Acne Canada - Your Acne Treatment Guide

The first step to finding an acne treatment solution that works for you is becoming an expert on acne. Learn the terms you need below and then use your knowledge to find the right acne skin care products for you.

Acne Glossary

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Acne- A chronic disorder of the hair follicles and sebaceous (oil) glands. It is characterized by blackheads, pimple outbreaks, cysts, and sometimes scarring.

Acne rosacea- Adult acne-like appearance characterized by redness, sensitivity, irritation and flushing centralized on the middle of the face, particularly on the nose and across the cheeks.

Actinic keratosis- Small, rough reddish patches on the skin. Often sharp to the touch. Most common in fair-skinned people, these may become skin cancer if not removed.

Advanced Performance ComplexTM- Patented formula that is included in all Murad products includes anti-inflammatories, anti-oxidants, and hydrating ingredients.

Algae- Used for its antioxidant and moisturizing properties.

Allantoin– Which comes form the comfrey root, is used for its healing, moisturizing, soothing and anti-irritating properties.

Aloe Vera- A superb hydrator and soothing agent, very beneficial to damaged, dry, chapped or sun-exposed skin.

Alpha Hydroxy Acid- A group of plant-derived acids used to smooth fine lines and surface wrinkles, to improve skin texture and tone, unblock and cleanse pores, improve oily skin or acne, and improve skin condition in general by exfoliation, or shedding of the surface skin. The most frequently used are glycolic acid and lactic acid.

Amino Acids- Building blocks for collagen and elastin, such as lecithin.

Antioxidant- A substance that helps create a barrier from free radial damage, the result of the decaying process of oxidation. Oxidation is what causes most of the visible signs of aging in the skin. Valuable skincare antioxidants include Pomegranate, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Goji Berry, Ellagic acid and Green tea.

Ascorbic Acid (vitamin C)- Is an antioxidant, helping to protect the body from oxidation, and free radical induced problems. Vitamin C performs numerous functions in the body including collagen formation, preventing breakage of capillary walls and neutralizing free radicals.

Avobenzone-Sun screen agent

Avocado Oil- Used for its moisturizing properties.

Azelaic Acid- Used for its antibacterial, and anti- inflammation properties.

Azulene- An anti-inflammatory and soothing agent, derived from German chamomile

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Benzoly Peroxide- An antibacterial agent used in acne treatments. Effective in treating acne but can dry the skin, causing more breakouts.

BHA- Also known as Beta Hydroxy Acid, used for its exfoliating purposes. It is lipophilic, or known for its abilities to dissolve oil. The most common BHA is salicylic acid.

Blackheads- Also known as open comedones, look like small dark or grayish dots. Blackheads are caused by excess oil that is oxidized which causes them to turn black in color

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Caffeine- Used in topical creams to reduce puffiness.

Chamomile- Used for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also known for its bactericidal, anti-itching, soothing, antiseptic and purifying capabilities.

Chitosan- Aids in moisture retention.

City skin- Exposure to greater environmental toxins from pollution, smog and heightened stress level that arises from coping with the logistics of daily life.

Co-3™- Patented by Murad, helps rebuilds and strengthen skin by binding collagen and elastic fibers. Repairs skin for the prevention and treatment of fine lines and wrinkles. Inhibits formation of collagen destroying enzymes.

Coenzyme Q 10- An enzyme, which functions as an antioxidant to boost the skin's defense mechanisms, immunity and protection against free radicals.

Collagen-The elastic fibers that provide skin with its structural support.

CTI- In the United States, cosmetics are regulated under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which is enforced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has abundant legal authority to regulate the safety of cosmetic products.

Cuperose- A non-technical term that estheticians use for redness, acne rosacea and/or telangiectasia (spider veins).

Cyst- Small, yellowish-tan to skin colored, firm round masses just beneath the skin. These can enlarge slowly and when infected can result in scarring. Can be exacerbated by acne.

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Dehydrated skin- Skin that lacks moisture.

Dry skin- Skin that lacks oil

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Eczema- Cause unknown. In mild forms the skin is dry, hot and itchy, in more severe forms the skin can become broken, raw and bleeding.

Elastin- Responsible for skin's ability to retain in its shape.

Ellagic acid- A super-antioxidant known for its healing benefits, found in Green Tea, Pomegranate, and Goji Berry.

Environmental or Extrinsic Aging- Aging symptoms accelerated by elements of the environment-such as stress, pollution and sun damage.

Enzyme- Whether in the form papain (papaya) or bromelain (pineapple), enzymes have long been used in their pure form as exfoliants. They work by dissolving the dead skin cells on the top layer of skin.

Essential Fatty Acids- The basic building block of cellular membrane, used to prevent cellular water loss, such as Omega 3, Omega 6, Flaxseed, and Goji Berry.

Essential oils- Far from true oils because they are lighter than water and have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Estrogen- The key hormone in the female reproduction system. In the skin, estrogen keeps skin soft, firm, and supple by encouraging the production of collagen.

