Terms, Definitions, & Explanations
About one quarter of all of the protein in your body is collagen. It strengths our muscles and bones, and provides
resiliency to the skin and internal organs. A repeated sequence of three amino acids forms this sturdy structure.
The most critical component for collagen stability, Hydroxyproline, is created by modifying normal amino acids
after the collagen chain is built. The reaction requires vitamin C to assist in the addition of oxygen. Unfortunately,
we cannot make vitamin C within our bodies.
Collagen makes up 75% of our skin. The more science learns about the body, the more integral we see collagen to
be. It acts as a scaffolding for our bodies, controls cell shape and differentiation, is why broken bones regenerate
and wounds heal, and is why blood vessels grow to feed healing areas.
Make up the collagen structure, allowing the skin to keep its resiliency and muscles to gain strength and toughness.
Amino Acids are the ‘building Blocks’ of the body. They build cells and repair tissues.
Free radicals usually come in the form of O2, the oxygen molecule. The oxygen molecule wants to be oxidized
(remember that stuff from your chemistry class?), and this oxidation process can sometimes be carcinogenic (cancer
causing). Free radicals are the natural by-products of many processes within and among cells. They are also created
by exposure to various environmental factors, tobacco smoke and radiation, for instance. If allowed to go their
merry way, these free radicals can cause damage to cell walls, certain cell structures, and genetic material within the
cells. In the worst case scenario and over a long time period, such damage can become irreversible and lead to
disease (e.g., cancer).
Antioxidants serve to deactivate certain particles called free radicals. They play the housekeeper's role, ‘mopping
up’ free radicals before they get a chance to do harm in your body. Researchers have postulated that antioxidants
prevent the possible carcinogenic effects of oxidation.
- Vitamin A (Retinol): Helps improve & maintain the condition of your skin. Prescription products like Retin-A
and Renova utilize Vitamin A derivatives to great effect, but some people's skin may react with uncomfortable
stinging, redness or scaling. Fortunately, ‘Retinol,’ a non-prescription Vitamin-A derivative contained in many
over-the-counter products can provide much of the same benefits with less risk of irritation and sun sensitivity.
However, due to the lower levels of retinoids in some consumer products, it may take a bit longer to see the
- Vitamin B: Greatest skin benefits: A healthy glow, moisture retention. Vitamins B-3 (niacin) and B-5
(pantothenic acid) have become popular additions to skin-care products because of their ability to assist in
retaining moisture. B-3 is a relatively new ingredient on the marketplace but has demonstrated great promise,
offering a milder alternative to acidic exfoliators like glycolic and salicylic acid, which some feel is too harsh
for their complexions. B-5 is a more common skin-care additive, and is widely recognized for its (along with
Vitamin E) moisturizing ability. It's also good for those with sensitive skin, as some creams made with Vitamin-
E have been known to cause irritation.
- Vitamin C: Necessary for the production of Collagen, the protein that keeps your skin resilient and muscles
strong. Our bodies cannot manufacture Vitamin C, so we have to intake it in our diets or apply it directly
through the skin’s surface. Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) has been one of skin-care's hot sellers for the past
several years due to its proven effectiveness as an antioxidant. Antioxidants are a critical natural defense against
‘free radicals,’ unstable molecules that age the skin as a result of pollution, smoking and sun exposure. Topical
Vitamin C can protect the skin from UV damage caused by prolonged sun exposure by reducing the amount of
free radical formation. However, while it can help safeguard against skin damage and reduce discoloration, it
should be used in conjunction with, not in place of, a good sunscreen. Yet another benefit of Vitamin C is its
ability to enhance the synthesis of collagen: a critically important skin protein that strengthens structural support
and resilience of the skin.
- Vitamin E: Vitamin-E (alpha tocopherol) is another powerful antioxidant that is commonly used in lotions and
creams for its moisturizing ability. Though some of the "miraculous" healing claims of Vitamin-E supporters
have been exaggerated over the years, it is still widely recognized for its proven ability to help retain moisture
in the skin.
- Vitamin K: Topical Vitamin-K is a good defense against discoloration under the eyes. Often used as a
treatment for spider veins, topical Vitamin K enters through the pores all the way to the damaged capillary or
artery and helps to clot the blood, thus stopping any seepage (often the cause of dark circles) and allowing the
tissue to heal itself. In addition to K, Vitamin-C is also known for its ability to diminish dark circles, and using a
product (or products) containing both vitamins is a good bet. On the product ingredient list, look for: Witch
Hazel, Glycerin, Ascorbyl Palmitate.
Peptides play a vital role in the skin’s healing process. These protein molecules, found naturally in the body, send
out signals when damaged skin is in need of repair.
