Brief Glossary of Common Terms and Ingredients
The terms and ingredients below may be found in articles related to skin care having to do with beneficial natural ingredients, or are ingredients commonly found in synthetic products. Over time, we will offer more information regarding skin conditions, home remedies, and other important information in regard to skin care!



Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis) - succulent plant from which a gelatinous liquid is derived, offering many soothing benefits and healing qualities; in part, contains amino acids, minerals, enzymes, and vitamins

Alpha Hydroxy Acids - used to exfoliate the skin; derived from fruit acids; it may be too strong for sensitive skin and can cause severe inflammation, swelling, with possible scarring; when used, sun exposure should be avoided or limited for several days after use, as skin can become damaged. (Our personal suggestion to those with sensitive skin: avoid products with AHA's ... your skin may become itchy, puffy, and inflamed.)

Apple Cider Vinegar - created through fermentation of apple cider; recognized as soothing for skin, as it balances pH; helps with natural exfoliaton; diluted for skin care purposes

Antiseptic - inhibits or kills microorganisms

Astringent - constricts or "draws together" body tissues; closes up pores, as in a skin toner

Antioxidant - neutralizes or reduces free radicals, i.e., environmental toxins, ultraviolet rays, etc., which contribute to the aging process and damage skin

Atopic dermatitis - allergic reaction to an irritant; causes severe rash in the area of exposure; occurs as a response to an allergen, with inflammation for approx. 48-72 hours; relief may be sought with the use of aloe vera, witch hazel, or ointments that include calendula, lavender, myrhh, or other anti-inflammatory ingredients; foods that are alkaline, such as vegetable broths and herbal teas, as well many nuts, seeds, and vegetables can also help with inflammation

Carbomer - a synthetic compound used as an emulsion stabilizer and thickening agent

Carrageen - (Chondrus crispus) - Common Names are Irish Moss, Chondrus, Carrahan, Carragheen, Carragennan - a perennial algae or seaweed native to various parts of the earth's coastal regions; has linked cells within internal tissue; used as a thickener, as it creates a gel when met with water in its dried powder form

Citric Acid - a crystalline compound that looks similar to salt crystals, present in most plants, especially citrus fruits; derived through fermentation of lemon, lime, pineapple juices, or carbohydrates; commonly used as a food or beverage flavoring or a preservative, as it lowers pH due to its acidity; used in fizzing bath salts along with baking soda

Clay - natural silicates; there are several types; many (not all) can be ingested for detoxification; also used on the skin to draw impurities; clays have been referred to as "living crystals," as they belong to a group of microscopic crystals that form clay in various places on the planet, producing different types

Collagen - a structural protein supporting skin cells, holding them together in a net-like method, giving skin smooth texture, which is produced by the body and decreases in production as we age

Comedogenic - any substance that can clog skin pores; for instance, isopropyl palmitate, cocoa butter, vegetable shortening, mineral oil are all substances that have a high probability of being comedogenic; the blockage of pores can deprive skin cells of oxygen, causing healthy skin cells to die, leading to blemishes or flaky skin

Colloidal - when particles, such as nano particles (minute-sized particles), are suspended in water, as in such minerals as copper, gold, and silver; copper being an essential trace mineral; gold once called the "elixer of life" for its well-being effects; silver as a potent anti-bacterial

Dead Sea Salt - from the world's richest source of natural salts; high mineral content, rich in magnesium, potassium, and iodine, amongst many others, which outweigh sodium chloride content (does not even taste "salty"); detoxifies, draws toxins, softens when used on skin; visitors from the world-round visit the Dead Sea, the lowest body of water on Earth, where the high salt concentration makes floating in its waters effortless

Deionized Water - when ions and impurities primarily from dissolved mineral salts have been filtered out of water through a special process of deionization, producing a highly purified water similar to distilled water

Diatomaceous Earth - from remains of fossilized single-celled aquatic organisms called diatoms that have existed for approx. 100 million years, whose skeletons are mostly comprised of silica; occurring in lakes, rivers, streams, marshes, bogs, oceans, damp moss, etc.; high in silica, food grade "D.E." can hold health benefits, such as detoxification, and high silica content can be beneficial for hair, skin, and nails when ingested; not for use on skin topically, as extremely drying, and should not be inhaled

Distilled Water - water that has gone through the process of distillation, where impurities have been "filtered out" through boiling the water and capturing the steam

Elastin - aids the skin to resume shape after being stretched

Emulsifier - enables oils or fats to be dispersed in water; ability to bind oils and water together in creams and lotions; many emulsifiers commonly used in lotions and creams may be sythetically-derived, such as Emulsifying Wax NF; some of these may be referred to as "plant-based emulsifiers," yet they may have gone through the process of ethoxylation to arrive at the fatty acids and esters of the plant fats.

