150 terms

Cosmetology Terms

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Acetic Acid
Sometimes used as a caustic or astringent.
Acne
An inflammatory skin disease that effects the tiny pores thats cover the face, arms, back and chest as well as the oil glands attached to them.
Acrylic
It has moisture barrier as well as waterproofing, water repelling properties.
Age Spots
A darkly pigmented (colored) area on the skin that occurs with age.
Alkaline
Any non-acid substance with a pH greater than 7.
Allergen
Allergen is a substance that causes an allergic reaction.
Allantoin
A botanical extract said to heal and soothe. Used in creams and topical preparations for the skin.
Almond Oil
Vegetable oil derived from almonds with softening properties. Used in cosmetics.
Aloe Vera
An emollient resin with hydrating/softening properties.
Alpha Hydroxy
An active substance with exfoliating and emollient properties.
Althea
Botanical root believed to have emollient and soothing capabilities for skin.
Astringent
Toner helpful in controlling surface oils and in lowering the pH after cleansing.
Azulene
An anti-inflammatory and soothing agent, derived from German chamomile.
Beeswax
One of the oldest ingredients in cosmetic preparations, traditionally used as an emulsifier.
Benzoyl Peroxide
An antibacterial ingredient commonly used in acne treatments.
Bergamot
This is an antiseptic and bacterial growth-inhibitor known for its toning, antiseptic and deodorizing qualities.
Beta carotene
Orange colored plant pigments, used in the manufacture of vitamin A.
Beta hydroxy
An exfoliating agent with a smaller molecule size than the alpha hydroxy.
Beta-glucan
A new ingredient derived from yeast, reported to enhance the skin natural defense mechanisms.
Bioflavonoid
Plant derivative with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Usually derived from citrus fruit rinds.
Biotin
Part of vitamin B complex. Involved in the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
Blackheads
A term used to describe the skin's pores clogged by natural oils and impurities.
Botanical
Refers to products derived from plants.
Botox
Trade name for botulinum toxin. Used in tiny amounts, it can temporarily paralyze a muscle and reduce or eliminate wrinkles or frown lines without harm.
Bronzers
A synthetic preparation that causes the skin to darken or appeared tanned.
Buffer
A pH balanced cleansing solution that improves the look and feel of the skin leaving it shiny and more supple.
Burdock
A root extract with antibacterial properties. May also reduce inflammations such as rashes, redness, acne, eczema.
Butcher's Broom
Botanical extract used to improve circulation and reduce facial redness. Also believed to have anti-cellulite effects
Calendula
An emollient believed to have healing, soothing and antiseptic properties. Used to treat dry skin.
Callus
An excessive build up of the hard tough layers of skin. Can be removed at-home or by an esthetician.
Candela Wax
Binds oils and waxes to give body to a formulation. Often used in lipsticks.
Capillary
The smallest type of blood vessel in the body. Spider veins, for instance, are actually small capillaries commonly found on the face or legs.
Cellulite
Deposits of fat and other material trapped in pockets beneath the skin.
Ceramides
A natural substance within the skin that reduces natural water loss of the skin by forming a protective barrier. Can also be produced synthetically and added to skin care products
Chakras
Energy centers throughout the body responsible for the condition of your mind, body and spirit.
Chamomile
A clinically proven plant-derived anti-inflammatory. Offers benefits such as soothing skin. Also calms eczema and allergic reactions.
Citric Acid
The same as vitamin C. Used commonly in hair and skincare products. Has astringent and antioxidant properties and also can be used as a preservative.
Citronella Oil
Antiseptic widely used in soaps and deodorizers. Also has insect-repelling properties.
Clarifying
Usually associated with a toner or other solution used after cleansing to maintain proper skin pH.
Collagen
A natural substance within body tissues. It can be injected into the skin to plump up particular areas.
Cortex
The middle layer of the hair shaft.
Creatine
A protein derivative in muscle tissue. Sometimes found in body-building supplements.
Cucumber Juice
It has moisture-binding, soothing and tightening properties.
Depilate
To remove hair on the skin's surface.
Dermabrasion
A procedure in which the skin is sanded to improve its texture. Microdermabrasion uses a type of sand to abrade the skin, usually done by an esthetician or a cosmetic doctor. Cosmetic physicians can perform a deeper type of dermabrasion using small burrs or wires to remove the outer layers of the skin.
Dermal
Related to skin.
