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Skin Anatomy and Physiology Acne Ingredients Cosmetics
Dictionary of Skin Care Terms Skin Care Advice Skin Problems
The Sun & Your Skin Skin Care News  

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B

bactericide

An antibacterial agent.

bacteriostatic

See antibacterial.

baking soda

Also known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda relieves burns, itching, urticarial lesions and insect bites. It’s often used in bath powders to help cleanse oily skin, and is a common component of many homemade cosmetics and food preparations. It’s an excellent tooth powder on its own, and when combined with aloe vera gel, it’s the best toothpaste you can use.

balneotherapy

balneotherapy

The scientific medical study of bathing and its effects on the human body.

balsams

These healing or soothing agents contain relatively large amounts of cinnamic or benzoic acid. While benzoic acid is toxic in its synthetic versions and in tinctures like sodium benzoate, benzoin gum and other balsams that contain benzoates aren’t toxic—in fact, they’re helpful. Typical balsams are balsam of Peru, balsam tolu, storax and benzoin.

barrier creams

These are applied to the skin to provide a protective coating against chemical irritants.

basal layer

basal layer

The layer of skin at the base of the epidermis (closest to the dermis).

dermis).

bayberry wax

See waxes.

waxes.

bee pollen

This natural substance is high in pantothenic acid, and European research suggests it may be helpful in combating the effects of radiation exposure. However, it’s not particularly valuable as a topical.

beeswax

This natural substance is obtained from the honeycomb of the honeybee, Apis mell Wera, as well as other Apis species. Both yellow beeswax and white beeswax are used as thickeners, emulsifiers or stiffening agents in ointments, cold creams, emollient creams, lotions, lipsticks, hair dressings, suppositories and other cosmetics. Vegans will want to avoid products with beeswax. Also see waxes.

waxes.

beet powder

This natural, nontoxic color is made from powdered beet root and is sometimes used in cosmetics.

behenic acid

This crystalline mixture offattv acids from seeds (such as peanuts) is used as an opacifier in cosmetics.

bentonite

This soft, moisture-absorbing, clay mineral, often of volcanic origin, contains montmorillonite as its essential mineral. Used as a suspending agent, emulsWer, thickener, binder and absorbent, and in mask products, it may be drying to the skin. It’s called bentonite

because it originally came from Benton, Montana. Also see clay and kaolin.

benzaldehyde

This synthetic chemical is used as an artificial almond oil, and also as a preservative and solvent. It’s irritating to the eyes, skin and mucous membranes.

benzalkoniurn chloride

This quaternary (cation ic) compound has been shown to be highly toxic and shouldn’t be inhaled. It’s also a primary skin irritant and is a common source of eye irritations.

Benzalkonium chloride is used in hair conditioners and conditioning shampoos (the cationic types), cream rinses and deodorants, in concentrations of 0.1% to 0.5%; it's also used as an antiseptic and a germicide. It’s inactive when used with anionics, soaps, proteins, plastics, rubber, citrates. metals and nitrates. Some trade names of this preservatixe are Zephirol, Roccal, Dodigen 226 and Barquat MB-SO.

benzene

This petrochemical, which is used as a solvent and manufacturing agent in cosmetics, can cause depression, convulsions, coma and death; prolonged exposure is suspected of causing leukemia. Beuzene vapors can be absorbed through the skin and cause irritation. Benzene should be avoided.

benzethoniuni chloride

This common ingredient in many feminine hygiene products can sensitize and irritate the skin, possibly leading to allergic dermatitis. It’s also used as a preservative.

benzoin, benzoin gum

A balsamic resin found in various species of an Asian tree called the storax (or styrax), benzoin gum is formed when the bark is incised; the exuded resin, which hardens on exposure to air and sunlight, is then collected. Benzoin, especially Siam beuzoin, has antioxidative properties and the natural extract is used in some cosmetics, though more often a synthetic version, such as sodium benzoate, is used.

benzyl alcohol

This natural, aromatic alcohol is found in many herbs, including balsam Peru, canaga oil, cassie absolute, castoreum, cherry laurel leaves, jasmine and storax. It’s used in injectable drugs, ophthalmic products and oral liquids, as a solvent in cosmetics and perfumes, and as a preservative in hair dyes.

In oral products, benzvl alcohol is used at concentrations between 0.5% and 200, and in cosmetics at 1% to 3%. It has a high percutaneous toxicity and it can cause allergic reactions. It’s also known as benzenemethanol, phenylcarbinol and phenvlmethanol.

benzyl carbinol

This preservative is a natural alcohol found in essential oils such as rose, hyacinth and aleppo pine. It’s toxic internally at 1.79 gIg and on the skin at 5—10 ml/kg; it irritates human eyes at concentrations of 0.75%. It’s also known as phenethyl alcohol.

beta carotene

See carotenoids.

beta me

An alkaloid present in beets.

