


Skin-conditioning agent that may be plant-derived or synthetic. Often used as part of a preservative blend with phenoxyethanol and chloroxylenol, two preservatives that meet current global regulations.


Also called L-carnitine, this amino acid helps convert fat into energy when naturally present in the human body. In the skin-care aisle, the ingredient is often found in cellulite and eye creams. Though there’s little clinical data supporting its long-term effectiveness, its anti-inflammatory activity can temporarily smooth puckering and puffiness.


This naturally occurring amino acid quells damaging inflammation, glycation, and free-radical activity.  Levels of it in our bodies decline with age. Some research indicates that oral supplements and topical creams containing it can stave off premature wrinkling, collagen breakdown, and thinning of the skin.


Vegetable oil derived from the castor bean. It is used in cosmetics as an emollient, though its unique property is that when dry it forms a solid film that can have water-binding properties.


A broad term referring to the way cells send information using proteins and other signaling molecules—and receive information from inside or outside the body via receptor sites located on cell membranes. Increasing numbers of skin creams contain ingredients like retinol, carnosine, and peptides, claiming they bind to receptor sites and encourage cells to behave like younger, healthier versions of themselves.


A potent anti-aging & regenerating ingredient.  Ceramides replenish lost skin-produced ceramides; therefore, recovering the barrier function and minimizing skin irritations. Lacto-Ceramide nourishes skin with milk lipids, which are a potent moisturizer.


Fatty alcohols that stabilize creams and cleansers and create a silky feeling.


A popular ingredient in cleansers and creams for sensitive skin, this moisturizing botanical is known for calming inflammation while combating free-radical damage.


Found in many fruits, the antioxidant alpha hydroxy acid acts as a natural preservative. When used in peels, masks, and washes, it brightens and exfoliates the upper layers of the skin, encouraging new collagen formation.


This is a powerful antioxidant. It’s abundant in vitamins E and B. It also contains glycerides, which deliver moisturizing lipids and fats, which plump and firm, help soothe sensitivities, and protect skin from environmental damage. Cocoa extract also contains the anti-aging amino acids serine and alanyl-glutamine, essential in skin cell rejuvenation.


Levels of this antioxidant in the skin decline with age and UV exposure.  Studies indicate that coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) may have an effect on skin and the appearance of wrinkles, most notably by reducing UV damage, stimulating healthy collagen production, and reducing substances in damaged skin that wreck havoc on its support structure.


Topical application can stimulate collagen and elastin synthesis as well as glycosaminoglycans, which help repair skin and contribute to a healthy barrier function. This non-fragrant plant oil also appears to stimulate pathways in skin that lead to greater moisture retention.


This protein makes up 80 percent of the skin, and its fibers give skin its firmness and strength. Collagen naturally breaks down over time, but certain topical ingredients and oral supplements can stimulate new collagen production.


A broad term for a pore, or hair follicle, that’s blocked by sticky dead skin cells and sebum that can’t drain properly. When the follicle remains open, the sebum’s pigment darkens from air exposure, forming a blackhead. When P. Acnes bacteria invade the clogged pore, the resulting inflammation creates a whitehead.


A natural skin emollient and softener with cooling and astringent properties, ideal in skin cleansers but also soothing body lotions and skin creams, especially after-sun products. It also softens & nourishes hair.


This severe, potentially scarring form of acne develops when a plug of dead skin cells, sebum, and P. Acnes bacteria lodges deep inside a pore, creating a tender, pus-filled bump that sometimes ruptures the pore wall, spreading to surrounding tissue.


This is the alcohol form of vitamin B5. When lotions, creams, ointments and formulations containing provitamin B5 are applied to and absorbed by the skin, this provitamin is transformed into vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), which has natural broad abilities to moisturize, soothe, heal and regenerate the skin. 

As a humectant, provitamin B5 stabilizes the skin barrier function, reducing the amount of water lost through the skin.


Ingredient present in all self-tanners that affect the color of skin. Derived from sugar, it reacts with amino acids found in the top layers of skin to create a shade of brown; the effect takes place within two to six hours and it can build color depth with every reapplication. It has a long history of safe use when applied topically to skin, where it affects only the uppermost layers


A slippery form of silicone that hydrates and protects the skin; often found in oil-free moisturizers.


Shorthand for dimethylaminoethanol, it’s produced by the human brain and found in sardines and other small fish. While the research is mixed, oral and topical forms claim to protect skin-cell membranes from free-radical damage, while firming, smoothing and brightening the complexion.


Like Botox, another injectable form of botulinum toxin that combats wrinkles by paralyzing underlying muscles.


