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a to z of beauty

All your Beauty needs in one Place
We at i4beauty do not believe it should be necessary to visit site after site looking first for an explanation of beauty terms, and then, if required, a salon, therapist, or supplier who can satisfy any requirements. To this end, the A-Z of Beauty is a comprehensive database of both health and beauty terms.

Simply select a letter from the list below and and read the definitions provided!

a to z pic
If the term you have searched for is a form of treatment, it should then be possible, via our Directory Search facility, to find a salon, therapist or supplier to satisfy your needs.

Our database is being updated constantly. If you do not find the term you are looking for either call back, or contact us. We will do our best to find the information you are looking for and e-mail you.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | J | K | L | M | N | P | R | S | T | U | W
Anaerobic Exercise
Any exercise made up of short, sharp bursts of intense muscular activity. When the blood supply is unable to provide the muscles with sufficient oxygen, they instead rely on lactic acid which, while building up rapidly in the muscles, also causes the onset of fatigue and even cramp. Tennis and squash are examples of Anaerobic Exercise.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Abdominal Reduction
Another term for the procedure officially known as Abdominoplasty, more commonly referred to as a Tummy Tuck. The procedure involves the removal of excess fat and skin and can also involve the improvement of abdominal scars and the tightening of stomach muscles.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Abdominoplasty
The official term for what is commonly known as a Tummy Tuck or Abdominal Reduction. The procedure involves the removal of excess fat and skin and can also involve the improvement of abdominal scars and the tightening of stomach muscles.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Acetic Acid
The acid present in vinegar, Acetic Acid is sometimes used as an astringent.
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Acupressure
A form of acupuncture in which fingers and thumbs are used to press on the body's chi points instead of the needles used in the former. The therapy removes muscular tension, and therefore increases the flow of blood – and by inference oxygen and nutrients – to the tissues of the body. Useful in the relief of pain and the restoration of both physical and mental health by unblocking clogged meridians, the pathways that lead to and from the major internal organs.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Acupuncture
An ancient method of healing, originally Chinese, where fine needles are introduced to specific energy points of the body, just under the skin, thereby stimulating the mind and body's own healing response.
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Aerobics
Any exercise activity that is rhythmic in nature, can be maintained for long periods of time, and that involves using large muscle groups. From ‘Aerobic’ meaning "with or in the presence of oxygen".
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Aesthetic Surgery
A largely American term for Cosmetic Surgery.
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Age Spots (Lentigines)
Dark areas on exposed parts of the skin that come with age. Generally caused by exposure to the sun, they are most common on the face, legs and the backs of the hands. Can also be caused by prolonged and extensive use of sunbeds, where they are more likely to occur on the shoulders, back and chest.
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Alexander Technique, The
A method of re-educating the mind and body to improve awareness of personal movement and posture in order to increase ease of movement and release of harmful tension in the body.
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Allantoin
Plant extract with soothing and healing properties.
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Almond Oil
Vitamin-rich (Vitamin A) vegetable oil derived from almonds. Almond Oil has excellent natural moisturising properties and is particularly beneficial to dry skin.
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Aloe Vera
Cactus-like plant of the genus Aloe used both internally and externally for centuries because of its beneficial healing properties.
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Alpha Hydroxy
A naturally occurring acid with exfoliating properties, derived from fruit and milk sugars.
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Anise
A cheering, even mildly euphoric Essential Oil, Anise is also added to perfumes to give them a rich and sweet bouquet. It’s even added to liquorice and chewing gum to give them their distinctive flavour!
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Apitherapy
The use of products manufactured by bees. Said to be useful for the treatment of numerous disorders ranging from Muscular Sclerosis to Pre-menstrual Tension. The products used are honey, royal jelly, pollen, propolis, beeswax and bee venom.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Arnica
A herb useful for the treatment of bruises, sprains, boils, rheumatic pain etc. Available in both tablet and cream form.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Aromatherapy
Beauty treatment involving the use of specialised massage techniques and incorporating the use of Essential Oils. Widely used for stress relief, minute amounts of the oils are absorbed by the skin and the whole treatment is further enhanced by the inhalation of the pleasant aromas.
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Ascorbic Acid
Vitamin C.
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Autogenic Training
Autogenic Training is a system of specific, auto-suggestive formulas used to induce feelings of peace and well-being. Also known as Autogenics, it is a form of relaxation therapy useful for the treatment of stress and stress related disorders, i.e. eczema, irritable bowel syndrome etc. It has even been used in the treatment of AIDS, depression, insomnia and high blood pressure.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

