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Glossary of Skincare Ingredients

In this glossary, I compiled a list of various common components of natural skincare, while also including the nasties that we encounter in the not so natural products.   
It is good to have a knowledge of all of these when you are considering your purchases. 

I picked out the nasty ingredients and listed them first and then I listed the lovely ones that you may come across below those in an alphabetical format.
I will add more if I read or hear about any extras that you should know about.  Please feel free to let me know of any others you have heard about.


Mineral Oil (Paraffin oil)- a by product of petroleum is a clear, liquid oil with no scent and does not spoil. It is found in baby oil and vaseline also. What I heard is it creates a thin layer on the skin that clogs the pores and is difficult to absorb slowing down the elimination of toxins.

Parabens: Butylparaben, Ethylparaben,Heptylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Isopropylparaben.
Chemicals that are used as low cost preservatives and it has been linked with the ability to mimic estrogen which plays a role in breast cancer and very small amounts of parabens have been found in breast cancer tumor tissue, although there has been no formal establishment of a causal link between parabens and cancer.
These also have some related nasties that bare the same harmful properties so it is good to keep note of these ones too:  Butylated Hydroxyanisole - BHA, Butylated Hydroxytoluene - BHT, Diazolidinyl Urea,
Formaldehyde, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Methylchloroisothiazolinone - MCI, Methylisothiazolinone - MIT

PEG-20 - Contains the hazardous by-product, dioxane
(However PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate does not contain this and is accepted internationally as a safe, naturally derived ingredient.)
Although it seems to me from general reading that any products with PEG are to be avoided as I have come across several times the fact that  Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) is potentially carcinogenic petroleum that can alter and reduce the skin's natural moisture factor, increase the appearance of aging and leave you more vulnerable to bacteria.
Phenoxyethanol This colourless oily substance is found in such products as skin creams and suncream as a preservative as an alternative to parabens, also an anti-bacterial and stabiliser.  It has been considered harmful if swallowed, inhaled or absorbed through the skin and also an irritant, possible carcinogen and the cause of reproductive damage. 
The Food and Drug Association (FDA) has declared it to cause vomiting, dermatitis andcan cause shut down of the central nervous system (brain and spinal chord).
In saying this, it has been deemed perfectly safe for use in cosmetics in the U.S. and UK in concentrations of up to 1 percent. A lot of natural and prganic products still use this.

Phthalate-  Generally this has been widely used to soften plastics to help with flexibility, durability and transparency.  It is used in personal care prodcuts to create an oily substance.  Although the carcinogenic (cancer causing) classification has been withdrawn, there are other health concerns such as altering hormone levels that can interfere with things such as metabolism for controlling obesity, also concerns for behavioural disorder disruptions such as ADHD. Infertility and birth defects have also been mentioned.

Sodium Lauryl/ Laureth Sulfate (SLS):  These are effective foaming agents found in products such as soaps, shampoos, shower gels, toothpaste, etc.   It is generally considered safe as regards the amounts used in these personal products of ours, but irritation in skin or eyes can increase with use over timeIt has not been labelled as a carcinogen (cancer causing).

Titanium dioxide- Another ones of those ingredients that has been pinpointed as carcinogenic (causing cancer), but again many new natural products on the market continue to use it.



Almond Sweet Oil Rich in essential fatty acids and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and E, this oil isn’t greasy, so absorbs easily. It both moisturises and balances the skin and can also soothe any irritation and inflammations. 

Aloe Juice Derived from the plant aloe barbadensis, this is used as a basis for many health giving products and is commonly used internally to cleanse and detoxify the system.  It is very soothing for skin.

Aloe Vera Extract Aloe Vera Extract is recognised as one of nature's most potent healers, It also works to improve skin hydration and can significantly improve the skin’s healing process.

Aloe Vera Gel-  Cooling, soothing, regenerative, anti-bacterial, protective and moisturising abilities.

Apricot Kernel Oil A fantastic emollient; moisturising, high in essential fatty acids, and nourishing. This reduces roughness, and cracking, and on a daily basis is excellent for eye and neck areas.

