Welcome to the DHC Glossary! Read on to learn more about some of the terms used
frequently in skincare and about some of the benefits of the ingredients we use
in our products and how they can help you achieve radiant skin. Just click on the
first letter of the ingredient or term you would like to know more about to get
D E F G H I
M N O P Q R
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This Glossary contains common ingredients and terms. If you cannot find the term
or ingredient you are looking for, e-mail us your question by clicking here or call 1.800.342.2273 to speak to
one of our skincare specialists. The benefits listed in our Glossary are intended
to be a general guide. Some ingredients have multiple functions and benefits, which
can vary based upon concentration and formulations.
Acerola (Malpighia glabra): This Caribbean
berry is one of the world's richest natural sources of vitamin C and helps brighten
uneven skin tone.
Acne: An inflammatory disorder of the skin resulting
from overactive sebaceous glands.
Activated charcoal: Possesses unique absorption properties
to function as a natural detoxifier.
Aesculus hippocastanum: See horse chestnut.
Age spots: Darkly pigmented areas on the skin that
occur with age and sun exposure.
Alanine: An amino acid that occurs in proteins and
is used as a skin conditioner.
Alcloxa: A derivative of allantoin, and an astringent
used as a pH adjuster.
Alcohol: Helps visibly tighten pores and control excess
Algin: Obtained from brown seaweed and used as a stabilizer.
Allantoin: Used as an anti-irritant and skin conditioner.
Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis): Extracted from
the leaves of the aloe plant. Used as a skin soother and moisture replenisher.
Alpha-arbutin: Technologically advanced brightener
used to reduce visible discoloration caused by sun and age and promote more radiant
Alphahydroxy acid (AHA): An exfoliator that helps
increase the natural cell turnover rate on the surface of the skin to reveal the
younger-looking skin underneath.
Amino acids: Building blocks of protein that enhance
moisture-retention and absorption. Examples include: arginine, serine, glutamic
acid, glycine, and lysine.
Antioxidant: A substance that helps protect the skin against
damage caused by free radicals (unstable oxygen molecules). Free radicals can lead
to premature signs of aging by causing cellular damage and disrupting the structure
of other molecules. Examples of antioxidants: coenzyme Q10 and vitamins A, C, and
Apricot (Prunus armeniaca): Finely milled
apricot seeds are used to exfoliate and soften skin.
Arctium lappa: See burdock.
Arctostaphylus uva ursi: See bearberry.
Arginine: An amino acid with water binding and skin
Arnica (Arnica montana): Derived from the
dried flowers of the arnica plant. Used as an astringent.
Ascorbyl tetraisopalmitate (vitamin C): A stabilized
form of Vitamin C. Used as an antioxidant, a collagen builder, and skin brightener.
Astringent: A solution that removes oil from the skin
and visibly tightens pores.
Avena sativa: See oat.
Avocado Oil: A skin softener and conditioner. Rich
in protein, vitamins, and amino acids.
Bamboo (Sasa Veitchii): Used for its moisture-binding
Bearberry (Arctostaphylus uva ursi): Leaves from this
plant are used for their toning and soothing properties.
Bentonite: A high-quality white volcanic clay. Used
for its absorption and purifying properties.
Biosaccharide Gum-1: A skin-conditioning agent and
humectant derived from sorbitol.
Biotin: A member of the B: complex family of vitamins.
Promotes metabolism and circulation.
Bitter Orange Peel Extract: Derived from the fruit.
Used for its stimulating, healing, and conditioning properties.
Blackheads: Pores clogged by natural oils and impurities
resulting in hardened sebum.
Boosters: Products that feature concentrated ingredients
and target specific skincare issues.
Botanical: An ingredient or product derived from plants.
Brighteners: Products that help combat visible dark
spots and discoloration. Botanicals, including licorice and mulberry are brighteners
as is lab-developed alpha-arbutin.
Broad-spectrum: A sunscreen that blocks out both aging
UVA rays and burning UVB rays that can lead to skin cancer.
Broken capillaries: Broken blood vessels, red or bluish
in color, appearing as small lines or blotches.
Burdock (Arctium lappa) root: A mineral-rich
plant ingredient used to soothe skin and help balance excess oil.