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Ba Gua Zhang
An ancient Chinese martial art, Ba Gua Zhang is frequently referred to as Pa Kua Chang. Literally translated from the original Chinese it means ‘the art of eight diagrams palm’ and, like Tai Chi, can be practised at any age.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Basil Oil
An Essential Oil with spirit-uplifting properties. Basil Oil relieves mental fatigue and encourages concentration when used in a vaporiser.
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Benzoyl Peroxide
Antibacterial agent in common use in acne treatments.
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Bergamot
An Essential Oil, like Basil, said to have uplifting properties. Its antiseptic properties also make it ideal for problem skin.
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Beta-glucan
Derived from yeast, Beta-glucan is believed to enhance the body's immune system and lower cholesterol levels.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Biofeedback
Largely used for stress-related conditions, Biofeedback is essentially a machine-assisted self-help technique. With the initial aid of sensitive meters, lights or auditory signals that monitor minute individual metabolic changes, an individual ultimately learns to regulate their own heart rate, breathing, skin temperature and muscle tension and to remove stress. The treatment is also used to alleviate conditions such as asthma, insomnia, migraines and high blood pressure. Research is continuing into the possible benefits of Biofeedback to sufferers of numerous other conditions, including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and even motion sickness.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Biotin
A water-soluble vitamin, part of vitamin B complex. Essential for cell growth and for the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Can be used to treat certain skin conditions such as dermatitis, as well as improving both hair and nail condition.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Bowen Technique, The
A series of gentle moves on the skin resulting in a state of overall relaxation which allows the body to recharge and balance itself. Useful for the treatment of musculoskeletal problems – sports injuries, back pain etc.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Buteyko
Developed by Doctor Konstantin Pavlovich Buteyko, who was born near Kiev in 1923, Buteyko offers a drug-free approach to the management and control of asthma and other breathing-related health problems. Developed using a scientific approach, Buteyko is not a medical treatment or procedure, neither does it involve medication of any kind. It teaches instead the control and management of breathing-related problems by a number of simple breathing techniques unique to this therapy.
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Callus
An excessive build-up of hard, thick, tissue or skin.
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Cedarwood
An Essential Oil, like many, with a multitude of uses. Ideal for oily and problem skin, and as a massage oil for hair and scalp.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Cinnamon
An Essential Oil, Cinnamon Oil makes an excellent tonic and is said to lift the spirits as well as aiding digestion and circulation.
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Citronella Oil
An Essential Oil widely used as an antiseptic and found in soaps and deodorisers. It is also said to improve appetite and improve digestion, to tone the kidneys and is even effective as an insect repellent.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Cognitive Therapy
A behavioural therapy that boosts self-confidence
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Collagen
A naturally occurring and important protein found within the human body. No less than 75% of our skin is made up of Collagen. In beauty terms, it is frequently injected into the skin in order to enhance certain areas of the body.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Colour Therapy
A treatment using colour to balance energy throughout the mind and body. Includes the use of tools such as wands, prisms, coloured fabrics etc.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Creatine
A natural substance found in many food sources. Easily stored in muscle tissue, Creatine is frequently found in bodybuilding supplements.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Cupping
Used in China since the third century BC, Cupping involves the use of small glass, bamboo or ceramic suction cups to remove impure energy from the body. A small match is lit inside the cup which, when removed quickly, allows the flame to create a partial vacuum so that the cup sticks tightly to the skin. On occasions a needle is inserted into the skin and a cup placed over it. Cupping generally involves the use of several cups on the same area of the body. The cups are left in place for 10 to 15 minutes while the vacuum creates the suction effect with increases circulation and blood flow. Helpful in treating such conditions as lumbago and rheumatism.
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Dance Therapy
Dance Therapy has its roots in the 1920s, and in particular with the American dancer and choreographer, Marion Chace. In addition to being a star performer, Chase also taught in schools and hospitals, and rapidly recognised the benefits of what is now known as Dance Therapy, as a means of expression to people with certain emotional and psychological needs. She recognised that the body's movements are an outward reflection of the state of the mind, and that rhythmically guiding a patient’s movements through dancing can bring about physical harmony together with emotional, spiritual and mental peace.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Depilate
To remove hair from the surface of the skin.
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Dermal
Of or related to the skin
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Dermatitis
Inflammation of the skin.
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Dermis
The thick layer of tissue laying beneath the outer layer of the skin.
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Dihydroxyacetone (DHA)
Self-tanning agent used in cosmetics.
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Eau de Parfum
Concentrated perfume.
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Electrolysis
A permanent hair removal method involving the use of a machine which passes a current through a needle. The resultant blend of heat cauterisation and chemical change in the hair follicle results in the effective decomposition of the hair itself.
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Emollient
An agent that softens or soothes the skin.
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Epidermis
The outer layers of the skin.
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Epilate
To remove hair from beneath the surface of the skin.
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Esthetician
American term for a beauty specialist.
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Exfoliate
To remove layers of the skin.
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Eyebrow Shaping
The use of either depilatory wax or tweezers to remove stray hairs and to redefine the natural shape of the eyebrows.
