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Beauty Glossary

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Age Spots: Small flat pigmented spots that are most often seen on areas of the body that have been exposed to the sun over a period of years. Age spots usually occur after the age of 40 and are common on the face, hands, and arms.

Algae: In cosmetics, algae are used as thickening agents, water-binding agents, and antioxidants.

Alopecia: The complete or partial loss of hair.

Alpha-Hydroxy Acid: Exfoliants that remove the flaky, “dead” layer of skin from the epidermis (the skin’s outermost layer) to improve the skin’s texture and color, and speed up cell renewal. They ‘re also moisturizing and with continued use, may help smooth fine lines and wrinkles. AHA is the family name for a variety of acids: citric acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, and tartaric acid.

Alpha Lipoic Acid: Also known as ALA.

Antioxidant: Ingredients such as vitamins A, C, and E that help the body to resist free radicals that prematurely age the skin. These antioxidants interrupt oxidation, the spoilage process that makes iron rust, cut apples turn brown, and skin collagen break down. In cosmetics, antioxidants are often used to extend the shelf life of a product. Lecithin, tocopherol, and citric acid are some of the most common antioxidants.

Argireline: Manufactured in Spain, it is a hexapeptide (a chain of 6 amino acids) attached to acetic acid residue. It is believed to work by inhibiting the release of neurotransmitters. When applied to the skin, Argireline seems to relax facial tension leading to the reduction in facial lines and wrinkles with regular use. This somewhat resembles the effect of Botox, which reduces facial tension and movement by paralyzing facial muscles. Note that Argireline is unrelated in its physiologic effect and mechanism of action to other bioactive skin peptides.

Aromatherapy: The use of essential oils (extracts or essences) from flowers, herbs, and trees to promote health and well-being. This approach uses essential oils extracted from medicinal plants to treat various health conditions. The oils are generally diluted, then used topically, internally, or to stimulate olfactory senses.

Astaxanthin: This is a naturally occurring biological anti-inflammatory antioxidant. It is marine-based and is produced by plants and microalgae. There are just a few products on the market today containing this antioxidant that can be used in an anti-aging and anti-inflammatory capacity.

Avocado Oil: Oil extracted from the avocado fruit, pressed and refined. Very rich in Vitamin A, B1, B2, D and E, amino acids, sterols, lecithin, essential fat acids and pantothenic acid. Effective in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, sensitive and irritated skin and other derma disorders. Azelaic Acid: It is FDA approved as a topical preparation to treat acne vulgaris. It is also used by dermatologists to lighten pigmented skin. It has antimicrobial activity and normalizes keratinization and is also believed to inhibit DHT which is why it is used in some hair loss products.