Natural Skin Care Products
While you may think you lean toward natural healthy skin, some natural products may not work the best on your skin. What should drive your buy of skin care products is the way well they deal with your skin type.
In today’s world of eco-cognizant living, regarding the environment is a high need, regardless of whether you’re purchasing lights or a cream for dry skin and wrinkles. What’s more, beautifying agents organizations exploit that by offering normal healthy skin items with fixings that are touted as being better for your skin and naturally well disposed.
“Normal healthy skin is to a greater degree a showcasing term than a logical one,” says Dee Anna Glaser, MD, a dermatologist and teacher of dermatology at St. Louis College and leader of the Restorative Medical procedure Establishment.
According to Dr. Glaser “Products that have botanical ingredients that come from plants or nature — think honey or beeswax — tend to be labeled as natural,” They may or may not have the same ingredients that other products do. And you can find them everywhere, from drugstores to department store makeup counters to boutiques and even at dermatologists’ and plastic surgeons’ offices. In fact, so-called natural skin care products are so ubiquitous that it’s hard to tell whether they’re any better for you than other products.
“‘Natural’ really doesn’t tell you anything. It’s a way of marketing [a product] to make you feel good about its use when people are trying to be green and think environmentally.”
In some cases, natural skin care products may be the way to go, but not always. “Poison ivy is natural, but that doesn’t mean you want to rub it against your skin,”
The Benefits of Natural Skin Care Products
There are some ingredients in natural products that are soothing and calming to the skin, even if your skin is sensitive. Glaser notes the benefits of these ingredients:
- Products that contain soy can soothe the skin while fading dark discolorations.
- This herb can calm irritated, dry skin that’s prone to eczema.
- Vitamins C and E have real benefits for the skin. They scavenge for free radicals, which damage cell DNA, leading to wrinkles and skin aging. Unfortunately, many over-the-counter products don’t have a high enough concentration of antioxidants for them to be effective. But you can buy products such as CE Ferulic (which contains vitamins C and E) and Revaléskin (made from coffeeBerry extract) from a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon, Glazer says.
Natural Skin Care Concerns
Sometimes natural skin care products aren’t the best choice when you’re shopping for a moisturizer for dry skin or a cream to treat your wrinkles. Among the drawbacks are:
- Sensitive skin irritation.Your skin type should dictate the type of products you can use. Someone with rosacea or sensitive skin — and about half of all women think they have sensitive skin — can be irritated by alpha hydroxy acid and glycolic acid, which are natural ingredients.
- Allergic reaction.Allergens in natural skin care products can cause problems for some people.
- Someone who’s acne-prone may not be able to tolerate natural lotions that contain oils because they may clog pores and lead to breakouts.
- High cost.You can find expensive traditional and natural skin care products, but in general, natural skin care products tend to be a bit more costly. An oil-free traditional face cleanser is about $5 for 5.5 ounces, while a natural cleanser that contains bark, chamomile, rosemary, and echinacea costs about $9 for 6 ounces at the drugstore.
Natural Skin Care Products What to Look For
Choosing wisely is the key to when choose natural skin care products. When you are shopping for skin care and considering natural products, keep these things in mind:
- The fewer ingredients, the better.When you’re buying any type of skin care product, including natural products, look for one with few ingredients. Natural skin care products tend to have extra ingredients added to them, but the more that’s in it, the more likely it is to cause irritation or an allergic reaction.
- Big brands tend to be better.Big companies such as Neutrogena, Dove, Oil of Olay, Aveeno, Cetaphil, and others test their products before putting them out on the market, so they’re unlikely to cause skin problems.
- Try retinol or retinoids.Retinol, sold over the counter in various products, and retinoids, which are available by prescription as tretinoin (Vesanoid) and tazarotene (Avage, Tazorac), are derivatives of vitamin A that help reduce wrinkles. They’re natural products that really work.
The bottom line is that you should choose products that work for your skin, gives you results, and have the feel and fragrance that you enjoy.