Evening Primrose oil- Helpful for skin irritations and improves the skin's ability to develop normal barrier functions.

Exfoliation- The chemical or mechanical removal of dead or non-functioning skin cells.

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Flavonoids- Support health by strengthening capillaries and other connective tissue, and some function as anti-inflammatory, anti-histaminic, and anti-viral agents.

Folliculitis- Painful, cystic bump, when hair is trapped in the follicle.

Free Radicals- Unstable molecules found naturally in the body and in the environment. To reduce their energy load, free radicals react with certain chemicals in the body, and in the process, interfere with the cells' ability to function normally. Free radicals are a main cause of extrinsic aging

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Ginkgo Biloba- Enhances blood circulation and oxygen supply to the brain, heart and other body parts. It has been shown to have certain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Glucosamine- Strengthens connective tissue so it can absorb more water.

Glycerin- Used for its water-binding abilities, allowing it to draw and absorb water from the air.

Glycolic Acid- An alpha hydroxy acid used for its exfoliation properties.

Glycosaninoglycans- Skin conditioning agent that also helps strengthen the skins barrier.

Goji Berry- One of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet, used for its amino acids, essential fatty acids, trace minerals, vitamin C, beta-carotene, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Grape Seed Extract- Derived from the small seeds of red grapes. Grape seed extract is rich in flavonoids, phytochemicals that have antioxidant properties.

Green Tea- Used for its potent anti-oxidant properties, including ellagic acid

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Hormonal Aging- Part of intrinsic aging specifically associated with the natural change in hormone levels. Includes peri-menopausal and menopausal concerns.

Hyaluronic acid- An acid that helps retain the skin's natural moisture. It can hold 1000 times its weight in water.

Hydrators- Ingredients that add moisture to the skin to help strengthen the barrier.

Hydrogen Peroxide- Used for its antibacterial properties. Also effective in killing p-acnus.

Hydroquinone- Pigment lightening agent used to lighten age spots and acne scars.

Hydroxy acids- A group including alpha hydroxy acid and beta hydroxy acid known for its exfoliating properties.

Hyperpigmentation- Excess production of melanin pigment, resulting in darkening of the skin.
Hypopigmentation- Lack production of melanin, causing ‘white spots' on skin

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Inclusive Health- Caring for yourself, emotionally, socially and spiritually.

Ingrown hair- See folliculitis.

Intrinsic Aging- The normal process of aging without the influence of external factors. Largely controlled by genetic

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Lactic Acid- An alpha hydroxy acid used for its exfoliation properties.

Lavender Oil- Essential oil used for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, soothing and healing qualities.

Lecithin- The chemical cousin of vitamin B, lecithin is an essential building block of the lipid layer surrounding the cells and forms the foundation of the cell membrane. Lecithin is so vital to the integrity of the cell wall that the body is equipped to manufacture is own supply.

Lesion- A mark, symptom or abnormality on the skin.

Licorice- Used for its anti-irritant and for its brightening properties.

Linoleic Acid- Also known as vitamin K, an essential fatty acid. Used for redness reduction properties

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Melanin- A substance responsible for giving skin color.

Menopausal skin- Caused by a shift in hormones, sometimes resulting in facial hair, breakouts, dilated blood vessels, and increasingly sensitive skin.

Menthol- Used for its stimulating and cooling properties.

Milia- Little white cysts or bumps under the skin. Unlike whiteheads, these have no pore opening and cannot be squeezed out.

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Night Cream- A moisturizer in which there is a greater concentration of hydrating ingredients than typically used in day creams. There are two reasons why a night cream is important 1) TEWL (trans epidermal water loss) is greatest at night. A night cream can prevent that kind of dehydration. 2) the body's cell are replenished with nutrients and are being regenerated at night, so this is the time to optimize the delivery of the raw materials the skin needs.

Non-comedogenic- Also called non-occlusive. Refers to products that do not cause skin breakouts because they do not plug the pores of the skin.

Normal/ combination skin- Partially oily and partially dehydrated skin. Most often t-zone is oily and the outside of the checks and jaw are dehydrated.

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Oily skin- Is defined as an excess of sebum or oil production skin.

Oxidation- A change in a chemical characterized by the loss of electrons.

Oxybenzone- Sunscreen ingredient

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P-acnes- Also known as propinibacterium acnes, the bacteria that causes acne.

Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3-Skin conditioning agent-protein derivative; helps towards reconstruction of the matrix structure of the dermis to reduce deep and medium wrinkles.

Panthenol- Anti-inflammatory agent known for its healing and moisturizing benefits.

Papule- A raised lesion characterized by red bumps.

Peppermint Oil- Used for its antibacterial properties.

Peri-menopause- The period of time anywhere from 2-10 years before menopause. Starts as early as late twenties in women.

Petrolatum- Used in creams, it softens and soothes skin. Forms a film to prevent moisture loss.

