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Skin Care Glossary

We've gathered helpful definitions


Absorption Bases

A mixture or compound that acts as a carrier for other ingredients and allows the product to be absorbed by the skin. Some of the ingredients commonly found in absorption bases are lanolin and lanolin alcohols, mineral oil, and petroleum jelly. We've found that natural fatty acids and plant oils are superior to the synthetic chemicals used in absorption bases . These bases are used in moisturizers, skin creams, and conditioners.

Acacia Gum

Also known as gum arabic. It is a natural herb powder used in foods and cosmetics. Non-toxic.

Acetone

A solven often used in the manufacture of nail polish removers. These types of solvents (i.e., methyl butyl, and amyl) are also used to chemically extract oils from herbs and in other cosmetic areas. They are toxic.

Acidity

The term "acidic" refers to a pH below 7.0. The pH of the hair and skin is usually between 4.2 and 5.6. Regardless of the advertising copy that a shampooor skin product with a pH of around 4.5 is best. Studies prove this is not true. See pH.

Acids, Fatty

Many natural oils, if not chemically altered, contain fatty acids. Cetyl alcohol is an example of a fatty acid. However, there are natural and synthetic cetyl alcohols and fatty acids. The natural ones are far better for the skin and scalp.

Alcohol

There are both natural alcohols and synthetic alcohols. Synthetic alcohol such as isopropyl alcohol is a petroleum compoun; it has a strong odor and is a cheaper raw material. The "SD" alcohols (the SD stands for "specially denatured")are also not natural; they are grain alcohols with various substances added to them to prevent their being rebottled and sold as beverages, i.e., SD alcohol 40. The natural alcohols are made by fermentation of starch, sugar, grains, and various carbohydrates. They are often called "grain alcohol" or "ethyl alcohol." Alcohol can dissolve fat, like your skin's sebum, and strong alcohol solutions can be drying to the skin. This, of course, depends on the type of product and alcohol used. Natural alcohols are better tolerated by the skin.

Aldehydes

Volatile compounds often used in perfumes and in preservatives which can be toxic and cause allergic reactions.

Alginates

These chemicals are used as binders and emulsfiers. They are synthetically compounded and have caused many allergic reactions.


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