Every industry has acronyms which are supposed to make communication easier. Unfortunately, for an industry newcomer, it seems like a foreign language.

The following of cosmetic industry acronyms should help you decipher the cosmetic jargon. All the acronyms we could imagine are listed with their meanings. If you can think of any we missed, please leave a comment and we’ll add it to the list.

ACD Allergic contact dermatitis
ACGIH American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists
ACS American Chemical Society
AHA Alpha hydroxy acid
ALES Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
ALS Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
AMP Aminomethyl propanol
APD Antiperspirant Deordorant
ASTM American Standards of Testing Materials
BHA Butylhydroxyanisole
BHT Butylhydroxytoluene
BOGO Buy One Get One
CAS Chemical Abstract Service
CD Cyclodextrin
CERCLA Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
CFC Chloroflurocarbon
CFR Code of Federal Regulation
CI Color Index
CIR Cosmetic Ingredient Review
CMC Critical micelle concentration
COLIPA European Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association
CTFA Cosmetics Toiletries & Fragrance Association
CTPA Cosmetic Toiletries and Perfume Association
DBMSA Dibenzaldehyde monosorbitol acetate
DEA Diethanolamine
DHA Dihydoxy acetone
DME Dimethyl ether
DMSO Dimethyl sulfoxide
DOT Department of Transportation
DOT Department of Transportation
EDTA Ethylene Diamine Tetraacetic Acid
EU European Union
EWG Environmental Working Group
FCAT Forearm controlled application technique
FCC Food Chemicals Codex
FD&C Food, Drug & Cosmetic
FDA Food & Drug Administration
FPLA Fair Packaging and Labeling Act
FTC Federal Trade Commision
FTIR Fourrier Transfer Infra Red
GC Gas chromatograph
GMP Good Manufacturing Procedures
HDPE High Density poly ethylene
HEC Hydroxyethyl Cellulose
HLB Hydrophobe/Lipophobe Balance
HMS Homosalate
HPLC High Performance Liquid Chromatography
HPMC Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulouse
HUT Home Use Test
ICD Irritant contact dermatitis
ICMAD Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors
IFSCC International Federation of Societies of Cosmetic Chemists
INCI International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients
IR Infrared
IUPAC International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry
JCIA Japanese Cosmetic Industry Association
LD-50 Lethal Dose 50%
LDH Lactate Dehydrogenase
LDPE Low density poly ethylene
MA Maleic anhydride.
MEA Methylethylamine
MED Minimal erythemal dose
MHW Ministry of Health and Welfare
MSDS Material Safety Data Sheet
NAD National Advertising Division
NDA New Drug Application
NF National Formulary
NFPA National Fire Protection Association
NIH National Institute of Health
NMF Natural Moisturizing Factor
NMR Nuclear Magnetic Resonance
OH Hydroxyl Group
OSHA Occupational Safety and Health Administration
OTC Over The Counter (drug)
OW Oil in water (emulsion)
PABA Para amino benzoic acid
PCA Pyrollidone carboxylic acid
PCD Product category designation
PCPC Personal Care Products Councle
PEG Polyethylene Glycol
PEL Permissible Exposure Limit
PET Polyethylene Teraphthalate
PG Propylene Glycol
PIT Phase inversion temperature
PPG Polypropylene Glycol
PVC Polyvinyl Chloride
PVM Polyvinyl Methylether
PVP Polyvinyl Pyrollidone
QA Quality Assurance
QC Quality Control
REACH Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical Substances
RIPT Repeat Insult Patch Test
RTECS Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances
SARA Search and Rescue Aid
SCC Society of Cosmetic Chemists
SCS Society of Cosmetic Scientists
SLES Sodium Laureth Sulfate
SLS Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
SPF Sun Protection Factor
TEA Triethanolamine
TLV Threshold Limit Value
TSCA Toxic Substances Control Act
USP United States Pharmacopeia
UV Ultraviolet
UVA Ultra violet A
UVB Ultra violet B
UVC Ultra violet C
VA Vinyl Acetate
VOC Volitile Organic Compound
VP Vinyl Pyrollidone
WO Water in Oil (emulsion)
WOW Water in oil in water (emulsion)


Perry Romanowski has over 18 years experience formulating products to solve consumer problems in the personal care and cosmetic industry. His primary focus has been on hair & hair related products. He is also an author who has published extensively about the field of cosmetic science. He is currently Vice President of Brains Publishing which specializes in science education. Perry received his B.S. in Chemistry from DePaul University. He has written and edited numerous articles and books, teaches Society of Cosmetic Chemists continuing education classes in cosmetic science, and is the primary author at ChemistsCorner.com a website dedicated to training current and future cosmetic scientists. His latest book project is the third edition of Beginning Cosmetic Chemistry published by Allured. Perry can be reached through his website ChemistsCorner where he is available for consulting about cosmetic formulating, testing, and Internet solutions.

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