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Chemical vs. Natural. Why does it matter?

In 1778 a letter was published from a young girl who asked a doctor’s advice about wearing make-up. Her mother believed that only vain girls used cosmetic products to deceive men.

The young woman hoped for a second opinion from the doctor to prove to her mother that skin beautifying agents do not harm the skin and that using them did not clash with moral values.

The doctor’s reply stated that there were no moral or aesthetic reasons against using beauty products, however, there were medical reasons against it. [1]

Be careful of what you expose your skin to!

The skin acts as a barrier that covers the body and protects the internal environment against dangers from the external environment. This is why it is so important that we protect and preserve our skins.

Environmental elements, air pollutants, ultraviolet radiation and the natural process of aging can alter the protective properties of our skins. [2]

Beauty products are used to beautify, cleanse and improve the appearance of skin. However, skincare and other beauty products contain various toxic or harmful chemicals that could possibly attack our skins to cause skin irritation, headaches, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and allergic reactions. The worst part of all is that these products can also remain in the body for long periods of time. [3]

Cosmetics and harmful chemicals

In our modern world various synthetic ingredients are mostly used in skin care products. As the demand for cosmetics has increased world-wide, the safety of cosmetics has become a great concern as the chemicals that people add to them can be hazardous to our health.

Chemicals are often added to cosmetic products in the form of fragrances and preservatives. Some of these are toxic and others have even been banned because they can cause hormone problems, reproductive disruptions and even cancer.

Heavy metals are also used in various beauty products and it is well-known that they can cause toxic damage to our bodies. They can cause organ failure, breathing problems, nerve damage and all sorts of cancers even at low concentrations. [4]

All of this does not make a positive point for chemical cosmetics!

Why is natural skin care best?

Current cosmetic trends are starting to embrace the “back to nature” concept.

Consumers world-wide are becoming more conscious of their health and wellbeing and the demand for natural ingredients is increasing. Terms like “natural skincare” and “organic skincare products” are starting to draw much attention.

Organic beauty products are, in fact, better for your skin as the things you put on your skin eventually wind up in your body.

Ideally, the ingredients in these products have to be safe, novel, effective and stable as even natural ingredients may be toxic or harmful to the skin. Luckily, like any other types of cosmetic products, natural skin care products are evaluated for their safety according to certain rules in different countries. ECOCERT and EWG are few of certification bodies that issue their own seals of approval for verifying that cosmetic products are safe for your body and nature-friendly.  

ECOCERT was the first certification body that developed standards to regulate "natural and organic cosmetics". To ensure that cosmetic products are environmentally friendly and safe to use, the ECOCERT standard requires that: [5]

  • Ingredients are derived from renewable resources and manufactured by processes that are friendly to the environment.
  • A minimum of 95% of the total ingredients that a cosmetic product is made up of come from natural origins.

EWG or Environmental Working Group aims to protect the environment and human health through the power of information. In their Skin Deep Database, They use a two-part score (a hazard score and data availability score) for every product or ingredient that they certify.

  • The hazard score ranges from 1 to 10. Products or ingredients can either be scored as low hazard (1-2), moderate hazard (3-6) or high hazard (7-10).
  • The data availability rating measures how extensively the ingredients or products have been studied and therefore how much is known about them. [6]

A lot of evidence exists that prove the healing powers of natural products. Herbal cosmetic preparations contain active ingredients derived from nature and have a two-fold function. They are used in cosmetics to care for the body and they provide the nutrients necessary for skin health. Natural ingredients provide vitamins, anti-oxidants, healthy oils, essential oils and other healthy compounds. [2][7]

Natural skin care products have been shown to actually promote skin health due to their anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging and even anti-stress actions.

And here is the best news: natural products cause no harmful side-effects. They can add a radiant and youthful look to your skin! [8]

The bottom line

Chemically based products contain unnecessary toxic chemicals that could damage your skin in the long term, while organic natural skin care products are better for your skin. So be kind to your skin and go natural!

 

References:

  1. Martin M. Doctoring Beauty: The Medical Control of Women's Toilettes in France, 1750–1820. Medical history. 2005 Jul;49(3):351-68.
  2. Aziz AA, Taher ZM, Muda R, Aziz R. Cosmeceuticals and Natural Cosmetics.
  3.  Okereke JN, Udebuani AC, Ezeji EU, Obasi KO, Nnoli MC. Possible health implications associated with cosmetics: a review. Sci. J. Pub. Health. 2015;3(5-1):58-63.
  4.  SI SN, Praveena SM. Hazardous ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products and health concern: A review. Public Health Research. 2015;5(1):7-15.
  5.  Ecocert Group: Certification body for sustainable development.
  6. EWG: EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.
  7. Kapoor VP. Herbal cosmetics for skin and hair care.
  8. Datta HS, Paramesh R. Trends in aging and skin care: Ayurvedic concepts. Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine. 2010 Apr;1(2):110.