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Skin Info

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Skin Anatomy and Physiology Acne Ingredients Cosmetics
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hair bulb

The lower extremity of the hair.

hair coloring

Both natural and synthetic dyes are used in hair coloring products, and many contain toxic chemicals. Also see colors. colors.

hair follicle

The depression or cavity in the skin that contains the root of the hair.

hair papilla

A small cone-shaped elevation at the bottom of the hair follicle. hair follicle.

hair pilus

The hair itself.

hair root


The part of the hair within the hair follicle. Compare hair shaft. hair shaft.

hair shaft

The segment of the hair that extends or projects beyond the skin. Compare hair root.

hair texture

The density, general quality and feel of the hair, described with such terms as fine, medium, coarse, dry, normal and oily.

hamamelis water

A distillation of witch hazel, with added water and alcohol (Hamamelis virgin iana is the Latin name for witch hazel).


This mineral is one of the principal constituents of bentonite.


The rim of skin and cartilage that goes around most of the external ear.


This naturally-occurring, color-imparting mineral, used in ancient times as a makeup powder, is again finding favor as a natural makeup product.


A substance that halts bleeding.


This ancient type of hair coloring is made from the henna herb (Lawsonia alba), whose red-orange leaves contain 1% of a coloring agent called lawsone. Henna is mixed with indigo and logwood to obtain various shades; adding walnut extract and coffee creates a dark, brownish red that’s quite attractive.

Adding enough citric acid to obtain a pH of 5.5 will make the color last on the hair longer.


An agent that works on the liver.


A plant without woody tissue that withers and dies (to the root.) after flowering—particularly one used in medicine, cosmetics or foods. See the herb chart in Chapter 2.


This highly toxic chemical is used as an antibacterial agent in soaps, cosmetics and deodorants. Hexachlorophene was linked to infant deaths and brain damage in the late 1960s and early 1970s and must now carry a label warning that reads: Not to be used on babies.

Acutely toxic by mouth, hexachlorophene is harmful to nerves and accumulates in the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the skin). pHisohex, a topical disinfectant cleanser that contained hexachlorophene, is no longer on the market due to toxic reactions.

Hexachlorophene is a phenolic compound, and is supplied as a white, free-flowing powder that’s essentially odorless. Some trade names for products that contain it are Gainophen, G-ll and Hexosan.


People who are sensitive to formaldehyde can have a severe reaction to this toxic chemical. Contact dermat itis often occurs, as well as other allergic reactions. The European Economic Community limits its concentration in cosmetics to 0.3%. Hexahydrotriazine is sold under the following trade names: Bacillat 35, Bakzid 80, Grotan BK and KM 200. The full chemical name of this n-acetal compound is tris-hydroxvethylhexahvdro-triazine.


This toxic chemical is a formaldehyde n-acetal compound that causes sarcomas when injected into lab animals. When present in a product, the label should include the wording: Warning: Contains formaldehyde. Trade names include Aminoform, Cystamin, Formid and Uritone.

hexamidine isethionate

This toxic henzainidine compound is used in cosmetics at concentrations of 0.1%. It’s also used as a topical antiseptic. Trade names include Desomedine, Esome dma, Hexme (line and Hexamidin.


Also known as hexyl alcohol, this chemical, found in the seeds and fruits of Heracleum sphondylium


This toxic, n-acetal compound is widely used in mouth-washes (at concentrations of one gram per liter) for its local anesthetic, antibacterial and oral disinfectant effects. In pharmaceuticals, 100 mg of hexetidine in 100 ml of solution is used against Can dida albicans (yeast) infections. Trade Names are Flexatidine, Hexetidine and Hextril.

hex vi alcohol

See hexanol.


This toxic, phenolic astringent, derived from petroleum, causes allergic reactions.


A condition in which there is an eruption of itching on the skin. Hives are often allergic.

hoelen (Poria cocos,)

This fungus, known in China as fu-ling, is used in herbal medicine as a diuretic and sedative, and also for skin pigmentation problems.

honiosainte or homomenthyl saijeylate

This synthetic cheniical is used to replace the phenolic compounds used in sunscreens. Poisoning has been reported when it’s absorbed into the skin.


Hormones are secretions of endocrine glands that are distributed in the blood stream or in bodily fluids to stimulate specific effects in other parts of the body. Although hormones are often used as drugs and in topical treatments, they can alter the function of the body’s own hormones and may cause cancer. Avoid them.


A substance, like glycerol or sorbitol, that’s used to retain moisture. Using a natur~il humectant in a cosmetic product helps speed moisturization to the skin.


As a noun, this means a compound formed by the union of water with another substance. As a verb, it means to supply water to something that absorbs it. Hydrating the skin is an important step in a facial treatment (typically the face is steamed or sprayed with water, vitamins, herbs and minerals).


A chemical compound that contains only carbon and hydrogen atoms. This large group includes paraffins, olefins, acetxlenes and alicyclic and aromatic hydrocarbons; petroleum, natural gas and coal products are all hydrocarbons.

Many synthetic cosmetic ingredients are hydrocarbon derivatives (such as mineral oil, propylene glycol, coal tar colors, etc.). Hydrocarbons from petroleum (and its byproducts) are potentially allergenic and phototoxic, and they harm the environment. Hydrocarbons also occur naturally in essential oils. Also see colors.

hydrochloric acid

Also known as niliriaric acid, this corrosive chemical is present in gastric juice (in dilute form) and is used in cosmetics as an oxidant and solvent. It’s also used in nail bleach. Inhaling its fumes can irritate mucous membranes.


This hormone, produced in the adrenal gland, is synthesized for medical use, particularly for application to inflamed skin. It can adversely affect the skin by damaging the collagen of the connective tissues.

hydrogenated oils

Although hydrogenating oils (adding hydrogen to them so that they’re solid at room temperatures) allows them to be stored for long periods without refrigeration, it also destroys essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins.

hydrogen peroxide

This explosive, corrosive compound, used in cosmetics as an oxidant, bleach and antiseptic, is a primary irritant and can cause blisters on the skin.

hydrolyzed animal protein

This ingredient is included in many shampoos for its ability to improve hair, repair split ends and impart luster to the hair. Careless manufacturing can contaminate the protein.


Having the ability to unite with or attract water. A hvdrophilic cosmetic ingredient (panthenol, for example) will attract moisture to the skin.


This phenolic compound, derived from benzene, is used in skin bleaches, and also as an antioxidant and antiseptic. It’s a potential skin allergen, and ingestion of even tiny amounts can result in nausea and vomiting. Ingestion of less than one ounce can be fatal.


The scientific treatment of disease through the use of water. Also see balneotherapy.


hydroxyamine HCL

This synthetic compound, which is used as an antioxidant, contains hydrochloric acid; it can be severely allergenic and a skin irritant.

hydroxyet hyl cellulose

This synthetic polymer is used as an emulsifier and plasticizer. Also see cellulose gum.

cellulose gum.


This nonessential amino acid is found in large quantities in collagen, and ifs believed to be helpful to the skin’s collagen when applied topically.


Capable of absorbing moisture from the atmosphere; readily absorbing and retaining moisture.


A state of excessive sweating.


Abnormal reactions to drugs or other external substances.


The portion of the epidermis upon which the fingernail or toenail rests.


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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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Peter Thomas Roth Acne Spot and Area Treatment (15 ml / 0.5 floz) Decleor Prolagene Lift, Lift & Firm Day Cream - Normal Skin (50 ml / 1.7 oz) Bremenn Clinical Strength Smooth Serum (50 ml / 1.7 floz)

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