NCI Ingredients Glossary


Acacia Senegal Serum

This ingredient has been extracted from the Acacia tree native to Africa. It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This serum is used as a base or a binding agent to most skincare products. Acacia extract has soothing properties because it clams inflammation and is used as an under-eye treatment. It also helps in reducing dark circles. This is why it is used as an antiaging product to work on undereye circles, fine lines and wrinkles.


Acai is an oil that is derived from a kind of berry. It is full of antioxidants and is rich in vitamins A, B, C and E and has anti-aging properties. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and combined these things is known to give you glowing skin.


Agar is a gelatinous alternative that is extracted from algae. It is used as thickener, binder or emulsifier in makeup products, along with moisturizers, scrubs and cleansers because of its antioxidants and moisturizers.


Alpha hydroxy Acid (AHA) is a natural ingredient that is derived from plant that works as an exfoliant to help dissolve dead skin cells and helps in the cell turnover of the skin. It is present in chemical exfoliating agents and for acne prone skin because of its gentleness.


It is a denatured form of alcohol. It is a common ingredient in most beauty products. It is volatile, meaning that it evaporates quickly. This is why it is used as an ingredient in many toners and moisturizers for oily skin.


The chlorophyll and vitamin A present in this plant is used for its hydrating properties. This is why it is the most popular ingredient in many moisturizers and cleansers. It also has anti-aging properties due to its antioxidant properties.


Algae is hydrating for the skin and also contains antioxidants that protect the skin from damage. This is why it is used in many anti-aging products.

Algae Extract

This extract contains amino acids and vitamins that nourish the skin and prevents skin from aging. Algae extract reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and leave you with smoother skin.


A chemical found in the root of the Comfrey plant. This extract has soothing and hydrating properties. Allantoin is used as an active ingredient in many moisturizing for sensitive skin due to its gentleness. Since it promotes cell regeneration, it is used in antiaging products.

Almond Oil

It is widely known for its cleansing abilities. It reaches into the deeper layers of your skin to clean it inside out. It is used as an active ingredient in many anti-aging products

Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera helps in soothing and repair of the skin. It is found in many products due to its anti-inflammatory activity as well. It can also be used to treat certain skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis.

Alpha Bisabolol

A think oil that is used in many personal care products. It helps other ingredients in whatever product contains it, penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin. Its soothing and healing properties are what makes it a good ingredient to be used in skincare products

Ammonium Hydroxide

Its other name is aqueous ammonia. It is a colorless, synthetic chemical that helps in balancing the pH in many products.

Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate

It is present in cleansers and shampoos because it helps water bind with grease and dirt. It is used for its deep cleaning abilities.


Antioxidants reverse damage and helps in preventing further aging of the skin. They are found in many antiaging products.

Arachidonic Acid

It is an oily liquid that is used in many moisturizers and antiaging products because of its hydrating properties.

Arachidyl Propionate

It is non toxic and it has a waxy consistency which is used as a lubricant in many makeup products like lipsticks, moisturizers and other beauty products.


It can be produced in a lab or it can be derived from the bearberry plant. It has proven to be an effective skin lightener and works on dark spots and pigmentation. When this compound breaks down it forms hydroquinone which is a popular lightener.

Argan Oil

Argan oil has vitamin E and fatty acids that help in moisturizing the skin without being greasy. It triggers cell production and it is used in many anti-aging and moisturizing products.


It is an amino acid that is naturally occurring and promotes the release of growth hormone that helps in regeneration of the skin cells. This is why it is used in high-end antiaging products.

Ascorbic acid

This is a form of vitamin C and is used as an anti-oxidant. With its soothing and antiaging properties, it is often used in skin brightening products as an active ingredient.

Azelaic Acid

It has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.  It is used in many acne treatment products.


Bearberry Extract

It is derived from the leaves of the Bearberry plant. This extract is used as what is called as astringent in beauty products. It is used for its skin lightening abilities.


It is used in cosmetics. The form it is used in is bentonite clay. It helps get rid of blemishes like age spots and acne marks. It is specifically found in the form of clay masks.

Benzoyl Peroxide

It is used in many acne treatments. It acts as treatment for acne because of its antibacterial properties and reduces inflammation.


It is also called trimethyl glycine. It is used in moisturizers and it has anti-irritant properties.


It is also called salicylic acid, beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA). It is a chemical exfoliator which removes oil and unclogs your pores. It is used in anti-acne products. It is found only in scrubs because of its gentle nature.

