Cosmeceutical Glossary

1. Glycolic acid: Glycolic Acid is the smallest molecule in the family of the alpha-hydroxy Acids (AHA). It is commonly used at high concentrations by dermatologists to carry out chemical peelings. In cosmetic, it is a functional substance used for its ability of reducing the cohesion amongst corneocytes and of promoting exfoliation, thus enhancing skin renewal and the homogeneity of the complexion.

2. Hyaluronic acid: Hyaluronic Acid is a polimeric molecule formed by units of Glucuronic Acid and N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG). It is able to bind large amounts of water molecules (up to 100 times its own weight). Lying in the deepest cutaneous layers, it gives them turgescence and fullness. In cosmetics, it is used for its precious moistening, hydrating, and protective action, embedding itself on the skin surface and retaining the water.

3. Lactobionic acid: Lactobionic Acid is a poly-hydroxy acid composed of an interaction of an acid, Gluconic Acid, and a sugar, Galactose. At a cutaneous level, it has a strong hygroscopic power, ensuring a long-lasting moisturizing action, promoting exfoliation and cell renewal. It performs a powerful antioxidant action and a healing activity.

4. Mandelic acid: Mandelic Acid is an alphahydroxy acid derived from bitter almonds. In dermatology and aesthetic medicine, it is used at high concentrations for chemical peeling treatments thanks to its exfoliating, depigmenting and antibacterial action. In cosmetology, it is used in the formulation of high-tolerance exfoliating products, reducing the typical risks of cutaneous photosensitivity.

5. Pyruvic acid: Pyruvic Acid is an alfa-cheto Acid belonging to the family of fruit acids. Thanks to its low pH, it is used in dermatology for its exfoliating properties. Thanks to its small size, it can easily eliminate pigmented corneocytes and increases skin brightness delivering a lightening effect. Once arrived in the deeper layers, it manifests its biological action through stimulating the formation of collagen fibres.

6. Antioxidant: Antioxidants are molecules or enzymes that inhibit or prevent the damage of proteins and fats caused by free radicals. Depending on their origin, they can be exogenous and endogenous. Exogenous antioxidants are so called because they can be obtained by the organism from external sources, such as the diet. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin A belong to that group. Endogenous antioxidants, instead, are molecules and enzymes synthesized by the human body.

7. Skin barrier: The skin barrier is formed by corneocytes, the cells of the outermost layer of the epidermis, and cutaneous lipids. When integrated, the two components generate a structure capable of optimizing internal and external exchanges and acting as protection against environmental aggressions.

8. Booster: As ingredients (penetration enhancer), cosmetic boosters are used in formulations to enhance the penetration of the active ingredients. As finished products, they are applied before usual treatments to amplify their effectiveness.

9. Stem cells: Stem cells are undifferentiated cells able to differentiate into specialized cell types. Stem cells of plant origin have always been used in regenerative medicine and are used in cosmetic products for their contribution in the prevention of skin aging.

10. Preservatives: Preservatives are substances that inhibit the growth and multiplication of microorganisms. In cosmetics, they are introduced into the formulations at sufficient concentrations to preserve the product from the pollution induced by a particular high content of water. The associations of preserving molecules vary depending not only on the chemical characteristics of the formulation, but also on the type of packaging.

11. Cosmeceutical: A cosmeceutical is a product formulated with high concentration of actives capable of delivering specific and targeted effects – mainly antiaging – thanks to the particular pharmaceutical technology, and maintaining high level of safety for its use in cosmetic.

12. Liquid crystals: The “liquid crystals” are welldefined molecular structures, able to organize themselves into water-capitalizing lamellae. Their cosmetic application lead to the creation of vehicles capable of improving skin hydration and the penetration of actives.

13. Depigmenting agents: Depigmenting agents are functional substances used to treat skin hyperpigmentation disorders. They can act at multiple skin levels, by inhibiting the melanin synthesis or acting on the deposits of melanin already formed. These active ingredients are used for evening out the skin tone.

