Common Terms To Help Navigate The Skincare World


Here are some common terms and definitions to help you on your skincare journey. This list may continue to grow over time and adjust accordingly to help as a reference to navigate the skincare world.  


Acid Mantle: Is an acidic (low pH) layer sitting on top of the skin to help protect it from bacteria. Made up of sebum and sweat. It’s a good thing.


Active Ingredient/Actives: Can change the function and structure of your skin (like retinol, bakuchiol, AHA’s, BHA’s, Matrixyl etc.)


Acne: Describes emerging blackheads, whiteheads, pimples and cysts. It can appear on face, chest and back and occur when pores become clogged by dead skin cells resulting in accumulation of sebum, along with bacteria within pores, called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes), causing visible redness, swelling and pus.


Aging: A natural processes in life where skin losses collagen, elasticity, develops uneven pigmentation, sagging and wrinkles.


Barrier Function (Skin barrier/Natural Barrier): Helps to keep water from escaping so your skin doesn’t become dehydrated and blocks outside substances like microbes and irritants.


Cosmeceuticals General marketing term that refers to products that does not just have a cosmetic effect but contains actives. Keep in mind, labeling can be misleading and some products could be labeled as such but are not.  


Dry: When skin lacks oil


Dehydrated: When skin lacks water

: Ingredient that smooths and softens the skin


Emulsion: Contains water and oil mixed together, typically stabilised by the emulsifiers.


Humectant: Ingredients that slows water loss in the skin by attracting water.


Hyperpigmentation: Condition where that are dark spots (extra pigment) and includes post pimple/acne spot and sunspots. 


Occlusive: Seals in water and slows evaporation  


TEWL (Transepidermal Water Loss): Evaporation of water from the skin, that can cause dehydration.





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