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PABA: (Para-aminobenzoic acid) A substance found in vitamin B complex and sunscreen products that absorbs UV light.

Padimate O: (Octyl Dimethyl PABA or 2-Ethyihexyl PABA) The ester of 2-ethyihexyl alcohols and dimethyl paminobenzoic acid. A "PABA free" sunscreen, Padimate O is a derivative of PABA, but is no longer PABA.

Palette: A grouping of colors by tone or function.

Palm Kernelamide DEA and MEA: A fatty acids derived from palm kernel oil that is often used as a conditioning agent and thickener for shampoos.

Palm Oil: Oil used to harden soap and add to its lathering ability.

Pansy: Effective astringent with cooling and emollient properties. It is excellent in a great many herbal preparations.

Panthenol: (Vitamin B5) Acts as a penetrating moisturizer. Plumps and moisturizes hair shaft to make it appear thicker, reduces split ends, smoothes skin and strengthens nails.

Pantothenic Acid: (Vitamin B5) Participates in the release of energy from carbohydrates, fats & protein, aids in the utilization of vitamins; improves the body's resistance to stress; helps in cell building & the development of the central nervous system; helps the adrenal glands, fights infections by building antibodies. Go to the Vitamins Dictionary and look up Pantothenic Acid Vitamin B5.

Papain: A digestive enzyme, collected from papaya fruit. Papain hydrolyzes proteins and has a proteolytic capacity (digests proteins). Papain has the ability to digest dead tissue without affecting the surrounding live tissue. It is used in digestive aids and as the active ingredient in enzyme cleaners for soft contact lenses. Papain contains 212 amino acids and is also rich in malic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid.

Papaya Enzymes: From the tasty papaya fruit, these enzymes when taken orally, aid digestion and control bad breath (some say they help with weight loss too). Applied topically, the enzyme sloughs off dead skin cells (acts as an exfoliant).

Papillae: Projections that extend upward from the dermis to the epidermis and help anchor the dermis and epidermis together; small raised bumps or nipples on a tissue surface. Lingual papillae are taste buds.

Papule: A small, solid, elevated skin lesion (common acne lesions) less than 0.5 cm in diameter.

Paraffin: Beeswax substitute derived from petroleum.

Paraguay Tea: Augments action of bronchial asthmatic systems (hard to breath) also contains antioxidant to help maintain healthy skin.

Parasitic: Pertaining to, of the nature of, or caused by a parasite.

Paresthesia: Numbness, prickly sensations, or abnormal hypersensitivities, all local to one part of the body, and without an obvious cause.

Parfum: The most concentrated and most fragrant scent and therefore the most expensive.

Parsley: Useful in oils and bath or facial herbs for its cleansing and medicating action. Soothes skin.

Parsol 1789: The trade name for Avobenzone. See Avobenzone.

Passion Flower: Passion Flower has a depressant effect like a sedative, and is hypotensive; it is used for it's sedative and soothing properties, to lower blood pressure, prevent tachycardia and for insomnia. It is the herb of choice for treating intransigent insomnia.

Patchouli Oil: Extracted from the plant, Pogostemon patchouli. Used for its antiseptic properties.

Patch Test: Test which helps identify allergens responsible for allergic contact dermatitis.

Pathology: The discipline of medicine; the study of disease, particularly one with clear and obvious changes in structure or function where the body is concerned.

Pau d Arco: Tree native to Brazil. History records its use as a treatment of cancer and a wide range of other diseases.

Peach Leaf: Used in facial masks for their emollient properties, especially nice for normal to dry skin. Enriching, toning.

PEG: (Polyethylene Glycol or Polyoxyethylene Glycol) Polymeric forms of ethylene oxide that is used to produce a wide range of cosmetic materials. PEG-75 Lanolin has protective and emollient properties, while PEG-20 Stearate is an emulsifier.

PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate: Emollient and co-emulsifier.

PEG-20 Stearate: A water-soluble emulsifier for triglycerides, waxes, and mineral oils.

PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate: A mild surfactant.

PEG-100 Stearate: Derived from stearic acid; it is an emulsifier for creams and lotions.

PEG-150 Distearate: Form stabilizer; hair and skin conditioner.

Pemphigus: An acute or chronic autoimmune skin disease found mainly in adults leading to regular or constant skin eruptions (blisters). The causes are not known.

Pentacrythritol Tetra Caprate/Caprylate: Emulsifier derived from caprylic acid. Vegetable source.

Peppermint: Emollient herb that is astringent, stimulating, cleansing, restorative and healing.

Peppermint Leaf: Cooling and antiseptic in bath and facial herbs. The essential oil applied topically to the skin may have a drying or very tingly effect, whereas the herb is an emollient.