14. Filler effect: Fillers are substances that determine a filling effect. They are able to reduce the signs of chrono-aging and expression wrinkles in an effective and safe way. The most widely applied active ingredient for such purpose is Hyaluronic Acid.

15. Lifting: In cosmetics and dermatology, the term “lifting” refers to the set of procedures to sculpt and redefine face volumes. The lifting effect is obtained by:
- corrective active ingredients, which target deep cutaneous layers to stimulate Collagen and Elastin synthesis
- active surface ingredients, represented by powders and biopolymers with a visible and immediate tensing effect, able to make skin more compact, turgid and luminous.

16. Emollients: Emollients are substances that soften, nourish, and make more flexible the surface layers of the skin and skin appendages (hair, hairs, and beard).

17. Exfoliants: Exfoliants are chemical agents (e.g.: alpha or beta / hydroxy acids, phenols, acetic acid derivatives) or physical agents (e.g. “scrubbing agents” such as salt or particles of various kinds) that promote skin renewal, through more or less intense removal of dead cells from the epidermal surface. Exfoliants thus stimulate cell turnover, giving skin a uniform, luminous appearance.

18. Fibroblast: Fibroblasts are cells within the dermis (the layer of skin under the epidermis) responsible of synthesizing macromolecules such as Collagen, Elastin and other components helpful for skin hydration (Hyaluronic Acid, NMF molecules - Natural Mosturizing Factor).

19. Glycation: Glycation is a physiological mechanism, within certain quantitative limits, that leads to the stiffening of collagen fibers caused by a bond with sugar molecules. Its characterizing consequence is the formation of AGEs (age glycation end products) which accelerate the physiological processes of skin aging, such as the early breaking of the collagen fibers, the loss of skin tonicity, and discoloration.

20. Hydration: Hydration represents the water content at the skin level. Moisturizing cosmetic treatments support and improve the water balance of the skin by reintegrate water through the molecules able to retain it (direct hydration) or the reconstitution of the skin barrier with lipids such as ceramides, Cholesterol and saturated fatty acids (indirect hydration).

21. Isodeep PE: Isodeep PE is a high-performance molecule inserted in MyCli antiaging formulations, that enhances the penetration of the active ingredients to maximise the efficacy of the products Lipids The surface lipids have classical structures composed of ceramides, Cholesterol, and fatty acids and are interposed between cells, playing a key role in the skin’s barrier function. They are formed in two different processes: one part is constituted from the lipids deriving from the maturation of keratinocytes (epidermal lipids), the other part derives from the secretion of the sebaceous glands (sebaceous lipids). The lipids of cosmetic use can have mineral, vegetal or synthetic origin and are all united by the insolubility in water which gives them lubricating, emollient and surgrassing properties.

22. Lipogel: Lipogel is a cosmetic form characterized by a mixture of fluid and solid oils without water. This kind of formulation is used for its water repellent capacity and for their greater persistence on the skin surface, allowing the contained actives to perform their protective action for a long time.

23. Melanin: Melanin is the pigment responsible for darkening complexion. It is produced by melanocytes, cells belonging to the deep layers of the epidermis and essentially performs a protective function by ultraviolet rays.

24. Melasma: Melasma is a form of facial hyperpigmentation, characterized by the appearance of a series of reddish-brown spots, often joined together. Melasma stains have irregular contours and disomogeneous shapes; they are distributed on cheekbones, nose, forehead, chin, and upper lip. The precise causes of the disorder are unknown, but it is assumed that there is an excessive hormonalestrogenic stimulation at the base, that increases the activity of melanocytes and induces an overproduction of melanin. N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG) N-Acetyl Glucosamine (NAG) is a physiological molecule, already found in human body, easily accepted by the skin and tissues in general. It is one of the components of Hyaluronic Acid, with the function of supporting and regulating the amount of water present in the skin. In cosmetics it is used for its water retaining and moisturizing capacities, ensuring skin turgidity and elasticity.

25. Niacinamide: Niacinamide, also called as Vitamin B3 or PP, is a very wellknown molecule in cosmetics. Its concentrations in formulations define its own properties. It stimulates the synthesis of ceramides, accelerates skin turnover, increases skin hydration, and it is an important cofactor of antioxidant enzymes.