Caffeine: Helps to improve circulation and visibly
Calcium pantothenate: A member of the B-complex family
of vitamins, found in royal jelly. Used as an emollient.
Camellia oleifera: See green tea.
Candelilla wax: Obtained from the candelilla plant
and used to protect the skin against moisture loss.
Capsicum frutescens: Derived from the chili
plant, it invigorates the scalp and skin.
Caramel: Derived from sugar. Used as a soothing agent.
Cell Renewal :If the body is stressed, ill, or simply
getting older, the normal cell cycle can slow down, allowing duller, rougher skin
to accumulate on the surface.
Cellulite: Deposits of fat and other material trapped
in pockets beneath the skin.
Ceramides: Found naturally in the skin, ceramides
form a protective barrier to help reduce moisture loss. Botanical ceramides from
wheat and soy can help skin stay hydrated.
Chamomile (Chamomilla recutita): The extract
from the flowers of the plant has calming and soothing properties.
Chameleon leaf (Houttuynia cordata): Used
for its purifying and revitalizing properties.
Charcoal: Helps purify and clarify skin.
Chiretta extract: Derived from the green gentian plant.
Used for its toning properties.
Chitosan: A fiber derived from the shells of shellfish.
Hydrates the skin and helps to prevents moisture loss.
Chlorella: Derived from green algae. Used as a skin
conditioner and antioxidant. Chlorella firms and plumps skin and protects against
Chlorophyllin-copper complex: A stabilized form of
chlorophyll. Used for its cleansing properties.
Cinnamon: Derived from dried cinnamon bark. Used as
an astringent and stimulant.
Citric acid: An astringent with antioxidant properties.
Used to help skin maintain its natural pH level.
Citrus medica limonum: See lemon.
Citrus unshiu: See satsuma mandarin orange.
Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone): This antioxidant occurs
naturally in skin, but levels of it decrease past the age of 30. It helps your skin
defend itself against visible signs of aging, including fine lines, loss of elasticity,
Collagen: Helps reduce water loss in the skin by forming
a protective barrier, resulting in softer, smoother-looking skin.
Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara): An herb derived
from a wild ginger plant. Used as a skin soother.
Comfrey (Symphytum officinale): A plant source
of allantoin. Used as an anti-irritant and skin soother.
Cucumis sativus: See cucumber.
Cucumber (Cucumis sativus): Extracted from the pulp
of a cucumber. Used for its soothing and moisture binding properties.
Cuttlefish Extract: Extracted from cuttlefish. A protein
used for its moisturizing properties.
Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12): Used to revitalize and
Dermatitis: Inflammation of the skin.
Dermis: The layer of skin beneath the epidermis that
is made up of connective tissue.
Disodium Ascorbyl Sulfate: Derived from Vitamin C.
Used as an antioxidant and preservative.
Elastin: A protein found in the dermis that keeps
skin from sagging and wrinkling. Helps maintain skin’s elasticity and firmness.
Emollient: Any substance that conditions, moisturizes,
and helps to prevent water loss in the skin.
Emulsifier: Any substance used to assist in the production
of an emulsion.
Emulsion: A substance formed when two or more non-mixable
liquids become homogenized. Most oils form emulsions with water.
Epidermis: The outermost layer of skin.
Equisetum arvense: See horsetail.
Eucalyptus (Eucaluyptus globules): Derived
from the leaves of the tree. Eucalyptus can help improve circulation and is known
for its antibacterial, cooling, and skin-freshening properties.
Evening primrose (Oenothera biennis): Rich
in gamma-linoleic acid which facilitates skin’s barrier function, this oil
helps hydrate and soothe complexions.
Exfoliate: To shed or slough off the outermost surface
Flor de Aceite (The Flower of the Oil): Premier-quality
olive oil that isn't pressed but drips from the crushed fruit naturally. It takes
more than twice as many olives to produce Flor de Aceite than it does to produce
the first cold press.
Free radicals: Unstable,
scavenger cells that cause damage to healthy cells. They can come from the sun,
pollution, stress, cigarettes, alcohol, and other outside factors.
Fucoidan: A nutrient-rich extract of Japanese brown
seaweed that supports naturally-occurring levels of hyaluronic acid to increase
Ginkgo biloba: An herb used as an anti-inflammatory,
antioxidant, and anti-irritant.
