Skincare has got SUPER science-y. It’s like being an actor in a hospital drama (I love you Meredith Grey!) and learning all that super-fancy-sounding medical lingo, ‘we have a patient coming in with Epistaxis, Xerostomia and Xerosis – quick get to the emergency room’, translated ‘we have a patient with a nosebleed, dry mouth AND dry skin’, lets re-evaluate the emergency room ‘eh!
This is skincare lingo case ‘n point.
Dermatology words, they sound all fancy, but they are simples, I promise! Get understanding your skincare better my pal, with these 10 de-mystified dermatology words.
1. DERMATOLOGY WORDS: FREE RADICAL
Yo! That’s radical dude! Well kinda… Free radical is one skincare lingo, dermatology word that is what you want to AVOID. Even if you LOVE kids, they can wear you out crazy quick! I mean they have SO much energy, where do they get it all from? Could it be all those ‘day-naps’ they sneak in while you’re not looking? Kids are like super-charged version of adults, they have SO much energy, they have to do something with it all! Welcome to the ‘free radical’.
A free radical is an ‘atom’ which has been ‘super-charged’ and has a TON of energy it needs to use ‘right this very second’. You can just think of it as a hyper-active little person with no pause button. In the same way kids can drain your energy supplies on super-speed, free-radicals drain your bodies defence systems, that includes anti-aging defence. Free radicals age things, faster!
Things like sun and smoking create more of these free radicals and then if you are super stressed, sleep deprived and not eating a healthy diet, your body is in optimal state to be attacked. Ever noticed how smokers get those tell-tale wrinkles around their lips in middle age? That is because of cigarettes make these free radical dudes… right next to your lips! Eek!
So if those things like free radicals cause aging, its anti-oxidants that are the super hero to that free-radical bad-guy. Antioxidants are the free-radical baby-sitter that gives your skin a time out. Free radicals cause aging and anti-oxidants STOP free radicals from causing aging.
They get involved in the ‘dirty work’ so you don’t have to. Simples.
Vitamin E is THE most well studied anti-oxidant, but there are lots of others to choose from – vitamin C, vitamin A, oryzanol (from rice bran oil – looking even MORE potent than vitamin E!)
3. SKIN IDENTICAL INGREDIENTS
This is like painting a red wall, red. Who would ever know, other than it has that super-fresh, ‘not a mark on the wall’ painted look. Skin identical ingredients are a dermatological haven.
There are so many benefits of skin identical ingredients, the best is, your skin already has them, so A) it needs them, B) your skin factory is already setup to use them and C) they are LEAST likely to cause any kinda skin irritation or reaction. Perfect skin lovers…
Check out, ‘What are skin identical ingredients’ for tips on choosing skincare that is perfectly matched to your natural skin makeup!
4. TRANS EPIDERMAL WATER LOSS
That’s TEWL for short! It is the no.1 aim of any skincare targeted at ‘DRY skin types’ to put a stop to TEWL. Trans epidermal water loss, those 4 words basically mean the amount of water your skin is losing. This is exactly what skincare scientists measure when they want to test if something keeps your skin super hydrated or mega-bonus, decreases TEWL.
Collagen is definitely a BUZZ skincare and dermatology word right now. There is even a skincare drink named after this skincare hero, ‘Gold Collagen’. But what is it? What exactly does collagen do?
Collagen is the high-tech scaffolding to your skin. Your skin is a building site… a pretty one! Skin is constantly being made AND lost, we know that from all the dust around ‘eww that is a tad gross ‘eh!’. Collagen is the floor plan, the ruler, the scaffolding that helps your skin to grow and renew in a healthy way. Collagen tells the skin builders where to go and guides them there safely!
Collagen is so good at making sure ‘great’ skin is made, that scientists have made wound healing dressings that contain collagen. These naturally healing wound dressings speed up wound healing and make sure to get skin back to healthy ASAP.
6. COSMECEUTICAL SKINCARE
A what? A cosmetic? No? A Cosmeceutical? What the heck is that ‘eh? A Cosmeceutical is just the happy ‘marrying’ of cosmetic and pharmaceutical. Cosmeceutical is all about treatment skincare that has a higher dose, highly active skincare nutrient in there.
Cosmeceutical skincare is a bit of a newbie areas, its actually kinda grey. That’s why before you use Cosmeceutical skincare, you’ll want to get a read of these, ‘4 Things You Need To Know About ‘Cosmeceutical Skincare’, this is one type of skincare NOT to use every day!
Enzyme… are you transported back to biology class at secondary school? If they’d have told us they would do wonders for our skin and even be anti-agers, we might of listened up more ‘eh! Make it relatable and we’d never have forgotten…
You’ll find these guys in your food, in your washing powder AND in your skincare! An enzyme is one half of a lock and key… an enzyme will ONLY latch onto its target, it’s not interested in anything else. An enzyme will only ‘do its thang’ when it find the right key! That makes enzymes great in skincare, because they are ONLY going to target what they are there to do.
Your skin naturally has enzymes in it already. These make your skincare ingredients work! Heard of the clinically proven anti-aging benefits of vitamin A? Also called Retinol? Well Retinol itself, does nothing. It’s not until a special enzyme in your skin, ‘does a bit of cooking with vitamin A’, that retinoic acid is made and that is the ingredients we have to thank for vitamin A’s anti-aging effects – whoop whoop!
You can find enzymes in your skincare, 2 of the newer ones get the ‘will never trigger memories of any childhood friends’ names of Papain and Bromelain. Papain is an enzyme found in Papaya and Bromelain is one found in Pineapple. These guys are enzymatic exfoliates. They help your skin cells to ‘turnover’, basically making sure they don’t stay on your face too long and give you dry, dull looking skin.
Imagine your ‘favouritist’ t-shirt or jeans when you first brought them, they looked all shiny, all awesome and fit like a glove! Then over time and considerable bonding, they start to get a bit ‘baggier’, every time you wash them, they lose a bit of that ‘stretch’ that took them back to ‘perfect fit’.
Elastin is what keeps your skin in that new fabulous ‘fits like a glove’ phase. Elastin (is a protein) which helps skin to stretch and after it has stretched, it comes back to where it was before! Imagine skin without elastin, every time you rubbed your eyes, they’d just stick in that post-rub place. This would be the literal happening of, ‘don’t pull that face, if the wind changes it’ll stay like that!’.
Want to take care of your skin’s elastin? Protect it from sun damage and make sure to use skincare with antioxidants in there!
Ceramide is a winning skin identical ingredient. Ceramide is 1 of the 3 ingredients found in your top layer skin cells. These are the ones that protect your skin from wind, rain, bacteria and JUST pretty much everything! Ceramide is found in the skin layers that are super essential to keeping your skin hydrated – I call it the skin raincoat!
Ceramides are kinda like skin cement. They keep everything together and stop the important stuff in your skin from getting out OR getting attacked.
This is one dermatology word to watch for if you have a sensitive skin type. Hypoallergenic is a word that says to us, I am full of kind, gentle, skin soothing ingredients that work with AND protect your skin.
Although this word is not regulated (crazy ‘eh, get a read of ‘What Hypoallergenic Actually Means’ to get clued up on the in’s and out’s) it is a signal to us that this skincare is allergen free, irritant free and sensitiser free. It is a crazy surprising fact that those 3 kinda ingredients are VERY common in skincare products.
Which skincare, dermatology words BAFFEL you?
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who is more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She is founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.