Peptide: Any member of a class of compounds of low molecular weight that yield two or more amino acids on hydrolysis. Peptides form the constituent parts of proteins.

Percutaneous Penetration: Penetration through the skin.

Perioral Dermatitis: Condition characterized by erythema, scaling and papules, and pustules around the mouth.

Periwinkle: An excellent astringent that may be used internally or externally. Used to treat excessive menstrual flow.

Permeable: Capable of being passed through like light through a glass.

Petitgrain Oil: Oil extract used for its skin soothing and calming properties.

Petrolatum: Cream additive derived from petroleum to help soften and soothe the skin. Forms a film to prevent moisture loss (Vaseline is petrolatum).

Petroleum: Mixture of hydrocarbons with similar properties as mineral oil. Industrially it is used as a grease component.

PG Inhibitor: A PGE inhibitor like aspirin usually intended to lessen joint inflammation and uterine spasms.

PH: (pH: percentage of hydrogen) Used to measure acidity in cosmetic preparations.

Phagocytosis: The absorption and digestion of foreign materials by cells.

Phenyl Trimethicone: Emollient, moisturizer. Water resistant silicone, adds shine and flexibility.

Phospholipid: A lipid containing phosphorus. Used in dry skin preparations. A phospholipid is a complex fatty material found in all living cells that acts as an emollient, antioxidant, natural emulsifier and spreading agent.

Phosphoric Acid: An inorganic acid; a pH adjuster.

Photoaging: Premature breakdown of the skin's cells caused by damage from the sun's UVA and UVB rays.

Photosensitivity: A condition in which the sun causes, due to an application or ingestion of certain chemicals or foods, skin problems, such as rash, hyperpigmentation, swelling, and sunburn. Caused by reaction to certain drugs and chemicals as well as Vitamin A (retinol and/or alpha hydroxy acids).

Phototherapy: Therapeutic use of light.

pH scale: System for measuring the alkalinity or acidity of soil.

Phytocosmetic: Cosmetics that are made from plants.

Phytosterols: Plant sterols (lipids), synthesized by plants and similar to cholesterol in structure, phytosterols are believed to decrease cholesterol absorption by competing with cholesterol for receptor sites in the GI tract.

Pigment: Means "color", and it refers to the minerals and plant extracts used to give makeup its many different hues. The higher the concentration of pigment, the stronger and more opaque the colors will be.

Pilosebaceous Unit: The sebaceous follicle, sebaceous glands and sebaceous ducts. Where acne occurs.

Pineapple Extract: Contains the protein digesting and blood clotting enzyme bromelin, anti-inflammatory.

Pinecone Extract: Extracted from the cones of pine trees. Helps to alleviate pain and discomfort and overcomes fatigue. Considered to be stimulating to the skin, by increasing blood flow and oxygenation.

Pine Needle: Extracted from the plant, Pinus sylvestris. Used for its antiseptic properties.

Pityriasis Alba: Seborrheic dermatitis.

Pityriasis Capitis: Dandruff.

Pityrosporum: Yeast that is a common inhabitant of the skin, usually starting at puberty. Not the yeast that causes vaginitis in women.

Pityrosporum Folliculitis: An acne-like rash composed of minute papules and pustules but no comedones (blackheads / whiteheads). It occurs most frequently on the forehead and sides of the face.

Placental Extract: As extract of bovine or human placentas after birthing. It is a naturally rich source of skin nutrients, amino acids, and proteins; has a revitalizing effect on skin.

Planell Oil: Oil containing naturally derived phytosterols and glycolipids; acts as an emollient.

Plantain: It acts as a gentle expectorant that also soothes inflamed and sore membranes, making it ideal for coughs and mild bronchitis. Its astringency aids in diarrhea, hemorrhoids and also in cystitis where there is bleeding. It seems to have a sedative influence upon the nerves of the face, and relieves many cases of earache, tic douloureux and toothache.

Plasma: The fluid portion of the blood in which the particulate components are suspended.

Pleurisy Root: Pleurisy Root anti-inflammatory and expectorant effects make it effective against respiratory infections and in the treatment of bronchitis and other chest condition. In addition, its diaphoretic and anti-spasmodic powers make it valued in the treatment of pleurisy and pneumonia.

Pneumonia: Inflammation, usually infectious, of the lungs.

Poloxamer 407: Non-ionic polymer cleansing agent (surfactant).

Polyethylene Thickener: Thickeners used as gelling agents, like a wax.

Polymer: A chemical compound or mixture of compounds formed by polymerization (a chemical reaction in which two or more molecules combine to form larger molecules that contain repeating structural units).

Polyquaternium 7: Conditioner preparation used in both rinse-off and leave-in conditioner.