Ginseng (Panax ginseng): The root extract
is used for its soothing and softening properties.
Gloss: A smooth surface finish that creates shine.
Glycine soja: See soy.
Glycerin: Derived from vegetable oils. An emollient
and humectant that helps prevent moisture loss.
Glycolic acid: An alphahydroxy acid (AHA) used to
help control the pH of a product and to gently exfoliate surface skin cells.
Glycyrrhiza glabra: See licorice.
Grape seed: An antioxidant that helps fight damaging free
radicals that can cause premature signs of aging.
Green tea (Camellia oleifera): Used for its
antioxidant and anti-irritant properties. A free radical scavenger.
Hinoki: A type of Japanese cedar that is prized for
its water resistant properties.
Honey: Helps skin attract and retain moisture.
Horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum):
Derived from the seeds of the plant. Used as an astringent and anti-inflammatory.
Horsetail (Equisetum arvense): Derived from
the plant. Used for its astringent, tightening, and firming properties.
Houttuynia cordata: See chameleon leaf.
Humectant: A substance that attracts and retains moisture
Hyaluronic acid: An acid that occurs naturally in
the skin and binds and retains essential moisture in the skin layers and reduces
the appearance of visible fine lines caused by dehydration.
Hydrate: To add moisture to skin.
Hydrogenated castor oil: Derived from the castor bean.
Used to condition and soothe the skin.
Hydrogenated coconut oil: The solidified oil expressed
from coconuts. Used as a foaming agent.
Iron Oxides: Natural oxides of iron (iron combined
with oxygen) varying in color from red to brown, black to orange or yellow, depending
on the degree of water added. Inorganic pigments approved for cosmetic use.
Isoflavones: Antioxidant-rich phytoestrogens (plant
hormones), usually derived from soybeans. Used to promote absorption and help fight
visible damage caused by free radicals.
Extracted from the desert shrub. Used as an
Kaolin: A fine white clay powder. Used to absorb excess
oil secreted by the skin.
Kelp: Derived from the Pacific marine plant. Rich
in minerals, it is used for its anti-inflammatory and revitalizing properties.
Keratin: A protein used to strengthen and condition
Kudzu (Pueraria lobata): An antioxidant-rich,
plant-derived humectant which contains isoflavones to help visibly firm skin.
Lactic Acid: An Alphahydroxy Acid (AHA) derived from
milk. Used to gently exfoliate by diminishing the cohesion of dead skin cells.
Lactoferrin: A protein derived from milk. Used for
its anti-inflammatory properties.
Lanolin: Sheep derived ingredient used to condition
the skin and boost moisture.
Lavandula augustifolia: See lavender.
Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia): Extracted
from the flowers. Used for its soothing and aromatic properties.
Lemon (Citrus medica limonum): Used to invigorate
and as an astringent.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra): Derived from
the root of the plant. Used as a brightener and skin soother.
Limnanthes alba: See meadowfoam.
Macadamia (Macadamia ternifolia): Used as
a skin conditioner.
Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate: See vitamin C.
Magnesium sulfate: Salts of magnesium used to soothe,
soften, and condition the skin.
Malpighia glabra: See acerola.
Magnolia (Magnolia obovata): Derived from
the bark. Used to soothe skin.
Mannitol: Derived from seaweed. Used as a humectant,
emulsifier, and antioxidant.
Matrixyl® 3000: A powerful wrinkle-fighter that
uses messenger molecules to help promote elasticity and tone.
Matte: A non-shiny finish. A product that absorbs
Meadowfoam (Limnanthes alba): The oil of this plant forms a barrier to
help prevent moisture loss. Highly emollient without being greasy.
Melanin: Skin tone is determined by the amount and
type of the pigment melanin in the skin.
Mentha piperita: See peppermint.
Menthol: A natural cooling agent and anti-inflammatory
that imparts a cool, fresh, and clean feeling.
Methylparaben: Used as a preservative to help prevent
bacterial growth in products.
Mica: A light-diffusing earth mineral. Used as a pigment
Mineral Oil: Derived from petroleum. Used as a slip
agent, binder, and skin protectant.
Moisturizer: A substance able to hydrate and protect
the skin and prevent dryness.
Morus alba extract: See mulberry.
