|Dr. Dennis Gross Key Terms and Ingredients Glossary|
mdskincare ingredient and key term glossary
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Alpha Hydroxy Acids - Natural ingredients that aid exfoliation by weakening
the links between cells in the outer layer of dead skin to allow the normal
shedding process to occur at a more optimum rate. By helping new cells surface,
they improve skin texture, unclog pores, facilitate absorption of moisturizers.
May also playa role in building skin-firming collagen and elastin, especially
when incorporated into a two-step chemical peel. AHA's include lactic (from
dairy products), glycolic (from sugar), malic (from apples), and citric (from
Antioxidants - Substances that prevent free radicals (triggered by the
body or by the sun and other environmental aggressors) from causing oxidative
damage. If free radicals are like little darts that poke holes in collagen and
elastin, leading to premature aging, antioxidants are the decoy targets that
prevent them from hitting their mark. The bad news: As we age, our bodies no
longer produce sufficient antioxidants to fight free radicals. The good news:
Just as there are different species of free radicals, modern science has identified
different kinds of antioxidants to combat them.
Allantoin - A natural substance known for its healing, soothing, and
anti-irritating properties. Softens skin and stimulates the formation of healthy
tissue. Helps eliminate chapping and cracking, leaves skin silky, smooth, and
healthy-looking. Found in wheat germ and rice polishings, among other sources.
Aloe Vera Extract - Moisturizes, soothes and calms the skin.
Avobenzone - A sunscreen chemical that offers broad range protection
against UVA rays.
Ayurvedic - Refers to a form of holistic alternative medicine developed
in India. The term "ayurveda" derives from two Sanskrit words: ayu,
meaning life, and veda, meaning science. Ayurvedic skincare focuses on plant
extracts and essential oils.
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Beta Hydroxy Acid - Also known as salicylic acid, aids exfoliation by
weakening the links between cells in the outer layer of dead skin to allow the
normal shedding process to occur at a more optimum rate. By helping new cells
surface, it improves skin texture, unclogs pores, enhances penetration (and
therefore effectiveness) of ingredients such as Vitamin C. May also play a role
in building skin-firming collagen and elastin, especially when incorporated
into a two-step chemical peel. Although synthetic, it is close in structure
to an acid that occurs naturally in skin, making it generally non-irritating.
Bioflavonoids - Plant pigments whose potent antioxidant powers keep
fruits and vegetables from turning brown. Continue to act as powerful antioxidants
in the body. Considered by some to be more effective free-radical scavengers
than Vitamins C and E. Also essential for the stability and absorption of antioxidant
Vitamin C, one of the key collagen-building catalysts. Found in apricots, cherries,
cantaloupe, papaya, grape seed extract, citrus fruits, black tea, onions, parsley,
legumes, red wine, red grapes, and all blue and purple berries.
Broad Spectrum Protection - Protects from both ultraviolet light type
A and B. Also commonly noted as UVA and UVB protection.
Caffeine - A natural ingredient found especially in coffee, tea, cacao,
and kola nuts that constricts blood vessels in the skin and reduces water leakage.
Alleviates puffiness and under-eye darkness.
Capric/Caprylic Triglycerides - Plant-derived emollients that help bind
water in the skin to prevent water loss.
Ceramide - A lipid found in the skin that is necessary for normal skin
Chamomile Oil/Extract - An extract from the flowers and finely dissected
leaves of Anthemis nobilis. Reduces inflammation and soothes sensitive skin.
(Hydra-Pure) Chelating Complex - . Helps prevent damage by pulling off
of the skin's surface heavy metals, minerals, and other impurities left on the
skin by water. Soothes skin, reducing redness and irritation. Enhances penetration
of other skincare ingredients.
Citric Acid - A naturally-occurring alpha hydroxy acid derived from
the fermented sugars of citrus fruits. Helps speed up cell turnover/cell renewal.
