Skin Care & Cosmetic Ingredient Glossary (L – O)

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Lactic Acid 

Derived from fermented milk, Lactic acid is one of the most-researched Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA) that dissolves connections between skin cells, allowing for the dead skin cells to be sloughed away, revealing brighter, more even skin.

It’s part of the skin’s natural moisturizing factors (NMFs) — which occurs naturally in our skin and keep the outer layer hydrated and protected.

Korean skincare products with Lactic acid are Some By Mi AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Bar and Cosrx AC Collection Calming Liquid Intensive.

*Syn: Sodium Lactate 

Lanolin

Lanolin is a waxy substance secreted by the sebaceous glands of sheep and it’s also known as wool wax or wool fat.

Lanolin works as an effective emollient – a lubricant on the skin, which helps to lock in moisture and soften dry, rough, scaly, and irritated skin.

Lavender Flower Oil and Extract 

Lavender oil is commonly known for its fragrance and therapeutic components and it works wonders on inflammation and kills bacteria due to its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.

The flower extract is less potent than essential oil and its made from dried flowers and oils of the lavender plant. 

*Syn: Lavandula Angustifolia, Lavandula Officinalis

Licorice Root Extract 

Licorice is derived from the plant Glycyrrhiza Glabra meaning “sweet root” in Greek and it has soothing and skin lightening effects for dull, lackluster, sensitive, and reddened skin. 

Licorice root contains powerful active ingredients — antioxidants to neutralize free radicals and Glycyrrhizin to relieve redness and swelling due to anti-inflammatory properties.

Glabridin and Liquiritin help aid in lightening sun spots and dark circles as they interrupt enzymes called tyrosinase — which is responsible for making pigmentation in response to sun exposure.

In turn, this will lessen hyperpigmentation. Licochalcone in the licorice root has shown to control oil content on the skin.

For products with licorice extract, check out Pyunkang Yul Acne Cream or The Saem Natural Rice Mask Sheet.                

*Syn: Liquorice, Glycyrrhiza Glabra

Linoleic Acid

Linoleic Acid is a plant-based Omega-6 Essential fatty acid (EFA) — it’s essential for human health but isn’t created by the body and this is the one of differences from oleic acid.

Found in seeds, nuts and other botanical oils like safflower, rosehip, evening primrose, and hemp seed. It helps restore the natural barrier function and works as an essential building block for ceramides — one of the moisturizing agents.

The polyunsaturated oil is lightweight and easily absorbed by the skin without clogging pores, making it beneficial for combination, oily and congested skin.

*Syn: Alpha-linolenic Acid

Lentil Seed Extract  

Lentil extract is a natural active ingredient that has nice moisturizing benefits and works as a skin conditioning and a protecting agent.

Lentil seed is rich in vitamin B5 and oligosaccharides — which help reduce the appearance of dilated pores, shininess, and refines the look of skin’s texture.

*Syn: Lens Esculenta

Mandelic Acid 

Derived from bitter almonds, Mandelic Acid is an Alpha Hydroxyl Acid (AHA) that works to accelerate cell turnover by gently lifting off dead skin cells; however, it’s more gentle than other AHAs, like glycolic acid due to its large molecular size.

The chemical exfoliant helps brighten skin tone, fade unwanted acne scars and dark spots, and minimize the appearance of pores, fine lines and wrinkles. 

Marula Oil 

Naturally rich in antioxidants, essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamin C and E, Marula oil has been hailed for its anti-aging, emollients, and anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

It is derived from either the nut or the soft kernel seeds of the fruits of the African Marula trees. Marula oil is lightweight and absorbed quickly into the skin, creating a light layer on top of the skin to lock in moisture.

*Syn:  Sclerocarya Birrea

Menthol 

Typically derived from plants like peppermint and eucalyptus, Menthol is found in toners, shaving gels and moisturizers but usually in synthetic form.

Menthol provides cooling and fresh sensation while functioning as a topical analgesic (pain killer), anti-fungal, and penetration enhancer.

One thing to remember is that menthol can cause eye and skin irritation and/or sensitizing, especially to sensitive, rosacea and acne prone skin. 

Mexoryl 

Mexoryl is commonly used in sunscreens and lotions due to its excellent UV absorbing and photostable capabilities.

There are two types of Mexoryl and both are L’Oréal-group exclusive sunscreen agents — Mexoryl SX is water-soluble and it protects the skin from UVA ray while Mexoryl XL is lipid soluble and protects skin from both UVA and UVB ranges.