Mulberry (Morus alba extract): Extracted
from the roots of the plant. Aids in reducing the appearance of discoloration.
Myristic Acid: An organic acid that occurs naturally
in butter acids, coconut oil, and in most vegetable fats. Used as a foaming agent.
Myristyl Lactate: Used as a skin conditioner.
Nanotechnology: Works on a molecular scale to improve
the delivery and performance of ingredients. One nanometre is one-millionth of a
Nasturtium officinale: See watercress.
Oat (Avena sativa): Extracted from the seeds.
Used as a skin soother.
Octyl methoxycinnamate (also known as Octinoxate):
Used as a sunscreen agent to absorb ultraviolet light.
Oenothera biennis: See evening primrose.
Olive (Olea Europaea) leaf: Rich in antioxidants
and naturally-occurring coenzyme Q10, this extract helps protect, firm, nourish,
and revitalize sun-damaged skin.
Olive (Olea Europaea) oil: This antioxidant-rich
oil helps fight damage caused by free radicals and helps protect, condition, and seal
moisture into the skin without clogging pores.
Oryza sativa: See rice germ.
Paeonia albiflora; Peonia suffruticosa:
Palmitic acid: Obtained from palm oil. Used as a cleansing
Palm kernel (Sodium palm kernelate): Derived from
the seeds of palm trees and used as a surfactant.
Panax ginseng: See ginseng.
Panthenol (vitamin B5):A humectant and emollient.
Papain: An enzyme from papaya fruit. Gently exfoliates
and sloughs off dead skin cells on surface of the complexion.
Peony (Paeonia albiflora; Peonia suffruticosa):
Derived from the root of the plant. Used as a skin brightener and conditioning agent.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita): Used for its
cooling, refreshing, and antiseptic properties.
Peptides: A compound consisting of two or more amino
acids—the building blocks of protein. They help support elasticity to encourage
Perilla (Perilla ocymoides): Derived from
the seeds of the plant. Used as an anti-inflammatory agent.
pH: The scale used to measure the acidity and alkalinity
of a solution.
Photoaging: Premature breakdown of the skin's cells
caused by damage from the sun's UVA and UVB rays.
Placental extract: Derived from animal placentas.
A rich source of nutrients, amino acids, and proteins, it conditions and softens
Polyglutamic acid: An amino acid polymer (gamma-polyglutamic
acid) used to promote smoothness and elasticity.
Pore: A small opening of the sweat glands of the skin.
Potassium DNA: The potassium salt of DNA. Used as
a protein to condition the skin.
Prunus armeniaca: See apricot.
Pueraria lobata: See kudzu.
Pyrodoxine HCI (Vitamin B6): Used for its antioxidant properties.
Pyros cydonia: See quince.
Quince (Pyros cydonia):
Derived from the
seed of the plant. Used as a thickener and emulsifier.
Resorcinol: Used as an antiseptic and disinfectant.
Retinyl palmitate(Vitamin A): Vitamin A derivative
and essential skin nutrient necessary for healthy skin maintenance and repair. Moisturizes
dry skin and reduces excess oil.
Rice germ (Oryza sativa): An excellent skin
conditioner and antioxidant.
Rose (Rosa): Helps hydrate, soften, and nurture
dry and irritated skin.
Rosemary: Extracted from the leaves of the plant.
Used for its antiseptic properties and refreshing fragrance.
Royal Jelly Extract: A highly nutritive substance
secreted by worker bees to feed the queen bee. Used for its moisturizing
and revitalizing properties.
Rutin: A bioflavonoid used for its antioxidant and
Sage (Salvia officinalis): Extracted from
the leaves of the plant. Used for its antibacterial and fragrant properties.
Salicylic acid: An excellent acne fighter, this beta-hydroxy
acid helps reduce sebaceous follicle blockage and has antimicrobial properties.
Salix alba: See willow.
Salvia officinalis: See sage.
Sapindaceae: See soapberry.
Sapindus Mukurossi: See soap nut tree.
Sasa Albo-Marginata extract: Derived from the leaves
of the bamboo plant. Used as a natural preservative.
Satsuma mandarin orange (Citrus unshiu):
A variety of the mandarin orange that helps visibly tighten pores, brighten, and
Sea salt: Used as a skin conditioner and softener.
