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VA/crotonates - Volatile oil

Beauty and Cosmetic Glossary - V


VA/crotonates. Film-forming agent. See film-forming agent.

VA/crotonates copolymer. See VA/crotonates.

Vaccinium myrtillus. See bilberry extract.

valerian. Extract of the common herb valerian (Valeriana officinalis). There is definitely research showing that it is effective at improving sleep patterns when taken orally (Source: Pharmacopsychiatry, March 2000, pages 47-53). There is no research showing that it has any effect when applied topically on skin.

valine. See amino acid.

Vanilla planifolia fruit extract. Used primarily as a fragrance and flavoring agent. The vanilla plant is a source of catechins (also known as polyphenols), which exhibit antioxidant activity and serve as anti-inflammatory agents (Source: Drugs Experimental Clinical Research, 2004; 30(1):1-10).

vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Stimulates the growth of blood vessels. See human growth factor.

verbena extract. Fragrant extract that can be a skin irritant.

Veronica officinalis extract. There is no research showing this extract to have any benefit for skin (Source: Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database,

vetiver oil or extract. Fragrant component in skin-care products that also has some antibacterial properties (Source: Applied Microbiology, June 1999, pages 985-990). It can also be a skin sensitizer.

Vinca minor extract. See periwinkle.

vinegar. Consists of acetic acid and water. The color and flavor of the vinegar is determined by and varies with the alcoholic liquor or juice that is used to ferment the acetic acid (such as apple cider or wine). It does have mild disinfecting and antifungal properties, but according to a study in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology (January 2000), commercial disinfectants are far more effective in killing germs and bacteria than vinegar. Vinegar can be a skin irritant.

Viola tricolor extract. See pansy extract.

vitamin A. Considered a good antioxidant in some of its various forms, particularly as retinol and retinyl palmitate. See retinol.

vitamin B1. See thiamin HCL.

vitamin B12. May be effective in the treatment of psoriasis (Source: Dermatology, 2001, volume 203, number 2, pages 141-147). Overall there is limited research showing vitamin B12 to have any benefit when applied topically on skin.

vitamin B2. There is no research showing this to have any benefit when applied topically to skin. However, there is a small amount of research showing that riboflavin may be photosensitizing and thus cause the breakdown of skin (Sources: Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 1997, volume 22, number 7, pages 1139-1144; and Toxicology Letters, August 1985, pages 211-217).

vitamin B3. See niacinamide.

vitamin B5. Also known as pantothenic acid. See pantothenic acid.

vitamin B6. There is no research showing it to have benefit for skin.

vitamin C. Considered a potent antioxidant for skin (Sources: Journal of Investigative Dermatology, February 2002, pages 372-379, and June 2001, pages 853-859; and Toxicology in Vitro, August-October 2001, pages 357-362). Claims that vitamin C can prevent or eliminate wrinkling are not proven. An article in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (January 2000, pages 464-465) discussed the issue of vitamin C and concluded that Vitamin C is a valuable antioxidant and protectant against photodamage that is created by sunlight in both the UVB and UVA bands. Although oral supplementation may also be useful, topical preparations are able to deliver a higher dosage to the needed area. Topical vitamin C does not absorb or block harmful ultraviolet radiation like a sunscreen. Instead, it augments the skins ability to neutralize reactive oxygen singlets [free-radical damage] that are created by the ultraviolet radiation, thereby preventing photodamage to the skin. It becomes an integral part of the skin and remains unaffected by bathing, exercise, clothing, or makeup. Used appropriately, topical vitamin C is an important adjunct to the use of sunscreens, an adjunctive treatment to lessen erythema [redness] in skin resurfacing, a helpful adjunct or an alternative to Retin-A in the treatment of fine wrinkles, and a stimulant to wound healing.

vitamin D. Provides no known benefit for skin when applied topically, though it may have antioxidant benefits. Vitamin D formed in the skin by sunlight, or in an oral supplement form, is essential for health.

