Skin Care & Cosmetics Ingredient Glossary (T-Z)

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Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is proven to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, and antiviral properties. This essential clarifying oil helps soothe redness, swelling, inflammation and also effective in reducing acne-causing bacteria and healing infections.

Korean skincare products with tea tree: Some By Mi AHA BHA PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner and The SAEM Natural Tea Tree Mask Sheet.

*Syn: Melaleuca Alternifolia


Tyrosine is a nonessential amino acid present in the body that helps produce melanin and improve both collagen degradation and skin pigmentation.

When combined with L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), tyrosine simulates fibroblast activity to increase collagen production, making it great for anti-aging products. It’s widely found in wrinkle creams, eye creams and serums, as well as sunscreens, face moisturizers, and concealers. 

Vitamin C 

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that stimulates collagen production, protects skin from UV damage, fades dark spots, and smooths fine lines. This powerhouse ingredient is well-known for its anti-aging and skin brightening, making it excellent for those with dull and uneven complexion. (Related blog post: What Are Vitamin C Benefits in Skin Care?)

If you have sensitive skin, we recommend you to start with a lower concentration as you may have allergies or redness from higher concentrations of vitamin C.

You'll love theses vitamin C bombs — Liz K Super First C Serum Pure Vitamin 13%, La Roche-Posay Vitamin C Serum, Nature Republic Real Comforting Mask Sheet, and Paula's Choice Resist C15 Super Booster.

*Syn: Ascorbic acid, L-Ascorbic acid, Calcium Acerbate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Vitamin C Palmitate, Sodium Ascorbate, Aminopropyl Ascorbyl Phosphate, 3-O Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Calcium Ascorbate, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, Vitamin C Ester, Ascorbyl glucoside.

Vitamin E (Tocopherol)

Vitamin E is an oil-soluble antioxidant that may help protect your skin cells from free radical damage and slow the aging process. Vitamin E has eight different forms and when it comes to skin care products, Tocopherol and Tocopheryle acetate are the ones you’ll find in most on the ingredient lists.

Certain types of vitamin E also have anti-inflammatory properties, which helps soothe redness and inflamed skin. Vitamin E may be effective at lightening dark spots and acne scarring and it can be used as an anti-aging cream for those who have fine lines and wrinkles.

Here are products containing Vitamin E: Urang Brightening Blue Oil SerumUrang Vitamin Oil Serum, and Olivarrier PH 5.5 Dual Moist Hyaluron Essence.

*Syn: D-Alpha-Tocopherol, D-Alpha-Tocopherol Acetate, Dl-Alpha Tocopherol, Dl-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate


Octinoxate is an active ingredient that works as a UV filter in chemical sunscreens, shampoos, hair color products, lipsticks, and nail polishes.  

Octinoxate filters UVB rays from the sun and it has its minimal protective ability against UVA rays. Therefore, in order to get broad-spectrum protection, Octinoxate is often combined with zinc oxide or avobenzone or another chemical UVA filter.

In general, it’s safe to use­ in low concentrations — according to the US FDA the recommended use level is up to 7.5 percent.

*Syn: Octyl Methoxycinnamate, OMC

Titanium Oxide (TiO2) 

Naturally occurring mineral, Titanium oxide acts as a UV filter and/or coloring/whitening agent that can be found in a variety of cosmetics and personal care products, including sunscreens, pressed powders, loose powders (or “mineral powder”), lotions, toothpastes, and soaps.

Titanium oxide is classified as a physical sunscreen ingredient that helps protect skin from both UVA and UVB radiation, which prevents sun burn and premature aging. It works to leave a barrier on the skin’s surface and is not absorbed by the skin.

TiO2 is considered safe on our skin because it’s gentle with no risk of sensitivity which makes it suitable for all types of skin including sensitive and redness-prone skin. 

*Syn: Titanium(IV) Oxide, Titania

Witch Hazel 

Extracted from the bark and leaves of the witch hazel shrub, witch hazel is a natural astringent, with antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that may help relieve inflammation, tighten pores, remove excess oil, and reduce acne.

However, witch hazel may be an irritant or cause allergic reaction because it’s of a botanical source.  Additionally, please note that some research has shown that the overuse of witch hazel in larger amounts can have constricting, drying, and sensitizing effects on the skin.

*Syn: Hamamelis Virginiana

Wintergreen Oil

Wintergreen is a type of mint hers that is known for its analgesic (pain reducing) and astringent preparties that may be effective at relieving muscle pain, improving the complexion’s clarity, and soothing irritation. 

Methyl Salicylate is the main constituent of wintergreen oil which has anti-inflammatory benefits, but it can be sensitizing on the skin and it’s pharmacologically similar to aspirin, so keep away from this essential oil if you have allergic reaction to aspirin.

*Syn: Gaultheria Procumbens 

Willow Bark 

Willow bark contains salicin —from which salicylic acid is derived— and it’s also known as Beta-Hydroxy Acid (BHA). Willow bark has keratolytic properties, meaning it sheds dead skin cells from the top layers and clears pores, revealing the newer, younger-looking cells.

Willow bark extract is a lipophilic plant compound that helps control excess sebum and future oil production — which could’ve potentially clogged pores, leading to whiteheads, blackheads, and breakouts. It also has anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, soothing and antibacterial properties and is ideal for use on oily, combination, and troubled skin.

As salicylic acid may increase the skin’s sun sensitivity, you should wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to prevent burns, age spots, and increased skin cancer risks.

Here are products with willow bark—Cosrx One Step Original Clear PadPyunkang Yul Acne Toner, and Isntree Green Tea Fresh Toner.

*Syn: Salix Alba

Zinc Oxide

Zinc oxide is a natural mineral that acts as a physical sub block, providing broad spectrum UVA and UVB sun protection. Unlike chemical sunscreens, zinc oxide sits on the surface of skin as a protective shield and scatters light. 

Known for non-irritant and non-comedogenic properties, zinc oxide is gentle enough to use for sensitive and acne-prone skin types. The skin protectant supports healing, repairing, and treating skin irritations like rashes, chapped skin, minor burn or abrasions.  

Mineral sunscreens tend to be thicker than chemical sunscreens and are notorious for leaving an unsightly white cast. These days, many formulas containing physical sunscreen agents won’t leave an unwanted cast thanks to continuous product innovations, improvements and refinement.

Check out—Neogen Dermalogy Day-Light Protection Sunscreen SPF 50 PA+++Dr. G Brightening Up Sun Cream SPF50+ PA+++ and Purito Comfy Water Sun Block SPF50+ pa++++ .

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