Coenzyme Q-l O -Also known as ubiquinone. A compound that is made in
our bodies and used by our cells to produce the energy they need to grow and
stay healthy. An antioxidant with actions very similar to those of Vitamin E,
it has been found to be an excellent defender against free radicals and, when
used regularly over time, may help ease lines and wrinkles by building collagen.
Collagen - A protein in skin that gives it structure and firmness, keeps
it taut and resilient. With age, collagen is not only produced more slowly and
degenerates more quickly, but also diminishes because of sun damage, pollution,
free radical damage, and genetics. Depletion of collagen is the main cause of
wrinkles. Fortunately, ingredients that build collagen by either promoting its
production or preventing its breakdown can be both consumed in foods and applied
topically via skincare products.
Comfrey Extract - Soothes and reduces redness and irritation.
Cucumber Extract - Active ingredient reduces water leakage from the
circulation into the skin. Has a naturally cooling, soothing effect on delicate
under-eye skin and reduces pouches by temporarily tightening skin.
Dimethicone - An oil-free, moisturizing ingredient that helps protect
and condition skin and self-adjusts to absorb only where needed.
Dromiceius Oil - A noncomedogenic natural extract containing extremely
high levels of essential fatty acids that protect skin's natural moisture barrier.
A naturally derived oil with healing properties that improves penetration of
other ingredients into the skin.
Elastin - One of the skin's two structural proteins. (The other is collagen.)
Gives skin its flexibility, enabling it to stretch, then snap back into place.
Emblica - An herb derived from the bark, leaves, flowers, and roots
of the Phyllanthus emblica tree. Used in ayurvedic medicine for many different
medical treatments, it has been shown to have dramatically more antioxidant
benefit than Vitamin C.
Emollient - An ingredient that softens the skin. Similar in structure
to natural lipids found in the skin, helps prevent dryness, soothes irritated
skin, makes rough skin smooth.
Enzymes - Complex proteins that are produced by living cells and perform
numerous important functions.
Essential Fatty Acids - Also referred to as "Vitamin F",
these two polyunsaturated fatty acids - linoleic acid and linolenic acid - are
crucial to our body's basic functioning. Since they cannot be made by the body,
they must be supplied by food or supplements, which is why they are called "essential"
nutrients. Not only do they regulate several of our bodily functions, including
the inflammatory response to injury, they also form part of the structure of
cell membranes and are essential for rebuilding cells and producing new ones.
Studies show that EFA's are essential to the normal health, function, and beauty
of the skin. They can be found in vegetable oils (grape seed, evening primrose,
sesame, and soybean) and in seeds, nuts, legumes, and whole grain products.
Essential Oils - Oils that give plants their characteristic fragrances.
Often soothing and calming.
Evening Primrose Oil - A botanical property described as an anti-inflammatory
and improves skin hydration.
Exfoliant - An ingredient or device, such as a washcloth or loofah,
that revs up cell turnover by sloughing off dead surface cells. Improves skin
texture, evens tone, and increases radiance. Exfoliating acids such as alpha
and beta hydroxy acids may also play a role in building skin-firming collagen
and elastin. In peels, it is not only the exfoliating action of acids that increases
collagen formation, but the pH fluctuation the skin experiences as it goes from
acidic to neutral.
Fibroblasts - Connective-tissue cells that secrete proteins, especially
collagen, from which the extracellular matrix of connective tissue forms.
Free Radicals - Harmful atoms that cause oxidative damage to cells,
proteins, and DNA, changing their chemical structure. New research shows that
there are at least two different kinds of free radicals - those triggered by
the body (metabolic) and those sparked by the sun and other environmental aggressors,
such as pollution and smoke. Both types function like little darts, destroying
skin-supporting collagen and elastin, but respond to different antioxidants.
This is why skincare products that incorporate as many different kinds of antioxidants
as possible are the most effective.