Polyquaternium 11: A fixative with anti-bacterial properties. Adds hold and sheen in styling tools.

Polyquaternium 37: Emulsifier.

Polysorbate: Emulsifier.

Polysorbate 20: A viscous, oily, water-soluble liquid used to stabilize perfumes in water-based preparations and act as a modifier and stabilizer of shampoos, liquid soaps and conditioners.

Polysorbate 80: Surface-active agent that provides smooth and complete spreading of the cleanser (used to emulsify oils).

Pore: A small opening of the sweat glands of the skin

Potassium: An essential mineral that promotes healthy skin.

Potassium Sorbate: A mild food grade preservative found in cheese, wine, etc.

Poultice: Plant matter that aids injured or inflamed skin.

PPG-1: Emulsifier.

PPG 2 Isodeceth 12: An organic solubilixer of perfume oils and emulsifier.

Precursor: Something that precedes something. In biological processes, a substance from which another, usually more active or mature substance is formed. In clinical medicine, a sign or symptom that heralds another.

Prickly Ash: Used to combat rheumatism, skin diseases, and poor circulation such as chilblains, cramp in the leg, varicose veins and varicose ulcers. A circulatory stimulant used to stimulate the nerve centers and functional activity of the body's organs.

Primer: A colorless lotion or gel applied to the face before makeup. Makes for longer-lasting, more even-looking makeup.

Pristane: A saturated hydrocarbon found in natural oils

Proline: An amino acid that when combined with sodium PCA, has been demonstrated to provide excellent moisture absorption and retention properties to the skin.

Propane: A natural propellant.

Propioni-Bacterium Acnew: Anaerobic bacterium that thrives in the follicular canal of the pilosebaceous unit. Implicated in the pathogenesis of acne (Causes acne if not treated).

Propylene Glycol: Combination of glycerin and water, an organic humectant similar to Butylene Glycol used in cosmetics. Clear, colorless liquids that are among the most common moisture-carrying vehicles in skin care. It delivers superb permeation through the skin and excellent humectant properties (softens and moisturizes the skin).

Propylene Glycol Dicocoate: A mixture of propylene glycol esters of coconut fatty acids; aids in removing unwanted build-up from hair.

Propylene Glycol Stearate: As ester of propylene glycol and stearic acid. Used in creams, lotions, hair care products and makeup as co-emulsifier to produce a pearly opaque effect.

Propyl Paraben: Common cosmetic food grade preservative that is anti-fungal and anti-microbial. It is less water-soluble than methylparaben. See Methyl Paraben.

Protein: Large organic molecules, made of amino acids, found in all living cells. Enzymes and hormones are proteins. So are collagen, keratin, and elastin. Proteins break down through sun damage and aging. Applied topically to the skin proteins help the skin's surface look firmer.

Protein Treatment: A hair treatment designed to add strength and elasticity to the hair by adding protein to the cortex.

Proteolytic: An enzyme or agent that accelerates the breaking down or digestive hydrolysis of proteins into smaller proteins, peptides, polypeptides, ligopeptides, amino acids, etc.

Protovanol: A concentrated form of vanilla that reacts to heat and light to accelerate the tanning process.

Provisional Listing: A list of colors, originally numbering about 200, that FDA allows to continue to be used pending acceptable safety data.

Pro-Vitamin B5: Panthenol stimulates skin healing while providing deep moisturization. See Panthenol.

Pruritus: Itching.

Pseudofolliculitis Barbae: Follicular papules or pustules provoked by close shaving of the beard area in men. Usually occurs in men with very curly hair.

Psoriasis: A chronic disease of the skin consisting of itchy, dry, red patches, usually affecting the scalp or arms and legs.

Purpura: Lesion caused by the escape of blood from a vessel into the surrounding tissue.

Pus: A collection of white blood cells in tissue fluid, it may be either a sign of infection or inflammation.

Pustule: Vesicle filled with cloudy fluid such as pus.

PVM/MA Copolymer: A water-soluble fixative used in hairsprays and styling tools.

PVP/VA Copolymer: A water-soluble fixative used in hairsprays.

Pyorrhea: A discharge of pus.

Pyridoxine: (Vitamin B6) Necessary for the synthesis & breakdown of amino acids, the building blocks of protein; aids in fat and carbohydrate metabolism; aids in the formation of antibodies; maintains the central nervous system; aids in the removal of excess fluid of premenstrual women; promotes healthy skin; reduces muscle spasms, leg cramps, hand numbness, nausea & stiffness of hands; helps maintain a proper balance of sodium & phosphorous in the body. Go to the Vitamins Dictionary and look up Vitamin B6.

Pyroxidine HCL: Vitamin B6 used as a texturizer.