Butylene Glycol

It is a form of alcohol used as a thinning agent in gels, creams, sunscreens and various lotions. It is known for its hydrating properties because it captures moisture from the environment and deposits in on our skin. This is why it is used in moisturizers.


C-12-15 Alcohol Benzoate

It is a synthetic ingredient that is used is cosmetics to change the texture of these products.


It is an herb which has been used to heal chapped and dry skin. It has healing properties hence it is used in products that are aimed to combat dryness and irritation.

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride

It is an ester of glycerin and coconut oil. It is in the form of an oily liquid. It is used as an emollient and is added to cosmetics to create a barrier between the skin and the product so it protects our skin from losing moisture.

Carbomer 940

Also known as Carbopol 940. It is a thickening agent and a base that is present in many personal care products like moisturizers and cleansers. It is also used in anti-aging creams.

Cetyl Alcohol

It is a fatty alcohol present in the form of a waxy solid. It’s used for the purpose of thickening, emulsifying and as an emollient.


It is an herbal extract. It has anti-bacterial, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is the ingredient in many anti-acne products.

Cocamide DEA

It is produced from coconut oil and acts as a surfactant which is why it is used in soaps and shampoos and cleansers.

Cocamidopropyl Betaine

Like cocamide, it is also a derivative of coconut oil and is used as a surfactant. It is found in shampoos, body washes, cleansers and toothpaste.


It is used as a detergent in cleansers.


Coffee is not something we deink but it is also found in numerous undereye products and anti-cellulite products. When coffee interacts with our skin it begins exfoliation. This prevents the clogging of pores and battles puffiness, cellulite, or puffiness.

Cucumber Extract

Cucumber is rich in polysaccharides, minerals, and polyphenols. Cucumber extract has anti-inflammatory, hydrating and antioxidant properties. It is mild and does not irritate our skin. Cucumber is found in moisturizers and anti-aging products.


Deionized Water

It is water that has been distilled with the ions removed from it. The process by which this is done is called ion exchange. This is used in the production of cosmetics so that toxins do not contaminate the makeup products.

Diazolidinyl Urea

It has anti-bacterial properties and is used as a preservative because it breaks down to formaldehyde. Hence why it is used in personal care products.


It is derived from silicone. Its purpose is to form a barrier on our skin to prohibit loss of moisture. Of course, it is often found in moisturizers.

Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE)

It helps keeping our skin smooth, firm and prevents it from aging. There is research, however, that claims that over a long period of time it can cause cell destruction.

DMDM Hydantoin

It is used as a preservative in skin care products. It releases formaldehyde that destroys the bacteria that cause decay.


Essential oils

There are many kinds of essential oils that have different therapeutic effects on the skin. Some are moisturizing while others may be soothing or anti-inflammatory. They appear in so many skin care products.

Eucalyptus Oil

It has healing properties that have been used for generations. It also is used for pain relief. Eucalyptus is present in lotions, creams for insect bites and cuts because of its cooling effect.

Extracts of Rose Hips

This extract is produced by the Rosa Canina plant which contains vitamin C. Its antioxidant properties are why it is being used in anti-aging products.



Scents in certain cosmetics are attributed to fragrances. Fragrances, however, can cause breakouts and irritation of the skin. People who have sensitive skin should refrain from buying products containing fragrances.


Ginkgo Biloba Extract

It is an extract that is herbal in nature.  It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is used in anti-aging products and eye creams.


Ginseng is a very good antiaging ingredient because it is packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients. It is also used as a brightening product because it helps the skin glow.


It is a very popular ingredient as is found in many moisturizers and cleansers. Glycerin hydrates the skin by catching moisture from the air and keeps the skin moisturized.

Glyceryl Polymethacrylate

It is a product of polymethacrylate and glycerin. It prevents the loss of moisture by forming a fil om the surface of the skin. It helps in texture adjustment and is used in cosmetics.

Glyceryl Stearate

It is used in lotions, sunscreens and conditioners. It is a surfactant and an emulsifying agent.

Glycolic Acid

It is one of the AHAs. It is used for chemical exfoliation. It is specifically good for acne prone skin.

Green Tea

It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Green tea fights against under-eye puffiness and premature aging.



It is also known as Cetyl. It has emulsifying and thickening properties which makes it a good ingredient to use as a personal care product. It also helps in softening skin.


It is a bioflavonoid and it has antioxidant properties which act as anti-aging. Most antiaging products contain Hesperidin.


