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Llex Paraguariensis - Ivy Extract

Beauty and Cosmetic Dictionary - I


Ilex paraguariensis. See yerba mate extract.

Illicium vernum. See anise.

imidazolidinyl urea. Formaldehyde-releasing preservative (Source: Contact Dermatitis, December 2000, pages 339-343). See formaldehyde-releasing preservative.

Imperata cylindrica root extract. There is no research to support the claims that this extract has any benefit for skin (Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Nutritional Products, Labeling, and Dietary Supplements September 10, 2001,

in vitro. Literally means "in glass." It refers to a biochemical process or reaction tested in a Petri dish or test tube, rather than one taking place in a living cell, organism, animal, or person.

in vivo. Refers to a biological or chemical process or reaction taking place in a living cell, organism, animal, or person.

inactive ingredient. The inactive ingredients list is the part of an ingredient label that is not regulated by the FDA, although the FDA does require the complete listing of contents. These are given in descending order of concentration; that is, the largest concentration is listed first, then the next largest, and so forth. Thousands and thousands of inactive ingredients are used in cosmetics, and there is controversy as to how truly inactive these substances are in regard to safety as well as about their long-term or short-term effects on skin or the human body.

Indian gooseberry. Can have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-mutagenic properties (Sources: International Journal of Oncology, July 2002, pages 187-192; and Planta Medica, 1997, volume 63, number 6, pages 518-524).

inositol. Major component of lecithin and may have water-binding properties for skin. It is not a vitamin, though it is sometimes mistakenly thought of as a B vitamin.

insulinlike growth factor (IGF). Stimulates fat cells and connective tissue cells. See human growth factor.

intercellular matrix. "Mortar" that holds layers of skin cells together, creating a firm natural barrier. Preserving the intercellular layer intact keeps bacteria out, moisture in, and the skin's surface smooth. See natural moisturizing factors.

interleukins (IL). Stimulate growth of white blood cells. See human growth factor.

International Units. Often abbreviated as IU; a system used to measure vitamin dosage. However, there is no fixed definition for IU, as there is for grams, milligrams, or ounces. The actual amount in a particular international unit depends on the specific substance being measured. For example, 1000 IU of vitamin A (retinol) has a different weight than 1000 IU of natural vitamin E, and natural vitamin E has a different weight than synthetic vitamin E. For example, 1 IU of vitamin A (retinol) weighs 0.3 micrograms or 0.0003 milligrams; 1 IU of vitamin C weighs 25 nanograms or 0.000025 milligrams; and 1 IU of natural vitamin E weighs 0.67 milligrams (Sources: National Institutes of Health,; and Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition,

Inula helenium. See elecampane.

inulin. Natural plant carbohydrate. It is used in foods due to its fatlike feel and texture while being low in calories. Inulin yields about 1.5 calories per gram, compared to 4 calories per gram for carbohydrates like sugar and 9 calories per gram for fat. In cosmetics it is used as a thickening agent.

iodopropynyl butylcarbamate. Used as a preservative in cosmetics. See preservatives.

Iris florentina extract. See orris root.

Irish moss extract. A type of red algae. See algae.

iron oxides. Compounds of iron that are used as colorings in some cosmetics. They are used as a metal polish called jewelers' rouge, and are well-known in their crude form as rust.

Irvingia gabonensis kernel extract. Used medicinally in West Africa to relieve pain. It has been shown to have narcotic analgesic properties. There is no research showing the extract to be of benefit for skin (Source: Journal of Ethnopharmacology, February 1995, pages 125-129).


isocetyl salicylate. See sodium salicylate.

Isodonis japonicus extract. Fragrant plant extract that contains terpenes. It can be a skin irritant. See volatile oil.

Isodonis trichocarpus extract. Fragrant plant extract that contains terpenes. It can be a skin irritant. See volatile oil.

isoflavone. Plant estrogen with potent antioxidant properties (Source: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, December 2001, pages 1570-1581).

isohexadecane. Used as a detergent cleansing agent, emulsifier, and thickening agent in cosmetics.

isoleucine. See amino acid.

isoparaffin. See paraffin.

isopropyl alcohol. See alcohol.

isopropyl lanolate. Derived from lanolin, it is used in cosmetics as a thickening agent and emollient.

isopropyl myristate. Used in cosmetics as a thickening agent and emollient. Historically, animal testing has shown it to be a cause of clogged pores (Source: Archives of Dermatology, June 1986, pages 660-665). That type of testing was eventually considered unreliable and there is no subsequent research showing this ingredient to be any more of a problem for skin than other emollient, waxy ingredients used in cosmetics.

isopropyl palmitate. Used in cosmetics as a thickening agent and emollient. As is true for any emollient or thickening agent, it can potentially clog pores, depending on the amount used in the product.

isotretinoin. See Accutane.


IU. See International Units.

ivy extract. See English ivy.