Skin is the largest organ of our body and just like any other organ, it too requires regular attention and maintenance. Real skin care is about maintaining or regaining healthy skin by use of ingredients that facilitate and promote the optimum functions of your skin. If the skin needs particular attention, because one of its functions is compromised. Botanical herbs are healing substances that have been used for thousands of years to re-establish health and many of these herbs have specific therapeutic functions for the skin.
With the industrial revolution, came the giant chemical companies claiming that the chemicals were the answer to all our problems. And for several decades, skin care industry relied predominantly on cheap petrochemicals as well as synthetic and/or artificial ingredients to temporarily mask the symptoms of various skin conditions. As our skin starved for naturally occurring nutrients was compromised and deteriorated, the skin care industry grew larger and larger using ingredients that we would never dream of putting IN our body.
As consumer awareness about the harmful effects of these chemicals grew, the question arose: why indeed do we put our bodies at risk by putting these chemicals on our skin. The industry responded to these conscious consumers by introducing some natural skin care products. Although even today, over eighty percent of all cosmetic ingredients are derived from petroleum (crude oil).
For last several years natural skin care business has been growing at the rate of over 20% per year. There is, however, no actual definition of "natural" according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This has left each business to make their own definition and claim their product to be natural creating misinformation and confusion among consumers.
Let us sort things out a little and look at how natural is your natural skin care. For this we are classifying these products in three distinct categories.
GREEN WASHED PRODUCTS: Avoid:
These are the produced by many large manufacturers who added some natural or naturally derived ingredients in their original product formulation to join the bandwagon of this new trend. These products generally tout these one or two ingredients on the front label with large fonts/images but when you check their ingredient list in the back, the true contents are revealed. Products use many petrochemicals, synthetic compounds, harsh preservatives, perfumes and fullers. These companies are just bucking the trend and have no real commitment to consumer safety or natural lifestyle. These products should be avoided. Unfortunately majority of skin care products claiming to be natural fall into this category.
NATURALLY DERIVED BUT CHEMICALLY PROCESSED PRODUCTS: Use with caution:
Ingredient label on these products lists mostly natural ingredients.These natural products are generally white or clear! This means that these products contain naturally derived but chemically processed/bleached ingredients to make them white or clear. If these products are packaged in tubes, jars or dip tube pumps (pron to oxidation and microbial contamination), it needs strong preservatives. Although these products are usually safer than the first category, they are not the ideal choices for conscious consumers.
TRULY NATURAL PRODUCTS: Best choice:
Only a handful of companies produce products that are 100% natural, using full spectrum (not isolated) botanical ingredients. It contains no petroleum product, synthetic ingredient or perfumes. Since these products or the ingredients in them, are not chemically processed, they can not be white or clear. Additionally. these products are packed in airless containers to prevent product oxidation and microbial contamination hence eliminating the need for harsh preservatives. Companies producing these products are committed to safety, health, holistic life-style and they are Eco-friendly.
In conclusion, read the ingredient list carefully. Avoid ingredients you don't recognize or can't pronounce their names. Also avoid products that are white or clear as they are subject to chemical processing/bleaching.