Dermatitis
Inflamation of the skin.
Dermis
The underlayers of the skin.
Dihydroxyacetone (DHA)
A self-tanning agent used in cosmetics.
Dong Quai
Traditional Chinese herb used to treat menopausal symptoms and menstrual irregularity.
Eau de Parfum
The most concentrated fragrance, usually more costly than eau de toilette because of its concentration.
Eau de Toilette
A less-concentrated fragrance.
Echinacea
An oral homeopathic substance thought to boost the immune system. Frequently taken for cold or flu symptoms. Has anti-itching and soothing properties when used in skin-care products.
Eczema
A skin condition that causes areas of the skin to become red, itchy and scaly. The cause is unknown and it can affect any part of the body. The condition may be short-lived (acute) or long term (chronic), and is usually treated with topical anti-inflammatory medications available OTC or by prescription.
Elastin
A surface protective agent used in cosmetics to alleviate the effects of dry skin.
Electrolysis
Use of electricity to dissolve hair roots
Emollient
A substance that softens and soothes the skin
Emulsifier
A thickening agent added to products to change their physical composition. For example, it can turn a lotion into a cream.
Epidermabrasion
Skin peel in which the outermost layers of the skin are sloughed off
Epidermis
The outer layers of the skin.
Epilate
Remove hair from below the skin's surface
Essence
Fragrant oil extracted from plant or herb.
Esthetician
A specialist in the area of beauty
Eucalyptus
A mild astringent with antiseptic properties.
Evening Primrose
Used as an astringent and helpful for reducing skin irritation. Also beneficial for dehydrated skin.
Exfoliate
To scale off layers of skin.
Follicle
Part of the skin which the root of hair comes from
Fruit Acid
The same as glycolic acid (reduces build up of excess dead skin cells).
Geranium
A mild astringent with antiseptic properties; promotes healing.
Ginseng
Considered to be a tonic. Believed to be nourishing due to its vitamin and hormone content. It is taken orally and is also felt to have energy boosting capabilities.
Glycerin
Used in moisturizers due to its water binding capabilities.
Glycolic Acid
Reduces build up of excess dead skin cells.
Glycolic Peel
Used to help peel or exfoliate the skin, making it appear more youthful.
Golden Seal
Herb used as a mild antiseptic
Grape Seed Oil
It has moisturizing and nourishing properties due to its high linoleic acid content.
Humectant
A substance that attracts moisture.
Hyaluronic Acid
An acid that occurs naturally in the skin, helps retain the skin's natural moisture.
Hydrate
To add moisture to the skin
Hydroquinone
A bleaching agent used in skin preparations.
Hyperpigmentation
Darkening of the skin, commonly produced by ultraviolet radiation, which provokes melanocytes in the skin.
Hypodermis
Below the surface of the skin.
Immunostimulant
An agent that stimulates either innate or acquired immunity.
Immunosuppressant
An agent that acts to suppress the body's natural immune response.
Instant Conditioner
A conditioner with light to intense conditioning properties that restores a healthy look and protects against further damage.
Irritant
A substance that consistently and predictably produces an adverse response (such as reddening, swelling, itching, burning, or blistering) in virtually all of the population. Irritants are not to be confused with allergens.
Jasmine
Essential oil extracted from plants and used in perfumes.
Jojoba
A tonic, emollient and moisturizer. Treats dry skin, wrinkles and stretch marks.
Juniper
A fragrance considered a mild skin stimulant.
Karite
A natural emollient, protects and nourishes skin.
Keloid
A thick scar.
Keratin
A surface protective agent with film-forming and moisturizing action.
Kojic Acid
Skin-lightening agent.
Lactic Acid
A component of the skin's natural moisturizing factor.
Lanolin
An emollient with moisturizing properties and an emulsifier with high water absorbing capabilities.
Licorice
Treats acne, also calms allergic skin.
Macrobiotics
The study of prolonging life with diet or other ingested substances.
Malic Acid
A glycolic acid derived from apples.
Mallow
An anti-inflammatory substance that helps prevent age lines and reduce eye swelling.
Matt
A non-shiny surface that absorbs light.
Melanin
The black pigment found in hair or skin.
Melanoma
A type of skin cancer characterized by a black or dark brown pigmented tumor.
Moisturizer
An emollient cream used to hydrate skin.
Naturopathy
A type of therapy that depends on natural forces rather than surgery or medicine to treat disease.
