Skin & Hair Glossary of ingredients & terms seen on Style Chicks. Which skin & hair ingredients give the best results. Frequently updated.
- Sacha Inchi Oil
- Sacha Inchi Oil improves moisture retention and rebuilds skin’s natural lipid barriers. It keeps skin elastic with astounding levels of omega-3s and omega-6s and some omega-9s. Sacha Inchi Oil contains high levels of behenic acid, an anti-aging superstar. It also contains Vitamin A and E.Sacha Inchi oil is lightweight and doesn’t clog pores.
- Salicylic Acid
- Salicylic Acid is a bHA (beta hydroxy acid). Salicylic acid purges clogged pores without excess drying. It clears from the bottom of the pore up. It helps build collagen. Salicylic acid works best when paired with another peeling agent. A combination of salicylic and mandelic acids was shown to be especially effective on moderate acne. 
- Safflower Oil
- Safflower Oil is high in Omegas 3, 6 and 9. It hydrates dry skin, soothes irritation and enhances skin texture and appearance. It delays premature aging, tightens and brightens the skin. It benefits brittle hair as well, softening and strengthening hair without being too heavy to wash out.
- Saw Palmetto
- Saw Palmetto comes from the berries of the Serenoa palm. Saw Palmetto is available as an oral supplement and topical preparations. It is sometimes included in hair growth supplements.
It stops hair loss caused by DHT, a hormone that accumulates on the scalp and causes hair follicles to shrink, eventually choking out new hair growth until the follicle doesn’t grow new hair at all. Saw Palmetto blocks DHT so follicles can grow hair again. Saw Palmetto is also a 5 alpha-reductase inhibitor. 5 alpha-reductase converts testosterone to DHT resulting in male pattern baldness.  Saw Palmetto also inhibits the DHT receptors in the follicles. This limits the damage that any remaining DHT can do.
- Scalp Treatment
- Scalp treatments address the health of scalp skin and hair follicles. Like facial skin treatments, they exfoliate, cleanse, nourish, moisturize and protect. Even on healthy scalps, this improves the hair root health and hair growth environment. Scalp treatments improve conditions of the scalp like dandruff, eczema, tight scalp, oily scalp, and psoriasis.
- Sea Buckthorn Oil
- Sea Buckthorn Oil contains over 200 skin-friendly nutrients.  It restores skin and builds collagen. This non-irritating oil is an anti-inflammatory that treats acne, eczema, and psoriasis. See fine lines become smoother and softer. Read more about Sea Buckthorn Oil.
- Seaweed Extract
Seaweed Extract is not only an anti-oxidant, but it is oxygenating. It is often used in valuable creams such as Creme de la Mer because it is so fortifying with skin-nourishing minerals and nutrients. It moisturizes and hydrates. It treats normal skin and deeply dehydrated skin as well as soothes burns and revitalizes while making it soft.
- Sebaceous glands
- The skin glands that secrete oil into the hair follicles.
- Selenium supplements help support hair related issues including thyroid and blood flow.
Sesame Seed Oil
- Sesame Seed Oil eliminates acne and softens the skin. Rich in linoleic acid, vitamins A an E, it rids the skin of bacteria-trapping, acne-causing dead skin cells. Sesame Oil is ideal for sensitive, thin hair and irritated scalps and skin.
- Shea Butter treats acne scars, including cystic acne dark scars. Shea can feed the skin and overhaul the skin texture, even on deep burns. Organic Shea can reduce acne, some impure, stale or non-organic Shea Butters can make skin breakout.
- Shorea Robusta Resin
- Shorea Robusta Resin is extracted from the sal tree of the Indian subcontinent. It improves long-lasting and film-forming properties and is especially popular in color cosmetic products. Gives a luxe viscosity.
- Silica builds connective tissue and collagen that helps makes hair. We typically don’t get enough Silica in our diet to contribute to hair growth. Silica is included in some hair supplements.
- Skin Bleaching Agent
- Skin Bleaching Agents are ingredients that bleach or lighten the skin by suppressing pigment formation within skin cells.
- Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate
- Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate is a water-soluble C particularly effective on acne treatment and prevention. Sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP) is a stable precursor of vitamin C that ensures a constant delivery of vitamin C into the skin.  It won’t turn brown or go bad. SAP has a strong antimicrobial effect.
- Sodium Hyaluronate Acid
- Sodium HA is a non-synthesized form of Hyaluronic Acid. It has Hyaluronic Acid benefits, is a humectant and offers stronger moisture retention properties than regular HA. It is found naturally and ample supply in young skin, but depletes with age. Sodium Hyaluronate Acid has a lower molecular size compared to other Hyaluronic Acids. This is good because it can absorb deeper into the skin. But this also potentially increases the risk of skin irritation, meaning companion topicals may require sparing application.