 Aqua Natural spring water, pure and simple!

Argan Oil-  very high in the anti-oxidant vitamin E, which repairs and protects skin cells, stimulates cell growth, making it an exceptional healer for all skin types.

Arnica Extract The anti-inflammatory properties of this extract are renowned. It improves skin circulation and stimulates healing, and derives from the sunflower family.

Avocado Oil Moisturising, softening and protective. It is easily absorbed and is rich in vitamins A, B2, D & E, beta carotene, proteins and amino acids. This soothing oil supports the skin’s natural moisture balance and is nutritious to young skin.

Bamboo Extract  Incredibly powerful exfoliating properties. It is a 100% natural exfoliating agent.

Beeswax Used as a natural emulsifier, it has a wonderful natural honey smell. It helps to seal and protect the skin when used in moisturising products and lip balms.

Bergamot Oil Much like a cross between orange and grapefruit, skin benefits from its fruity, warm, spicy and sparklingly natural fragrance, which is free of any synthetics. It also has a cooling and refreshing nature.

Bilberry Extract A fruit acid that works to promote exfoliation and encourage cell turnover. When taken internally, it is also often used to benefit eyesight.

Black Tea Contains astringent and toning properties to soothe the skin.

Blackcurrant Extract A fruit acid that is rich in gama-linolenic acid, an important ingredient for maintaining skin elasticity and preventing moisture loss as well as promoting cell turnover.

Blueberry Extract A powerful antioxidant that works to combat free radical damage and fight the ageing process.

Borage Oil Excellent for dry skin, acne, and dermatitis, this oil is extremely soothing.

Burdock Extract Naturally antiseptic and antibacterial, this extract is used to calm skin.

Burdock Root Burdock root extract is known for its soothing properties and for its balancing effect on sensitive skin conditions, such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. Very useful for promoting skin repair, especially for young skin types, it is rich in vitamin B complex, vitamin E, and contains trace minerals of potassium, phosphorous, chromium, cobalt, iron, magnesium, silicon, zinc and sodium.

Calendula Extract With antimicrobial skin healing properties; it is also helps retain skins natural moisture.

Calendula Infused Oil Calendula infused oil has soothing properties and is known to rebalance sensitive and damaged skin. Calendula oil infusion promotes the skin’s natural healing abilities and is particularly beneficial for babies, children and teenage skin types as it is high in vitamin A. Soothes the irritation of dry skin, refreshes and relieves itching due to dry skin.

Carbomer Carbomer Synthetic thickener is used to give a product stability. We have tested many natural thickeners and emulsifiers but they either simply do not work and cause separation or the formula stays water thin. We have chosen the best option to give our products superior stability and consistency.

Castor Oil Provides a protective barrier to the skin, moisturising and soothes the irritation of dry skin.

Ceteareth 20 A vegetable derived variation on Cetearyl  (a fatty alcohol) but with added water-loving properties.

Cetearyl Alcohol A vegetable based emulsifier, its use is to combine oil and water in recipes for lotions and creams. It is derived from plants and is part of our formulation to give the product structure.

Cetyl Alcohol An all-natural plant-derived extract that is a thickener and emulsifier. It gives creams and lotions their smooth texture.

Chamomile Has a wonderful, soothing and calming effect on your skin. Also has antiseptic properties to cleanse all impurities on your skin, suitable for all skin types.

Chamomile Essential Oil Known to have hydrating, pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. This delicate soothing oil helps to restore the skin’s natural radiance. It is a very gentle essential oil that has a reputation for being therapeutic for children’s emotional conditions due to its calming effect.

Chlorophyll A green-coloured plant extract. It is an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agent.

Citric Acid An extract from citrus fruits that is used as a natural pH adjuster.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine A mild cleanser derived from coconut oil that effectively removes surface oil, dirt and bacteria, without stripping the skin or drying it out.

Coconut Oil It’s softening and moisturising properties are excellent for moisturising and cooling the skin.