Small chain polypeptides act as cellular messengers to activate tissue repair and stimulate wound healing. These
polypeptides mimic a fragment of collagen of type 1 and activate collagen and elastin production. Palmitoyl
Tetrapeptide-3 was discovered through research to learn how to suppress the body's production of interleukins,
particularly IL6, since these are the chemical messengers that trigger the body's acute inflammatory response.
Inflammation is a function of immunity and is a protective response to injury or destruction of tissue. This is the
body's way of walling off the injurious agent and the injured tissue. Under normal circumstances, very little IL6 is
secreted and its secretion is strictly controlled. However, as we age this regulation system develops defects, and
significant levels of IL6 appear in the plasma even when there is no inflammatory stimulus. This results in high
levels of inflammatory proteins in the tissues and a loss of healing potential. This process has been linked with
breast cancer, osteoporosis, anemia, autoimmunity and slower tissue regeneration. Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3 helps
to control inflammation and irritation caused by UV damage, therefore minimizing damage by sun exposure that
happens naturally as we age.
Palmitoyl Oligopeptide-3 (Biopeptide-CL):
Like Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3, Biopeptide-CL is a synthetic protein that is a fragment of collagen combined with
palmitic acid, to improve its stability and to enhance its affinity towards human skin. As with Palmitoyl
Pentapeptide-3, one could look at Biopeptide-CL as a man-made precursor to collagen. Biopeptide-CL was
developed through research to identify a substance that would behave similarly to retinoic acid but without its
drawbacks, especially in regards to synthesizing collagen.
Palmitoyl Oligopeptide-3 (Ceramide-2):
Clinically proven to regenerate the skin's upper layers by stimulating collagen production, thickening the
epidermis. Palmitoyl Oligopeptide-3 stimulates cell communication and then repairs age-related skin damage.
Clinically proven to regenerate the skin's upper layers by stimulating collagen production and thickening the
epidermis. It enhances the synthesis of collagen. Studies show that it has a dramatic effect on reducing the quantity
and depth of wrinkles, as well as improving skin’s surface smoothness.
Acetyl Dipeptide-1 Cetyl Ester:
Calming peptide that helps relax the appearance of expression lines. Counter-irritant, soothing, anti-inflammatory
A botanical amino acid that improves and helps maintain healthy, even skin tone, delaying the appearance of
wrinkles, while correcting skin imperfections.
A Vitamin A derivative that improves the texture and tone of the skin; reduces the appearance or wrinkles; serves as
an antioxidant and a skin conditioner. Vitamin A Palmitate (retinyl palmitate, all-trans-retinyl palmitate) is known
as a skin "normalizer." It acts as an antikeratinizing agent, helping the skin stay soft and plump. Clinical studies
with vitamin A palmitate indicate a significant change in skin composition with increase in collagen, DNA, skin
thickness, and elasticity. Vitamin A palmitate's stability is superior to retinol and is the preferred form of vitamin A,
since cosmetic formulations containing retinyl palmitate are substantially more stable than those containing retinol.
The activity of vitamin a palmitate in skin may depend on its conversion to retinoic acid. This conversion depends
on the enzymatic cleavage of the ester bond in retinul palmitate, and on the skin's ability to ozidse retinol to retinoic
acid. Non-specific esterase enzyme activity exists within the skin and it has been demonstrated that skin
preparations can convert retinol to retinoic acid.
Marketed as a nutritional supplement and claimed by some to be a superior delivery form of vitamin C. Since
ascorbyl palmitate is a fat-soluble derivative of ascorbic acid, theoretically it can concentrate into the lipid domains
of biological systems and protect cell membranes and low density lipoproteins (LDL) against oxidation.
Non-Comedogenic (won’t clog pores!):
There is no official or government definition of this term. According to the Food and Drug Administration, ‘non-
comedogenic’ should mean that the product does not contain common pore-clogging ingredients that could lead to
acne. However, there is no official FDA definition or list of ingredients that are considered to be non-comedogenic,
and there is no officially recognized standard or test to determine the comedogenicity of ingredients.
Non-comedogenic cosmetics are products which have been tested on the oily skins of human volunteers or inside
rabbit ears. These products are less likely to cause blackheads (open comedones) or whiteheads (closed comedones)
in patients. However, no single product is non-comedogenic for everyone.
For example, a person with very oily skin may still get skin breakouts from products that another person with mildly
oily skin may find non-comedogenic. A better term may be non-acnegenic rather than non-comedogenic, but this is
not so widely used.
Botanical extracts (tinctures) are a popular method of extracting and concentrating the medicinal properties of a
- Algae: normalizes the skin’s moisture content and provides suppleness
- Aloe Barbadensis: naturally moisturizing, expels impurities from the skin, is mildly antiseptic
- Burdock: Helps treat flaky or inflammatory skin disorders such as psoriasis or eczema.
