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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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V

vasoconstrictor

A substance that narrows blood vessels, thus raising blood pressure.

vasodilator

A substance that dilates (widens) blood vessels, thus lowering blood pressure.

vegan

A person who eats, or a diet that contains, no animal products of any kind that is, no milk, cheese, eggs, etc.

vegetable gums

See gums.

vernuifuge

A substance that destroys intestinal worum.

vermilion

This red pigment, whose color varies from crimson to nearly orange, is used primarily as an artist’s color and in rubber. Its name comes from x’ermiculus, Latin for small worm, because it was originally made from cochineal, a red dye obtained by crushing the bodies of dried, worm-like insects.

Vermilion was also derived from the mineral cinnabar, but it’s now synthesized from a reaction involving mercury, sulfur and sodium hydroxide. Because it contains mercury, synthesized vermillion is toxic, but it’s still used as a coloring agent in some cosmetics. Another name for synthesized vermillion is mercuric sulfide.

vesicant

A substance that produces blisters.

vetiver oil

This oil, which is used in perfumes, cosmetics and soaps, is obtained from khuskhus (Andropogon zizamo ides), an aromatic grass from India.

vinegar

This sour liquid is used in cosmetics as a solvent or pH adjuster. Vinegar contains around 4% or 5% acetic acid, and may irritate the skin if used in concentrations that are too strong.

vitamin A

This fat-soluble vitamin, whose deficiency causes night-blindness, may have more cosmetic uses than any other vitamin. As a preservative, the oil from carrots, which is high in vitamin A and provitamin A, has been used with great success, in combination with vitamin C, vitamin E and grapefruit seed extract.

Vitamin A helps remedy rough and dry skin (including mucous membranes) and has also been used in the treatment of psoriasis. A daily intake of 50,000 units of vitamin A and 50 mg of zinc has reportedly cleared some forms of acne, and a version of vitamin A—retinoic acid (RA), also called vitamin A acid (which is classified as a drug)—has been used as a topical acne treatment as well, though some people are allergic to it. It’s also been used to treat aging skin (RA causes the shedding of skin cells).

Vitamin A can be obtained from fish liver oil, liver, carrots, green and yellow vegetables, eggs, milk and dairy products, margarine and yellow fruits. As an antioxidant, it prevents vitamin C from being oxidized too quickly in the body. Some studies have found that amounts of vitamin A over 100,000 units daily over a period of months can be toxic, but normal dosages are harmless.

vitamin B complex

These water-soluble vitamins include Bi (thiamine). B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid and panthenol), BG (pvridoxine), B 12 (cyanocobalamin), biotin, folic acid, PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid), carnitine, choline and inositol. Individual B vitamins are used in various cosmetics.

vitamin

vitamin C

An antioxidant, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) can preserve cosmetics both in the water phase and—particularlv in its fat-soluble form, ascorbyl palmitate—in the oil phase as well. It plays an essential role in building collagen, the connective tissue that holds us together. Vitamin C occurs in fresh foods, especially citrus fruits, along with a complex of other factors (rutin, hesperidin and other bioflavonoids) that help promote its effectiveness and build capillary strength.

vitamin

vitamin D

This fat-soluble vitamin, chemically related to the steroids, is essential for healthy bones and teeth and for the absorption of calcium. The body can produce its own vitamin D if the skin is exposed to the sun (with certain natural oils present).

vitaminE

One of the most potent natural, fat-soluble antioxidants in use—particularly when combined with vitamm C and vitamin A—vitamin E is used in cosmetics as a preservative. Only 100 to 200 parts per million of vitamin E are needed to provide stability and to protect the oil phase of emollients, moisturizers, lotions and creams (and easily oxidized substances like vitamin A and saturated oils) from oxidation.

Vitamin E may be natural or synthetic depending on the isomer and manufacturer; if natural, it’s from vegetable sources. The D isomer generally only occurs naturally, although it can be isolated from a synthetic vitamin E; a DL prefix indicates the vitamin E is synthetic. Look for the NSVEA (Natural Source Vitamin E Association) label on vitamin E supplements.

vitamin F

See essential fatty acids.

vitiligo

This skin abnormality is characterized by areas with loss of pigment surrounded by deeply pigmented borders.

volatile

Something that evaporates readily at normal temperatures and pressures.

 


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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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