What do we mean when we say “natural skincare products”?
In our view, natural skincare products are those that are gentle to the body, to the earth and to animals. We’ll explain what we mean by that.
Gentle to the body
The average U.S. consumer uses about 10 cosmetic products every day – including makeup, soap, shampoo, lotion, hair gel and cologne – and exposes himself or herself to 126 different chemicals daily.
The skin allows some of the substances put on it to enter the bloodstream – including potentially cancer-causing substances, explains Scientific American. And we need to be even more cautious with infants and children. Little ones’ skin is relatively more permeable than adults.
That’s why products that claim to be natural should contain few, if any, processed or synthetic ingredients – such as artificial color or fragrance, propylene glycol, petroleum, mineral oil, sulfates or animal-based compounds – to minimize chemical exposure.
You’ll often see the terms “paraben-free” and “phthalate-free” on the label. Phthalates are used in products like nail polish, deodorant and more that have been linked to birth defects in the male reproductive system.
Parabens are preservatives used to extend the shelf life in many skincare products. Because they mimic the hormone estrogen, parabens have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues. Like many other skincare ingredients, they simply aren’t necessary. Most skincare products lose much of their potency within 12 months anyway, according to Skin Inc.
Gentle to the earth
We rinse many chemicals and by-products down the drain each day, including nanoparticles. Found in sunscreens and other products, nanoparticles “find their way into the main water source of lakes, streams and rivers, where they possibly disturb the micro ecosystem that maintains the marine environment,” according to mySkin.com.
Natural skincare products are made from plant, flower and sea extracts. These biodegradable, renewable ingredients have a minimal environmental impact.
Not harmful to animals
Companies can claim “no animal testing” if they didn’t test their products on animals, without having checked to see if suppliers did. But “many more conscientious organizations, manufacturers, spa owners, and consumers have established cruelty-free policies and have taken a stand against unnecessary testing,” Care2.com reports.
Natural ingredients don’t have to be tested on animals, as they have time-tested healing properties – and they’re gentle enough to be tested on humans in the first place.
Image: D Sharon Pruitt / Flickr