We are not healthcare professionals by any means, but we sure do love skincare!
There are A LOT of terms out there (with new ones being coined every single day) and even as avid beauty lovers, it's pretty tricky to keep up sometimes!
For instance, what’s the difference between AHA and BHA? What are non-comedogenic products? And what do Vitamins A, B and C even do?
Not to worry. Our team has put together this nifty, little guide – a skin-cyclopedia if you will – of all the must know A-Z terms to help you navigate the big glossy world of skincare!
A - Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
A chemical exfoliant that helps improve skin texture, unclog pores and facilitate absorption of skincare products.
B - Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA)
BHAs are similar to AHAs, in that they are both chemical exfoliants. However, AHAs are only water soluble, which means that they can only work on the skin’s surface. BHA can penetrate deep inside the pore - effectively unclogging all the gunk! (1)
C - Ceramides
Ceramides are a class of fatty acids called lipids. They help lock in moisture, preventing dryness and irritation, as well as protect your epidermis from environmental damage.
D - Dry Skin
How do you tell if you have dry skin? If your skin often appears matte or flaky and feels dehydrated after coming out of the shower, chances are you have dry skin. Remember - you skin changes along with the seasons, so swap around your skincare products to suit it!
E - Emollient
A thickening agent that soothes, softens and prevents dryness in the skin and is similar in structure to natural lipids found in the skin. Plant oils and fatty acids are examples of emollients.
F - Free Radicals
Free Radicals are naughty unstable atoms that can damage cells. They can be introduced to our bodies through environmental sources like tobacco smoke, air pollution and UV rays.
G - Glycolic Acid
A form of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) used to chemically exfoliate skin and treat fine lines, acne, blackheads.
H – Hyaluronic acid
Naturally produced by our bodies this powerful humectant retains and preserves moisture. It can hold a thousand times its weight in water and prevents moisture from evaporating into the air. In skincare it holds water to your skin to keep your skin supple and hydrated.
I - Inflammation
The reaction of the skin that causes redness, swelling, heat and pain.
J - J-Beauty
J-beauty is one of the most authentic minimalistic skin care routines out there. The aim of the game is to achieve soft, plump and hydrated skin by using high quality products that are backed by research.
We can thank the J-beauty gods for blessing us with ‘double-cleansing’, simple yet affective.
K - K-Beauty
Korean beauty was made famous by their 10 steps, and bold ingredients. K-beauty products are some of the most innovative in the world. K-beauty is all about hydration but unlike J-beauty, K-beauty is all about layers, innovation and what is trending
L - Lipids
Lipids are a chemical molecule that is non-soluble in water. They play an essential role in the skin’s barrier function and keep the skin protected and hydrated.
M - Microdermabrasion
A type of exfoliation that uses fine abrasive materials to gently buff off the damaged top layer of skin.
N - Non-Comedogenic
You see this term on a lot of skincare products and it basically means the product will not clog pores or cause comedones aka blackheads or whiteheads.
O - Oily Skin
How do you tell if you have oily skin? If you are often shiny, have large pores and a lot of trouble getting makeup to stay on, you probably have oil skin.
P - Parabens
Parabens are ingredients that act as preservatives in products. Some people may have an allergic reaction to parabens (causing redness and irritation) and it’s a commonly debated-about topic to whether non-parabens are better.
Q – Questions?
If you ever need help or assistance, please get in contact at firstname.lastname@example.org and our lovely team will assist.
R - Retinol
A type of vitamin A that is commonly used in skincare. It helps regenerate skin cells and enhance epidermal cell growth. It can be used to treat wrinkles, acne, pigmentation and even enlarged pores. Important note - use PLENTY SPF if applied on during the day.
S - SPF
Sun Protection Factor is the rating that tells you how long you can stay in the sun without acquiring sun damage. It is recommended to use at least SPF 30 for all outdoor activities and to reapply every few hours.
T - Toner
A water-based solution used right after cleansing to lock in the moisture in the upper layers of the skin.
U - UVA and UVB rays
Ultraviolet A is more penetrating than Ultraviolet B rays, which means they can affect cells deeper in the skin. UVA rays can cause skin to age prematurely. UVB rays are very high in energy and responsible for tanning and sunburns. They can also affect the immune system and contribute to skin cancer. (Protect yourself! Use SPF!)
V - Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential in collagen production. It can also function as an antioxidant, preventing UV-related damage.
W - Whiteheads
A type of acne that forms when dead skin cells, oil and bacteria are trapped within one of your pores, causing a white or yellowish head.
X - X foliate
We know we exfoliate to reveal fresh glowing skin. But what is the difference between chemical and physical exfoliants?
While this may sound scary, it can often be the milder of the two. Chemical exfoliants use acids or enzymes - think glycolic, lactic, salicylic acid. They gently dissolve dead skin cells but unlike a physical exfoliant, there is no scrubbing or pulling of the skin which is ideal for more sensitive skin types. The chemicals not only work on the top layers, it also penetrates the skin barrier to work on the deeper skin layers. This reveals a more toughly (?) looking skin over time.
Anything that requires rubbing or scrubbing of the skin. This could be a face peel, face mask, or products containing small particles. While this method is loved for its often-immediate results, it only tackles the top layer of the skin.
As they can be slightly more abrasive, there is a time and place for physical exfoliation. For when you need immediate results (eg. right before an event) or need something that can be easily integrated into your routine, reach out for physical exfoliants.
Y - Yearly skin check-up
It’s no secret that everyone at bellabox HQ loves SPF. We sample it a lot but there is a reason, taken from Sunsmart.com.au Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70.
Stop putting it off and go and get a yearly skin check-up.
Z - Zinc
A small but mighty mineral found in every single cell in our bodies. Zinc protects your immune system by fighting off harmful cells. But when applied topically it’s the anti-inflammatory properties can help to reduce redness and irritation and even reduce oil production! It can act also like a physical sun block when applied in the right amounts, by stopping nasty UV light from penetrating your skin barrier.