When it comes to skincare and other beauty products, the use of the word “natural” can be a bit confusing as every ingredient in the world, even synthetic ones, ultimately comes from a natural source.
However, just because something is natural doesn’t mean that it can’t be toxic or contain harmful chemicals. This is why it is a mistake to have too much faith in the idea that traditional products must be safe.
There are two main types of natural skincare products: chemically synthetic ingredients and those created from plant-based products.
Chemically synthetic products are replicated from compounds found in plants and animals, whereas purely plant-based skincare products tend to be vegan, cruelty-free, and have zero waste.
Knowing the difference between the two is good for the planet and for your health.
Why Use Natural Skin Care Products?
There are many benefits to using natural beauty products, not only for yourself but also for the good of the environment and the economy. Here are our top 5 reasons to go plant-based and natural.
1. To Achieve A Natural Glow
Most people who decide to go clean and green see a significant improvement in their skin. People who use natural and organic products on sensitive skin are said to have that special healthy glow, a beauty that comes only from nutrients absorbed into your dermis in a natural form.
Genuine natural products tend to contain plant-based extracts. Conventional beauty products contain vitamins like A, C, or E, but these are synthetic additives. A popular source of vitamin C in natural skincare products is rosehips.
Plant-based ingredients often found in clean beauty products are omega three oils, such as almond, argan, olive, and jojoba, with vitamin E contact. Skincare containing these nourishing oils helps your skin retain moisture and acquire a dewy, youthful look that radiates health.
2. To Manage Environmental Sensitivities
Suppose you have sensitive skin or environmental sensitivities. In that case, you should altogether avoid using commercial natural skin products that contain such harmful chemicals as glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, mineral oil, drying alcohols, dyes, and fragrances.
By law, these ingredients should be labeled right on the packaging of the lotion or cream.
If you suffer from mysterious breakouts, headaches, hives, or generally feel unwell after using certain commercial products. It is time for you to seek out all-natural skincare brands that have a line for sensitive skin.
These clean beauty products include ingredients found in nature, such as plant-based extracts, citrus-based extracts, essential oils, alcohol-based, and glycerin-based tinctures.
3. To Support the “Clean Beauty ” Industry
The clean and green sustainable beauty industry is committed to creating the smallest carbon footprint possible. This means that the manufacturer is committed to ecologically friendly practices, such as avoiding aluminum, palm oil, or avocados.
Clean personal care products will never contain the mined metals or synthetic ingredients found in most commercial beauty products or sources from a farming practice that harms the environment by using excessive amounts of water.
Aluminum, used to thicken skin creams, is problematic according to a Nature News study, because of mining practices that contribute to global warming.
The WWF has strongly recommended avoiding products with palm oil, as the over-demand for it is eliminating the habits of elephants and other endangered species.
Meeting the demand for avocados in some areas is causing water shortages, as according to The Fair Observer, it takes 70 liters of water to grow one fruit.
The goal is to offer cosmetics products with ingredients grown sustainably and with the least environmental impact. An ecologically aware company will usually have a statement that expresses its commitment to your health and sustainable practices right on its box.
This type of skincare company won’t use non-biodegradable plastic exfoliating skin beads or glitter that can end up in oceans and landfills.
Clean brands also minimize their packaging, straying away from bubble plastic cases and excess cardboard. Nowadays, most companies selling natural skincare products know that their customers are impressed by green practices such as using recycled materials.
They make keeping garbage out of the environment a selling point to their ecologically aware customers.
4. To Avoid Harmful Chemicals in Cosmetics
Conventional beauty products contain all kinds of ingredients that may be effective but not that great for your health. For instance, chemically synthesized retinol, derived from Vitamin A, is effective for erasing wrinkles but is not a naturally occurring substance. In fact, putting retinol A on sensitive or acne-prone skin can actually burn it.
Some Toxic Skincare Ingredients
Toxic chemicals are found in many personal care and skincare products and have many adverse effects, including skin irritation, skin cancer, liver cancer, thyroid disease, and allergic sensitivities.
- A good example of a widely accepted but toxic skincare ingredient is sodium lauryl sulfate. This chemical adds foam and bubbles to soaps, cleansers, and shampoos but is a skin, eye, and lung irritant. It also kills fish after it swirls down your drain and reaches a lake or a river. Nothing like this is ever found in natural skincare products.
