An A to Z Glossary of skin & hair care ingredients & terms. Definition guide of skin & hair care buzzwords. Focusing on ingredients with effective results.
A – Al Am – Az
- Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are commonly found in shampoos, conditioners, and leave-in products. These small acids compose keratin. Keratin is the main structural component of hair. Amino acids contained in hair care are small enough to penetrate the hair shaft to repair and strengthen. Amino Acids are also found in skincare, generally geared towards collagen production.
- Amla (AKA Emblica Officinalis) is for both hair and skin care. For skin care, Amla is high in Vitamin C to increase collagen and fades scars. Amla is nutrient-rich and restorative. Amla is a wonder fruit. It is a non-greasy oil to help grow long, silky and shiny hair. Indian Gooseberry makes hair soft, silky, and pliable. Amla nourishes both hair and scalp, promotes hair growth and to prevent grey hair.
- Amalaki is another term for Amla or Indian Gooseberry. It prevents damage to the skin and soothes redness.
- Amaranthus Hypochondriacus
Unrefined amaranth seed oil is naturally rich in squalene, vitamin E, and omega-6. These provide skin a dewy glow and quickly absorb.
Amaranth seed oil provides an outstanding fatty acid profile to hydrate delicate eye area skin. It is a natural anti-inflammatory antioxidant and is non-comedogenic.
- Amyris Balsamifera
- Amyris balsamifera is Amyris bark oil, which is a moisturizing oil from the torchwood tree.
It is often used as an essential oil for relaxation. It also has skin rejuvenation benefits that slow down the appearance of aging.
- Andiroba Seed Oil
- Andiroba Seed Oil is cold-pressed extracted from the Andiroba tree seeds of the Amazon Forest. Andiroba seed oil is naturally rich in antioxidants, Vitamins A, C and E, and fatty acids. It is ideal for dry skin types as an emollient that is easily absorbed. It promotes skin elasticity.
- Ananas Sativus Fruit
- Ananas Sativus Fruit is Pineapple Fruit.
It contains fruit extracts that are effective exfoliants to sloughs off dead cells on the surface of the skin while imparting soothing skin benefits.
- Antioxidants prevent premature aging by slowing down or preventing the oxidation of important molecules, including within the hair and skin. They prevent deterioration from various chemical reactions with oxygen. Anti-oxidant foods, supplements, and topicals are a scientifically proven part of effective skincare.
- Apium graveolens
- Apium graveolens is organic celery CO2 Total extract.
Celery is trending in skincare because it is a soothing anti-inflammatory that contains Vitamins A, C, and K.
Celery extract is an antioxidant that fights free radicals and sun damage.
- Apple Stem Cells
- Apple Stem Cells are a highly effective form of stem cells that target wrinkles. Apple Stem cells come from a specific Swiss apple variety.
- An emollient that softens and smooths. Apricot Kernel oil is lighter than many other oils but still provides great sheen.
Ideal for thin, fine hair, or thin blonde or silver hair. An emollient that softens and smooths. For skin, apricot oil contains antioxidant vitamin E and nourishing fatty acids (mostly oleic acid 54-74%, linoleic acid 12-35%). It has nourishing and moisturizing properties and is quite easily absorbed into the skin.
- Aqua 3G
- This ingredient is rare in skincare products because it is quite pricey. It contains an algae extract called glyceryl-glucoside. Glyceryl-glucoside works with the Aquaporins, the water conduits of cells. It stops moisture loss.
- A natural skin-lightening agent extracted from bearberry. It is composed of glucose and hydroquinone. It inhibits melanocytes from producing melanin. Over time this slowly reduces hyperpigmentation. Effective on acne scars, photoaging, age spots and certain types of dark undereye circles. Pairs well with Niacinamide. Also seen as Alpha-arbutin in some cosmetic formulations.
- Argan Oil or Argan Nut Oil deeply hydrates scaly skin and dry hair.
- For skin, it regulates sebum production to reduce breakouts and fades acne scars. It is an anti-oxidant with fatty acids that are like a superfood for the skin.
- Argan oil massaged into the scalp aids in stimulating hair growth. It softens hair length but its’ best use is the repair of damaged follicles.
- An amino acid that protects skin from free radicals.
Arginine is an essential amino acid, the building blocks of skin peptides and proteins as well as hydration transportation within the skin. It helps restore skin damage. Vital to healthy, beautiful skin.
- Argireline is called Botox in a Jar because it inhibits the muscle contractions that cause expression lines. There is no impairment of your actual facial expressions.
- Argireline does not repair skin or boost collagen; it only limits future damage.
- Arnica flower is a natural anti-inflammatory. It reduces puffiness without causing dryness or dehydration around the delicate eye skin. It also decreases bruising and inflammation. Arnica promotes healing and reduces swelling.
- Arnica flower is also known as Arnica Montana flower or the mountain daisy.
- Arrowroot Powder
- Arrowroot Powder is a skin softener that heals burns and abrasions. It also works to thicken the consistency of a product. Commonly used in organic shaving lotions and dry skincare creams and lotions. It is a pre-emptive remedy for razor burn.