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Eyebrow Tinting
The use of vegetable dyes to emphasise the shape of the eyebrows.
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Eyelash Tinting
The use of vegetable dyes to emphasise the shape of the eyelashes.
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Follicle
A small, sac-shaped cavity from which the root of a hair grows.
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G5 Gyratory Massage
A mechanical massage technique that creates a deeper and longer-lasting effect on the muscular tissue than normal massage. Helps relieve muscle tension as well as improving circulation. Useful in the fight against cellulite and generally improves skin texture.
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Homeopathy
An alternative system of medicine working on a similar principle to vaccination. A disease can be cured by introducing tiny amounts of a natural substance that is capable of reproducing in a healthy person, symptoms similar to those being experienced by the sufferer.
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Humectant
Any substance that attracts or preserves moisture.
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Hydrate
In beauty terms, to add moisture to the skin.
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Hydroquinone
A bleaching solution, useful for people with fair skin, used in skin preparations.
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Hypodermis
The area beneath the surface of the skin.
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Jasmine
An Essential Oil extracted from this ornamental shrub.
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Jin Shin Jyutsu
Jin Shin Jyutsu is an ancient Japanese healing art, rediscovered in the early part of the last century by Jiro Murai, and brought to the west by American Mary Burmeister in 1950. It endeavours to harmonise mind, body and spirit and to redress any imbalance in the body's energy system by touch alone. Fingertips are gently applied, over clothing, to the body's twenty-six "safety energy locks" to release tension and to ensure the smooth flow of energy through the body’s meridians. Commonly used to relieve stress and tension, Jin Shin has also been successfully used to treat numerous other disorders including respiratory conditions, appetite disorders and pain.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Jojoba
Oily extract from the seeds of the plant of the same name, used as a skin tonic and moisturiser.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Juniper
An Essential Oil, extracted from the cones of the eponymous shrub. Also used in the making of gin, which might help to explain the fact that it also considered a mild skin stimulant! It is also considered a cleansing oil, beneficial to oily and difficult skin.
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Keloid
Fibrous tissue forming a heavy scar.
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Kojic Acid
Derived from a variety of fungi and organic substances, Kojic Acid is a recently discovered treatment for age spots and other pigmentation problems. In short, it is a skin-lightening agent.
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La Stone Therapy
LaStone Therapy was devised in 1993 by Mary Nelson-Hannigan. Born in Tucson, Arizona, Nelson-Hannigan, a licensed massage therapist and graduate of The Desert Institute of The Healing Arts, devised her own form of Thermotherapy to open up the body’s energy channels using a combination of stones of varying temperatures. LaStone Therapy is one of the fastest growing massage techniques in America today, and is rapidly developing a firm following in Europe and the rest of the world.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Lentigines
Age spots.
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Macrobiotics
The study or practice of prolonging life by the use of a healthy dietary regime.
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Magneto Therapy
Magneto Therapy, also known as Magnetic or Bio-Magnetic Therapy, is a comparatively new treatment. While, like Buteyko, it is a drugless therapy, it is perhaps unique in Complementary Therapy terms in that it does not disbar the concurrent use of medicines from other therapies or treatments. If anything, it is considered these can only help speed up the healing process. Perhaps the easiest and cheapest of alternative treatments, Magneto Therapy involves the use of two prescribed magnets to regulate and improve blood circulation and to regulate the body’s nervous, respiratory and other natural systems. It is both safe and non-invasive.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Mandelic Acid
An alpha hydroxy acid with pigment lightening properties.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Manicure
From the Latin ‘manus’ meaning hand, and ‘cura’ meaning care, a manicure is quite literally a treatment of the hands and nails.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Melanin
Dark-brown or black pigmentation found in the hair or skin.
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Melanoma
Malignant tumour occurring in the skin, characterised by black or dark-brown pigmentation.
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Nose Reshaping
Surgery performed on the nose in order to alter its size, shape or both. Properly known as Rhinoplasty.
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Patchouli Oil
A member of the lavender family, Patchouli oil originates in Bengal, India. Distilled from the dried branches of the eponymous plant, its anti-inflammatory properties make it useful as an antiseptic for minor burns. Its strong, earthy smell also make it beneficial for soothing irritated nerves.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Pedicure
From the Latin ‘pedis’ meaning foot, and ‘cura’ meaning care, a pedicure is quite literally a treatment of the feet and nails.
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Photoaging
Skin damage caused by excessive sun exposure.
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Reconstructive Therapy
Reconstructive therapy uses injections of natural substances to stimulate the growth of connective tissue in order to strengthen weak or damaged tendons or ligaments. As a simple cost-effective alternative to drug and surgical treatments, reconstructive therapy is an effective treatment for degenerative arthritis, lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, migraine headaches, and torn ligaments and cartilage
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Retinol
Active form of Vitamin A formed from the betacarotene found in the likes of green leafy vegetables and yellow/orange fruit and vegetables.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Rhinoplasty
Surgery performed on the nose in order to alter its size, shape or both. Also known as Nose Reshaping.
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Sclerotherapy
Commonly known as ‘Thread Vein Treatment’, Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a ‘sclerosing agent’ into the superficial telangiectasia (thread or spider veins) that appear more commonly with age. The solution destroys the inner lining of these blood vessels, removing their ability to carry blood, without affecting the surround tissue.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