- Certain ingredients that might give you beautiful skin but also an allergic reaction or cancer are DEA and DEA compounds, nitrates, MEA (monoethanolamide), or TEA (triethanolamine).
Parabens are synthetic preservatives that mimic estrogen in your body, causing tumors and reproductive disorders. Ethanolamine, a binding chemical found in facial cleansers and shampoos, is carcinogenic; it sabotages human brain development and is harmful to aquatic life.
The problem is that consumers, particularly women, can’t resist the anti-aging and skin softening properties of body and skincare products that contain questionable cosmetic ingredients. They impulsively purchase cheaper toxic beauty brands with no concern for their environmental impact.
Marketing chemical-laden products as natural are irresponsible because people assume that skincare products from known brands are tested and safe. Even if the label on the packaging says that the ingredients are naturally occurring, they may still cause skin irritation or pose other risks to consumers. What they neglect to tell consumers is that these chemicals poison both their bodies and the environment.
How Do Toxic Ingredients Harm the Skin?
Unfortunately, a chemical in a lotion or a cream can be transported transdermally through your skin, which is the largest organ of your body. Once skincare products are applied, these toxic chemicals are absorbed through your dermis and into the bloodstream, where they have the potential to cause health problems.
A particularly problematic chemical ingredient that is absorbed through the skin is benzoyl peroxide. It is commonly used in lotions and creams to treat acne and wrinkles. Toxic vapors also emanate from this chemical, irritating the lungs and overwhelming the liver.
A beauty manufacturing company does not have to stop including a less expensive yet potentially harmful ingredient in their cosmetics if the FDA allows it. This is why it is so important to examine the labels of skincare products to make sure that you are not buying toxic skincare. Choose a skin product made with healthy plant extracts instead.
5. To Deter Unethical Beauty Industry Practices
When it comes to the marketing of beauty products, the skincare industry acts in its best interest and not in the interests of the consumer. Companies that mislead you should be avoided altogether.
One way that the beauty industry tricks the general public is by using labels that declare harmful or unsustainable cosmetic ingredients, such as palm oil or petroleum-based ingredients, as “natural ingredients,” “naturally derived,” or “healthy.” Truly healthy skincare products don’t use products sourced from the mining industry.
Another of the most well-known and objectionable practices in the cosmetic industry is the testing of lotions, hair care products, and skin creams on animals. Look for natural products that are labeled as cruelty-free. This means that the product has not been tested on rats, rabbits, dogs, monkeys, or other creatures.
A truly ethical beauty company won’t contain a natural ingredient derived from a fish or animal. A good example is the popular anti-aging component included in numerous natural skincare products called squalene. It comes from shark livers or beluga caviar extracted from the bodies of endangered whales.
Consumer demand is all that matters to the brands in the commercial market for natural skincare products. As they are not created sustainably, they can be cheaper than natural products. Clean and green companies that are more concerned with sustainability and human wellness know that customers are inclined to pay just a bit more money if they know that they are buying natural and organic products.
Buying and Storing Natural and Organic Products
Here are three important questions to ask before buying and storing organic products.
How Do I Know if I am Buying An Organic Product?
You can tell if you are buying an organic product if the packaging has the USDA-certified organic seal. A product must contain 95% organic ingredients and bear the USDA-certified organic seal to be officially organic.
The terms natural and organic do not mean the same thing. Also, beware of the term “naturally occurring,” as this is also used to describe ingredients that might result from a manufacturing process.
“Natural products” are not government regulated, but the term organic is.
Where Do I Find Skincare Products With No Animal Testing?
To avoid buying products that have been tested on animals, look for a label that says cruelty-free. You are most likely to find this type of label in high-end spas or health food stores and on products made with plant extracts.
How Do I Store Organic and Natural Products?
Neglecting to store your all-natural products properly can raise some safety concerns because they contain no chemical preservatives. Be sure to keep any products with natural ingredients in a cool, dark place or even in the refrigerator so that they don’t go bad.
This way, you can enjoy the benefits of the plant-based ingredients in your clean beauty creams and other natural skincare products for a long time.
Aside from helping skin achieve a natural glow, choosing ethically-sourced beauty products is a way of avoiding toxins and free radicals that cause inflammation and cancer.
When you choose natural beauty, you are also supporting a better world by preventing animal cruelty, animal extinction, pollution, and global warming.