Emulsifying Wax NF - includes cetearyl alcohol, polysorbate 60, PEG-150 stearate and steareth-20; it is commonly used as a thickener and emulsifier; note that PEG (polyethylene glycol) is a lubricant that is water-soluble, derived from petroleum or mineral sources

Endocrine Disruptors - chemicals that can have an affect on hormone levels in the body as well as damaging results in waterways and the environment

Essential oil - botanical oils extracted through steam distillation many of which have beneficial purposes in regard to health or well-being; highly-complex and highly concentrated aromatic essences; when distilled, an entire plant may only produce a few drops of oil; plant oils serve vital functions for the plant, such as attracting beneficial insects, repelling unwanted ones, etc. and help to protect from infection; essential for plant's life; stored in specialized cells in various parts of the plant; some essential oils are safe to use when diluted; some are very potent, only being used with the utmost of care

Essential Fatty Acids - important "cell protectors" - Omega-3 includes alpha-linolenic acid; found in fresh deepwater fish, fish oil and some vegetable oils, such as canola, flaxseed and walnut; Omega-6 includes linolenic and gamma-linolenic acid; found in borage, grape seed, evening primrose, sesame and soybean oil; raw nuts, seeds, legumes; essential fatty acids are very powerful anti-inflammatory agents. These beneficial oils can especially help with dry skin and inflammatory issues when included in diet.

Ethoxylated Compounds - synthetic ingredients that have been treated with ethylene oxide; these compounds are often found in products with names that include, for instance, "PEG," which is short for polyethylene glycol, an emulsifier or skin conditioner, which is typically followed by a number, such as PEG-150, the number signifies how many times it has been treated with ethylene oxide; others can include polysorbates, and other emulsifiers, such as emulsifying wax or "E-wax." Some preservatives also include these compounds, such as phenoxyethanol, which is included in preservative products with trade names such as Optiphen, Phenonip, and Phenostat.

Ethylene Oxide - a flammable and highly reactive substance used primarily in industrial chemical mixes, such as ethylene glycol; fumigant in some agricultural processes; a sterilant for medical equipment; frequent exposure can result in health issues; associated with serious health issues with chronic exposure, including reproductive effects, mutagenic issues, neurotoxicity, cancer.

Exfoliate - to cast off dead cells for renewal

Flavonoids - an important class of plant based compounds; considered to be very beneficial as antioxidants; for instance, berries, extract from grape seeds, green tea, citrus fruits are some sources

Guar Gum - also called cluster bean; a legume plant of semiarid regions; its grounded endosperm creates guar gum, a fine powder used as a thickener; used as a fresh vegetable in many parts of the world

Glycerite - a tincture or extract made with glycerin; syrupy liquid that provides an alternative to alcohol tincture created by soaking herbs; when soaked for period of time, herbs are broken down with the liquid so the properties are released into the glycerin

Glycolic acid - a fruit acid or alpha-hydroxy acid, derived from sugar cane; highly acidic; used as a substance for a chemical skin exfoliant or "peel" that "burns away" dead skin cells; can be an irritant or leave skin highly sensitive to the sun

Glycoproteins - protein-carbohydrate compounds - aids healing process by stopping pain and inflammation

Honeycomb - the place where honey bees raise their young, and store honey and pollen

Isopropyl alcohol - an organic solvent; vapor more dense than air - highly flammable with very wide combustible range - should be kept away from heat and open flame; should not be frequently used on skin as can cause "defatting" a term used to describe what happens when a chemical dissolves lipids (oils), from skin resulting in water loss and causing whitening and drying of affected area, subsequently resulting in cracking of the skin, secondary infection, or irritation (contact dermatitis); this can occur with a variety of solvents, having the potential to worsen pre-existing skin conditions

Isopropyl palmitate - used in cosmetic creams as a binding agent; makes skin feel soft; derived from palm and coconut; a comedogenic (pore-clogging substance), so can result in creating complexion problems