SPF
Sun Protection Factor. The higher the SPF, the greater the protection from the sun.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Subdermal Therapy
A non-invasive therapeutic massage treatment involving the use of equipment which applies pneumatic pressure to manipulate the skin and the underlying muscle, and to improve circulation.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Sugaring
A semi-permanent hair removal system practised for thousands of years which has its origins in ancient Egypt. When warmed, the natural ingredients turn into a pliable paste which sticks to the hairs and allows their easy removal. Each treatment lasts approximately four to six weeks.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Sunblock
A cream or ointment which provides protection from the harmful affects of the sun’s rays.
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Surfactant
In literal terms, any substance which reduces surface tension. An active agent that permits oil to mix with water.
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Thread Vein Treatment
The more common term for what is officially known as Sclerotherapy. The treatment involves the injection of a ‘sclerosing agent’ into the superficial telangiectasia (thread or spider veins) that appear more commonly with age. The solution destroys the inner lining of these blood vessels, removing their ability to carry blood, without affecting the surround tissue.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Thread Veins
Tiny blood vessels that appear increasingly with age immediately beneath the surface of the skin. Also known as spider veins. For treatment see ‘Sclerotherapy’ or ‘Thread Vein Treatment’.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Threading
A centuries-old semi-permanent hair removal system developed it is believed in the East. Threading involves the use of a twisted thread of cotton which, when rolled over the skin, catches the hairs and plucks them out. Since it does not involve the application of any substance, it is generally considered less traumatic to the skin than either waxing or sugaring.
© i4beauty 2000-2001

Tummy Tuck
The common term for what also known as Abdominal Reduction or Abdominoplasty. The procedure involves the removal of excess fat and skin and can also involve the improvement of abdominal scars and the tightening of stomach muscles.
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Urine Therapy
In essence, a self-administered, health-promoting therapy involving either the internal or external use of one’s own urine.
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Waxing
A semi-permanent hair removal treatment involving the use of warm wax and paper waxing strips. Each treatment lasts approximately four to six weeks.
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