Glossary Terms – S



A watery solution of sugars, salts and minerals that circulates through a plant’s vascular system.


The reaction between a caustic alkali (lye) and the fatty acids in a vegetable oil or animal fat that results in soap.

Secondary Direct Food Additive

A secondary direct food additive has a technical effect in food during processing but not in the finished food (e.g., processing aid).


The semi-solid material left after the oil is expressed from a seed.


The outer protective covering of a seed.


The fluid part of the blood that remains after blood cells, platelets, and fibrogen have been removed.

Skin Bleaching Agent

Ingredients that bleach or lighten skin by suppressing melanin (pigment) formation within skin cells. In the United States, skin bleaching agents are regulated as Over-The-Counter (OTC) drug ingredients

Skin Protectant

An ingredient that temporarily protects injured or exposed skin from harmful or annoying stimuli, and that may provide relief to such skin. In the United States, skin protectants are regulated as Over-The-Counter (OTC) drug ingredients.

Skin-Conditioning Agent – Emollient

Ingredients that act as lubricants on the skin surface, which give the skin a soft and smooth appearance.

Skin-Conditioning Agent – Humectant

Ingredients that increase the water content of the top layers of the skin by drawing moisture from the surrounding air.

Skin-Conditioning Agent – Miscellaneous

Ingredients that enhance the appearance of dry or damaged skin by reducing flaking and restoring suppleness.

Skin-Conditioning Agent – Occlusive

Ingredients that slow the loss of water from the skin by forming a barrier on the skin’s surface.

Slip Modifier

Ingredients that help other substances to flow more easily and more smoothly, without reacting chemically.


Substances, usually liquids, that are used to dissolve other substances.


A small usually single-celled reproductive body produced by plants and some microorganisms and capable of development into a new individual.


A multi-cellular body where spores are developed in red algae, lichens, etc.


A young shoot from a recently germinated seed, often very rich in vitamin C.


A complex carbohydrate widely distributed among plants. It is the chief storage form of carbohydrates in plants.


A class of solid cyclic unsaturated alcohols found in plant and animal tissues. Sterols are waxy and insoluble in water.

Sunscreen Agent

Ingredients that are applied to the skin to absorb, to reflect, or to scatter UV rays. In the United States, sunscreen agents are regulated as Over-The-Counter (OTC) drug ingredients.

Surface Modifier

Substances that are added to other cosmetic ingredients to make those ingredients either attract or repel water.


An ingredient that helps two substances that normally do not mix to become dissolved or dispersed in one another. Also called a surface active agent.

Surfactant – Cleansing Agent

Surfactants that clean skin and hair by helping water to mix with oil and dirt so that they can be rinsed away.

Surfactant – Emulsifying Agent

Surfactants that help to form emulsions by reducing the surface tension of the substances to be emulsified.

Surfactant – Foam Booster

Surfactants that increase foaming capacity or that stabilize foams.

Surfactant – Hydrotrope

Surfactants that have the ability to enhance the water solubility of another surfactant.

Surfactant – Solubilizing Agent

Surfactants that help another ingredient to dissolve in a solvent in which it would not normally dissolve.

Surfactant – Suspending Agent

Surfactant – suspending agents function by modifying a solid’s surface characteristics by adsorption. Changing the surface properties of a solid, keeps the particles from coming together and falling out of solution.

Suspending Agent – Nonsurfactant

Suspending agents – nonsurfactant modify the interface between solid particles and the liquid medium to improve the particles’ resistance to settling. Many of these substances are gums and polymers.


An organelle-like structure formed within the root nodule of certain plants when bacteria are imported into a plant cell and become surrounded by a plant membrane. Symbiosomes are thought to contain a mixture of plant- and bacteria-derived proteins.