Glossary Terms beginning with A

A

Abrasive

Ingredients used for abrading, smoothing or polishing, such as emery or pumice.

Absorbent

Ingredients that have the capacity to absorb or soak up liquids.

Action Level

The limit for a contaminant established by the Food and Drug Administration (or other regulatory body) where action may be taken against a product to remove it from the market or to otherwise ensure that the levels are reduced to acceptable levels.

Adhesive

Ingredients that unite or bond surfaces together.

Alcohol

Alcohols are a large class of important cosmetic ingredients but only ethanol needs to be denatured to prevent it from being redirected from cosmetic applications to alcoholic beverages.

Amino Acid

Organic compounds that are the building blocks of proteins.

Anti-acne Agent

Ingredients that reduce the number of acne blemishes, acne pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. In the United States, anti-acne agents are regulated as Over-The-Counter (OTC) drug ingredients.

Anticaking Agent

Ingredients or processing aids that prevent powdered or granular substances from forming clumps.

Anticaries Agent

Ingredients that aid in the prevention of dental cavities. In the United States, anticaries agents are regulated as Over-The-Counter (OTC) drug ingredients.

Antidandruff Agent

Ingredients that help to control dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, and psoriasis. In the United States, antidandruff agents are regulated as Over-The-Counter (OTC) drug ingredients.

Antifoaming Agent

Ingredients that reduce the tendency of finished products to generate foam when shaken.

Antifungal Agent

Ingredients that inhibit the growth and reproduction of fungal cells and decrease the number of fungi present. In the United States, antifungal agents are regulated as Over-The-Counter (OTC) drug ingredients.

Antimicrobial Agent

Ingredients that kill microorganisms, or prevent or inhibit their growth and reproduction. In the United States, antimicrobial agents are regulated as Over-The-Counter (OTC) drug ingredients.

Antioxidant

Ingredients that prevent or slow deterioration due to chemical reaction with oxygen.

Antiperspirant Agent

Ingredients that are applied to the skin to reduce the production of perspiration at the site of application. In the Unites States, antiperspirant agents are regulated as Over-The-Counter (OTC) drug ingredients.

Antistatic Agent

Ingredients that prevent or inhibit the buildup of static electricity.

Artificial Nail Builder

Ingredients that are used in nail enhancement products to build or lengthen the nail.