- Camellia Oleifera Extract: anti-aging, antioxidant
- Chamomile (Anthemis Nobilis, Matricaria): relieves itching and inflamed skin, helps control acne,
soothes sensitive skin
- Chaparral: reduces oiliness, refines pores
- Cinnamon: antibacterial agent
- Coffee: antioxidant
- Comfrey: Soothes, moisturizes
- Coneflower: speeds up the healing process, restores life and vitality to skin
- Cucumber: anti-inflammatory actions and skin tightening properties.
- Euphrasia Officinalis Extract (Eyebright): an antioxidant herb that fights free-radical damage,
especially in the eyes.
- Ginkgo Biloba: strong antioxidant, increases blood flow & circulation, aids in collagen production
- Goldenseal Root: antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, astrigent
- Grapefruit: tones skin, helps control acne and oil production.
- Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis): free radical scavenger, rich in antioxidants (200x more potent than
Vitamin E!), anti-inflammatory
- Hops: calms irritated or infected skin.
- Horse Chestnut Seed: Imparts smoothness of skin
- Hydrocotyl Extract: Extremely moisturizing, reduced inflammation and skin sensitivity (especially
around delicate eye area)
- Jasmine (Jasminum Officinale) Extract: Soothes dry, greasy, irritated, & sensitive skin
- Lemon: natural purifier, cleanser, astringent
- Meadowsweet: antiseptic, anti-inflammatory
- Mentha Arvensis (Cornmint, Japanese Mint, Field Mint): soothing, anesthetic, antimicrobial, antiseptic
- Menthol: An antiseptic that is cooling, refreshing, and a blood circulation stimulant. Constitutes almost
50% of peppermint oil.
- Plankton extract: aids in defending DNA and rejuvenating the visible signs of damage from sun
- Raspberry: powerful antioxidant, helps retain collagen integrity, fights signs of aging
- Rosa Centifolia Flower (Cabbage Rose) Extract: Used to treat broken capillaries, conjunctivitis,
eczema, sensitive skin, & wrinkles
- Rose Hips: rich in Vitamin C, helps boost collagen production
- Sandalwood: astringent, tones and freshens
- Sweet Orange (Citrus Aurantium Dulcis) flower: for treating dull, oily complexions- antiseptic
- Willow Bark: antimicrobial, astringent properties
- Wintergreen: stimulating & anti-inflammatory. Gently eliminates dead skin cells, refines and tightens
- Witch Hazel: astringent, anti-inflammatory, smoothes skin
Oils, Butters, & Clays:
- Apricot Kernel oil: known for its ability to penetrate the skin without leaving an oily feel. Its
moisturizing, revitalizing properties are also popular in many cosmetics for dry or aged skin.
- Avocado oil: rich in Vitamin E, renowned for its healing, anti-bacterial, and anti-wrinkle properties.
Skin care products use the natural ability of avocado oil to regenerate connective skin tissue and to
inhibit bacterial growth.
- Bentonite Clay: absorbs toxins, impurities, heavy metals and other internal contaminants. Bentonite
clay's structure assists it in attracting and soaking up poisons on its exterior wall and then slowly draw
them into the interior center of the clay where it is held in a sort of repository.
- Castor oil: all-around healing agent, used for centuries in folk-medicine
- Glycerin: natural humectant, meaning it attracts moisture to your skin. Glycerin is also highly
"hygroscopic" which means that it absorbs water from the air.
- Meadowfoam Seed oil: moisturizes & rejuvenates the skin, revitalizes dry & cracked lips, provides a
protective barrier for the skin, and reduces the effects of aging
- Mineral & Petroleum Oil: Cosmetics-grade mineral oil and petrolatum are considered the safest, most
nonirritating moisturizing ingredients ever found, are known for being efficacious in wound healing,
and are also considered to be among the most effective moisturizing ingredients available. In
moisturizers, they act as a barrier between the skin and air: protects the skin against moisture loss.
- Shea Butter: has soothing, moisturizing and protecting effects. It also helps cell regeneration and
capillary circulation. In the cosmetic field, this property is an asset against skin aging. It has
restructuring effects on the epidermis. It has an anti-elastase characteristic which makes it a good active
ingredient against stretch marks.
- Soybean oil: absorbs easily and smoothes skin
- Sunflower oil: protects agains skin irritations and infections
- Copper Gluconate: skin renewal and healing
- Maltodextrin: increases luster and skin elasticity
- Silica: anti-caking agent, absorbs excess oils, gently exfoliates. Thickens and helps prevent settling in
- Zinc Gluconate: repairs the skin's top layer in part by helping to process the essential fatty acids that
encourage healing. Expedites healing of burned skin, excema, and rosacea.
* Most of the information contained in this document was obtained from sources publicly available on the World Wide
Web. I do not claim personal credit for these definitions and am not attempting to profit from this information, so I
have not documented the information used. If you do a text search on any particular section of this document, you
should be able to find its source easily.
* For more information on Vitamins, see http://www.jurgita.com/articles-id227.html