Skin Care Glossary

Skin Care Glossary

New to the skin care world and don’t know what all these weird science sounding words are? Don’t worry. We're here to help. Welcome to your Happy Glowssary, haha get it. Moving on, It’s a handy list of tricky terminology to make skin care a little simpler. Exactly as it should be.

Lets get to it !


A skin condition where the sebum which is your skin’s natural oil mixes with dead skin cells, debris and bacteria, that clogs your pores. This results in not so happy and inflamed bumps which have many different types: whiteheads, blackheads, closed comedones, cyst, pustules, and papule which is the most common type of pimple.


A potent, do it all ingredient found in your skin care products. Whether its to speed up skin cell turnover or tackle pigmentation. You do not want to play with actives, they come in and get the job done but if you abuse them you will pay for it. Some common active ingredients you may be familiar with are retinol, the AHA’s like the lactic acid in our exfoliating jelly mask, vitamin c, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and the BHA’s like glycolic and salicylic acts that are in our Glow toner. With all their active-ness, they are more likely to irritate your skin so it’s important to take it slow when you first introduce any of these type of ingredients to your skin.

AHA- Alpha Hydroxy Acid

A type of chemical exfoliant that helps loosen the glue (per say) that binds skin cells together. They are designed to buff away dead skin cells and let fresh, new, younger-looking ones shine through.


A naturally occurring ingredient that helps protect the skin against free radical damage. They work hard to keep your skin glowing, bright and healthy.

BHA- Beta Hydroxy Acid

A type of chemical exfoliant that smooths fine lines, even pigmentation, and penetrates deeply into pores. They are known for dissolving plugs of sebum and dead skin. BHAs are most commonly for treating acne and blackheads.


A pore that is clogged by a mixture of sebum/oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells. Typically located on your nose, back, and chest; blackheads sit close to the  surface and oxides. This turns their head black in color which is how they go the name.

Cell turnover

The continual process of shedding dead skin cells and then replacing them with fresh, younger cells.


You probably know this one as pimples. Small bumps found on your skin when a pore/hair follicle becomes blocked by dead skin cells, bacteria and sebum. There are two types: open comedones (blackheads) and closed comedones (whiteheads). Both are very annoying.

Double cleansing

True to it’s words, its exactly what it sounds like! You wash you face twice. First using oil-based  cleanser (like a cleansing oil or balm), then with something water-based (like a foam, milk, or gel cleanser). It’s very effective, and gets your face properly cleansed.


An ingredient that softens the skin and leaves everything lovely and smooth. They work by filling the gaps between skin cells with hydrating oils and lipids.


Enzymes are used in skin care products to help aid in exfoliation, brighten complexions snd boast skin texture.


A very essential part of your routine that most typically abuse. It breaks down the glue that holds dead skin cells together and forces old, dull skin cells to bugger off, which in turn allows fresh, new skin cells to come through all bright and glowing.

There are two types of exfoliation. Physical, which uses particles to physically scrub your face. This would not be idea if you have active breakouts or acne. And chemical, which uses naturally occurring acids (AHA or BHA) to clear the skin. Chemical exfoliants typically can be used on calm skin and active breakouts, and gives a more even and thorough result.


The process of clearing a clogged or inflamed pore. Best done by a professional skin specialist, esthetician or dermatologist to make sure your skin doesn’t invite bacteria in, or cause any extra damage like inflammation and scarring.

Free radicals

Highly unstable molecules created in the body by sunlight, cigarette smoke, and pollution that latch onto and damage cells in ways that can lead to roughness, sagging and wrinkling.


A moisturizing ingredient that draws water from the dermis (deeper layer of the skin) up to the epidermis (surface layer) where dehydration occurs. Think of them as your skins water source.


Replacing the water loss in the skin/body.


The swelling of the skin. Typically presented as redness, pimples, rashes and blisters.


The skin’s natural oils. These fats work to maintain the strength of your skin’s protective barrier.

Moisture barrier

The outer layer of the skin. A healthy, happy moisture barrier keeps pollution at bay and moisture locked in while protecting you from environmental damage.


Hydrating the skin.


Similar to emollients, occlusives will seal moisture into your skin where it belongs and stop water from evaporating. Occlusives are heavier, and better for drier skin, while emollients work best fir oily skin.


You may also know this as hyperpigmentation. It refers to dark patches or sun spots, where the melanin of your skin changes and begins to darken and show discoloration.


Tiny openings of hair follicles in the skin that release oils and sweat.


The oily, sweat-like substance released from sebaceous glands in the skin.

Sebaceous filaments

A blackhead look-alike. These are the buildup of sebum/oil in the skin. Drawn from the oil in your skin’s surface, sebaceous filaments are formed to protect and hydrate the skin. They’re common and can be taken care of by oil cleansing regularly.

Stratum Corneum

Better known as your skin’s moisture barrier! It’s the outer skin layer that acts as a security blanket to keep bad stuff out and make way for good stuff like your Precleanse oil ingredients and hydration. Damaging the skin barrier is also possible whenever you abuse your actives or over exfoliate and it takes 10x as much energy to bring back to a healthy state.


An inflamed clogged pore. Whiteheads are a kind of pimple formed when oil, bacteria and dead skin cells become trapped under the skin’s outermost surface

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