Fruit Extracts (Apple, Lemon, Orange) - Apple fruit extract - an alpha
hydroxy acid that moisturizes. Lemon fruit extract - an astringent that reduces
irritation and oiliness. Orange fruit extract - increases circulation and reduces
Genistein - A soy derivative that stimulates collagen production and
diminishes its breakdown. In addition to free radicals, skin contains naturally
occurring enzymes that erode collagen. It blocks and diminishes these collagen-destroying
enzymes significantly. Also thickens skin dramatically by working like estrogen,
but without the negative side effects of HRT (hormone replacement therapy).
Gentle for all skin types and non-irritating; works well with all other anti-aging
Glycerin - A highly effective humectant present in all natural lipids.
Attracts just the right amount of water to skin to maintain balance. Helps keep
skin's intercellular layer intact, forming a natural barrier that keeps moisture
in and skin smooth.
Glycolic Acid A naturally-occurring alpha hydroxy acid derived from
sugar. Helps speed up cell turnover/cell renewal.
Grape Seed Extract - A rich source of bioflavonoids, powerful and of
proanthocyanidin, a very potent antioxidant.
Green Tea Extract - A natural antioxidant rich in chemicals known as
polyphenols, which have potent antioxidant properties. Research shows that it
not only fights both environmental and metabolic free radicals, but also repairs
DNA. Damaged DNA promotes aging, reduces defenses against free radicals, diminishes
cells' regenerative ability, and can even result in skin cancer. May also reverse
Homosalate - A sunscreen ingredient that absorbs UVB rays.
Humectant - A substance used to attract moisture to the skin and keep
Hyaluronic Acid - Also known as sodium hyaluronate. A virtual moisture
magnet that first attracts, then locks water into skin. A complex molecule found
naturally in the fluid between skin cells, it can hold up to 100 times its own
weight in water. As we age, our skin's overall water content, which plumps skin
and makes lines less visible, and its hyaluronic acid stores both decline.
Jojoba Seed Extract - Moisturizes and softens the skin.
Kojic Acid - A mild lightening agent that diminishes hyperpigmentation
in the skin caused by sun damage, hormonal fluctuations, or genetics. Works
by inhibiting the enzyme responsible for the production of melanin, the pigmenting
agent in skin. Also reduces existing melanin, visibly diminishing age spots.
Lactic Acid - A naturally-occurring alpha hydroxy acid derived from
dairy products. Helps speed up cell turnover/cell renewal.
Lavender Oil - Normalizes all skin types, and stimulates cellular growth
Linoleic Acid - See essential fatty acids.
Lycopenes - A newly recognized group of antioxidants derived from red
fruits and vegetables, including watermelon, red grapes, red peppers, beets,
pink grapefruit, and especially tomatoes. Extremely effective at fending off
environmental free radicals, helping to prevent the breakdown of collagen. May
specifically diminish damage from free radicals sparked by the sun.
Malic Acid - A naturally-occurring alpha hydroxy acid derived from apples.
Helps speed up cell turnover/cell renewal.
Mannitol - A sugar based humectant.
Matricaria Oil and Extract - Natural derivatives of chamomile flowers,
used for centuries to soothe and calm the skin.
Medical-Grade Ingredients - Ingredients isolated or synthesized in their
purest form to meet the highest standard used in formulating skincare products.
MSM - A sulfur compound and naturally-occurring nutrient that seems
to be critical to the production of collagen. Since sulfur has been found to
be present in the amino acids that comprise collagen, it is believed that incorporating
sulfur into skincare products and into a healthy diet could have a huge impact
on skin health and preventing - even reversing - the signs of premature aging.
Foods high in sulfurs include beans, eggs, beef, pork, poultry, and most dried
Noncomedogenic - Not tending to clog pores or cause blackheads.
Octinoxate - A UVB sunscreen.
Octisalate - A UVB sunscreen.
Olive Oil - A super emollient and natural oil; helps active ingredients
Oxybenzone - A potent sunscreen that absorbs both UVA and UVB rays.
Panthenol - A Vitamin B complex factor used widely in skin and hair
products for its conditioning properties.
Parsol 1789 - A sunscreening ingredient that effectively absorbs skin-aging
UV A rays.