Coconut Virgin Oil As well as a beautiful scent, coconut oil has great skin softening abilities. It has a composition that is very close to the skin’s own natural sebum. Coconut oil also protects skin from infection and contains high quantities of vitamin E, which is known as a powerful anti-oxidant and is essential to skin growth.

Cucumber Extract Cucumber soothes the irritation of dry skin, and relieves itching. It’s refreshing, softening, and protects skin from the drying effects of the sun.

Cucumber Oil Cucumber oil is cooling and easily absorbed. It is rich in oleic acid and linoleic acid and is effective in the treatment of dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, acne and sunburned skin. It has very high levels of vitamin E and has a high mineral content.

Cypress French Essential Oil Particularly good for oily skins, this has a refining effect on oily complexions. It is known for its tightening effect on enlarged pores.

Dandelion Root Extract A high source of vitamins and minerals, it works to unclog pores and fight bacteria.

Dimethicone A silicone derived from sand that is used as a conditioning agent.

Lanolin Provides a barrier action on the skin, lanolin is the oil that sheep use to keep their wool coats waterproofed and clean.

Echinacea Extract This oil has strong antibacterial properties that help to stimulate wound healing.

Emulsifying Wax Emulsifying wax is a vegetable-based emulsifier used for combining oil and water in recipes for lotions, creams, and other cosmetics.

Evening Primrose Oil High in essential fatty acids and a source of rare gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), also found in human breast milk, it works to draw much needed moisture to the skin’s surface and acts to protect skin from environmental stresses. Rejuvenating, it repairs damaged skin especially after sun exposure and softens lines and smoothes.

Geranium Essential Oil Geranium essential oil has an uplifting fragrance and is a gentle moisturiser. Known as a natural astringent with refreshing benefits, it is beneficial for oily and combination skin types. The cell regenerating benefits of geranium oil also make it useful for treating damaged skin.

Ginger Root Extract A natural antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties, will soothe & tone your skin.

Glycerin This is derived from vegetables and is used to draw moisture to the skin, making it feel softer.

Grapefruit Oil A gentle, natural skin emollient that leaves skin silky smooth.

Green Tea Extract A powerful anti-oxidant, this extract is used to guard against the signs of aging. It aids the regeneration of damaged skin and is beneficial to acne-prone through its natural skin cleaning properties, and also soothes sun-damaged skin types. Particularly helpful for skin problems such as psoriasis and eczema.

Hemp Seed Oil With a high concentration of essential fatty acids it works to re-moisturise and revive skin.

Hibiscus Flowers Used to ease eczema. Hibiscus is astringent and is known to be anti-inflammatory and is very good for sensitive skin types.

Honey Rich in minerals and vitamins, It is a natural humectant attracting moisture to the skin. Honey contains an anti-bacterial known to promote healing.

Jasmine Jasmine essential oil has powerful antioxidant properties and helps soothe and moisturise skin.

Jojoba Oil  A great source of Vitamin E, Jojoba oil is known for its moisturising and skin softening benefits. A natural moisturiser that soothes and re-hydrates the skin without clogging pores, it discourages blemishes and it helps to promote the growth of new skin cells, mimicing the skin's natural sebum.

Lactic Acid This is a naturally occurring acid found in milk and fruit, which produces pH levels the same as those of the hair and skin. A rich moisturiser.

Lavender Essential Oil- Heals, cleanses and tones and also helps with calming skin redness.

Lemon Peel Extract Great for skin brightening and scar treatments as it activates valuable chemicals in our skin.

Liquorice- soothing on the skin

Mandarin Essential Oil It is so gentle that it is known as the children’s oil, it is mildly sedative and calming. It has been known to be beneficial for acne, as well as congested and oily skin types.

Manuka Honey Natural honey with an anti-bacterial ingredient.

Marshmallow Extract Soothes the irritation of dry skin, protective, softening and emollient.

Neem Oil It shares many of the properties of Eucalyptus Oil – antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic – with the added advantage of a high fatty acid content making it especially nourishing and moisturising.

