The Skin Treatment Dictionary

skin-dictionaryWith so many varying skincare brands, treatments and surgeries, it is hard to keep track of all the formal language used. We found this great article at that does a great job of clarifying what’s what and thought we’d share. As patients, clients and consumers of many of these treatments we thought it would be a great idea for a little Skin Treatment 101. So read up, print out and remember your skincare terminology!

  • Retinoids: Topical vitamin A derivatives that boost collagen to reduce fine lines and speed cell turnover to even out discoloration and smooth skin.
  • Hydroquinone: A topical ingredient that inhibits the pigment-forming enzyme tyrosinase, to lighten discoloration.
  • Chemical peels: An acid solution is painted on the face to lift away the upper layers of skin, improving texture and discoloration. A basic, light peel most commonly uses glycolic or salicylic acid and causes mild, temporary redness.
  • Microdermabrasion: Tiny aluminum oxide crystals are sprayed against the skin to buff away dead cells, improving texture and removing surface pigmentation.
  • Botox: A purified injectable form of botulinum toxin that blocks the nerve impulses that cause muscle activity — and the resulting expression lines.
  • Hyaluronic acid fillers (Restylane, Perlane, Juvéderm): Synthetic sugars injected into the skin to plump lines and restore lost volume in the face.
  • Radiesse: A filler made up of calcium-based beads that can re-contour the cheeks and jawline.
  • Fat transfer: Fat harvested from one part of the body (usually the butt or thighs) is used to re-contour the face.
  • Fractional ablative laser: A laser with a pixellated beam vaporizes small portions of the epidermis to smooth deep lines, improve pigmentation, and generate some skin tightening.
  • Fractional nonablative laser: A laser’s pixellated beam targets collagen and pigment beneath the surface of the skin. It can soften fine lines and treat diffuse freckling.
  • Intense pulsed light (IPL): Pulses of light are delivered to the skin to reduce hyperpigmentation and redness.
  • Q-switched laser: Emits beams of red light that are absorbed by melanin to fade brown pigmentation.
  • Thermage: Radiofrequency energy heats lower layers of skin, tightening collagen.
  • Titan: An infrared laser heats lower layers of skin to tighten collagen.
  • Blepharoplasty: Surgery where excess skin is removed from the upper and/or lower eyelids.
  • Facelift: Through incisions made along the hairline and around the ears, a surgeon cuts away excess skin and lifts underlying tissue.

Got it all? We hope so! At Skin NV we enjoy being knowledgeable behind all the science of our treatments. Skin treatments are our specialty and we could chat about its terminology all day long. Impress us with your skincare knowledge the next time you see us!


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