Honey has antibacterial, antioxidant, soothing and anti-aging properties and also helps as a moisturizer. It is well known for keeping the skin looking young and fresh.

Hyaluronic Acid

It is a well-known moisturizing agent that triggers collagen deposition. It keeps the skin looking supple and young. It is mostly present in anti-aging products.

Hydroquinone 4

This ingredient is used for lightening of the skin. It also gets rid of discoloration, acne scars and dark spots, sun spots and age spots.


This is a polymer that is water soluble and acts as a thickening agent. It is also a preservative, a binder and an emulsifier. It is present in many beauty products.


Jojoba Oil

Best for fighting acne and used as a moisturizer. It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. It is rich in Vitamin A and E.



It is used as a facial mask targeted for oily skin. It is absorbent that helps fight oils.


It is a plant derivative and is a growth hormone. It combats sun damage and other signs of aging. This is why it is found in anti-aging creams.

Kojic Acid

It is available in lotions, creams, serums and gels and is a celebrity favorite. It has been long used for skin lightening.


L-Ascorbic Acid

It is another form of vitamin C. It used as a chemical exfoliant and prevents aging, making your skin look full of youth.

Lactic Acid

Lactic acid acts as a chemical exfoliant and helps in skin turnover. It is widely used in anti-acne products.

Lauryl Sulfate

It is used as a cleansing agent. It is used in skincare and haircare products.


This ingredient is naturally occurring. It is used for its moisturizing, softening and soothing effects. They are used in creams that are used to rejuvenate dry and damaged skin.

Lemon Oil

Lemon oil is used to lighten the skin. It also heals and helps rejuvenate the skin, acts as an anti-acne agent and prevents aging.

Licorice Extract

This plant is used to lighten the skin and to soothe it. It removes age spots, discoloration and dark circles.

Lipoic Acid

This compound is fat and water soluble. It has antioxidant properties that keeps you looking young.


Magnesium Aluminum Silicate

This is a mineral that acts as a thickening agent. It is used in a wide array of personal care and cosmetics.

Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate

It boosts collagen deposition because it is a derivative of vitamin C and fights aging.

Marine Algae

It is an ingredient used in beauty products because it strengthens, heals and revitalizes the skin.

Methyl gluceth 20

This ingredient is water soluble and is a product of methyl alcohol and glucose. It softens and smooths skin and moisturizes it.

Micellized Vitamin E

It has antioxidant properties and is used in anti-aging products. This compound combats free radicals that are damaging to the skin.


These proteins are hygroscopic and are hydrating to the skin. They are found in moisturizers that fight dry skin.

Myristyl Ether Propionate

This ingredient acts as an emollient, conditioner for the skin, and as a thickening agent. It is used for different applications in cosmetics.



NaPCA absorbs moisture from the environment and moisturizes skin. It is often used as a moisturizer and conditioner.


Vitamin B3 is also known as Niacinamide. It is often used in anti-aging products because it evens out skin tone and fights signs of aging and fine lines.


It is used when cosmetics are being formulized. It has the function of an emollient and a lubricant. It leaves the skin silky-smooth and soft.


Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7

It is a peptide that combats inflammation and also triggers collagen synthesis.


It moisturizes, softens and soothes the skin


It absorbs moisture from the air and moisturizes the skin. It is found in different types of conditioners.

PEG-100 Stearate

It acts as a surfactant in different cleansers. It soothes, softens and moisturizes our skin.


These are chains that fights wrinkles and stimulates collagen production. They are used in a majority of anti-aging products.


It helps keeping dry skin at bay by forming a film that acts as a protectant from harsh outside influences. It is found in beauty products.


It is used as a preservative in cosmetic products.

Polyethylene Granules

It is used as a thickening agent for makeup and skincare products.


It is a liquid emollient which is used in cosmetic products.


Used as a thickening and emulsifying agent. It is an oily liquid.

Potassium Sorbate

It is used as a preservative and is also used as antifungal agent.

Propylene Glycol

It is used in cosmetics and to moisturize skin. It also helps in the delivery of active ingredients.

Pumpkin Puree

Pumpkin has vitamins, useful enzymes, AHAS and antioxidants. They help in exfoliating, softening, brightening and soothing the skin.

Purified Water

Distilled or purified water is free of any toxins and irritants. This water is used to manufacture skin care products.

PVP/ Elcosene copolymer

It is used in water resistant sunscreens and cosmetics because it forms a film on the skin. It is also used as an emulsion stabilizer.



