You’ve probably heard the term ‘natural skin care’, but wondered what the hype is all about. Well it’s time to listen up as your current, chemical laden skin care routine could be putting your health in jeopardy, as well as your skin.
Does natural skincare really mean natural?
Whilst you might think that this should be the case, it’s important to know how to read labels so you can really understand if a brand is being honest when they say their product is natural.
Ingredient lists can be difficult to tackle with lots of tricky pronunciations. Whilst you might think complex words as ingredients to avoid, these can often be the INCI (cosmetic names derived from Latin, English and scientific words) names for natural ingredients. For example avocado oil will appear as ‘Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil’.
Watch out for these harmful ingredients…
Not all ingredients are natural, here’s some common ones to watch out for and avoid if you can:
- Drying alcohols
- SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate)
Ingredients lists will usually contain the word paraben in them so they are easy to spot. They are used as a preservative in cosmetic products. Beware if you have sensitive skin.
Alcohols that are derived naturally (mainly from plants and oils) can be beneficial to the skin. However synthetic (man-made) alcohols can be very harsh and over dry the skin, and we certainly don’t want that! This ingredient is what makes foaming products froth, such as face wash. Known to irritate the skin so best avoid if you have super sensitive skin.
For people suffering from eczema and psoriasis its best to avoid products with artificial colours and preservatives to minimise any allergic reactions.
Don’t be fooled…
Some ingredients seem harmless and natural, but this is not always the case. Watch out for:
- Mineral oil
This ingredient stops toxins being released by creating a barrier on the skin. Not good for clearing acne that’s for sure! This is used as a loophole in skincare and cosmetics. By listing this on the ingredients list companies can use it to cover up what they’ve actually added to make this ‘fragrance’, which can be made up of harmful chemicals such as phthalates. These have been known to cause allergies!
Why is natural skin care better?
- Ingredients are safe to use. Organic is safest as ingredients won’t be grown with pesticides.
- Natural ingredients tend to be gentle to use, which is great for sensitive skin.
- It’s more environmentally friendly than man-made ingredients.
Some of the dangerous chemicals listed above can mess with our precious and temperamental hormones. However, there’s no risk of that with natural skincare.
What can I expect with natural products?
- Shorter shelf life.
- A gentler approach to skincare.
- Toxin free.
This is a positive thing! You won’t find any of those heavy duty, skin-irritating chemicals in preservative-free, natural products. No harsh ingredients that will cause the skin to breakout or to become sore and painful. Not only are the formulas of these products free of toxins, but also the ingredients will help your skin to rid of any that have been building up.
How else can I make sure I’m buying natural skincare ethically?
Being the conscious consumer that you are you might also want to check if the products you are buying also fit the following criteria
- Cruelty free.
This means the product is not tested on animals. It also means that the ingredients were not tested on animals either wherever they were sourced from.
These days there are many other safe ways to test without causing harm to animals. The main reason many of the large companies still test is so they can sell their products in China which is required by law there.
For a product to be vegan it should fit the same category as above. However, the difference is that vegan products don’t contain any animal derived ingredients.
Common ingredients to watch out for are: honey, beeswax and carmine. Carmine is actually crushed up beetles used for their red dye, gross! This can be quite tricky to get around as some ingredients can be derived from either a plant or animal source, such as glycerine. It often won’t be clear which one it is on ingredients lists, so it’s best to choose products that are clearly marked as being vegan.
Why would you choose anything other than natural skin care?
It’s clear that chemical laden products are quite risky and it’s much safer for our health to choose preservative-free, chemical-free, natural products. Your skin will most certainly thank you for it! What natural ingredients do you love in your skincare? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you!