FLORApedia

Definitions of technical and non-technical words


FLORA Vocabulary
is created to make usable and comprehensible to everybody technical terms that may be more difficult to be understood by those who are not specialized in this sector. The goal is to spread the knowledge of the language, the terminology, the ingredients and all that we daily use on our body and on our skin, for more conscious and free choices of use and consumption.

ABSOLUTE: extraction with the use of solvents (ie alcohol or other substances)

ANTIOXIDANT ACTION: the capacity of some compotents of cosmetic products to neutralize the negative oxidant action exerted by molecules called 'free radicals', toxic and damaging for cells; these molecules are created daily in the skin cells, especially after the stress given by external stimuli (exposure to the sun, wind, smog) that accelerate aging.

BIODEGRADABILITY: this term refers to the biological process of transformation of a chemical compound into simpler compounds. Biodegradable is said to be a product that can be attacked by micro-organisms (especially bacteria) that reduce it to simple molecules that can fall within normal biochemical cycles. It is a fundamental process for maintaining the ecological balance of our planet.

CHEMOTYPE (ct): term referring to a plant belonging to a given species (for example Thymus vulgaris L.) which shows systematic differences in the chemical composition, compared to other plants belonging to the same species and morphologically indistinguishable (and in fact there are various ct of Thymus vulgaris). It is not therefore a point about the normal differences in the content of the essential oil, but of an ever-present difference, linked to the genetic make-up and not to the environmental conditions or the harvesting period. The ct of an essential oil is determined by gas chromatographic analysis (GCMS).

DERMATOLOGICALLY TESTED: the product that report this wording has been subjected to skin tolerance tests by dermatologist specialists in universities and/or hospital facilities, according to standard application protocols.

EUDERMIC: it is said of substance or preparation that improves the physiological state of the skin.

HEAVY METALS: they are substances widely diffused in the environment and present in small traces in many products. They are normally used by humans with technological purposes. Just think about lead, a chemical element used in construction, in the production of automotive batteries, in the composition of metal alloys and so on. Nickel is also a very common heavy metal, used in various metal alloys. Very small quantities (at the level of ppm, ie parts per million) of heavy metals can contaminate other substances and other products with which they come into contact: in this case we talk about the presence of traces or impurities of heavy metals. Toxicology studies have shown that heavy metals have a toxicological potential: in certain quantities, if they come into contact with the skin or if they are ingested, they can cause damaging effects on the body. Some heavy metals do not give toxicity problems, but at certain concentrations and on predisposed persons, they are able to trigger allergic reactions. Nickel is the best known of all metals with an allergenic potential.

LANOLIN: it is a wax secreted by the sheep's sebaceous glands, which accumulates on the wooly fleece for a protective and emollient action for the animal. It is obtained from the processing of wool. Understandable therefore, its current applications in products developed for the beauty and care of human skin. It is completely absent in FLORA and PRIMAVERA products.

OLEOLITE OR MACERATE: it is a lipolic extract obtained by macerating plants in an oily base. Through this extraction technique, the oil succeeds in absorbing the functional substances of the plant (for example: calendula oleolite - the calendula flowers are put to macerate in a mix of vegetable oils composed of sesame, sunflower and olive oil).


PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarburic): these are hydrocarbons consisting of two or more aromatic rings such as those of benzene, fused together in a single structure (ex. Naphthalene). They are naturally found in coal and oil. They are powerful atmospheric pollutants that generate alert as some compounds have been identified as carcinogens, mutagens and teratogens. They are completely absent in FLORA and PRIMAVERA products.


PAO: literally is the Period After Opening. Indicates the period in months within which the open cosmetic can be used in complete safety. In fact, it is presumed that contact with the external environment can adulterate the characteristics of the product over time (for example, change its color, properties and consistency or encourage bacterial contamination). The PAO is indicated in all the countries of the European Union with the same symbol: an open jar, present both on the primary container (in direct contact with the cosmetic) and, if required, on the secondary one (the outer packaging). The duration in months of the open product, written in number, is followed by the letter "M" on the jar or at its side.

PARABENS: these are the most widely used preservatives in conventional cosmetic products and are among the INCI ingredients with the following names: Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, etc. In recent years an international discussion has been opened on the safety of these substances, since they seem to have similar action to estrogens (hormones) and may be due to the onset of breast tumors when used in large quantities. They are completely absent in FLORA and PRIMAVERA products.

PEG: polyethylene glycols are solvents of completely synthetic origin, widely used in all types of cosmetic products. They come from a chemical reaction of polymerization with ethylene oxide (irritating gas). They are completely absent in FLORA and PRIMAVERA products.

PHYSIOLOGICALLY COMPATIBLE: a product that respects the physiological parameters of the area of the body on which it is to be applied, for example the acidity value, the lipid composition of the surface protective layer, the presence of bacterial flora on the mucous membranes.

PHYTOCOMPLEX: term related to medicinal plants. It is the set of substances (active principles) endowed with an evident known therapeutic activity and of other (secondary metabolites) that collaborate and assist this activity, modulating its pharmacokinetics, absorption, elimination and consequently the pharmacological profile. The activity of a medicinal plant should be considered as the overall result, dynamic and harmonious, of all the substances contained in the plant complex. This causes effects that can not be achieved with the use of individual isolated active ingredients.

PHYTO-FORMULATION: a compound of elements of plant origin with functional components that determine a specific beneficial action on the organism.

PHTALATES: they are esters of phthalic acid. These substances are not very soluble in water, but very soluble in oils and not very volatile. They are chemicals that are added to plastics to improve their flexibility and modeling. They are toxic substances for reproduction, subject to European restriction. The reason for the restriction is due to the danger of exposure that may result from chewing or sucking for long periods of time objects that contain phthalates. They are completely absent in FLORA and PRIMAVERA products.

