BIALife Glossary

One of our priorities as your BIALife mentors is to help you navigate through all the confusion out there about skin wellness and skin care. Through our experience, we have honed a unique perspective of looking at the largest organ in the body from a biological perspective, and seeing how it relates to our wellness and beauty.

Let’s talk honestly about these terms so that we can communicate clearly and effectively. As your BIALife mentors, we think understanding these concepts will provide an important foundation as you begin your journey to nurture the BEAUTY in YOU.


Alpha and beta hydroxy acids:

These antioxidants and chemical exfoliants are among our favorite skin care ingredients. AHAs and BHAs are often naturally occurring and fruit based. They help to improve skin cell turnover, unclog pores, exfoliate skin surface to reveal a brighter complexion, and help to address pigmentation concerns. Overuse of AHA/BHA or overzealous combination of these acids with other ingredients, however, can lead to irritation and frustration, so use them with care.


These are a group of skin care ingredients that transform, repair, and boost skin cell functions by neutralizing free radicals which are commonly a result of sun exposure or environmental stress. Antioxidants work synergistically with sunscreen to extend your skin’s youthfulness by preventing damage— think of them as greens for your skin.



Embrace our inner beauty, nourish our skin with knowledge and intentional self-love. Practice skin care with mindfulness. Conquer our insecurities and spread positivity.



Those of us who find Beauty in All Life and are taking control of our skin wellness.


Blemish prone skin:

Those of us who have the tendency for their skin to “break out” into pimples. We have to look for “non comedogenic” products when choosing both skin care and makeup – as products can clog our overactive pores and exacerbate the cycle.



Ceramides are good fats. They are lipids found in abundance in healthy skin. They help to maintain skin hydration and support barrier function. Ceramides are often found in topical
moisturizers to restore skin lipid content.



This is one of the building blocks of our skin and is the most abundant protein in the human body. Collagen forms into bundles in the dermal layer of the skin to create a network of support and provide strength. Skin with healthy collagen will look healthy in return by having less dullness and good bounce back. As we age, our natural collagen production declines, which leads to a lot of common concerns reflected as skin aging.



This protein is one of the backbones of the elastic tissues of the dermis. Elastin is interwoven with collagen to form the foundation of our skin. It allows the skin to return to its position after stretching, which is also known as recoil. The sun’s rays are especially damaging to our elastic fibers, which then leads to sagging and uneven texture. Similar to collagen, it naturally starts to reduce over time as we age.


This is the top layer of our skin that serves to protect us from environmental toxins, chemicals, climate changes, and microorganisms. The integrity of our epidermis is essential in maintaining hydration. It may take up to 4-6 weeks for the entire layers of epidermis to regenerate, which is why we recommend patience when it comes to transformative skin care.


This is the under layer of our skin that provides nutrients and functional support for our epidermis. The dermis and epidermis together form the largest organ in our body. As we age, many aspects of our dermis go through significant changes such as loosening and breakage of collagen and elastin fibers. The thickness and quality of our dermis directly affect the suppleness of our skin.


These important cells produce collagen and hyaluronic acid in our skin, creating what we call the skin’s dermal matrix. Fibroblasts need a healthy skin environment to function properly, which is why skin care products to remove damage and declutter the skin are extremely important.


Hyaluronic acid:

This is probably of one of the most basic, and most crucial components of our skin. Every human and every species produces and relies on hyaluronic acid. These water-retaining molecules help to provide a nourishing environment for cells such as fibroblasts and keratinocytes to function properly. Topical hyaluronic acid is widely used in moisturizers.


They are the building blocks of our epidermis. Keratinocytes move up and mature as they go through the top layer of our skin. Too much keratinocyte build-up can lead to a dull  appearance, clogged pores and rough texture. Too few keratinocytes can lead to a breakdown in our skin barrier. It’s a delicate balance that requires mindful self-awareness of how our skin feels, looks, and responds to the environment.



These are the cells that make pigment in your body. Everyone is born with the same number of melanocytes, but some people’s cells produce pigment in varying shapes and sizes which is
what determines our skin color. Melanocytes can be our friend or foe, depending on how you treat them. People with pigmentation issues need to keep their melanocytes calm and feed them with antioxidants.



Everyone should consider moisturizer a part of their daily routine, whether it’s for our face or our body. Topical moisturizers help to maintain skin barrier integrity, improve how our skin feels and looks. They work best when applied consistently and patiently.

