Article by: Perry Romanowski

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)


  1. Avatar
    Ayman Baydoun

    Very useful

  2. Avatar

    Thanks, I learnt new abbreviations and acronyms from this.

  3. Avatar
    Stephan Kassner

    Ah Ha! – Gotcha! I think you missed one!

    SLSA Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate

    Great resource for us beginners – Thanks!

  4. Avatar

    Thank you so very much Perry! Yours are my “go to” sites – I’m doing this in Mexico where information is scarce…

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      Thanks! I’m glad you find the information helpful.

  5. Avatar

    Perry, I thank youso much dor this info and for all the info you have available for newbies like myself. Very helpfull!!! My wife and I are trying to get in the natural cosmetic industry and all your articles as well as your blog have been very helpfull for us to learn more about the cosmetic industry. Thank you again!!!

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      Thanks for the kind words!

  6. Avatar

    Hi, can somebody help me to find a dictionary of cosmetic abreviation. I need it for my thesis

    best regards)

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      There really isn’t one except this blog post. What abbreviations are you looking for?

  7. Avatar

    very helpful!

  8. Avatar
    Catalina Rombaut Grosfeld

    thank you !!!!!!!
    such great help !!!!!

  9. Avatar
    Catalina Rombaut Grosfeld

    thank you !!!!!!!

  10. Avatar
    Catalina Rombaut Grosfeld

    thank you !!!!!!!

  11. Avatar
    Gul Muhammad Bawa

    Hi Perry,
    Thank you for your helpful tips and the useful material you keep on providing to the novices like me trying to wet their feet into the cosmetic industry trying to learn about the cosmetic ingredients, formulation techniques which are helping some of us to understand the fundamentals of what, where, when, how and why the five basics of knowledge.

    Thanks again
    Gul Muhammad Bawa

  12. Avatar
    Ngozi Muoneke

    Thanks Perry!!!

  13. Avatar

    Thank you Perry!!

  14. Avatar
    ali hosseini

    thank you so much.great post.

  15. Avatar
    mallong Joan

    All i will ever keep saying is big big thank you Perry pls how can i purchase your books and is there an e book version of it thanks again

    1. Avatar
      Perry Romanowski

      You should be able to find most of my books on some of them have e-book versions.

  16. Avatar

    Another one:
    TEWL or TWL (transepidermal water loss)

  17. Avatar

    MCT (medium chain triglycerides)
    SC (stratum corneum)

  18. Avatar

    Very useful.

    All abbreviations remind me of one particular medical abbreviation that one comes up against occasionally – GOK (God Only Knows).

  19. Avatar
    Sudheer Koneru

    PET also stands for Preservative Efficacy Test.

  20. Avatar

    SARA – Superfund Amendments and Re-authorization Act
    MEA – Monoethanolamine

  21. Avatar

    Wow…. Really use full and great efforts by you. it has complete info required for new people to join cosmetic industry

  22. Avatar

    This is so informative. Thank you

  23. Avatar

    Thank you so much!!!!!!

  24. Avatar

    Thanks for your great service for the people in cosmetic Industry.

    1. Avatar

      Thank you

  25. Pingback:Cosmetic Industry Jargon – Color Cosmetics

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