The most common form of this chronic, noncontagious skin disorder is atopic dermatitis, which is characterized by itchy, red, scaly patches that often show up on the inner elbows, behind the knees, and around the neck and eyes. Prevalent in young children, it’s increasingly diagnosed in adults—especially those with a family history of the condition—and may flare with exposure to harsh soaps, fragrances, and foods that provoke an allergic response.


Stretchy structural proteins that allow skin to snap back into place, elastin is particularly vulnerable to sun damage.


Any ingredient that increases water levels in the epidermis. Synonym: moisturizer.


Chemicals such as cetyl alcohol that bind together ingredients in skin-care products.


Substance chemically similar to the self-tanning agent dihydroxyacetone. Depending on your skin color, there can be a difference in the color effect with erythrulose. However, dihydroxyacetone completely changes the color of skin within two to six hours, while erythrulose needs about two to three days for the skin to show a color change.


A plant-based antioxidant that is found in bran, among other plants. Research suggests that it provides antioxidant and sun-protective benefits to skin while enhancing the stability of topical applications of vitamin E and vitamin C.


Plentiful in connective tissue throughout the body, including the dermis, these cells produce the collagen and elastin responsible for keeping skin pliant and springy. Topical retinoids ramp up collagen production in fibroblasts.


While they’re present in all plants, this class of antioxidant phytochemicals is especially abundant in deeply pigmented fruits and vegetables, along with coffee, nuts, and seeds.


The generic term for natural and/or synthetic compounds used to scent products. Blends are typically considered trade secrets and can contain numerous ingredients (mainly oils and alcohols), none of which have to be revealed on the label. Fragrance is the number-one cause of allergic reactions to skin-care products.


A laser that creates microscopic injuries to the skin that stimulate the body’s natural wound-healing process, producing new collagen.


Highly unstable molecules created in the body by sunlight, cigarette smoke, and pollution that latch onto and damage cells in ways that can lead to roughness, sagging, and wrinkling.


Found throughout the human body, the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory ingredient has long been used as an oral supplement to relieve arthritis. Research shows that topical application may reduce hyperpigmentation and boost hyaluronic acid production, smoothing fine lines and wrinkles.


This age-accelerating process occurs when sugar molecules in the bloodstream bind to protein tissue throughout the body, creating advanced glycation end products (AGEs), free-radical damage, and inflammation. Among the tissues affected are the collagen and elastin fibers responsible for keeping skin smooth, plump, and flexible, which is why scientists now link a chronically high-glycemic diet to premature wrinkling and sagging.


It’s a humectant, meaning it pulls moisture from the atmosphere to hydrate skin and is most commonly used in moisturizers and hydrating cleansers.


An alpha hydroxy acid derived from sugarcane, it dissolves the glue-like substance between skin cells, aiding in exfoliation and improving skin texture. It’s commonly used in anti-aging products, such as cleansers, creams, and peels


Derived from a small fruit native to Asia, it’s rich in zinc, fatty acid, and antioxidants. Taken orally or applied topically, the ingredient claims to slow the signs of aging and fend off environmental damage to skin, though there have been no large clinical studies on humans.


Boasting antioxidant levels that are far more powerful than vitamins E and C, topical and oral formulations of the ingredient are used to protect the skin against UV damage and other environmental assaults.


This hydrating ingredient’s high fatty acid and antioxidant content makes it a popular addition to moisturizers, wrinkle creams, and hair-care products. Contains potent antioxidants that help diminish the sun’s damaging effects and reduce free-radical damage. Grape extract has also been shown to have wound-healing properties. Topical application of grape seed extract has been demonstrated to produce younger skin, including enhanced synthesis of healthy collagen, elastin, and improvement in numerous other structural components of skin.


Extracted directly from green-tea leaves, most researchers agree that tea (black, green, or white) has potent anti-inflammatory properties and that it is a potent antioxidant whether consumed orally or applied topically. Current research also indicates that epigallocatechin-3-gallate, an extract of tea, can prevent collagen breakdown and reduce UV damage to skin, which is a very good reason to use skin-care products that contain one or more forms of tea.


Helioplex is the trademarked name of a sunscreen technology that combines avobenzone with a stabilizing ingredient called oxybenzone to offer protection from both UVA and UVB sunlight.


Component of skin tissue that is used in skin-care products as a good skin-identical ingredient. Hyaluronic acid can boost skin’s moisture content, reduce inflammation, has cell-communicating abilities, and helps prevent moisture loss. It can hold 1,000 times its weight in water.


This class of moisturizing ingredients pulls water from the atmosphere into the top layer of the skin.


Available without a prescription in strengths up to 2 per cent (4 per cent in prescription formulas), it inhibits pigment production to lighten dark spots.