Sericite: An earth mineral used as a pigment in cosmetics.
Also known as mica.
Serine: An amino acid used as a skin conditioner.
Silica: An earth mineral used to condition and smooth
skin. It fills in visible fine lines and wrinkles.
Soapberry (Sapindaceae): Extracted from the
fruit. Used as a foaming agent.
Soap nut tree (Sapindus Mukurossi): Contains
saponins, which deliver natural cleansing and foaming actions.
The sodium salt of hyaluronic acid, which is a sugar compound found in the skin. An excellent skin conditioner and humectant, it helps prevent skin dehydration.
Sodium lactate: The salt of lactic acid. Used as a
Sodium palm kernelate: See palm kernel.
Sodium PCA: A natural component of skin. It is one
of the best moisture binders available, as well as a humectant and emollient.
Sophora: Derived from the root of the tree. Used for
its revitalizing and stimulating properties.
Sorbitol: Helps skin feel smoother and less dry.
Soy (Glycine soja): Extracted from the bean.
Contains botanical ceramides to help protect and moisturize skin.
SPF (Sun Protection Factor): The SPF number references
a sunscreen’s ability to screen out the sun’s “burning”
UVB rays. The SPF rating is determined by contrasting the amount of time needed
to produce a sunburn on protected skin to the amount of time needed to cause a sunburn
on unprotected skin.
Squalane: Derived from olive pits. Used as an emollient
and antioxidant-rich skin protectant.
Sucrose (Sugar): Used as a skin conditioner and humectant.
Surfactant: Any substance that aids in emulsifying
oils and suspending dirt on the skin, allowing them to be easily rinsed away.
Sweet almond oil: Extracted from the seeds of almonds.
Used as an emollient.
Swertia Japonica: Extracted from the plant
of the same name. Used to invigorate skin.
Symphytum officinale: See comfrey.
Talc: An earth mineral used as a pigment and texturizer
Tannic acid: Occurs naturally in the bark and fruit
of many plants and trees. Used for its moisture retaining properties.
Thiamine HCI (Vitamin B1): Promotes healthy skin tissue.
Titanium Dioxide: An earth mineral used in sunscreens.
Capable of blocking both UVA and UVB rays. Also used as a pigment in cosmetics.
Tocopherol: See vitamin E.
Tocotrienols: A stable form of Vitamin E that, along with tocopherols, makes up the Vitamin E family. Used as an antioxidant and skin conditioner.
Toners: Solutions that complete the cleansing process.
They help skin maintain its natural pH, tighten pores, remove excess oil, and prepare
the skin for moisturizer.
Tourmaline: A precious gemstone that is used to energize
skin and help remove surface impurities.
Trehalose: Used to protect skin against moisture loss.
Triclosan: An antibacterial ingredient used in soaps.
Tribehenin: A fatty acid used as an emollient and
Triticum vulgare: See wheat.
Tussilago farfara: See coltsfoot.
Ubiquinone: See coenzyme Q10.
Urea: Used for water binding, and moisturizing properties.
UVA rays (ultra-violet A radiation): UVA is a long
wavelength ultraviolet ray from the sun. UVA rays are called "aging" rays
and penetrate more deeply into skin than UVB rays.
UVB rays (ultra-violet B radiation): An ultraviolet
ray that is shorter in length than a UVA ray. It is the primary cause of sunburn.
UVB rays are the "burning" rays in the UV spectrum.
Vitamin C (Magnesium ascorbyl phosphate): A free radical–fighting
antioxidant and collagen-builder used to help fight visible fine lines and even out skin
Vitamin E (Tocopherol): Used as an antioxidant and
Vitis vinifera: See grape seed.
Watercress (Nasturtium officinale): This
botanical extract is used for its nourishing properties.
Wheat (Triticum vulgare) germ: An antioxidant
with high vitamin E content.
Wheat protein: Used as an emollient and water-binder.
Willow (Salix alba): Used for its soothing
and tonic properties.
There are no glossary entries for this letter.
Yeast: Used as a water binding agent and antioxidant.
Yogurt filtrate: Derived from fermented milk. Used
as a revitalizer and anti-inflammatory agent.
An earth mineral that provides excellent
protection from the sun and other irritants. When used in sunscreens it reflects
both UVA and UVB rays.