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Glow On

Skincare Glossary

The world of skincare doesn’t need to be scary! We’re sharing our #skinschool cheat sheet so you can ace everything from A(daptogens) to Z(inc).

Don’t worry, there’s no pop quiz at the end of this lesson…

Jump to a letter:



ADAPTOGENSSubstances that “adapt” to what your body needs and help protect against stressors. Think ashwagandha, maca, tocos, reishi, etc.

BHAs‘Beta Hydroxy Acid.’ oil-soluble and works on the skin’s surface as well as deep within the pores to fight clogs and blemishes. Good for most skin types, just use a few times a week as the peeling effect can be drying.

VITAMIN C An antioxidant that protects against free radical damage, evens the skin tone, and promotes collagen production. Commonly found in brightening products, this ingredient should be used every few days and may not be suitable for sensitive skin types.

DOUBLE CLEANSING Cleansing your skin, twice. First use an oil-based cleanser to break down and emulsify makeup, then finish with a water-based cleanser to get rid of any remaining dirt for a super clean + refreshed feeling.

ECZEMAA form of atopic dermatitis in which your skin isn’t producing the necessary amount of proteins which impairs the skin’s ability to retain moisture. This results in itchy, flaky, and inflamed skin.

FREE RADICALS Highly reactive molecules that can damage your cells. Think environmental pollution, secondhand smoke, radiation, pesticides, and the ozone. These can increase the signs of aging.

GUA SHA Gua sha is rooted in Traditional Chinese medicine, in which you scrape inflamed areas of your body with a smooth-edged tool to relieve headaches, jaw tension, lymphatic drainage, and increase circulation and collagen production.

HYALURONIC ACID The role of this buzz-worthy product is to hydrate and replenish cell moisture. Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in your skin and acts as a cushion and lubricant for your joints, nerves, hair, skin, and eyes.

INGESTIBLESProducts that you can eat or drink that will benefit your skin, from the inside out. Usually referred to as supplements which can aid in the production of ingredients already found in your body. For example: collagen, vitamins, nutrients, hyaluronic acid, etc.

JOJOBA OIL An emollient that softens and smooths the skin. This oil hydrates, balances natural oil production, and can help reduce acne.

KERATOSIS PILARIS This shows up as patches of tiny, rough bumps on your arms and legs. This occurs when dead skin cells and protein in the skin build up and block hair follicles.

LEDLED lights emit infrared light that can have skincare benefits, based on the color of light. Amber light stimulates collagen and elastin. Blue light kills bacteria. Red light promotes circulation. White light reduces inflammation and tightens the skin.

MICROBIOMEThe microbiome is the billions of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live and comprise the skin. Microbiome skincare allows healthy bacteria and probiotic elements to encourage the natural balance of our barrier and good skin health.

NIACINAMIDECommonly known as Vitamin B3, this skincare ingredient brightens, prevents signs of aging, and reduces acne.

ORGANICThis means the ingredients are farmed without the use of pesticides. Look for a USDA Organic seal which means at least 95% of the product is made of organic ingredients.

PARABENSParabens help keep active ingredients safe; they act as a preservative. A small study provided a link to endocrine disruption but a casual relationship has not been established. Use at your own discretion!

Q10 (COQ10) Coenzyme Q10 is a compound that is naturally present in you skin. It energizes the cells which provides antioxidant protection that can help slow the signs of aging, wrinkles, and decreased elasticity.

RETINOLRetinol is an exfoliant that encourages fast cell turnover which can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and signs of aging.

SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE This is a foaming agent that helps create lather, encourages a deep clean, and emulsifies. A controversial ingredient in skincare because it simulates a heightened sensory experience and can strip the natural oils so you feel ‘squeaky clean.’

TONERToners feel like water but help remove excess oil from the skin. They’re meant to nourish and replenish the skin after cleansing.

UVA + UVB UVB rays are responsible for producing sunburn and play the greatest role in causing skin cancers and malignant melanoma (black moles). UVA penetrates more deeply and has a greater role at premature aging and wrinkle formation.

VITAMINSVitamins are essential for skin health and body functions! They play important roles in protecting your skin from the sun, producing collagen, maintaining moisture, and protecting you from free radicals.

WITCH HAZEL – Often used as a toner, this botanical extract removes excess oil, tightens the skin to minimize the appearance of pores, and decreases redness and inflammation.

XANTHAN GUM Used as a thickener and emulsifying agent mostly for formulation purposes. Its main role is to create a slip or silky feel for ease of application.

YOGURTYogurt is nutrient-dense and filled with good bacteria (probiotics, lactic acid, hyaluronic acid, calcium and vitamins A, C, and E) that can help heal irritation.

ZINCAn anti-acneic ingredient that lowers inflammation, treats skin lesions, decreases signs of again, and protects against the sun when applied topically as a physical SPF.

Get your downloadable version of our #skinschool Cheat Sheet here.

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