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DECODING SKINCARE TERMS

Skincare world is exciting and confusing at the same time if you are a newbie.

I have put together the list of the most popular skincare terms and ingredients you would have seen scrolling through social media platforms.


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List of popular skincare terms:

Natural

Organic

Cruelty free

Vegan

Hypo-allergenic

Free radicals

Antioxidants

Oil and water-based

Non-comedogenic

Active ingredients

GMO free

Humectant

Essential oil

Chemical and Physical exfoliation

Peptides

Parabens


1. NATURAL

Nontoxic or Natural is an unregulated term that suggests the products are free from synthetic chemicals. Due to no regulation of the term, people could just include one or two natural ingredients in a product and call it ‘natural’. It’s important to familiarize yourself with the products’ list of ingredients, ensure that it’s free of harmful chemicals, irritants or preservatives. Look for phrases like “Free of harmful chemicals, irritants or preservatives” or “Carefully formulated with all natural, organic ingredients.”


2. ORGANIC

According to Ministry for Primary Industries, Organic refers to labeling term used on products produced following organic production standards and may be certified by a certification authority or body. This is based on minimizing the use of external inputs such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, antibiotic, sustainably sourced with the use of natural fragrance and color.​


3. CRUELTY FREE

Cruelty free is used to describe beauty products that are not tested on animals. ​


4. VEGAN

Vegan described beauty products that don’t include any animal products, animal by-products and/or animal derivatives.


5. HYPO-ALLERGENIC

Hypoallergenic is not a legal term and rather a marketing term that advertising to customers that a certain beauty product won’t cause an allergic response in most people, safer and free of harsh chemicals or irritants. With this claim, a patch test is still recommended to determine whether the products would cause any skin reactions.​


6. FREE RADICALS

Free radicals are unstable molecules that our body produces as a reaction to environmental stressors such as sunlight, pollution and smoking.


7. ANTIOXIDANTS

Antioxidants are substances that could help to prevent or reduce free radicals' damages to the skin cells. They have the ability to neutralize free radicals.

8. OIL AND WATER BASED

You can tell ​whether it is an oil-based or water-based products by looking at the ingredients’ list. They are listed from the highest quantities to lowest. If you see water (aqua) first on the list, it is a water-based product. Juice, aloe vera or tea in the top 3 ingredients list also considered a water-based products as they are typically made of water. Oil based products contain no water and are made of oils.

9. NON-COMEDOGENIC

Non-comedogenic products are formulated with ingredients that are not likely to clog pores and acne breakouts.

10. ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

In its broadest sense, an active ingredient is one that delivers the benefit of the products, one that proven to have an effect on cells and hence classified as drug ingredient by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). ​Due to this reason, FDA required that these active ingredients listed on the packaging, for customers to decide whether to use or avoid them.

12. GMO FREE

GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines GMOs as “organisms in which the genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a such a way that does not occur naturally.”

13. HUMECTANT

A humectant is a popular moisturizing agent in skincare products that attracts water molecules to the skin and preserve the level of moisture in the skin.


14. ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils are highly concentrated versions of natural oils that are extracted from plants, aromatic and obtained through distillation or cold pressing.


15. CHEMICAL AND PHYSICAL EXFOLIATION

Chemical exfoliants in skincare includes AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) and BHAs (Beta Hydroxy Acids). They work by removing the ‘glue’ that keeps the dead skin cells locked together from the uppermost skin’s layer, reveal the radiant new skin cells underneath. In turn, aids faster skin cells turnover rate, evens skin tone, helps with hyper pigmentation. Physical exfoliants contains grainy texture or a brush to buff the dead skin on the surface physically, not suitable for sensitive skin and not as effective as chemical exfoliation. ​


16. PEPTIDES

Peptides are known as tiny protein fragments that promote collagen growth as well as repair the skin.


17. PARABENS

Parabens along with methyparaben, butylparaben and propylparaben are controversial preservatives ingredients that use to protect beauty products against the growth fungi and bacteria.




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