Often triggered by UV light exposure, a wound, illness, hormonal changes, or certain drugs, this darkening of the skin might appear as a uniform tan, melasma (patches of discoloration), or an isolated acne scar.


A machine that emits many wavelengths of light—as opposed to lasers, which use just one concentrated beam—to remove hair or erase acne, dark spots, wrinkles, spider veins, and more. While gentler and less expensive than lasers, it isn’t always as effective.


Similar in structure to skin’s natural oil, it penetrates skin to hydrate without clogging pores. As a plant oil that’s a rich source of fatty acids skin recognizes and can use, jojoba oil also seems to stimulate collagen production and help skin better defend itself against UV light damage.


The trademarked name of a gel made from hyaluronic acid that’s injected into wrinkles and lips to restore lost volume.


A claylike mineral that absorbs oil and tamps down shine.


A hydrating compound found in plants that encourages cell division, the popular anti-aging ingredient is thought to reduce wrinkling and even skin tone and texture.


These red bumps on the legs and the backs of arms occur when sticky cells within the hair follicle clump together to form a plug, preventing them from being whisked away through routine exfoliation. This common condition, believed to be genetic, can be minimized but not cured with lactic acid creams or scrubs.


This skin lightener, especially popular in Japan, has been proven to be effective at blocking the production of new melanin in the skin, but it can also cause skin irritation when used in higher concentrations.


Derived from fermented milk, this alpha hydroxy acid exfoliates dead skin cells and is gentle enough for people with sensitive skin or rosacea. Since it’s part of our natural moisturizing factor, it’s especially compatible with human skin.


Intense, concentrated beams of a various colors of light used to treat a variety of skin problems, including dark spots, spider veins, wrinkles, and unwanted hair or tattoos.


Light-emitting diode devices give off a narrow range of a specific wavelength of light. (Different wavelengths target different skin issues; for example, blue light kills the bacteria known to cause acne.) Much less intense than lasers or IPL, many LED devices are safe enough for hand-held use at home.


A red pigment abundant in tomatoes, watermelon, carrots, and even chicken, the antioxidant helps protect skin from sun damage when consumed orally or applied topically.


Macadamia Nut Oil has one of the highest sources of the essential fatty acid, palmitoleic acid, which is, in chemical profile, very close to human sebum.  As mature skin is lacking in this essential fatty acid, Macadamia Nut Oil is an excellent carrier for all anti-aging, and mature – especially menopausal – treatment products.


Form of vitamin C that is considered stable and an effective antioxidant for skin. This form of vitamin C is also known to increase skin’s hydration levels and improve its elasticity.


This ingredient is a very good plant-based emollient due to it being a rich source of fatty acids and anti-inflammatory ingredients.


The pigment that gives hair, skin, and eyes their color; patches of excess melanin can cause dark spots.


Though present in the brain, inner ear, eyes, and heart, these melanin-producing cells are best known for the protective pigment they bring to the skin and hair—as well as to the moles and cancerous melanomas they can comprise. UV light exposure, hormonal changes, certain medications, illness, and lasers are all factors that can affect melanocyte activity.


The deadliest of all skin cancers, it develops in pigment-producing cells, most commonly on the upper back, trunk, head, neck, and lower legs. While the cure rate is high when caught early, unchecked cases can spread to internal organs. Malignant moles tend to have asymmetrical or irregular borders, uneven color, a diameter greater than six millimeters, and/or a rapidly changing appearance. While genetics and immune disorders increase risk, a history of sun- or tanning-bed exposure is the most preventable cause.


Originally derived from mint plants, this cooling agent is found in some lip balms, toners, and shave gels, mainly in synthetic form. It’s also used topically to relieve minor aches, stings, and itch.


Performed by dermatologists and facialists, this treatment exfoliates the top layer of dead skin cells with a wand that sprays on and then vacuums off extremely fine aluminum-oxide crystals. A newer form of the technology uses a vibrating diamond tip in place of the crystals.


Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide is a potent cell-communicating ingredient that offers multiple benefits for aging skin. Assuming skin is being protected from sun exposure, niacinamide can improve skin’s elasticity, dramatically enhance its barrier function, help erase discolorations, and revive skin’s healthy tone and texture.

Topically applied niacinamide has been shown to increase ceramide and free fatty acid levels in skin, prevent skin from losing water content, and stimulate microcirculation in the dermis. It also has a growing reputation for being able to treat an uneven skin tone and to mitigate acne and the red marks it leaves behind (known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation). It is an excellent ingredient for those struggling with wrinkles and breakouts. Niacinamide is stable in the presence of heat and light.


