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Glossary

A | B | CD | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P

Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

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A

 

Acne: a localized inflammation of the skin caused by excessive sebum production by the skin’s sebaceous glands, resulting in a manifestation of shiny skin, blackheads, whiteheads, clogged pores and/or red pimples. 

Adipose cells: cells containing fats

Age spots: concentrations of melanin triggered by unprotected exposure to the sun over an extended period of time, resulting in dark spots. Also known as liver or brown spots.

Anti-irritant: a soothing ingredient which helps to reduce or prevent irritation

Antioxidants: molecules which can safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction to protect the body from cellular damage. Being structurally stable in either form, antioxidants do not turn into free radicals when they lose an electron. Hence, antioxidants neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons and put an end to the free radical chain reaction. Vitamins C and E are examples of antioxidants.

B

 

Basement membrane: a thin layer containing proteins which holds the epidermis and dermis together.

Blackheads: follicles which have a wider than normal opening. They are caused by an accumulation of dead skin cells and excess sebum or oil secreted by the sebaceous glands. The dark colour associated with this appearance is caused by an oxidation of the skin’s melanin pigment when exposed to the air. Blackheads are also known as open comedones.

C

 

Chloasma: a patchy brown skin discoloration that usually occurs on the face. It is caused by an overproduction of melanin by the pigment cells, melanocytes, as a result of hormonal changes, as in pregnancy and during the administration of estrogen containing oral contraceptives. 

Collagen: the main protein found in connective tissue which gives shape and firmness to our body tissues.

Comedones: plugs on the skin’s surface containing dead skin cells and excess oil secreted by the sebaceous gland. Blackheads are open comedones; whiteheads are closed comedones.

Cyst: a closed sac just under the skin’s surface containing a thick and milky substance, sebum. It results from an inflammation of the sebaceous gland.

D

 

Dermis: the second layer of the skin, containing fine blood vessels, nerves, hair roots, sebaceous glands, sweat glands and collagen. It regulates the body temperature and responds to sensations of touch, pain, heat and cold while giving mechanical protection to the body from bumps and knocks.

E

 

Eczema: a skin condition where areas of the skin become red, itchy, dry and/or scaly.

Elastin: a protein found in connective tissue which gives the skin elasticity.

Epidermis: the top layer of the skin which protects against external aggressors such as sun radiation, bacteria and pollution. It contains no blood vessels but gets its oxygen and nutrients from the deeper layers of the skin.

F

 

Freckles: Tan or brown spots that most often occur in light-skinned people. Freckles appear after repeated unprotected exposure to the sun.

Free radicals: atoms or molecules which have a single unpaired electron in an outer shell, rendering them very unstable and highly reactive with other compounds. Free radicals generally attack the nearest stable molecule to capture the needed electron to gain stability. When the attacked molecule loses its electron, it becomes a free radical itself, starting a chain reaction. Once the process is started, it can accelerate and finally result in the disruption of living cells. To prevent free radical damage, the body has a defense system of antioxidants.

G

 

H

 

Hair follicle: A sac in the skin from which a hair grows and into which sebaceous glands open.

Hyperpigmentation: Dark spots on the skin.

Hypoallergenic: hypoallergenic products produce fewer allergic reactions in allergy sufferers.

Hypodermis: also known as subcutaneous fat, the hypodermis is the third and last layer of the skin which contains larger blood vessels, nerves and adipose cells or fat-filled cells which store energy. It cushions the dermis from underlying tissues such as muscles and bones.

 

I

 

J

 

K

 

L

 

Lipids: Molecules composed of fatty acids, insoluble in water.

 

M

 

Melanin: the dark pigment produced by melanocytes.

Melanocytes: a pigment-producing cell in the skin, hair and eyes which determines their color. The pigment produced is called melanin.

Milia: deep white bumps which form when dead skin cells become trapped rather than exfoliated. They turn into tiny cysts, resembling whiteheads.

Mole: a raised, pigmented spot.

 

N

 

Non-comedogenic: skincare or cosmetic products which are non-comedogenic have been tested on oily skins and proven to be less likely to cause comedones (blackheads and whiteheads). 

Non-occlusive: used to describe skincare or cosmetic products which do not clog the pores of the skin.

 

O

 

P

 

Persistent Pigment Darkening (PPD): an index of measuring UVA protection, similar to the SPF method of measuring UVB protection. A sunscreen with a PPD rating of 10 should allow you to endure 10 times as much UVA as you would without protection.

Photoageing: the damage that is done to the skin from prolonged exposure, over a person’s lifetime, to UV radiation. Symptoms of photoageing includes dark spots, freckles, wrinkles and droopy skin.

 

Q

 

R

 

Rosacea: A chronic reddening of the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin caused by enlarged capillaries.

 

S

 

Scar: an area of fibrous tissue that replaces normal skin when the dermis is damaged. It is a natural mark of the healing process and takes time to go away.

Sebaceous gland: gland in the skin which produces an oily substance, sebum, that empties into the hair follicle to lubricate the skin and hair.

Sebum: an oily substance secreted by sebaceous glands.

Selenium: an element containing antioxidant properties

Subcutaneous fat: the third and last layer of the skin which contains larger blood vessels, nerves and adipose cells or fat-filled cells which store energy. It cushions the dermis from underlying tissues such as muscles and bones. Also known as hypodermis.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF): an index of measuring UVB protection. The SPF is the amount of UV radiation required to cause sunburn on skin with the sunscreen on, relative to the amount required without sunscreen. A sunscreen with a SPF rating of 10 will allow you to endure 10 times as much UVB as you would without protection.

Sunblock: sun protection which reflects UV rays, instead of absorbing them. Sunblocks are generally characterized by an opaque white film.

Sunscreen: sun protection which contains chemicals that absorb UV rays so that it does not reach the skin. Sunscreens are usually available in cream, lotion and gel.

Sweat glands: glands which produce sweat. Sweat glands help to regulate the body temperature.

 

T

 

T-zone: the part of the face consisting of the forehead, nose and the chin. Often the T-zone is oily, as the concentration of sebaceous glands in this area tends to be higher than on the other parts of the face.

 

U

 

Ultra-Violet Ageing (UVA): UVA rays account for more than 95% of the UV radiation reaching the earth’s surface. UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB rays and are known to cause skin wrinkling, sagging and other effects of photoageing. They are present with relatively equal intensity during all daylight hours throughout the year, and can penetrate clouds and glass. 

Ultra-Violet Burning (UVB): The major cause of skin reddening and sunburn, UVB rays damage the skin’s more superficial epidermal layers. Its intensity varies by the time of the day and it significantly does not penetrate glass.

 

 

V

 

Vitiligo: a skin condition characterized by a loss of pigmentation, resulting in white patches of skin anywhere on the body.

 

W

 

X

 

Xerosis: dry skin

 

Y

 

Z

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