Are Natural Ingredients Really Better For Your Skin?

Are Natural Ingredients Really Better For Your Skin?

In the skincare world today, there’s no shortage of buzzwords. Be it ‘clean beauty,’  ‘organic,’ or ‘non-toxic,’ these terms get thrown around so often that it can get pretty confusing. But you might be wondering: are natural ingredients better for your skin? Or is it just another marketing tactic? Let’s break it down. 

What is natural skincare? 

When a skincare product claims to be ‘all-natural,’ this usually means that its ingredients are derived from nature, instead of synthetically produced in a lab. Think of plants, fruits, and minerals. Now, the concern surrounding natural skincare is that it isn’t regulated at all. Any brand can call themselves ‘natural,’ but it doesn’t automatically equate to safe or effective. Here’s an example for you: poison ivy is a natural ingredient. But would you rub it on your face or use it in skincare? Evidently, no, as it would cause your skin to swell up and itch. In this sense, natural ingredients aren’t always better for your skin. You still need to choose the right products for you, with ingredients that are proven safe and effective.


So when is natural skincare better?

Of course, the benefits of natural ingredients in skincare are still undisputed — that’s why we’re here, after all! For starters, natural skincare does not contain harsh chemicals, which are more likely to cause allergic reactions, irritation, and inflammation. For example, alcohol is known to dry out the skin, potentially weakening your skin barrier and leaving it itchy and irritated. Another example is parabens, which can reportedly exacerbate eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis. 

Natural skincare can also nourish your skin more. Because plants are packed with vitamins, proteins, antioxidants, and fatty acids, these can supercharge your routine and make products more effective. Most importantly, natural skincare is better for the environment. As synthetic ingredients usually require pesticides and fertilizers to produce, these toxic chemicals often end up polluting our waters, soils, and air. And more often than not, it’s these clean beauty brands that are also fair trade, less wasteful, and more sustainable (just like us!). 

How can you choose the right natural skincare for you?

Do your research

When shopping for products, it’s important to do a background check. First, take a look at the brand. If they claim to be natural skincare brands or sustainable beauty brands, what kind of certifications or initiatives do they have to back this up? Are they transparent with their ingredients list and processes? Be diligent when sifting through ingredients, especially if something sounds unfamiliar to you. Some toxic ingredients in skincare you should be avoiding include formaldehyde, aluminum, artificial fragrances, phthalates, sulfates, and more.

Studies have reported harmful effects of chemicals in cosmetics, like skin irritation, endocrine disruption, and even certain types of cancers. Despite this, you’d be surprised how common toxic beauty products are — from commercial shampoos and deodorant, to soaps and lotions. 

Be selective about ingredients

If you’re looking at an all-natural skincare product, you can rest assured that it won’t have these hazardous chemicals. But remember, not all natural ingredients are made equally. The best, most high-performing ingredients you may want to check out are green tea, shea butter, clays, aloe vera, jojoba oil, cocoa butter, argan oil, and olive oil. The list goes on! All these have their own amazing benefits, so find the ones that fit your needs the most. 

Always do a patch-test 

Like with any other product, you still need to be careful and check for allergies. Everyone’s skin is different, so always do a patch-test when trying something new. How? First, apply the product to a small part of your skin where you’re unlikely to wash or rub it away, like the inside of your arm or side of your neck. Keep repeating this twice a day for about 7-10 days, as reactions may not happen immediately. If your skin reacts, this is your sign that the product is not for you. 

There’s really no single, clear-cut definition for ‘natural’ skincare. In fact, around the world, there are various standards for safety, including which toxic ingredients are deemed ‘harmful’ or not. What the clean beauty movement offers is a better alternative that isn’t just less harmful to our planet, but to people too. Do your part and be a responsible, conscious consumer! 


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