When buying a face cream, you get lost among a multitude of different brands, each and every one trying to impress you using beautiful words and ingredients that promise to do wonders for you. Therefore, our task of choosing the right product becomes even harder especially when we don't understand the terminology. In this context it is important to be able to have a certain cosmetic ingredients and skin care glossary to help you.

A flawless skin means investing in appropriate products for your skin type and problems. However, the wide offer on the market and all the ads promising miraculous effects makes the decision process really challenging. If you don't know what you are looking for and what are your needs, it's almost impossible to find the right products for you. In these circumstances, managing a cosmetic ingredients glossary could be a saving solution.

Active ingredients

There are certain countries where the law requires that the active ingredients to be mentioned separately from the other ingredients. Active ingredients are responsible for the result of the product you bought. For example, if we are talking about anti-acne creams and lotions, it is the salicylic acid or the benzoic peroxide the active ingredients, while in the the bleaching creams is the hydroquinone used for skin whitening. Not all cosmetic products contain active ingredients.

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA's)

They are acids found in sugar cane and citrus fruits, and they work great in skin exfoliation, removing dead cells from the skin surface. Therefore, the skin becomes softer having a beautiful, healthy glow. Products containing AHAs may also stimulate the production of collagen and make wrinkles less visible. Lactic acid, glycolic acid, citric acid, malic acid, and pyruvic acid are the most used AHAs in skin care products.


This type of products contain retinol under the form of retinyl palmitate, or glycolic acid that help collagen formation into the skin. Collagen is the one that makes your skin look younger. Retinol, which is a form of vitamin A, represents one of the most widely used active ingredients in cosmetic products. However, you should know that it hasn't been invented the perfect cream that can eliminate wrinkles, but what anti-wrinkle creams do is that they encourage the skin to produce more collagen, and therefore making it look better.

Clinically tested

Whenever reading the box of a cosmetic product we tend to be really impressed by the expression “clinically tested”. It sounds professionally and safe, but do we know what it means? In this industry, “clinically tested” means that the product has passed through many laboratory or clinical experiments, but it doesn't necessarily means that the promised results are confirmed.


Emollients are substances mainly used in lotions, lipsticks, and many other skin care products. It plays the role of softening the skin by slowing the evaporation of water. Products containing emollients are used to treat dry skin.


Fragrances irritate the skin especially if you have to deal with allergies, or asthma. Fragrance-free creams and lotions usually don't contain artificial fragrances, but they still can contain some natural fragrance in order to cover the smell of certain ingredients. These products are the ideal and safer choice for people with sensitive skin or with chemical sensitiveness. The term “fragrance-free” has been highly used, even when is not the case, making people guide themselves by their own instinct.


The term hypoallergenic means that the product has lower chances of provoking allergic reactions. These products are highly recommended for people having a sensitive skin or for those who are dealing with different skin problems. Still, since it hasn't been proved that all allergies enter this category, it's rather impossible to guarantee that a specific product will not produce allergic reactions.


Comedogenic means that it can produce or encourage blackheads, whiteheads and pimples. The term noncomedogenic refers to products that don't contain ingredients that could block the pores, and therefore produce acne and other skin problems. The term is mostly used when talking about skin creams, lotions, or oils, and is also known as non-occlusive. This type of products are indicated for people suffering of acne, or have blackhead or whiteheads.


“Oil-free” means that the product doesn't contain oleaginous ingredients that clog pores and produce acne especially to those with acne prone skin. They may contain other types of oils as they are not 100% oil-free.