26. Peeling: Peeling is the procedure of removing superficial epidermal layers by the action of chemicals, especially alpha, beta and polyhydroxy acids. Applied to the skin, these molecules promote skin renewal and reduce the appearance of discoloration and / or scars with a rapid effect. In the long term, with constant applications, they stimulate the cells of the deep layers of the skin, inducing the production of Collagen and Elastin, the typical skin supporting proteins.

27. Peptide: Peptides are a class of molecules formed by two or more amino acids. In cosmetics, their key-and-lock mechanism makes each peptide to interact and bind to a target element, thus initiating a series of physiological reactions that support skin wellbeing.

28. pH: pH is the parameter that indicates the acidity or basicity levels of a substance or an organic structure. pHs around 7 are neutral, pHs of less than 7 indicate acidity, whereas a pH of more that 7 indicate a base. The skin has its own physiological pH, which varies depending on the skin area and sex: on average, females have a physiological pH around 5.5 while males around 5. The acid pH of the skin guarantees the chemical environment suitable for keeping its bactericidal barrier active.

29. Post-Acta: The post-acta product is a cosmetic or a medical device specifically indicated to soothe and normalize the skin after an intensive treatment (acta) of dermatological-aesthetic medicine (laser, peeling ...).

30. Protein: Proteins are biological macromolecules formed by amino acid chains. The main proteins of the dermal level are Collagen and Elastin. Collagen is a protein that acts as a support and gives considerable mechanical resistance to the skin. Elastin, on the other hand, gives the skin a certain degree of elasticity indispensable for the facial expressions, and for let the skin follow the changes of the body size that occur during the course of life.

31. Retinol: Retinol is a precursor of Retinoic Acid or Vitamin A. It is metabolized in the skin as Vitamin A, which is one of the key factors in the treatment and prevention of photoaging. Its action guarantees the stimulation of cell renewal and the synthesis of Collagen and Elastin.

32. ROS: Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) are molecules formed by an oxygen atom featuring highly reactive electrons, characteristic of all free radicals. Their accumulation at the cutaneous level cause the oxidation (and therefore the damage) of the cellular structures, accelerating the aging process.

33. TEWL: The term TEWL is the acronym of Trans Epidermal Water Loss and indicates the phenomenon of the loss of water through the epidermis, which is amplified by the depletion of the lipid skin barrier. The trans-epidermal water loss can be limited using cosmetic products formulated to restructure the skin barrier and retain the right amount of water in the skin.

34. Turnover: Cell turnover is the mechanism of the renewal of skin cells. In order to maintain the epidermic balance between regeneration and loss, the cells produced at the level of the deep layers must be in equal quantities to those eliminated at level of the surface layer. The time taken by a cell to rise from the depth to the surface is between 10-14 days, after which it needs another 10-14 days to cross the most superficial layer and to be eliminated. Thus, the turnover time under optimal physiological conditions is 20-28 days.

35. Urea: Urea is a naturally occurring substance found at the epidermal level of healthy skin, as a constituent of NMF (Natural Mosturizing Factor). In cosmetics, it is used for treatments dedicated to very dehydrated skin. Thanks to its keratolytic properties, it is used to stimulate skin regeneration.

36. Vehicle: In a cosmeceutical product, vehicles are associations of substances that allow the application of the product, that often guarantee the compliance of use, and that in some cases fix the speed or the area of the absorption of actives. Unlike active ingredients, they have no curative or preventive action, but contribute to the effectiveness of the product.

37. Vitamin C: Vitamin C, or Ascorbic Acid, is the most abundant antioxidant vitamin found in human skin. In cosmetology, it is used for its properties of neutralization of free radicals, stimulation of the synthesis of Collagen, and inhibition of the formation of melanin.

38. Watercapt: Watercapt is a pool of active molecules inserted in the MyCli antiaging formulations, effective in preserving the cutaneous water basin, stimulating the synthesis of Collagen, and counteracting trans-epidermal water loss, thus guaranteeing an intense, long-lasting hydration.