*Syn: Mexoryl XL: Drometrizole Trisiloxane / Mexoryl SX: Ecamsule, Terephthalylidene Dicamphor Sulfonic Acid

Micellar Water 

Made up of a mix of purified water, hydrating agents and micelles — tiny particles of cleansing oils that are attracted to dirt, makeup, and grime and cleanse the skin without drying out the skin.

Mineral Oil

Like petroleum jelly, mineral oil is a byproduct of the distillation of petroleum and both are considered petrochemicals.

As an effective emollient and an occlusive agent, mineral oil has been shown to improve skin softness and barrier function by forming a film on the skin’s surface.

Moringa Seed Oil & Extract

Extracted from the seeds of Moringa tree, which is beginning to gain more popularity as “the miracle tree”. Moringa oil is a powerhouse of antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and amino acids, which restore the skin’s barrier and seal in hydration.                 

Morniga oil is similar to the oil that our body produces, making it easily absorbed, helping keep skin nourished and balanced. It is also high in cytokinins, vitamins (A, C, E), and zeatin which helps in promoting cellular growth and delaying signs of aging. 

E Nature Moringa Cleansing Balm is a great face cleanser/makeup remover for the first step of double cleansing method.

*Syn: Moringa Oleifera

Niacinamide

A form of water-soluble vitamin B3, Niacinamide works to diminish the appearance of aging, enlarged pores, hyperpigmentation and improve uneven skin tone and texture as well as the skin’s barrier function.

Vitamin B3 is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that helps protect skin from environmental damage, boost hydration levels and cell turnover while soothing redness and irritation.

Korean Products with niacinamde are Missha Time Revolution Night Repair Probio Ampoule, Pyunkang Yul Black Tea Time Reverse Eye Cream, Benton Snail Bee High Content Skin Lotion, and Cosrx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid.

*Syn: Nicotinamide, Nicotinic Acid Amide, Myristyl Nicotinate

Olive Oil

Extracted from the fruits of the olive tree, olive oil is high in the fatty acid squalene that traps water in the skin and strengthens the skin’s barrier — making it great for extremely dry skin (especially on the body).

For oily and acne prone skin, keep in mind that it’s moderately comedogenic — meaning that it can clog and cause breakouts. 

*Syn: Olea Europaea

Oleic Acid 

Rich in Omega-9s, Oleic acid is produced by our body as well as it occurs naturally in various animal and vegetable oils, such as sea buckthorn, olives, marula, grape and sunflower seeds. 

Oleic acid is thicker and feels richer than linoleic acid and is more ideal for dry, aging, and sensitive skin. This monounsaturated fatty is a great source for plant nutrients and combining it with other ingredients boosts its abilities to create skin’s barrier and calm irritation.

Occlusive(s)

Occlusive agents increase moisture levels in skin by making a film that prevents epidermal water loss. Thanks to its thick and rich texture, occlusive moisturizers are best for severely dry, mature, and damaged skin

However, if your skin is prone to breakouts, it’s important to check if the ingredients are non-comedogenic — which means it doesn’t congest pores. 

Common occlusive are waxes, petrolatum, silicone and dimethicone and please note that some ingredients can have more than one moisturizing properties (humectants, emollient, occlusive properties) at same time – like lanolin, mineral oil, and shea butter.

Octinoxate (OMC)

Octinoxate is a chemical filter that acts as a UVB absorber and It’s a widely used in sunscreens, shampoos, nail polish, lipsticks and other products.

Despite of the fact that it’s a conventional ingredient in cosmetic industry, it’s increasingly being linked to numerous risks to animals and the environment (possibly humans too as it’s hormone disruptor). However, so far, in-depth research has been limited.

*Syn: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Octyl Methoxycinnamate. Escalol 

Octocrylene

As an oil-soluble sunscreen agent, Octocrylene absorbs the UV rays and protects the skin from harmful effects of the sun, like premature skin aging and reduces the risk of skin cancer; however, it’s considered to be safe in cosmetic products at a concentration up to 10%.

Oxybenzone

As an ultraviolet light absorber, Oxybenzone absorbs UVB and short-wave UVA, preventing potential damage from sunlight exposure. The active agent also works as photostablizer and it’s one of the most common ingredients that is found in commercial chemical sunscreens.

Although its widespread use, some studies have raised concerns about the use of Oxybenzone, because it’s absorbed by the skin and stays in our bodies for an unknown time. In addition, it also is associated with a high rate of skin reactions and allergies.

*Syn: Benzophenone-3