Jojoba Oil   (Simmondsia chinensis) - [pronounced ho-HO-bah] - versatile plant native to the desert regions of North America, Central America and Mexico; grows wild where it is native, also produced commercially and also grown in other areas of the world; the seed offers a unique type of liquid wax that native people to the areas where it grows naturally used to help protect their skin and hair, amongst other uses; closely resembles human skin oil; good for all skin types; easily absorbed by the skin, without clogging pores; serves as a protective barrier; contains the essential mineral iodine, a bacteria fighter; as well as many important nutrients, such as vitamin E, B complex vitamins, and the minerals silicon, chromium, copper, and zinc

Lanolin - a byproduct of processing animal wool, such as domestic sheep; often used in ointments or balms in treating chapped lips, burns, skin irritations and rashes, and minor wounds; easily absorbed through the skin, although may be comedogenic

Lecithin - [Pronounced LES-uh-thin] - a natural emulsifier, beneficial to the skin; within the body, lecithin plays a primary role in breaking down fats, helping with cholesterol levels; found in foods such as eggs, dairy products, and meats; primarily, the lecithin used today comes from soybeans and is largely composed of choline (an important B vitamin), linoleic acid and inositol

Linoleic Acid - sebaceous glands use this essential fatty acid as a component of sebum (skin oil); found in flaxseed, safflower, evening primrose; calming to the skin and follicles

Macadamia Nut Oil - nuts from tree native to the rain forests of Australia and imported into Hawaii in the 1800's; contains omega fatty acids, which our skin requires, especially as we age; helps to retain the skin's natural water barrier

Micronutrients - dietary minerals needed throughout life in very small quantities (generally less than 100 micrograms a day); some microminerals or trace elements include iron, chromium, copper, iodine, manganese, selenium, zinc

Mineral Oil & Petroleum Jelly - Mineral oil is a byproduct of petroleum, a blend of hydrocarbons, which are chemical compounds consisting of hydrogen and carbon; Petroleum jelly is similar, but semi-solid and a mixture of hydrocarbons; both should be used with care; petroleum jelly can be used to seal wounds in an emergency, but can trap bacteria, causing infection and should never be used on burns or around the nose, as with mineral oil

Natural oils - Plant oils offer nutritional value to the skin, helping to moisturize and tighten; on the other hand, synthetic oils, such as mineral oil, can clog pores and does not allow skin to "breathe," creating break-outs or dryness after extended usage; natural oils are also absorbed more easily

Noncomedogenic - substances that do not clog pores

Parabens - esters of para-hydroxybenzoic acid; include methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben; synthetically produced; used as preservative in skin products; may have weak estrogen-like properties; questions exist in regard to any relation of parabens and cancerous tumors; for instance, "Phenonip" is a paraben-based preservative containing Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Propylparaben, and Isobutylparaben.

Phenoxyethanol - included as an ingredient, for instance, in preservatives with the names of Phenonip, Optiphen, Germanben; used as an antibacterial and preservative chemical in cosmetics and skin care products; we are still "reading up" on this substance, as there appears to be some debate in regard to safety for prolonged use on the skin; some sources regard it as an ethoxylated compound that may be contaminated with a carcinogenic toxin 1,4-dioxane, which may be an irritant to skin and eyes

Photoaging - result of ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun; both "UVA," Ultraviolet Aging Effects and "UVB," Ultraviolet Burning Effects damage the skin, producing dryness, "sunspots," wrinkles, lackluster, and more seriously, skin cancer; premature aging of the skin; caused from overexposure

Photosensitivity - an effect produced by exposure to ultraviolet light, causing redness or burning of the skin as a reaction to the light; many citrus essential oils contain furocoumarins, types of organic chemical compounds produced by a variety of plants, which create photosensitivity; avoidance of sun exposure is advised after applying or using products that include certain essential oils, such as, petitgrain, bergamot (very sensitizing), lemon, lime, bitter orange, and grapefruit; other oils may include lemongrass, cumin, fennel, anise, rue, angelica root, and verbena; according to some sources, mandarin, sweet orange, tangelo, and tangerine are not phototoxic

Polyphenols - antioxidant (i.e., green tea) chemicals with potent antioxidant properties

ppm - parts per million

Polysaccharides - type of carbohydrate that stimulates repair of skin

Polysorbate 20 - an emulsifier; a surfactant with relative non-toxicity; polysorbates with higher numbers (i.e. Polysorbate 60 and 80) are not considered quite as safe for use, commonly not considered particularly hazardous, although may not be safe for long-term use; a synthetic substance known as a polyoxyethylene due to being treated with ethylene oxide, which has been linked to 1,4 dioxane, a toxin