Neroli Essential Oil - Relaxes sensitive and inflamed skin cells and stimulates cellular activity and growth, balances moisture and promote glowing skin.

Oatmeal Colloidal- Very soothing and is great at relieving skin irritations.

Organic Olive Oil An antioxidant, moisturiser and skin smoother that is rich in vitamins and minerals. UK Midwives often advise mothers to use on their newborn’s skin.

Orange Essential Oil Known for its cleansing ability, it is an uplifting oil that helps combat depression.

Panthenol Panthenol Pro-vitamin B5 is a synthetic ingredient that helps promote new cell growth and acts as a moisturiser.

Papaya Extract Exfoliating properties and ability to remove dead skin cells and is also antibacterial.

Passion Flower Especially used in skin care products for its calming, relaxing and soothing effect on the skin. It is also a natural skin anti irritant and is suitable for all skin types.

Petitgrain Essential Oil Petitgrain essential oil has a tonic effect, helping to soothe and aid skin types prone to blemishes. Traditionally this oil has been used for the treatment of nervous exhaustion and stress related symptoms.

Polysorbate 20 Polysorbate 20 food grade emulsifier is derived from coconut and used to dispel oils into water.

Pomegranate Oil Pomegranate oil is known as a potent anti-oxidant that is extremely helpful for skin damaged by sun exposure.

Potassium Sorbate- Naturally derived preservative primarily used in food products. It is essential to inhibiting bacteria and moulds to ensure our product’s shelf life.

Pumpkin Seed Oil Pumpkin seed oil is known to have amazing benefits. It contains high levels of vitamin E, (a natural anti-oxidant), and it also contains high amounts of zinc, helping it to aid in healthy skin regeneration.

Rose Absolute Rose absolute with its sweet floral fragrance is an effective moisturiser, hydrating while being mildly antiseptic. Rose absolute is known for being balancing, uplifting and very gentle for sensitive skin.

Rose Hip Oil - Contains high percentage of gamma-linoleic acid, a natural fatty acid that maintains healthy skin and helps to repair damage to skin. It is high in vitamin C and anti-oxidants. Particularly good in treatment of scar tissue and for softening mature, dry and aging skin.

Rosemary Oil An essential oil beneficial for its antioxidant, toning and purifying qualities.

Shea Butter Shea butter obtained from the nuts of Mangifolia trees in Central Africa is nourishing, moisturising and improves the skin’s elasticity. Rich in Vitamins A,E & F, shea butter is said to increase local capillary circulation that in turn increases tissue re-oxygenation. Its fatty acids give shea butter it’s unique soothing and healing properties.

Spirulina extract Micro-algae with anti-oxidant properties due to carotenoids (beta carotene). It house nourishing and moisturising vitamin D.

Stearic Acid Stearic acid is a wax-like natural vegetable sourced fatty acid used to thicken and stabilise creams and lotions.

Sunflower Oil High in essential fatty acids that are easily absorbed to nourish the skin and help break up excess sebum that can clog pores.

Sweet Almond Oil An incredible emollient that is high in oleic, linoleic and other fatty acids. It’s very soothing and moisturising.

Tea Tree Oil This is an essential oil with powerful antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It works as a non-drying broad spectrum anti-microbial and is effective for problem skin conditions like acne prone skin, redness of the skin, and an uneven skin tone.

Tocopherol ( Vitamin E) Naturally promotes cell rejuvenation,softens, heals, soothes, and protects with antioxidants, resulting in healthy glowing skin.

White Tea Extract Beautiful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Reduces free radical damage, and introduces healing to the skin.

Witch Hazel Distilled from the leaves of the plant, it is a natural astringent and toner with antibacterial properties. It is cooling and soothing to the skin. There is probably no better tonic or toner for the skin. It is particularly good for oily and problem skin.

Xanthan Gum Xanthan gum is a natural thickener that is soothing and is derived from plants.

Zinc Oxide Zinc oxide is a natural mineral and is soothing for sensitive skin conditions.

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