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Skin Education and Glossary

"I’m a big believer in that if you focus on good skincare, you really won’t need a lot of make-up" – Demi Moore 

How does skincare work?

Everyday our skin is exposed to everything from pollution, sun and aging, to gravity and washing. This creates both a challenge and opportunity for us to take care of our skin. Left untreated the skin can lose hydration, promote free-radical destruction and inflammation leading to further aging, pigmentation issues and acne. When treated properly, we have an opportunity to help slow this process. By putting medical grade products onto the skin, it helps cells communicate in a cascading process to the body to slowdown acne, pigmentation and even aging. Specific types of moisturizers help hydrate the skin, which is over 60% water. Different types of serums and sunscreens also have different functions. Using the right formula during a period of 90+ days your body should begin to generate new skin in these concern areas. Of course, if you stop, so will the process so, it is important to have a daily routine that is tailored to your personal needs. Below you will find Question & Answer and skin related terms: 

Skin Types

Q: How do I figure out my skin type?
A: Lightly wash your face with soap and water. Blot your face with a soft towel and wait 20 minutes. Next, feel your cheeks and forehead. How does your skin feel?

Normal- generally no change after washing.
Oily- do you feel an oily residue and/or get regular blemishes and breakouts? Good chance you have oily skin.
Dry- is it dry or flaky? Do you feel like you need a moisturizer? If so, you probably have dry skin.
Sensitive- is it red and irritated? If so, there’s a good chance you have sensitive skin.
Combination (Combo)- Is your T-zone oily and your cheeks normal? You probably have combo skin.

Common Skin Related Terms


 occurs when sebaceous glands and hair follicles become clogged.

Alpha Hydroxyl-Acid (AHA) are exfoliating substances that help break up dead skin cells. Gylcolic Acid is commonly used in AHA's and is a great addition for wrinkles and overall anti-aging regimens.

Anagen Phase is the growing phase of hair follicles, generally lasting 3-5 years.

Anti-Aging refers to serums that are designed to start a communication cascade for your body to regenerate collagen in that area.

Anti-Oxidants in skincare are vitamins that counteract free radicals.

Arbutin is an extract from the bearberry plant and is used to inhibit the production of melanin.

L-Ascorbic Acid is the most absorbable form of vitamin C. It is used as an anti-oxidant in serums for everything from pigmented skin to anti-aging.

Beta-Hydroxyl-Acid (BHA) is a substance that is to used to exfoliate the skin. It has properties that are generally anti-bacteria and anti-inflammatory. It commonly contains Salysilic Acid, which is great for reducing blackheads and to treat acne.

Bisabolol is an essential oil found in German Chamomile. Some research suggests that it has anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and anti-irritant properties.

Botox (Allergan) is a neuromodulator designed to temporarily paralyze muscles for treatments in aesthetics for wrinkles.

Vitamin B refers to a group of water-soluble vitamins that are involved in cell metabolism.


Catagen phase is when hair follicles are preparing to shed and rest usually lasting a few weeks.

CE Ferulic is a serum that combines vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin E (tocopherol) and ferulic acid into a serum. It is a potent anti-oxidant and is used for anti-aging and pigmented skin

Chemical Sunscreen is a liquid designed to absorb sunrays

Cleansers are substances that have elements that attract lipids to them.

Collagen is a triple helix structure found in the dermis and acts like the framework of your skin. 

Comedogenic is something that blocks pores and causes acne.

Coolsculpting (Zeltiq) is a procedure designed to destroy fat cells using cryotherapy, which cools down the fat.

CO2 Lasers are absorbed in water and used to resurface the skin.

COQ10 is an anti-oxidant that helps protect the skin against UVA and UVB rays.

Cosmeceuticals are the FDA's classification for skincare products.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that is essential to the formation of collagen.


Dark Circles form when skin laxity occurs around the eyes.

Dermis is the thicker portion of your skin below the epidermis.

Discoloration generally refers to hyper-pigmentation or "sun spots."

Dysport (Galderma) is a neuromodulator designed to temporarily paralyze muscles for treatments in aesthetics for wrinkles.

Vitamin D is produced when sunlight hits your skin and is involved in the absorption of a variety of elements including calcium.


Elastin is a protein largely found in the dermis that creates the elasticity or "bounce back" of your skin.

Epidermis is the superficial layer of your skin.

Erbium Lasers are absorbed in water and used to resurface skin.

Exfoliator is a substance used to remove dead epidermal skin cells.

Eye Creams are serums used to treat skin laxity around the eyes.

Vitamin E is a powerful anti-oxidant that is critical to the stratum corneum in skin.


Fillers are substances used to create the appearance of fullness generally used in the face and are made from various substances.

Fitzpatrick Type refers to a scale for determining reaction to light and pigment in skin ranging from 1-6.

Free Radicals are molecules that have an unbalanced number of electrons.


Glycolic Acid is a form of Alpha-hydroxy-acid (AHA) binds with dead skin cells to exfoliate skin.

Green Tea Extract is a powerful anti-oxidant used to counteract free radicals.

Growth Factors are proteins that regulate and signal pathways to start a communication cascade between cells. They are very powerful agents to regenerate collagen.


