The term “natural” is somewhat misleading with regard to use in cosmetics. In Australia and the US manufacturers can add 5% of a natural ingredient to a synthetic and call a product natural. This is generally regarded as “greenwashing” and such products aren’t considered natural at all. So what do you look for to get the REAL benefits from truly natural products?
1. Truly natural products contain no synthetic ingredients such as artificial colours or fragrances. Artificial fragrances are amongst the most irritating ingredient in skin care with the ability to cause or significantly contribute to irritating skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, rashes and hives. You will notice the difference in your skin when you avoid such ingredients.
2. Natural products contain no potentially harmful ingredients such as petrochemicals, mineral oils, sodium lauryl sulphate and propolene glycol. According to Skin Deep, an Environmental Working Group in the US, many of the synthetic ingredients used (in the US and Australia) in everyday skin care are potentially toxic to humans.
3. Natural skin care is formulated to support the healthy functioning of our skin from within and without. Humans absorb up to 60% of any substance applied to our skin. It has been calculated that the average women can absorb up to 2kg of different chemicals through their skin each year. By using natural products you ensure that what you are absorbing is benefiting your skin and body, promoting radiance and health.
4. Our bodies have to break down, detoxify and excrete any substance we put on them. This puts an extra burden of toxicity on the body and is of particular concern for young babies and children whose organs of elimination are not fully developed. Reduce your toxic burden by using whole, unrefined natural products.
5. Natural skin & body care products contain nutrients, including naturally occurring antioxidants, amino acids, botanical extracts, pure essential oils and essential fatty acids in their holistic form which is more compatible with our skin and bodies. This includes nutrients such as grape seed (rich in phytochemicals that support the skin), rose hip oil (rich in vitamin C), Carrot oil (rich in vitamin A), pumpkin seed oil (rich in zinc), olive oil (rich in squalene) to name but a few. These ingredients promote healthy skin by nourishing from the outside in.
6. Natural cosmetics are more active. Excluding water, often contain up to 95% active ingredients rather than 5% active ingredients in a 95% inert (non-active) base as in many of everyday personal care products and cosmetics. You will notice a difference when you use natural products.
7. Wholly natural products are not tested on animals.
8. Many of the suppliers of natural skin care are local and cottage industries. Buying these products supports sustainable manufacturing processes, the ability to maintain quality control by hand making small quantities in order to provide fresh product, small business enterprise and local communities.
9. Natural products are environmentally friendly. Recent studies have shown that the chemicals and toxins found in most skin care products have a harmful effect on the environment as well as they take longer to break down than whole, unrefined ingredients.
10. Value for money. Natural products are often cheaper than synthetic products as they don’t have to compete in the hyped brand focused market. You are also paying for active rather than inert ingredients. When considering the benefits available form natural skin care the value of natural products outweighs anything else on the market.
Ananda Mahony ND has been involved in the natural skin care industry for many years. This article outlines the benefits of natural skin care over their synthetic counterparts. Please include this credit if you use this article.