It’s used as a preservative in many beauty products. It also releases formaldehyde that acts as an antibacterial agent.


Retinyl Palmitate

It is derived from Vitamin A and is rich in antioxidants. It also stimulates collagen production which leads to supple and youthful skin. It is present in many antiaging products and sunscreens.


Retinol is notorious for the presence of anti-aging properties. It firms the skin and reduces fine lines and wrinkles.

Royal Jelly

Royal Jelly is very beneficial to the skin in many ways. It heals, fights signs of aging and moisturizes the skin.


Safflower Oil

This contains linoleic acid which is a gentle oil. It has the ability to moisturize the skin.

Salicylic Acid

This acid is responsible for its anti-inflammatory abilities. It is perfect to use as an anti-acne treatment.

Sarsaparilla & Fennel Seed

These ingredients are combined and used in beauty products. When this happens, it helps fight premature aging of the skin.

Saw Palmetto

This helps in clearing oil and acne.

Sclerotium Gum

It is present in personal care products. This ingredient acts as emulsifier, stabilizer and a thickening agent in several beauty products.

SDA 40

This is a type of alcohol and is used in a solvent in beauty products. It reduces the viscosity of a compound and has anti-microbial abilities.

Self-Emulsifying Wax

It has the ability to mix oil and water to attain a fine consistency. It is the main ingredient in lotions, moisturizers and face creams.

Sodium Ascorbate

This is a salt of Ascorbic acid and it has antioxidant abilities which help in combating free radicals that damage the skin. It is found in anti-aging products.

Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate

It is a derivative of Vitamin C. It is full of antioxidants and they fight aging of the skin. It is found in many anti-aging products.

Sodium Borate

This ingredient is used in many beauty products and plays a wide variety of roles. It acts as a pH adjuster, antiseptic and a buffering agent.

Sodium Hyaluronate

It is used in personal care products and cosmetics. This helps bring suppleness to the skin and helps it look healthy and younger.

Sodium Hydroxide

This is an alkaline ingredient. It helps maintaining the pH of skin care products and is also used in cleansers.

Sodium Metabisulfate

This is a salt of inorganic nature and is used in personal care products. It also has strong anti-oxidant abilities.

Sodium PCA

It absorbs moisture from the air, which is why it is an important ingredient in hair conditioners and moisturizers.

Sorbitan Esters

It is a by-product of sorbitol and it moisturizes and soothes the skin. It is found in moisturizers, makeup and cleansers.

Stearic Acid

It is used as a surfactant, emulsifier or used as fragrance in cosmetics.


Sulfur helps chemically exfoliate the skin and has antimicrobial abilities. This is why it helps is treat acne, psoriasis, or eczema.



Teas are rich in antioxidants. They also have anti-inflammatory and anti-aging abilities. Teas can be incorporated in skincare products and they can help cleanse, tighten, and moisturize the skin.

Tea Tree Oil

It is present in several acne products and it is naturally occurring. It has antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

TEA Stearate

It acts as a cleansing and emulsifying agent in many personal care products.

Tetrasodium EDTA

It is a preservative and it makes sure that the metallic ions that are present doesn’t react with other ingredients.

Titanium Dioxide

It helps in protecting the skin from harmful UVA and UVB radiation. It is present in moisturizers, sunscreens and other leave-on skin products.


It is related to vitamin E and has antioxidant abilities. It is used in soaps, cosmetics and skin care products.

Tocopherol (miscellized)

This ingredient is rich in antioxidants and is used in many anti-aging products.


It is used to fight premature aging and stimulates collagen production. This helps in tightening of the skin.


It is a derivative of Ethylene dioxide and ammonia. It is used as a pH adjuster is cosmetics and also acts as an emulsifier.


Vitamin A

Vitamin A is used in acne treatments. It also has anti-aging properties and that helps reduce premature aging.

Vitamin K

It is very helpful in lessening the appearance of stretch marks, dark circles and spider veins. Vitamin K treatments have been gaining momentum and have become popular recently.


Witch Hazel Extract

Witch hazel is high in tannin content and this gets rid of oil and sebum from the skin. This ingredient is very helpful in fighting acne.



It is a naturally occurring hormone that is present in plants. It is present in many anti-aging products, moisturizers, toners, eye serums and cleansers.

Zinc Oxide

Products that have this ingredient helps protect from UVA and UVB all while combating skin oiliness.