vitamin E. Considered an antioxidant superstar. Vitamin E is a lipid-soluble vitamin (meaning it likes fat better than water) that has eight different forms, of which some are known for being excellent antioxidants when applied topically to skin, particularly alpha tocopherol and the tocotrienols (Sources: Current Problems in Dermatology, 2001, volume 29, pages 26-42; Free Radical Biology and Medicine, May 1997, pages 761-769; Journal of Nutrition, February 2001, pages 369S-373S; and International Journal of Radiation Biology, June 1999, pages 747-755). However, other studies have indicated the acetate form (tocopherol acetate) is also bioavailable and protective for skin (Source: Journal of Cosmetic Science, January-February 2001, pages 35-50). And still other research points to tocopherol sorbate as providing significant antioxidant protection against ultraviolet radiation-induced oxidative damage (Source: Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 1995, pages 484-488). Pointing to the significance of vitamin E for skin is an article in the Journal of Molecular Medicine (January 1995, pages 7-17), which states: More than other tissues, the skin is exposed to numerous environmental chemical and physical agents such as ultraviolet light causing oxidative stress [free-radical damage]. In the skin this results in several short- and long-term adverse effects such as erythema [redness], edema [swelling], skin thickening, wrinkling, and an increased incidence of skin cancer. Vitamin E is the major naturally occurring lipid-soluble antioxidant protecting skin from the adverse effects of oxidative stress including photoaging [sun damage]. Many studies document that vitamin E occupies a central position as a highly efficient antioxidant, thereby providing possibilities to decrease the frequency and severity of pathological events in the skin.

In essence, vitamin E functions in the body and on the skin to protect cells against free-radical damage, and an abundant assortment of researchers from diversified medical fields have theorized that this can slow the aging process (Sources: Skin Pharmacology and Applied Skin Physiology, November-December 2001, pages 363-372; and Free Radical Biology and Medicine, October 1999, pages 729-737). Theory is not fact, yet the research is definitely compelling for this ingredient. Right now, though, we simply don't know how much is needed or how long it lasts, and whether any of the benefit shows up as a reduction of wrinkles.

vitamin E for scars. There is no evidence that vitamin E can help heal scars, and, because of skin sensitivity, it can actually impede the healing process for some. A report of research published in Dermatologic Surgery (April 1999, pages 311-315), in an article titled The effects of topical vitamin E on the cosmetic appearance of scars, concluded that the study shows that there is no benefit to the cosmetic outcome of scars by applying vitamin E after skin surgery and that the application of topical vitamin E may actually be detrimental to the cosmetic appearance of a scar. In 90% of the cases in this study, topical vitamin E either had no effect on, or actually worsened, the cosmetic appearance of scars. Of the patients studied, 33% developed a contact dermatitis to the vitamin E. Therefore we conclude that use of topical vitamin E on surgical wounds should be discouraged. The study was done double-blind with patients given two ointments each labeled A or B. A was Aquaphor, a regular emollient, and the B was Aquaphor mixed with vitamin E. The scars were randomly divided into parts A and B. Patients were asked to put the A ointment on part A and the B ointment on part B twice daily for 4 weeks. Antioxidants are definitely an option for skin, but, for preventing scars, vitamin E directly applied on skin does not appear to be one of them.

vitamin F. Name sometimes used to represent essential fatty acids of linoleic acid and linolenic acid. These are considered essential fatty acids (EFA) because they cannot be produced by the body. There are many fatty acids that have benefit for skin, including arachidonic, eicosapentaenoic, docosahexaenoic, and oleic acids to name a few. These all have emollient, water-binding, and often antioxidant properties for skin. See gamma linolenic acid, and linoleic acid.

vitamin H. See biotin.

vitamin K. Some cosmetics companies sell creams and lotions containing vitamin K, claming it can reduce or eliminate surfaced spider veins (technically referred to as telangiectasias). These creams can't change spider veins. The only research concerning vitamin K's effectiveness on skin or surfaced spider veins comes from the companies selling these products. There are no published or peer-reviewed studies that add up to results you can even remotely count on (Source: Archives of Dermatology, December 1998, pages 1512-1514).

Vitex trifoliar fruit extract. See chaste tree.

Vitis vinifera. Latin name for the vines producing wine grapes. See grape, and grape seed extract.

Vitreoscilla ferment. Made from a bacteria that can help cells utilize oxygen better in vitro (Source: Journal of Biotechnology, January 2001, pages 57-66). Whether that effect can be translated to benefit skin cells via a cosmetic formulation is unknown.

volatile oil. Group of volatile fluids derived primarily from plants, and used in cosmetics primarily as fragrant additives. These components most often include a mix of alcohols, ketones, phenols, linalool, borneol, terpenes, camphor, pinene, acids, ethers, aldehydes, and sulfur, which all have extremely irritating and sensitizing effects on skin. 

VA/crotonates - Volatile oil