Hair Removal Lasers use heat to destroy the stem cells that generate hair follicles. 

Halo (Sciton) is a multi-laser based treatment generally used for skin tightening.

Hyaluronic Acid is a molecule used to attract water, (known as a humectant).

Hydroquinone is a substance used to inhibit the production of melanin.

Hyper-pigmentation occurs when melanocytes (cells) generate too much melanin or pigment in your skin.


IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is a flash lamp that uses a broad spectrum of light to treat various skin conditions ranging from spots to veins and even hair removal.

Injectables are substances used to create the appearance of fullness generally used in and around the face.



Keloids are a form of thick, heavy scar tissue. 

Kojic Acid is an extract from fungi that inhibits melanin production and can be effective for discoloration.


Laser is an acronym meaning Light Amplified by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation and is widely used in aesthetic skin treatments.

LED lights or Light Emitting Diodes are low-level lights used in medicine for a variety of skin related conditions.

Licorice extract comes from a root and is used as a brightener for discoloration and sun spots on skin. 


Masks (facial) are a relatively new form of serum delivery. They commonly have peptides, hyaluronic acid and anti-oxidants and are worn from a few minutes to hours.

Melanin is the pigment found in skin that acts as the body's natural sun protection.

Melanocytes are cells in your skin responsible for the production of melanin.

Melasma is a skin condition where brown or grey patches of skin occur. It is generally caused by hormonal changes or exposure to the sun.

Moisturizers are emollients that are broken up into two categories; humectants which attract water to themselves and occlusive which keep water from escaping.


Nanometers are a measurement of photons used in light based aesthetic treatments.

Niacinamide is vitamin B3 and is used as an anti-inflammatory

Neuromodulators are substances that temporarily block nerve transmissions to muscles, commonly used in wrinkle treatments. Products such as Botox, Dysport and Xeomen are popular neuromodulators. 


Occlusive barriers are moisturizers that prevent water from escaping the skin. Common examples are beeswax, petrolatum and dimethicone.

Oleic Acid is a vegetable based plant (olive oil, avocado oil, almond oil, etc) that is a great moisturizer.


Peptides are amino acids that help communicate to skin cells to reproduce.

Physical Sunblock is made up of titanium and zinc oxide which force sun rays to bounce off your skin (vs absorb).

Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is a concentrated serum derived from our blood. It contains a high level of platelets, growth factors and is becoming very popular for tissue and hair regeneration.

Polyphenols are anti-oxidants found in green tea extract

Post-procedure refers to skincare treatments after having an aesthetic procedure. 



Radio Frequency is an electromagnetic field created by ionizing energies. It is not light based and is commonly used for skin tightening in aesthetics.

Regimen (Skin Care)

Resveratrol is a polyphenol based compound that acts like an anti-oxidant.

Retinol is a substance that is broken down from Vitamin A. It causes cellular turnover and is a great option for anti-aging, acne and pigmented skin.

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that shows signs of redness, visible blood vessels, pimples and flushing.


Safflower Extract is used as both an anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory and is rich in fatty acids.

Sagging Skin is generally caused by skin laxity.

Salicyclic Acid is a lipophilic (oil attracting) substance that helps exfoliate dead skin and sebum. It is an effective treatment for acne and anti-aging.

Sebum is the oil your body naturally produces to keep skin moisturized.

Scars are formed when the body responds to a cut or injury.

Serums are liquids made out of molecules generally designed to promote anti-aging, reduce pigmentation and acne.

Skin Anatomy consists of the thinner epidermis (multiple layers) and dermis which is the thickest part of your skin.

Stem Cells are cells that function as a "blank slate" and can be transformed into specialized cells.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) refers to the ratio or amount of ultra violet light (sun light) that is blocked.

Sunscreen refers to either a physical or chemical substance used to block out ultra violet light.


Telogen Phase is the resting period for hair follicles lasting 3-4 months.

Titanium is one of two components (zinc oxide being the other) of physical sunscreen forcing sun rays to bounce off vs absorb into the skin.

Toners balance the PH of skin after being washed.

T-zone includes your forehead down to your chin, which creates a "T."


Ultherapy (Merz) is a treatment using focused ultrasound to tighten skin.

UVA Rays are ultraviolet (UV) rays that range from 315-400 nanometers and account for 95% of the UV rays hitting the Earth from the sun. Since UVA rays are longer (than UVB rays) they cause more damage because they go deeper into your skin.

UVB Rays are ultraviolet rays that range from 280-310 nanometers and account for 5% of the UV rays hitting the Earth.


Veins are blood vessels that get damaged with time and are visible to the naked eye.


Willow Bark Extract is a source of Salysilic Acid.

Wrinkles are made up of skin laxity and muscle memory.


Xeomen (Merz) is a neuromodulator designed to temporarily paralyze muscles for treatments in aesthetics for wrinkles.



Zinc has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. In skincare it is frequently used for calming to skin.

Zinc Oxide is one of two ingredients (titanium) used in physical sunblock. When sun rays hit zinc oxide they bounce off vs absorb into the skin.