BHA and BHT

BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BUT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are synthetic antioxidants approved for use in food and cosmetics. Also see antioxidants.

biochemistry

The study of the chemical compounds and processes that occur in living plants and animals.

biodegradable

This term refers to substances that can be broken down by natural processes into chemical components that can reenter the natural world without changing it. Many "biodegradable" household cleaners, cosmetics and other products are far less biodegradable than their labeling would lead you to believe, thanks to various preservatives and other chemicals used in them. Read the label to be sure the product is natural.

biotin

One of the B vitamins that helps dermatitis and hair loss. Also see vitamin B complex.

vitamin B complex.

bisulfites and sulfites

These inorganic acids are toxic, causing headaches, nausea or diarrhea at doses lower than 50 mg/kg of body weight. Lab animals fed 0.5Oo~2Oo bisulfite in food showed injuries to the nervous system within a year; those fed 0.25% bad diarrhea but no other toxic effects. Although neither human nor animal tests show these preservatives to be safe, they’re used at concentrations of 0.200 in cosmetics and at P0—2% as preservatives and clisinfectants in foods (especially wines).

The sulfites are supplied as white powders and the bisulfites as clear to semi-clear solutions (which aren’t stable). Some of the sulfites are also soluble in water.

bitter

Bitterness in an herb promotes the production of saliva and gastric juices, thereby increasing appetite and digestion.

blackhead

This skin blemish results from an oily secretion of sebum and dead cells that clogs the hair follicle; the
plug darkens when it comes into contact with the air. Blackheads differ from

This skin blemish results from an oily secretion of sebum and dead cells that clogs the hair follicle; the
plug darkens when it comes into contact with the air. Blackheads differ from

This skin blemish results from an oily secretion of sebum and dead cells that clogs the hair follicle; the
plug darkens when it comes into contact with the air. Blackheads differ from
white heads in that the follicle remains open to the air; whiteheads are covered with a layer of skin and are thus more likely to become infected. Deep cleansing of the skin can help prevent blackheads. Also see acne.

blue light

A therapeutic lamp used to soothe the nerves and also to heal and disinfect skin tissue.

bond

A bond is a molecular linkage between two different atoms or radicals of a chemical compound, usually altered by the transfer of one or more electrons from one atom to another. In chemical formulas, a bond is represented by a dot or line between atoms.

borates

This generic term refers to salts related to boric oxide or orthoboric acid. See borax and boric acid for examples.

borax

This naturally occurring mineral (also known as pyroborate, diborate or sodium borate) is used to manufacture glass, ceramic glazes, enamels, water-softening agents, flame-proofing materials, preservatives and fluxes. It may be harmful if breathed into the lungs during manufacturing or processing.

In cosmetics, borax is used as an emulsifyer. When combined with beeswax in a cream, it usually makes up about 6% of the weight of the wax. As the concentration of borax increases, the cream stiffens.

boric acid

Boric acid, also known as acidum boricum or orthoboric acid, is used widely as an eyewash. An odorless, white, crystalline powder, it can be used around windows and doors as a bug repellent. It shouldn’t be used in baby cosmetics or baby powder, since it’s toxic at doses of 1—3 g for babies, 5 g for children and 15—20 g for adults.

boron

This mineral makes HI) 0.00100 of the earth’s crust and is found at concentrations of a few parts per million in sea water. In small amounts, it’s vital to all forms of plant life, but in large amounts, it’s toxic. There are many organic compounds of boron, including boric acid.

botanical

Any substance obtained from plants which has medicinial or similar uses.

bran

See wheat bran.

brewer’s yeast

High in protein and all the B vitamins, this powder is sometimes added to cosmetics for its nutritional value. Also see vitamin B complex.

bromelain

This enzyme, extracted from pineapple juice, hydrolyzes proteins. It’s used in cosmetics as a texturizer and keratolytic.

bromochiorophene

This phenolic compound is acutely toxic when taken orally.

bronopol

This toxic alcohol is used in fabric softeners and detergents, in pharmaceutical products, and in face creams, shampoos, hair dressings, mascaras and bath oils at concentrations of 0.01% to 0.1%. Supplied as a ~vhite crystalline powder, it causes skin irritation at concentrations of 0.25%.

butyl acetate

This toxic solvent is used in nail polishes and in many other products.

butylene glycol

This thick liquid, used in hair rinses and conditioners, causes many allergic reactions and is harmful to the environment.

butyl stearate

This synthetic chemical is found in face creams and other facial care products. It’s a possible allergen and has caused acne cosmetica (acne caused by cosmetics).

butyrolactone

This very toxic, synthetic chemical is used as a solvent for resins in cosmetics, especially nail polish removers.


Top | Skin Care Terms - A | Skin Care Terms - B | Skin Care Terms - C | Skin Care Terms - D | Skin Care Terms - E | Skin Care Terms - F | Skin Care Terms - G | Skin Care Terms - H | Skin Care Terms - I | Skin Care Terms - J | Skin Care Terms - K | Skin Care Terms - L | Skin Care Terms - M | Skin Care Terms - N | Skin Care Terms - O | Skin Care Terms - P | Skin Care Terms - Q | Skin Care Terms - R | Skin Care Terms - S | Skin Care Terms - T | Skin Care Terms - U | Skin Care Terms - V | Skin Care Terms - W | Skin Care Terms - X | Skin Care Terms - Y | Skin Care Terms - Z

Skin Anatomy and Physiology Acne Ingredients Cosmetics
Dictionary of Skin Care Terms Skin Care Advice Skin Problems
The Sun & Your Skin Skin Care News  


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