Part of the challenge is to find ingredients that work for you. It’s a matter of trial and error!
When to Go Natural
The idea of natural beauty seems like a good one, but changing your trusted moisturizer to a “green” option isn’t as simple as switching to CFL lightbulbs.
“The green movement is appealing, but it doesn’t necessarily mean anyone’s studied the effect of, say, a blueberry on your skin,” says Tony Nakhla, DO, a board-certified dermatologist in Orange County, California, and author of The Skin Commandments: 10 Rules to Healthy, Beautiful Skin. “I’m all for natural products and ingredients, but you have to also have those studied. It has to make sense.”
Top doctors and experts asked to debunk all those natural claims and explain when it’s best to buy organic products.
Organic vs. Natural vs. Vegan
While the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate the terms “organic,” “natural,” or “vegan,” you may spot the official organic seal from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on beauty-product packaging (the same one you might see on your favorite organic peanut butter). You may also come across other countries’ labels, such as ECOCERT (a French certification) and BDIH (a German certification for natural cosmetics), explains Daily Glow’s green-beauty expert Paige Padgett.
A cosmetic or skin care product can be certified organic by the USDA if the applicable ingredients (honey, berries, and other foods) are free of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, and other nonorganic substances.
What the Organic Label Means
There are four levels of certification from the USDA.
100% Organic: The product contains only organically produced ingredients and is permitted to display the seal.
Organic: The product contains at least 95% organically produced ingredients and is permitted to display the seal.
Made With Organic Ingredients: which means the product contains at least 70% organic ingredients but is not permitted to display the seal!
Less than 70% Organic Ingredients: Products are not permitted to use the term “organic” anywhere on the packaging (and cannot display the seal) but are allowed to identify organically produced items in the ingredient list.
Understanding Natural and Vegan Claims
But what about the claims of “natural” and “vegan” (meaning that none of the ingredients were derived from animal products), which seem to be popping up on every aisle in drugstores and health-and-beauty shops?
“The word ‘vegan’ usually refers to products that do not contain any animal products and ideally are not tested on animals,” explains Padgett. “However, not all vegan products are organic and some may not be cruelty-free, so one cannot assume. Truly vegan products should not contain even beeswax or carmine, which comes from a beetle.”
Is Natural Always Better?
There’s no real regulation for terms like natural and vegan. In fact, we may be putting too much emphasis on what the package says instead of the proof behind the product’s ingredients.
“What I look for is evidence-based medicine. I look for things that have clinical data about safety and efficacy,” explains Doris Day, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center. “People always think that natural is better, but I don’t understand it. It’s either good or it’s not good.”
The Danger of Parabens, Sulfates, and Chemicals
Parabens (preservatives found in sunscreens, lotions, and more), sulfates (detergents found in cleansers like shampoos and bath gels), and phthalates (chemicals found in fragrances and plastics) often get a bad rap in cosmetic and skin care products thanks to a few different studies that linked their use to an increased risk for cancer. However, experts agree the research is weak at best.
“Parabens have been used for a long period of time. They add value to the products, otherwise they wouldn’t be in there,” says Dr. Day. “That said, you don’t want to be swimming in parabens and phthalates.”
That’s a few reasons you may consider steering clear are that parabens can cause free-radical damage and sulfates may irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction.
The Bottom Line on Organic Makeup
No matter the label, the most important factor when shopping for skin care is to find products with clinically proven ingredients in them — like retinol, for example. “When you look at skin care products, you don’t want to get fooled by the razzle-dazzle of a good marketing campaign,” says Nakhla.
“One of the easiest things to do is look for organic seals like the USDA seal, or another from ECOCERT, BDIH, Biologique [an EU certification], and BIO [a German certification for organic products],” says Padgett. “Also look for specific terms such as ‘free of parabens’ or ‘free of synthetic fragrance and dyes.’ These won’t guarantee the product is clean, but it’s a good start. Companies usually won’t make such specific claims if it’s not true.”