REHOLOGICAL ADDITIVES - SYNTHETIC THICKENERS: they are substances that are added to cosmetic products to increase their viscosity (ie consistency), especially in shampoos and bath products. The most common synthetic viscosifier are produced with OILIDE OF ETHYLENE, a chemical substance that can remain as a residue and has a high toxicity index. Natural products formulated without the addition of these substances may be more fluid and less viscous than traditional products, but have the advantage of being free of these toxic residues. They are completely absent in FLORA and PRIMAVERA products.

SKIN-CLEANSING: indicates a product that facilitates the removal and cleansing of impurities of skin and hair.

SKIN-COMPATIBILITY: a product which respects the acidity value of the skin (its pH) due to its composition and does not alter the composition of the superficial protective layer of the epidermis.

SKIN-PROTECTIVE: refers to a product able to protect the epidermis against the possibility of tissues damaging deriving from external factors (temperature changes, low environmental humidity, wind, etc.).

SLS - SLES: sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laurylethere sulfate (SLES) are surfactants used in the vast majority of conventional detergents such as shampoos, shower gel, toothpastes and liquid soaps, which have been questioned for some years because they are reputed carcinogenic compounds. Currently there is no scientific literature that proves the carcinogenicity of these two surfactants; instead, there are many data on the undesirable effects of these substances. The SLS is a degreaser, also used to clean engines, mechanical workshops and as a paint stripper. It can be irritating to the skin and eyes and increases the permeability of the skin, which is obviously dangerous when other potentially damaging substances are present. It can delay the healing of lesions of the cornea and can damage it (depending on concentration and contact time) especially in children. SLES, on the other hand, can react with other substances commonly found in cosmetics, leading to the formation of nitrosamines (toxic substances that can penetrate through the skin). All this does not authorize to consider necessarily dangerous products containing SLS and SLES, since much depends on the concentration of the active ingredient, the other substances contained and the time of contact with the skin. However, it is important to stress that these are two surfactants with a strong environmental impact, whose degreasing action, if not balanced by the presence of other more delicate surfactants, can be harmful. They are completely absent in FLORA and PRIMAVERA products.

SYNTHETIC COLORANT: very often the cosmetic products presented as natural products are added with synthetic colorants that make the product more colored; the purpose of this addition is generally to induce the consumer to consider the product very rich in plant extracts. They are completely absent in FLORA and PRIMAVERA products.

SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCES: these are the perfumes obtained completely by synthesis in the laboratory through a chemical process. In almost all synthetic perfumes are found the FTALATES: they are chemical compounds that are creating a lot of alarm as they seem to have negative effects on the human reproductive system, especially male, and also toxic effects on the fetus. They are completely absent in FLORA and PRIMAVERA products.

SYNTHETIC SOLUBILIZERS: these are substances mainly used to disperse synthetic perfumes in conventional cosmetic products; these are generally rather aggressive substances for the skin, often produced with OILIDE OF ETHYLENE. They are completely absent in FLORA and PRIMAVERA products.

THICKENERS: these are the surfactants that due to their generally vegetal nature, in contact with water form a delicate foam able to cleanse without attacking and removing the lipids present physiologically in the skin. The foam obtained with these substances is less voluminous than that obtained with traditional surfactants but certainly softer and more pleasant.

UNSAPONIFIABLE MATTER: they are extracts of natural vegetable oils, the vegetable oil treated with some substances (such as soda) forms the classic solid "soap" . A part of the oil, however, does not take part in this transformation and remains unaltered: this fraction of the oil takes the name of unsaponifiable (ie that does not turn into soap). In this portion we can find very valuable ingredients for the skin with a restorative and elasticizing function. Among the richest raw materials of unsaponifiable there are olive oil, avocado oil and shea butter.


UNSATURED FATTY ACID: fatty acids are the fundamental constituents of natural lipids, fat structural components of the cell membrane. Among the fatty acids the unsaturated ones (eg linoleic acid) are fluids and are the most precious to nourish the skin and keep the tissues in excellent condition.

VECTOR: it is the means in which the essential oils have to be diluted to be conveyed safely inside the skin, as they can not be spread as such on the skin. Being the essential oils liposoluble (melt in fats) the ideal bases for their mixing are generally vegetable oils or neutral creams, clays, muds and salts.

VEGETABLE EXTRACTS: they are liquid preparations (fluid extracts), solid (dry extracts) or intermediate consistency (soft extracts) obtained from fresh or more commonly dried plant drugs, by means of suitable extraction processes which require the use of appropriate solvents ( chosen in relation to the type of active ingredients to be extracted) and the use of maceration or other suitable procedures. It will be the degree of removal of the solvent to decree the consistency of the plant extract. Whatever the extraction technique used, the production of a plant extract begins with the selection of the drug, ie the part of the plant used for therapeutic purposes.

VEGETABLE SURFACTANTS: they are substances capable of lowering the surface "tension" of a solution, derived from a plant base suitably modified to obtain the detergent capacity (main function), ie the ability to form a film around the fat particles to eliminate them with the water. The plant base can consist of sugars, vegetable oils or other natural fats.

VEGETABLE THICKENERS: they are substances derived from a plant base suitably modified to obtain the emulsifying capacity, that is the ability to create an emulsion (for example a cream or a cleansing milk) starting from an aqueous phase and an oily phase, which would otherwise separate. The plant base can consist of sugars, vegetable oils or other natural fats.

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