Oily skin:

Blotting papers are our friends. We leave home with perfectly powdered faces and by the end of the day we feel like our face is an oil slick. Less layers and gel formulations are better for people like us. Oily skin is not all bad, this skin type tends to age better – so let’s appreciate the bright side!

Dry skin:

No one is immune to dry skin. Even those of us with oily skin can have dry patches with climate change or changes in our health. Dry skin needs consistent daily protection with moisturizers. Dry skin can also benefit from minimizing excessive exposure to water, heat, synthetic fibers and fragrances. As we mature and our body balance changes, even people with oily skin can develop a tendency towards dry skin.

Combination skin:

Don’t get frustrated when you have dry patches on cheeks but high shine on our T-zone. Those of us with combination skin may need to put in a little extra effort in our daily skin care routine, and may benefit from targeted products that address pores and oil production and those that help with hydration. Try to embrace your combo skin as you have the best of both worlds!

Pigment prone skin:

When we look at the sun the wrong way, our skin responds with mottled pigmentation and freckling. Sunscreen and sun avoidant behavior is our motto to help maintain balance in our skin tone. Oftentimes clearing our complexion to perfect porcelain skin is impossible, we just need to keep practicing the right skin nurturing behaviors to head in the right direction.


These are the tiny openings through which our body breathes. We secrete sweat and oil through our pores. Our pore size is usually genetically inherited. No one has poreless skin as pores are an
essential biological component.


Retinols are the tried and true gold standard in topical skin care. They are converted by your skin cells into retinoids which help fight against oxidative damage from the sun or just natural aging.
Retinols also promote skin cell turnover and enhance collagen production. Think of retinols as an energy saver that gives your skin an all around boost. Most importantly only use these only at night as sunlight breaks down retinols.

Sensitive skin:

Some of us have skin that easily gets red, blotchy, and/or irritated from topical skin care products or from routine activities such as sweating or washing. Sensitive skin can be either  biologically inherited or can occur as a result of external factors. Overexposure to chemicals and harmful preservatives in topical products, and overexfoliation can contribute to skin sensitivity.


What is it that you want to achieve from your skin care regimen? Think about the reasons why you started this journey with us, and call back to that each and every time you do your skin ritual – in the morning and in the evening. Take the time to be grateful to your skin for protecting you from environmental pollutants and damaging rays, and refuel it with the love and nourishment it deserves. Envision how you want to look and feel in your skin while you practice your skin care routine.

Skin ritual:

Even when we are mindful of our skintentions as we apply our morning and evening regimen, there is something sacred about taking the time once a week to conduct a more elaborate ritual to reconnect with ourselves and our skin. Disconnect for 15 minutes while you light a candle, put on some relaxing music, and rejuvenate. Lather on a mask while in the bath, or do a more elaborate ritual on dry land to reset. Our favorite day for our skin ritual is on Sundays, as this helps us to re-energize and ground ourselves for the week ahead. It sets the tone for the week ahead with nourishment and self love while we make that mind-body-skin connection.

Skin barrier:

Our skin barrier is formed by the epidermis, supported by our dermis and rooted in our connective tissue. A combination of peptides, lipids and proteins are vital for maintaining the skin barrier. An intact barrier protects us from environmental stress, toxins, chemicals, microorganisms, and climate change. When the barrier is impaired, we often experience skin irritation, sensitivity, redness, and/or dry patches.


Think of this as the holy grail of skin care – without it, your regimen is just not complete. Sunscreens (both physical and chemical) help to shield the skin from ultraviolet (UV) damage by either scattering or reflecting the sun’s rays. The sun’s rays are the single most important culprit in creating skin issues related to aging, including mottled pigmentation, wrinkles, dullness, and an overall lackluster appearance. Too much sun damage will also chew up your skin’s collagen and elastin leading to sagging.

Sun damage:

The sun beats down on our skin every day and creates tiny breaks and damages in our DNA and collagen, which in turn is reflected with the thickening or thinning of the skin, discoloration, dullness, and/or superficial and deep wrinkles. All of these changes are most evident in the areas that are constantly exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, chest, and hands. Sun damage can occur over long periods of time in small (daily exposure) or large doses (sunburns). Our skin never forgets sun damage.


Disclaimer: This is not intended for medical use.

With love, Janelle & Shasa

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