Rice Bran Oil - extracted from the germ and inner husk of rice; naturally contains significant level of tocotrienols (Vitamin E family); contains a range of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and saturated fats and phytosterols; high in fatty acids of oleic and linoleic; a favorite oil for centuries in Japan; very nutrifying to the skin

Safflower Seed Oil -   (Carthamus tinctorius L.) - an annual plant with "thistle-like" globular flower heads often of brilliant yellow, orange or red flowers from which oil-rich seeds are produced; high in fatty acids. as well as other nutrifying oils and flavonoids, such as quercetin; light in texture, benefits skin and hair; there are two types of safflower oil, the one used for skin care is high in linolenic acid or polyunsaturated fatty acids, versus the heat-stable monounsaturated type; considered a non-comedogenic

Saponification - means "soap making" (root word, "sapo," Latin for soap); origins in ancient Babylon; a chemical reaction which must occur to make soap, occurring when an acid, vegetable oil or animal fat, is mixed with a strong alkali, such as potassium hydroxide (liquid soap) or sodium hydroxide (bar soap)

Sebaceous glands - Oil-producing glands under the skin

Sodium benzoate - the sodium salt of benzoic acid; often used as a food preservative, can now be found as a preservative in some skin care products

Sorbitan oleate - sorbitan ester of oleic acid; oleic acid is a mono-unsaturated omega-9 fatty acid found in various animal and vegetable sources; basically, esters are formed by condensing an acid with an alcohol, they are chemical compounds derived by reacting an oxoacid, an acid that contains oxygen, with a hydroxyl compound such as an alcohol or phenol; often used as an emulsifier

Sorbitol - also known as glucitol; a sugar alcohol (slow-metabolizing) derived from seaweed, fruits, and corn (most of the sorbitol used today comes from corn); commonly used as a sugar substitute or as a thickener; when used in soaps or lotions, it has moisturizing qualities

Soy protein - Derived from soybean plant Glycine soja

Sugar - known for its sweet flavor, sucrose is a crystalline carbohydrate derived from either sugarcane, a very tall, stalky grass of the genus Saccharum; some sugars are also obtained from the sugar beet; used in sweets and bakery products and as a preservative; extra fine sugar gently exfoliates the skin when used in facial scrubs

Surfactants - (from surface active agents); synthetic detergents; generally known as alkyl benzene sulfonates; a chemical that stabilizes mixtures of oil and water by reducing the surface tension at the interface between the oil and water molecules; surfactants in cosmetics are used for cleansing, wetting agents, foaming agents, emulsifiers, conditioning agents, solubilizers; soap cleanses by acting as an emulsifier, allowing oil and water to mix so that dirt and oil can be removed during rinsing, whereas detergents (surfactants) lower the surface tension of water, making it "wetter" so it is more likely to interact with oil and grease

Talc - talcum powder is generally recognized as safe for use, although has been linked to some health hazards; some safer alternatives are mixtures of arrowroot powder, tapioca starch, and cornstarch

Tocotrienols - fat-soluble antioxidant vitamins that can prevent premature aging of the skin; easily absorbed into deep layers of the skin; includes Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), which is found in wheat germ oil, rice bran oil, palm oil, safflower oil, assorted seeds, nuts, and vegetables

Tricloban - often found in hand sanitizers or anti-bacteral soaps; considered to be an endocrine disrupter (also see Triclocarban)

Triclocarban - found in commercially-made antibacterial soaps, washes, cleansing lotions, wipes, etc.; studies show it to be an endrocrine disruptor; (also see Tricloban)

A brief list of ingredients that are not found in any of our products ...

Ammonium laureth sulfate
Cocamidopropyl betaine
Cyclomethicone
Diazolidinyl urea (preservative)
Dimethicone
Diethanolamines -
including cocamide DEA (cocamide diethanolamine) and triethanolamine (TEA)
Disodium EDTA
DMDM hydantoin
Emulsifying Wax NF
Isopropyl alcohol
Isopropyl myristate
Isopropyl palmitate
Formaldehyde
Methylchloroisothiazolinone and Methylisothiazolinone (preservatives)
Methylparaben
Mineral oil
Petroleum jelly
Phenoxyethanol
Polyethylene glycol (PEG)
Propylparaben
Propylene glycol
Sodium laureth sulfate
Sodium lauryl sulfate
Synthetic colorants
Tetrasodium EDTA
Tocopheryl acetate
Triclosan
Triethanolamine
For additional information regarding
concerns of synthetic ingredients,
please see our article "Why Go Naturally?"

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