Non-comedogenic
Also called non-occlusive. Refers to products that do not cause skin breakouts because they do not plug the pores of the skin.
PABA
Para-aminobenzoic acid. Found in the vitamin B complex. Used as an ingredient in some sunscreen products.
Palette
A grouping of colors by family of tones or specific function.
Panthenol
Also known as vitamin B5, acts as a penetrating moisturizer.
Paraffin
A beeswax substitute derived from petroleum.
Petrolatum
Used in creams, it softens and soothes skin. Forms a film to prevent moisture loss.
pH
Percentage of hydrogen. Used to measure acidity in cosmetic preparations
Photoaging
Skin damage incurred through sun exposure.
Photosensitivity
A condition in which the application or ingestion of certain chemicals or foods can cause skin problems, such as rash, hyperpigmentation and swelling, when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
Phytocosmetic
Cosmetics which are made from plants.
Pore
Small opening of the sweat glands of the skin.
Psoriasis
A chronic disease of the skin consisting of itchy, dry, red patches, usually affecting the scalp or arms and legs. It may be treated with OTC or prescription medications.
Resin
Substance formed from the secretions of plants.
Resorcinol
In mild solutions, used as an antiseptic and as a soothing preparation for itchy skin.
Retin-A
Derived from vitamin A, it is used in the treatment of acne.
Retinol
A vitamin A acid. The main ingredient in Retin-A and Renova. These products are used to treat fine wrinkles and acne.
Rosacea
A skin condition characterized by inflammed, red, oily, acne-prone areas.
Rose Hips
Extract of various species of wild roses, rich in vitamin C.
Rosemary
A general effect attributed to this herb is the promotion of wound healing. Has stimulating, rejuvenating and antiseptic properties.
Royal Gelly
Stimulates the renewal of healthier skin.
Sage
A general effect attributed to this herb is the promotion of wound healing. Has stimulating, rejuvenating and antiseptic properties.
Salicylic Acid
An antiseptic that helps dissolve the top layers of the skin.
Selenium
An oral, plant-derived preparation used for its antifungal properties.
Shea Butter
An excellent emollient for use in creams, lotions. Alleviates dry skin.
Shiatsu
A Japanese method of massage that uses acupressure.
SPF
Sun Protection Factor. A higher SPF means more protection from the sun.
Sun Screen
Any substance applied to the skin which screens or protects it from the sun.
Sunblock
A physical sunscreen or a barrier against the sun's ultraviolet rays. Available in creams or ointments.
Superoxide Dismutase
A naturally occurring enzyme that can protect the skin from free radicals, which can cause skin damage.
Surfactants
Active agent which allows oil to mix with water
Tartaric Acid
A type of glycolic acid (fruit acid) derived from apples. Use to treat the skin to improve its texture and tone.
Tea Tree Oil
A natural preservative with antiseptic and germicidal properties used in soaps, shampoos, and skin-care products.
Thyme
Botanical properties are antiseptic, tonic, antibacterial and deodorizing. Often used in toothpaste, mouthwashes, perfumes and soap.
Titanium Dioxide
A non-chemical, common agent used in sunscreen products that works by physically blocking the sun. It may be used alone or in combination with other agents.
Tocopherol
Vitamin E, used as an antioxidant in cosmetics.
Toner
Product used after cleansing to help return skin to its natural pH. Removes any remaining trace of dirt or debris.
Tretinoin
A derivative of vitamin A.
Undertone
In make-up terms, refers to cool or warm tones of the skin.
UVA
Ultraviolet light, type A. These are rays of light from the sun which are not visible but can cause damage to the skin.
UVB
Ultraviolet light, type B. These are rays of light from the sun which are not visible but can cause damage to the skin
Varicose Veins
Swollen and dilated veins, usually visible on the legs.
Vitamin A
A fat soluble vitamin. A lack of vitamin A can cause skin to become dry and hardened.
Vitamin C
A water soluble vitamin. A preservative and antioxidant used in cosmetic creams.
Vitamin D
A fat soluble vitamin. Necessary for bone and tooth structure. Formed in the skin on exposure to sunlight.
Vitamin E
An antioxidant often used in deodorants and hair grooming aids.
Wheat Germ Oil
Promotes renewal of normal new skin cells. Used in cosmetics because of its large vitamin E content.
Zinc Oxide
Used to protect, soothe and heal the skin. Also provides good sun protection.