PH- Percentage of hydrogen. Used to measure acidity in cosmetic preparations

Pharmaceutical Grade Ingredients- (or prescription grade) Means ingredients found normally in the highest quality products.

Phosphatidylcholine- Ingredient that helps maintain cell walls.

Phospholipids- Used for its essential fatty acid properties.

Photoaging- Damage to the skin caused by the sun or ultraviolet rays.

Phytochemicals- Compounds that act as free radical scavengers to help eliminate the highly charged oxygen molecules that are by-products of metabolized oxygen. Phytochemicals are known for their anti-oxidant properties.

Pigmentation- Discoloration of the skin.

Polyphenols- Plant derived chemicals with superb antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and skin rejuvenating capabilities.

Pomegranate-used for its intensive antioxidant properties, considered a super-antioxidant and contains 5% ellagic acid.

Purging Process- A reaction in skin when you begin using a new skin care line. This occurs because the product is actively cleansing and bringing all the trapped oil & impurities to the surface of your skin, which can initially cause more breakouts.
Pustule- An infected papule with a white or yellow center of pus

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Red tea- Also know as Aspalathus Linearis Leaf extract, is the strongest known antioxidant. Known to help strengthen capillary wall.

Retinol- A Vitamin A derivative that helps normalize skin cell production. Most commonly found in anti-aging and acne products.

Retinyl Palmitate-Increases elasticity and thickness.

Rosacea- A skin condition characterized by redness, pimples, and broken blood vessels

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Salicylic Acid- A beta hydroxy acid used for its exfoliating and oil dissolving properties.

Saw Palmetto- Known to help inhibit hair growth in women.

Seborrhea- Severe oiliness in the skin.

Sebum- Oil in the skin.

Sensitive Skin- Very often dry as well, can become irritated on contact with various substances.

Shea Butter- Used for its excellent moisturizing and skin penetrating properties.

Silicone- A mineral based substance, allowing moisture to stay locked in the skin but at the same time allowing oxygen in and out of the follicles. Also used for its smooth, nongreasy feel.

Sodium PCA- Sodium Pyrollidone Carboxylic acid, helps attract and retain moisture to the skin.

SPF- Sun Protection Factor

Squalane- Used for it moisturizing properties.

Stratum Corneum- Also known as the horny layer, the outermost layer of the skin.

Sunblock- A method to physically deflect UV rays.

Sunflower Oil- Used for its smoothing properties, very high in essential fatty acids.

Sunscreen- A cream or lotion that is SPF rated. It reacts with the skin to create an invisible barrier against the sun. The strength of the barrier is determined by the SPF number. The lower the number the less protection. Using a sunscreen will not prevent you from tanning but it will lower your risk of getting burned. Sunscreens chemically absorb UV rays while sunblocks physically deflect them.

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Tannic Acid- Encourages bonding of cells that strengthen the barrier function. Also has antioxidant, anti inflammatory, and germicidal properties.

Tea Tree Oil- A natural preservative with antiseptic and germicidal properties used in soaps, shampoos, and skin-care products.

Technoceuticals- The infusion of technology with advanced skin care.

Telangiectasia- Commonly known as ‘spider veins', small purple, blue or red veins. These often occur in clusters or branch-like formations, most frequently on the nose and across the cheeks. Often associated with acne rosacea.

Titanium Dioxide- Active chemical ingredients found in sunblocks to help prevent damage to the skin from the sun.

Tocopherol- Also known as Vitamin E, primarily serves the body as an antioxidant.

Toner- Product used after cleansing to help return skin to its natural pH. Removes any remaining trace of dirt or debris.

Trans Epidermal Water Loss- The loss of moisture from within the skin into the atmosphere. Inevitably, some of the cell's internal water supply will evaporate into the air, but if a good moisturizer and appropriate internal skin care are used consistently and adjusted according to the demands of your internal and external environment, the TEWL is kept to a minimum.

Triclosan- Anti bacterial agent used in acne treatments.

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Vitamin A- Used to increase collagen production, a wrinkle fighter and an exfoliant.

Vitamin B- Increases blood circulation and tissue repair.

Vitamin C- Known for its anti-oxidant and healing properties.

Vitamin E- Also known as Tocopherol, primarily serves the body as an antioxidant.

Vitamin K-Used for its redness reduction properties.

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Water principal- As we age, the barrier of the cell begins to break down and our cells begin to lose water. The Water Principle is about repairing these cells through supplementation so that the cell barrier is strengthened and the cell is better able to hold onto water. As our cells are repaired, our skin begins to look better because the cells are full of water and the skin is hydrated from the inside out.

White head- Also known as a closed comedone caused by trapped dead skin cells, oil buildup, bacteria and impurities. Whiteheads appear as small white bumps.

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Zinc- A trace mineral used to protect the skin from UV light, infection, bacteria and fungi. It also promotes collagen building, enhances the effects of vitamin A and E, and soothes irritation.

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