- Sonic cleansing device
- A device that cleanses face and body skin with an oscillating brush head. The “sonic” part is that it oscillates the bristles instead of rotating the brush head. The oscillations occur rapidly, many times per second, which gently vibrates and dislodges debris and dead skin cells from the skin. This is far gentler than scrubs or washcloths and can be safely used by those with various skin conditions. Popular brands of sonic cleansing devices include Clarisonic and Michael Todd Beauty.
- Sophora Root Extract
- Sophora Root Extract has skin lightening effects for older scars.
- Soy Extract
- Soy Extract comes from Soybeans which are both an emollient and an anti-oxidant. Soybeans are in Vitamin E which softens and reduces inflammation.
- Sun Protection Factor (SPF)
- The sun protection factor is the amount of the protection a sun product provides. The higher the SPF, the greater the protection. Some ingredients such as Coconut Oil has a small natural amount of SPF. The minimum SPF for basic sun protection is 30 SPF. This number increases with various needs including Retinol and Vitamin C use, exceptionally fair skin, or previous incidences of skin cancer.
- Spirulina is a plant-based protein full of amino acids, minerals, and vitamins. Spirulina contains anti-aging tyrosine, vitamin E or tocopherol, and selenium. Spirulina applied topically removes darkness around the eyes and works as a natural toner. It can also be applied topically to the skin within a product or in a facial mask for skin nourishment and softness. As an oral supplement, it nourishes skin with its’ high vitamin and mineral content and serves as an anti-oxidant. Spirulina is used in shampoos and conditioners to accelerate hair growth and topically treats dandruff.
- Squalene mimics the skin’s natural sebum and makes the skin barrier extra smooth and soft. It is suitable for even highly sensitive or irritated skin. Vegan squalene is derived from olives. Helpful for acne.
- St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort is traditionally used in tinctures and preparations for topical wound care, sunburns, abrasions, bruises, contusions.  It is rich in antioxidants but contains hypericin which causes excess sensitivity to sunlight and potential skin irritation. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial activities.
- Cleansing agents that create a lather used to remove dirt and oil.
Sunflower Seed Oil
- Sunflower Seed Oil is hydrating, nourishing and an excellent “supporting” oil base. It retains moisture in the skin and is also rich in vitamin E. Sunflower oil retains moisture in brittle hair, thereby reducing hair breakage. Read How to use Sunflower Oil for Hair and Skin.
- A scientifically proven part of skincare. Ingredients applied to the skin to absorb, to reflect, or to scatter UV rays. Mandatory for Vitamin C and retinol users.
Sweet Almond Oil
- Sweet Almond Oil is a light oil, ideal for very stressed or very fine texture hair. Sweet almond oil contains proteins and vitamins A, B, D, and E. It can be used as a leave-in for protection and to add shine to fine, lackluster, and dull hair.
- Swiss Apple Stem Cells
- Stem cells from a specific variety of apple cultivated for the purpose of vegan, organic or natural stem cell ingredient options. It is also called Malus Domestica Fruit Cell Culture Extract. Malus Domestica is a Swiss Apple particularly suited for creating vegan-based stem cells. It holds both skin and hair applications. The stem cells build new tissue, delay aging, and fight wrinkles. Swiss Apple Stem Cells also encourage hair, lashes, and eyebrows to renew hair at the follicle. It decreases the hair shedding phase of the growth cycle, so lashes stay in longer. Used in stem cell/Peptide-based growth lash serums as an alternative to Bimatoprost.
- Garg VK, Sinha S, Sarkar R. Glycolic acid peels versus salicylic-mandelic acid peels in active acne vulgaris and post-acne scarring and hyperpigmentation: A comparative study. Dermatol Surg 2009;35:59-65.
- Ellis JA, Stebbing M, Harrap SB. “Genetic analysis of male pattern baldness and the 5alpha-reductase genes”. J Invest Dermatol. 1998 Jun;110(6):849-53. PubMed PMID: 9620288.
- Wölfle U., Seelinger G, Schempp CM., “Topical application of St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) Planta” Med. 2014 Feb;80(2-3):109-20. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-13510
- Klock, J. *; Ikeno, H. +; Ohmori, K. ++; Nishikawa, T. [S]; Vollhardt, J. *; Schehlmann, V. *, Sodium ascorbyl phosphate shows in vitro and in vivo efficacy in the prevention and treatment of acne vulgaris. [Article] International Journal of Cosmetic Science. 27(3):171-176, June 2005.
- Zielińska, A., & Nowak, I. (2017). Abundance of active ingredients in sea-buckthorn oil. Lipids in health and disease, 16(1), 95. doi:10.1186/s12944-017-0469-7)