Thick moisturizing ingredients, such as petrolatum, that slow the evaporation of water from the skin’s surface.


About 10 per cent of our skin surface is made of squalane.  Olive squalane can help to replenish the natural levels lost through the normal aging process, contributing regenerative activity to restore a more youthful appearance, and resistance to inflammatory conditions. The unsaturated fatty acids of squalane play a crucial role in the moisture regulation of the skin.


Abundant in herring, mackerel, wild salmon, walnuts, flaxseed, and olive oil, these essential fatty acids maintain the function of cell membranes throughout the body, preserving cells’ ability to take in nutrients, dispose of waste, and hold onto water. In the epidermis, this can translate to smoother, more supple, hydrated skin.


Also known as benzophenone-3, this chemical sunscreen absorbs mainly UVB rays, which is why it is combined with UVA-absorbing filters (like avobenzone) to create broad-spectrum sunscreens.


Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 is made up of chains of amino acids, and has the ability to penetrate the epidermis and enter deep into the dermis, where it stimulates collagen production and healthy tissue growth. It not only speeds up collagen synthesis in the skin, but early studies suggest that this peptide also has the ability to communicate with skin cells and prevent toxins that penetrate them from doing harm.


Polyglucose/Lactylate Blend is a natural surfactant of two naturally derived mild surfactants combine to create a blend that provides exceptional moisturization.


A class of preservatives used to protect cosmetics against the growth of bacteria and fungi. These controversial ingredients—including methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben—have been shown to possess weak estrogen-like properties.  Considered by many to be xenoestrogens that may contribute to breast cancer, the FDA has deemed them safe when used at very low levels (.01 to .3 percent) in cosmetics.


A purified by-product of petroleum, this thick, odorless, and colorless substance coats the skin to hydrate and prevent water loss and is used in standard (i.e., not oil-free) moisturizers. It can clog pores and cause acne in those who are prone.


Phenoxyethanol is a common cosmetic preservative that is considered one of the least irritating to use in formulations. It does not release formaldehyde. Phenoxyethanol is approved for worldwide use in all types of water-based cosmetics, up to a one per cent concentration. The safety of phenoxyethanol has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel several times.  It has been determined that phenoxyethanol is safe as a cosmetic ingredient.


Found in apples, this chemical enhances the activity of other skin-care ingredients that reduce sun damage.


These common plasticizers, used some nail polishes to increase flexibility and in some shampoos and cleansers to carry fragrance, are controversial because of a possible link to disruption of the human endocrine system. Their role in a possible increase in breast cancers in women is currently being studied.


Also called phytochemicals. Consuming or topically applying these beneficial compounds in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and other edible plants helps prevent the damaging inflammation and free-radical activity that comes from UV exposure and other destructive environmental elements.


When part of a living apple tree, melon vine, or other plant, these unspecialized cells have the ability to divide and stimulate growth in any tissue within that plant. There’s little evidence to support claims that the regenerating effects translate to human skin when plant stem cells are extracted and applied topically—though they may offer some antioxidant benefits.


A vegetable derived emulsifying wax that produces very stable emulsions in creams & lotions. Polawax enables oils and butters to be easily emulsified with water to create a wide variety of personal care products.


Extracts of this fruit maintain moisture in the skin and act as an antioxidant, protecting against UV damage that can lead to wrinkles and skin cancer.


A bioflavonoid ingredient from plants, Quercetin occurs naturally in red wine, tea, onions, kale, tomatoes, berries, and many other fruits and vegetables.  Among its chief benefits, quercetin functions as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory agent, and skin-healing ingredient, likely owing to the stimulating effect it has on the immune system.


Raspberry seed oil is a potent antioxidant with anti-bacterial properties.  It is also a natural full spectrum sun protectant, around 30 spf.


Filler made from hyaluronic acid that doctors use to replace lost volume in the skin; it is especially effective for plumping the lips.


An antioxidant found in grapes, it neutralizes free radicals to protect skin cells from damage.


The brand name for the prescription vitamin A derivative tretinoin. First approved by the FDA for the treatment of acne, Retin-A was eventually found to fight signs of aging by speeding up exfoliation, repairing skin on a molecular level, and boosting new collagen production.


This is the catchall phrase used to describe all vitamin A derivatives used in skin care.


A derivative of vitamin A used in anti-aging products to stimulate the turnover of skin cells and increase collagen production. The maximum amount allowed in over-the-counter products is one per cent. Retinyl palmitate and retinaldehyde are weaker, less-irritating forms of retinol.


As a skin care ingredient, rose hip oil offers several benefits due to it’s primary constituents: essential fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A.  The anti-aging benefits come form the oil’s ability to penetrate into deeper layers of skin.


