Definition Guide for skin and hair care terms. Defining hair and skin ingredients with meaningful results. Updated regularly.
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Fango, Fango Treatment
- A detoxifying bath or mud pack spa treatment. Fango is a highly mineralized mud mixed with oil or water, and sometimes sea kelp and peat moss. It restores and softens the skin and stimulates circulation. Typically a body or facial skin treatment but fango mud can also be used as a restorative scalp treatment. Mud masks may also contain dead sea salts that can ease inflammatory based skin conditions.
- Fatty Acids
- Animal or plant based lipids, AKA fat. Fatty Acids are used in skincare, haircare and cosmetic formulations as an emollients and to prevent water loss in skin and hair. Some common fatty acids seen on ingredient labels include glycerides, sterols, phospholipids, omega-3, and omega-6. Fatty acids keep hair and skin’s surface healthy and supple.
- Fatty Alcohol
- A “good” alcohol made from fatty acids. It is used to retain moisture as an emollient and thickening agent.
- Ferulic Acid
- Ferulic Acid is an organic antioxidant derived from plants such as bamboo shoots, bran, and flaxseed. When it is paired with Vitamin C, it does more than the sum of their parts. Ferulic Acid helps reduce sun damage. A 2008 study in The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found Vitamin C with Ferulic Acid reverses existing sun damage and can actually prevent future UV sun damage . It stabilizes Vitamins C and E for optimal results. Sensitive skin types may need to use Ferulic acid serums sparingly and only every other day.
- A plant extract ten times more potent an antioxidant than Vitamin C. It is useful to soothe facial redness and calm inflammation. It also fights free radicals.  Topical feverfew, or products containing feverfew, should be parthenolide-free. Parthenolide can sensitize the skin. Feverfew is also known as Chrysanthemum parthenium.
- Where collagen and elastin are produced within the dermis layer of the skin. For anti-aging skincare to be effective, it must penetrate into the dermis to the fibroblasts “collagen factories”. Topical retinoids, Vitamin Cs and other ingredients such as Watercress extract are clinically proven to reach the fibroblasts within the dermis to effect increased collagen production.
- Ficus Carica, Fig Extract
- Fig is a fruit rich in phenolic compounds such as gallic acid, epicatechins, and anthocyanins. It is an antioxidant. It keeps skin hydrated by keeping water in the upper layers of the skin. It can relieve skin irritation and tightness in compromised skin. Fig has the ability to regulate the overproduction of tyrosinase in the skin, which can lead to dark spots. The psoralens in fig extract can make the skin more sensitive to the sun, requiring topical fig extract users to use sunscreen.
- Fixed Oils
- Oils that are lipids or fats and won’t evaporate at room temperature. Useful as massage or as a carrier oil. Sweet almond is a fixed oil.
- An antioxidant phytochemical present in all plants, but most abundant in coffee, nuts, seeds, as well as pigmented fruits and vegetables such as berries, acai, and pomegranates. Flavonoids can reduce inflammation when applied topically to the skin and serve as a helpful dietary antioxidant.
- Flax Seed Oil
- Flax Seed Oil is Linseed Oil. It is very high in Omega-3s. It promotes skin brightness, elasticity, firmness, and texture. In hair care, Flaxseed is a superfood for hair. It helps reduce hair loss and makes hair feel lush. Flax Seed Oil is taken as an oral supplement and at times is part of a skin cream or hair masque. Studies show 12 weeks of Flaxseed oil supplementation resulted in skin smoothness and hydration, and the reduction of skin sensitivity and roughness.
- Fo Ti
- Fo Ti is a Chinese herb known as an anti-oxidant that stops hair loss. It is included in some hair growth supplements.
- Fractional Laser
- An in-office skin resurfacing treatment for sun damage and scars. It has has less recovery/downtime than traditional CO2 lasers. Fractional devices create thin columns of thermal injury to the skin, sometimes removing old, damaged collagen. When these thermal injuries heal, it promotes new and healthier collagen production. There is some risk of infection and scarring if proper healing does not occur. A few at-home use devices emulate this treatment at a less powerful wavelength, slower results and less risk of scarring.
