Problem skin glossary: Acne skincare terms you need to know

  • A is for acne

  • C is for comedones

  • E is for epidermis...

Problem skin glossary: Acne skincare terms you need to know

Sometimes the jargon that comes with specific areas of medicine, even with acne, can be a little like gobbledygook to untrained ears. So, to solve a few mysteries here’s a glossary of 18 terms you really need to know if you have problem skin.

Acne

The skin condition that sees eruptions of blackheads, whiteheads and spots resulting from bacteria and oil clogging pores and hair follicles.

Antioxidant

Molecules that can spare the extra cell, thereby neutralising free radicals that damage healthy cells, thus contributing to acne.

Astringent

Usually for a lotion or serum. Meaning able to cause the contraction of skin tissue at the skin surface, such as Effaclar Astringent Micro-Exfoliating Lotion to tighten pores and fight against blockages

Chronic

To describe long term, recurring problem or disease. Often used for acne sufferers.

Comedones

The scientific term for blackheads!

Dermatitis

Skin inflammation or irritation.

Dermis

Tissue layer under the epidermis (see below) home to blood vessels, nerves, glands and hair follicles.

Epidermis

Outer layer of skin. Skin cells are formed and die on this layer of tissue – including epidermal cells. The outermost layer is also called the Stratum Corneum.

Exfoliant

A product that removes dead cells from your skin’s surface by gentle abrasion. To exfoliate is to rub off dry, rough or dead skin cells.

Follicle

The passage in which a hair grows, which leads to the pore, at the skin’s surface.

Free radicals

Destructive molecules that are blamed for damage to the body, including to skin cells.

Hypoallergenic

A product made to stop possible allergic reactions.

Non-comedogenic

A product which will minimise blocked pores, so reduce the chance of bacterial infection and thus be less likely to cause acne.

pH

Acidity or alkalinity of a product. The skin’s surface pH is on average 4.7. Aim for products with the closest pH to the skin.

Sebum

Oil the skin produces via sebaceous glands and emits through the follicles.

Topical

That one can apply to the skin. Usually as opposed to taking orally.