Pentapeptide-3 - A collagen-boosting ingredient derived from amino acids.
Peptide - Protein derivative used in skin conditioners.
Phlux - A term coined by Dr. Gross to refer to the fluctuation in pH
that the skin experiences as it goes from acidic to neutral during peels. Appears
to be an even bigger catalyst in cell turnover and collagen formation than conventional
exfoliation alone. It is why it is so important to use both step 1 and Step
2 of MD Skincare's Alpha Beta Daily Face and Body Peels.
Phospholipids - Natural substances found in all living cells that help
draw water from the air and seal moisture into the skin.
Pomegranate - An antioxidant that contains Iycopenes.
Retinol - A derivative of Vitamin A that inhibits skin's own collagen-destroying
enzymes, which accelerate with aging. Also promotes collagen. Incorporating
both Vitamin C and retinol into a daily skincare regimen will help combat erosion
of both collagen and elastin. Using a cream or gel with Vitamin C and retinol
at night will help to jump-start collagen production.
Rosacea - An inflammatory acne condition that is often genetic and/or
caused by environmental triggers.
Salicylic Acid - See beta hydroxy acid. Enhances penetration (and therefore
effectiveness) of ingredients such as Vitamin C.
Selenium - A mineral that works with Vitamin E as an antioxidant and
seems to keep our tissues, including skin, elastic, preventing them from hardening
due to oxidation (free radical damage). Consequently, scientists think it is
a key component in slowing down the aging process. Recent animal studies show
that when applied topically, selenium protects against both incidental and excessive
sun damage. Found in nonprocessed foods, including meats, shellfish, garlic,
vegetables, grains, and Brazil nuts.
Sodium Bicarbonate - A gentle, naturally occurring alkaline substance,
that is a superior neutralizer for acids.
Sodium Hyaluronate - See Hyaluronic acid. Adds moisture, plumping up
skin to make it look less transparent.
Sodium PCA - Derived from amino acids, a high-performance humectant
due to its moisture-binding ability, recommended for dry, delicate and sensitive
Sweet Almond Oil - A super emollient and natural oil.
Squalene - An emollient that prevents water evaporation from the skin
and it is a constituent of skin.
Titanium Dioxide - A physical sunscreen that protects against both UVA
and UVB rays.
Vitamin A - Also known as retinyl palmitate, retinol, retinoic acid.
A fat-soluble antioxidant essential to the maintenance and repair of epithelial
tissue. Stimulates new skin cells and inhibits the body's natural enzymes that
break down collagen. May prevent premature wrinkling.
Vitamin C - Ascorbic acid. An antioxidant vitamin necessary for tissue
growth and repair, as well as collagen formation. One of the best free radical
scavengers, it seems to combat free radicals triggered by both the body and
the environment. Works synergistically with vitamin E.
Vitamin E - Tocopherol. One of the most potent antioxidants, particularly
good at defending against and disabling free radicals made by the body. Essential
to tissue repair. Works synergistically with Vitamin C.
Vitamin K - Essential to blood clotting, and healing and preventing
broken blood vessels. Diminishes dark under-eye circles by healing broken capillaries,
preventing them from leaking blood into the under-eye region.
Water-Soluble Silicones - Oil-free noncomedogenic ingredients that replenish
moisture, prevent further moisture loss, and self-adjust to skin's needs, absorbing
only where needed.
White Tea Extracts - A potent antioxidant processed differently than
green tea, yet works synergistically with green tea.
White Clay - A natural mineral that absorbs excess skin oil.
Witch Hazel - An extract from the bark of the witch hazel tree with
proven astringent, toning, and anti-inflammatory effects. Also dissolves excess
sebum without stripping skin. Has all the benefits of alcohol without the potential
Zinc - A key mineral in helping to maintain the health of our skin,
hair, and bones. Studies show that it links the amino acids necessary for collagen
formation. Also helps prevent damage to collagen and elastin fibers. Found especially
in meat, shellfish, and poultry.