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glossary

Find the complete definitions of terms used on the website.

Allergen
A protein substance present in the environment which causes an allergic reaction. When an allergen (of animal, plant or chemical origin) enters the body it produces diverse pathological symptoms such as a rash, asthma and eczema. An allergen is sometimes made up of a combination of several substances.
Anti-fungal
Something which destroys the microscopic fungi responsible for fungal infections.
Antioxidant
Antioxidants are substances - vitamins, trace elements, micronutrients - which inhibit the oxidation of other chemical substances and protect the body against the damage caused by free radicals.
Free radicals are naturally present in the body, but our cells can sometimes produce them in excessive quantities when we are exposed to pollution, smoking and UV rays, for example. This can lead to premature cell aging and the development of certain diseases.
Atopic dermatitis
Or atopic eczema. Eczema which is said to be "constitutional" because it occurs when there is a genetic, or inherited, tendency to develop the condition. The eczema appears in infants on the cheeks, creases of the elbows and knees, it can be weeping, crusting and very pruriginous, with a risk of secondary infection. Atopic dermatitis is therefore an allergic mechanism with a very severe reaction which damages the skin and mucous membranes.
Atopy
A hereditary predisposition to various types of allergy (eczema, asthma, etc.) on contact with everyday allergens that are harmless to normal people.
Bacterial infections
Infections associated with the growth of bacteria.
Dermatitis
Inflammation of the skin.
Dermatosis
Generic name for all skin conditions and abnormalities.
Dermis
Connective tissue situated between the epidermis and the hypodermis, in which the skin's appendages are implanted.
Eczema
Eczema from the Greek word “ekzein” which means “to boil over”, covers a wide range of conditions such as atopic dermatitis, contact eczema which includes contact allergic dermatitis, irritant contact dermatitis and photodermatitis.
A skin condition characterised by dry red patches. In its acute forms the red patches can be weeping and crusting. In its chronic forms, the skin thickens, presenting dry scales and deep fissures.
Epidermis
The outermost layer of the skin.
The epidermis is made up of three cell populations: keratinocytes (which produce keratin responsible for solidity), melanocytes (which produce melanin responsible for colour) and Langerhans cells which live in symbiosis to create a formidable defence mechanism.
Erythema
A rash characterised by redness which disappears on finger pressure and reappears when the pressure is released. Usual causes: measles, roseola, urticaria, lupus and sun burn.
Excipient
An excipient serves as the medium for active ingredients. By its composition, it can modulate the active ingredient's penetration into the skin. Certain excipients favour an exclusively superficial action, others enable penetration through the stratum corneum, while others carry the active ingredient down to the dermis.
Fungal infections
Infections associated with the growth of fungi or microscopic yeast.
Hydrolipidic film
A protective layer that covers the epidermis. It is made up of a mixture of sweat and sebum.
Hypoallergenic
Describes a product which is formulated to minimise the risks of allergy. Its allergenic potential is evaluated by a clinical test.
Hypodermis
This is the skin's fatty cushion (made up of fat cells: adipocytes) which varies in thickness depending on the area of the body on which the dermis rests. It attaches the skin to the underlying muscles and bones.
Leucorrhoea
Non-bloody discharge from the female genitals. It can be the sign of an infection.
Menopause
A physiological condition which marks the end of fertility. The term menopause generally covers the gradual and then permanent cessation of monthly menstrual periods. Etymologically, menopause means the end of menstruation. In most cases it is accompanied by hot flushes, sweating, vaginal dryness and weakening of bone tissue.
Mucous membrane
Epithelium covering certain cavities of the body. It contains glands from which mucous can be secreted.
pH alkaline / pH neutral
pH (potential of hydrogen) corresponds to the degree of acidity or alkalinity. The pH determines the quantity of hydrogen ions present on a scale of 1 to 14. The pH is neutral with a value of 7. The pH is acid with a value from 1 to 7 and alkaline or basic from 7 to 14. The pH of skin is 6.5, for mucous membranes it is 5.5.
Pore
Orifice from which sweat is secreted.
Pruritus
Itching. Sensation on the skin that causes the desire to scratch.
Soap
A soap is a fatty acid salt produced from the reaction of a strong base (soda or potassium hydroxide) with a fat (triglycerides).
Soaps are pastes which can vary in their degree of solidity. The fats used are a mix of animal fat (tallow) or vegetable fat (palm, oil palm, olive oil etc.).
Surfactant
A molecule with a dual polarity. The head has a great affinity for water and the tail has a great affinity for oil. The surfactant family is very varied. Surfactants are mainly used as cleansing agents.
Surgras soap
Surgras soaps are enriched with surgras agents like lanolin and sweet almond oil, and contain a certain proportion of crude glycerine and glycerides. They protect the skin.
Syndet
A synthetic detergent created by the Americans during the second world war to lather in sea water. They are soap-free cleansers. They can be liquid or solid.
sensitive skin protection