- Free Radicals
- Free Radicals are reactive, oxygenated chemicals that damage cell structures including skin cells. Free radicals are linked to premature aging and cancer. Sources of free radical damage include environmental stressors, pollution, UV rays, and radiation. Topical and oral Anti-oxidants seek out and destroy free radicals.
- The natural or synthetic compounds added to a formulation to improve the scent of a product. Added fragrance compounds can cause irritation and should be avoided by those with sensitive skin.
- An absence of added natural or synthetic scent within a product. Fragrance-free or unscented does not automatically mean the product has no scent. Rather there is no additional added scent to mask the aroma of the formulation. Most allergic reactions are caused by fragrance additives, not active ingredients. Fragrance-free is generally preferred by highly sensitized people, asthmatics, or due to office restrictions on the use of any fragrance.
Frankincense, Frankincense Oil
- Frankincense Oil is an essential oil used as fragrance and in aromatherapy, but also has skincare properties. Frankincense reduces inflammation and is used to boost immunity. Frankincense, Shea Butter and Coconut Oil treat older stretch marks and scars. Frankincense has an intense aroma. It can be balanced with a drop of Orange Oil.
FructoseA humectant and prebiotic derived from the natural sugars within fruits or honey.
- Fruit enzymes break down the keratin in dead skin cells, offering a mild form of exfoliation. Generally part of a wash or scrub, it is gentler than an AHA.
- Fruit Acid Wash
- A facial cleanser that uses fruit enzymes to lightly exfoliate without rubbing, scrubbing or drying skin. Gentle enough to be used every other day or even every day, it leaves skin smooth and flake-free.
Better known as Poria cocos extract or hoelen. A mushroom extract which is a skin-soothing, anti-inflammatory antioxidant. Frequently paired with Ginseng.
- The active in sea grapes, a marine micro algae (Caulpera Lentilifera).
- Fucoidan promotes fibroblast cell production. Fibroblast cells produce collagen and promote wound healing. Fucoidan also renews and brightens the skin while reducing wrinkle depth and skin spot intensity. 
Fucus Vesiculosus ExtractA brown algae seaweed with antioxidant skincare applications that protects the skin’s surface from exposure to airborne pollutants. See bladderwrack.
- Full Spectrum CBD Oil
- Full Spectrum CBD Oil comes from the Cannabis sativa plant. It contains multiple cannabinoids and is high in Omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids. It is also high in Vitamins A, E, and D. 
The Omegas and Vitamin D give skin a lovely glow! The Cannabidiol in CBD is an excellent anti-inflammatory that helps soothe acne. 
Full spectrum CBD also contains Cannabigerols (CBG) which is exceptionally restorative, even on sun-damaged skin.
- Fuller’s Earth
- Fuller’s Earth removes toxins from hair and scalp. It facilitates blood circulation, which helps hair growth. It is a conditioning cleanser making hair smooth and shiny.
- Oresajo, C., Stephens, T., Hino, P.D., Law, R.M., Yatskayer, M., Foltis, P., Pillai, S. and Pinnell, S.R. (2008), Protective effects of a topical antioxidant mixture containing vitamin C, ferulic acid, and phloretin against ultraviolet-induced photodamage in human skin. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 7: 290-297. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1473-2165.2008.00408.x
- Journal of Dermatological Sciences, December 2013, pages 304-31
- Giampieri, F., Forbes-Hernandez, T. Y., Gasparrini, M., Alvarez-Suarez, J. M., Afrin, S., Bompadre, S., Quiles, J. L., Mezzetti, B., & Battino, M. (2015, March 13). Strawberry as a health promoter: An Evidence Based Review. Food & Function. Retrieved October 15, 2022, from https://doi.org/10.1039/C5FO00147A
- Fitton JH, Dell’Acqua G, Gardiner V-A, Karpiniec SS, Stringer DN, Davis E. Topical Benefits of Two Fucoidan-Rich Extracts from Marine Macroalgae. Cosmetics. 2015; 2(2):66-81.
- Palmieri, A therapeutic effect, Clin Ter.
- Rita de Cássia 1, et al. Analgesic-Like Activity of Essential Oil Constituents: An Update. International journal of molecular sciences vol. 18,12 2392. 9 Dec. 2017, doi:10.3390/ijms18122392