Rosemary Oleoresin, also known as Rosemary Oil Extract or ROE is an oil soluble, natural extract used to retard rancidity in natural oils.


A beta hydroxy acid that removes excess oil and dead cells from the skin’s surface. It’s used in nonprescription cleansers, moisturizers, and treatments for acne-prone skin in concentrations of 0.5 to two per cent.


This potent antioxidant contains high levels of vitamin E, vitamin C, omega 3 and 6, which are all good nutrients for skin health.  However, what sets it apart is that it also contains the rare, highly beneficial omega 7.


A skin-care product that contains high concentrations of active ingredients and claims superior penetration of the skin’s surface when applied.


A plant lipid extracted from the karite tree that is used as an emollient in cosmetics. Shea butter is a rich source of antioxidants.


A detergent agent that cuts through oil and generates lather. Depending on manufacturing processes, sodium laureth sulfate may be contaminated with measurable amounts of ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, a known human carcinogen. Ethylene oxide can also harm the nervous system. The California Environmental Protection Agency has classified it as a possible developmental toxicant based on evidence that it may interfere with human development.  There is no easy way for consumers to know whether products containing sodium laureth sulfate have undergone this process.


Rich in proteins and vitamins, this natural, non-irritating extract is a mild skin brightener that blocks the transfer of pigment from pigment-making cells to surrounding skin cells.


An essential oil with medicinal properties and a fresh, sweet, spicy, licorice-like scent.


A fat that binds together the ingredients in creams and cleansers and gives them a silky texture.


These cleansing agents remove dirt and oil and are responsible for creating lather. There are more than 100 different varieties—some synthetic, others from natural sources, like coconut or palm oil. They’re found in facial cleansers, body washes, shampoos, and shaving creams. All types have the potential to dry and irritate the skin. They’ve come under scrutiny in recent years for their potential damage to human health and the environment.


This is a non-fragrant oil extracted from the seeds of almonds and used as an emollient. Almond oil is a rich source of skin-repairing ingredients including triglycerides and several fatty acids (oleic, linoleic, and myristic among them). It is not known to cause adverse reactions, although it’s an ingredient to consider avoiding if you have nut allergies.


Orange essential oil is shown to promote the production of collagen as well as increase the blood flow to the skin. It is helpful at soothing dry, irritated skin as well as acne-prone skin.


A radio-wave machine used by doctors to penetrate into the deepest layers of the skin and generate heat that stimulates the formation of new collagen to firm skin.


A mineral in sunscreens that shields the skin from UVA and UVB rays.  Titanium Dioxide is under investigation as a possible carcinogen.


The wavelength of ultraviolet light that leads to signs of aging by destroying existing collagen and elastin within the skin and undermining the body’s ability to create more of each. The rays cause skin cancer, and they are also generated in tanning beds. They are constant throughout the year, which is why sun protection should be worn daily regardless of season.


The high-energy wavelength of ultraviolet light that leads to darkened pigment in the form of tanning, freckles, and age spots—plus, of course, sunburns. They are strongest in summer months.


Although used primarily as a fragrance and flavoring agent, the vanilla plant is a source of polyphenols, which exhibit antioxidant activity and serve as anti-inflammatory agents.


Glycerin is a humectant and extremely hygroscopic, meaning it readily absorbs water from other sources. So, in part, glycerin works because of its ability to attract water from the environment and from the lower layers of skin (dermis) increasing the amount of water in the surface layers of skin. Another aspect of glycerin’s benefit is that it is a skin-identical ingredient, meaning it is a substance found naturally in skin.


Extract for which there is some research showing it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.


An antioxidant that boosts collagen production and inhibits pigment formation. Like many antioxidants, it’s an unstable molecule that can break down quickly when exposed to light and air.


An antioxidant superstar. It protects the epidermis from early stages of ultraviolet light damage, increases the efficacy of active sunscreen ingredients, reduces the formation of free radicals upon skin exposure to UVA rays and other sources of skin stress, reduces water loss from skin and strengthens the skin’s barrier function, and protects the skin barrier’s oil (lipid) balance during the cleansing process.


Vitamin A has value for skin on several fronts: it is a cell-communicating ingredient and antioxidant. Retinol helps skin cells create better, healthier skin cells, provides antioxidant support, and increases the amount of substances that enhance skin’s structural elements.


De-ionized, distilled, or purified, it’s often used as a vehicle to deliver other ingredients into the skin.


Emollient plant oil similar to all nonfragrant plant oils.


A mineral in sunscreen that prevents UVA and UVB light from entering skin and doing damage.