- Ascorbic Acid
- Ascorbic Acid, also known as L-Ascorbic Acid, is a soluble, stable Vitamin C that is used on a topical level. It brightens the skin, increases collagen production, and reduces free-radical damage. It is the strongest C of several C variants available within Vitamin C products. If well tolerated, Ascorbic Acid works quickly, especially when formulated with effective buffering ingredients.
- Ascorbyl Glucoside
- A stable C derivative that easily penetrates the skin. Research shows once it penetrates the skin it behaves like pure vitamin C offering antioxidant protection, collagen boosting, and fading hyperpigmentation.
- Ascorbyl Palmitate
- Ascorbyl Palmitate a stable form of topical Vitamin C. It is fat-soluble. It is less acidic, resulting in less skin irritation or redness when applied topically. As a supplement, Ascorbyl Palmitate is an excellent anti-oxidant and is readily available in powder and supplement form. See C Ester.
- Asparagus is an anti-inflammatory and diuretic that removes skin puffiness. It has excellent skin-conditioning and anti-aging properties. It slows the cellular aging process including collagen loss and dermis thinning.
- Astaxanthin is one of the most powerful antioxidants in skincare. It is 65 times stronger than Vitamin C in combating free radicals. It protects collagen and elastin skin cells against oxidation or decay. [3, 4] It is moisturizing and has UV blocking properties.
- Astaxanthin counteracts UV damage and improves elasticity via improved skin function. It promotes collagen production.  Astaxanthin suppresses hyperpigmentation and photoaging. Clinical studies show Astaxanthin reduces wrinkle formation .
- Australian Kakadu Plum
- Kakadu plums are the highest natural source of vitamin C to support collagen synthesis and provide antioxidant support. It reduces acne, fades scars, and reduces fine lines.
- Kakadu plums are also high in gallic acid and ellagic acid to fight free radicals, hydrate the skin and prevent the skin from damage.
- Avena Sativa
- Avena Sativa is better known as colloidal oatmeal.
- Within topical, broad range UV protectors and sunscreens, avobenzone is a chemical that blocks UVA I, UVA II, and UVB wavelengths, greatly reducing the impact of UV rays causing photodamage. 
- Avena Strigosa Seed Extract
- Black oat extract is rich in amino acids. It helps even brittle, dry hair retain moisture. It also imparts a healthy-looking natural gloss.
- Avocado Oil
Avocado oil benefits the hair, scalp, and skin. Avocado oil massaged into the scalp prompts blood flow to hair follicles. Avocado Oil is 72% monounsaturated fatty acids. This is higher than Coconut or Grapeseed oils. Avocado Oil mixes with water better than other oils. Avocado oil readily penetrates into the hair strand and even the hair cortex. Avocado Oil doesn’t sit on the scalp like Coconut. Rather it absorbs, making it an ideal moisturizer for dry, itchy scalps. Avocado oil decreases dryness and improves texture on hair and skin. Rich in Omegas 3 and 6, Vitamins C, D, and E, Avocado Oil promotes scar healing and collagen production.
- Azelaic Acid
- Azelaic Acid is an organic compound that brightens the skin tone. It gently reduces skin redness even in pustular rosacea.
- Azulene (Guaiazulene) is a naturally blue oil that is extracted from chamomile. In skincare, like chamomile, it holds skin-soothing properties including being an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-fungal agent.
- Vinay, T. et al. Beneficial Effects of Marine Algal Compounds in Cosmeceuticals. Marine Drugs 11(1), 146-164 (2013)
- Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, Volume 11 (4) Dec 1, 2012, Stability, transdermal penetration, and cutaneous effects of ascorbic acid and its derivatives
- Davinelli S, Nielsen ME, Scapagnini G. Astaxanthin in Skin Health, Repair, and Disease: A Comprehensive Review. Nutrients. 2018 Apr 22;10(4):522. doi: 10.3390/nu10040522. PMID: 29690549; PMCID: PMC5946307.
- Nishida, Y. and E. Yamashita. œQuenching Activities of Common Hydrophilic and Lipophilic Antioxidants against Singlet Oxygen Using Chemiluminescence Detection System. 2007).
- Camera E., Mastrofrancesco A., Fabbri C., Daubrawa F., Picardo M., Sies H., Stahl W. Astaxanthin, canthaxanthin and beta-carotene differently affect UVA-induced oxidative damage and expression of oxidative stress-responsive enzymes.Â Exp. Dermatol. 2009;18:222â€“231. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2008.00790.x.
- Tominaga K., Hongo N., Karato M., Yamashita E. Cosmetic benefits of astaxanthin on human subjects. Acta Biochim. Pol. 2012;59:43-47.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Summary for CID 51040, Avobenzone. https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Avobenzone. Accessed Aug. 23, 2022.
- de Oliveira, Ana Paula et al. “Effect of semisolid formulation of persea americana mill (avocado) oil on wound healing” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM vol. 2013 (2013): 472382. doi:10.1155/2013/47238
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