In the age of a booming cosmetics industry rife with endless product claims and get-pretty-quick solutions, the word ‘natural’ seems to get thrown around a lot as a novelty. But have you ever turned over a skincare tube to see a long list of unfamiliar ingredients ending in ‘-xide’s, ‘-ethyls’ and ‘-ates’? Many skincare products on the market are a shrouded cocktail of parabens, silicones and other chemicals that may yield quick, surface results, but are harmful to our skin and health in the long run. Our skin is the largest, porous organ and absorbs into the body up to 60% of what we put onto it. And if we’re cautious about what we’re putting into our bodies, then what’s the difference with what we put onto our skin? Here are a few reasons as to why the natural and organic beauty trend is worth keeping an eye on and should be considered working into your everyday routine.
The simpler, the better
Now don’t get us wrong, natural skincare doesn’t mean it needs to be formulated from the freshest dew drops of the Himalayas, or seaweed harvested on a full moon from the deepest depths of the Pacific Ocean! Natural skincare is mostly focused on simplicity and natural, pure organic ingredients that have been proven to benefit the health, look and feel of your skin. It’s about taking out the synthetic nasties and funnelling in all the goodness from our rich environment. For example, white willow bark naturally contains anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits, which works to soothe the skin from irritation, clear pores and reduce acne. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is another natural and potent powerhouse antioxidant, which assists in the skin’s rejuvenation process. This makes it great for helping with damaged skin repair and reducing the appearance of acne scarring and other blemishes. Bromelain is a powerful enzyme found in pineapple, that is also effective in exfoliating dead skin cells to smooth your complexion and boost your skins radiance. It’s in understanding which pure, organic ingredients work and how they work to target specific skin concerns that makes natural skincare so unique and coveted.
Help you, help the planet
One of the biggest pro’s for natural skincare is that it’s better for the environment. Vegan ingredients and cruelty free practices are a no brainer in the manufacturing process for minimising effects on animals and practising ethical production. It’s also important to consider that when doing your skincare routine, what you put onto your skin, or use to cleanse is also washed down the drain. Besides various chemicals, a huge culprit to environmental harm in skincare is plastic microbeads- tiny, cheaply manufactured plastic balls that do not break down or dissolve in water. Often added to facial cleansers and scrubs as an exfoliant ingredient, they are too small to be effectively filtered out by most wastewater treatment systems, and end up in our waterways, rivers and oceans. Their ability to absorb toxins greatly damages marine life, and if consumed by fish and other organisms has the potential to transfer up the marine food chain, creating a dangerous cycle. Other alternative natural exfoliators such as walnut scrubs have garnered criticism for its overly abrasive nature and ability to cause micro-tears in the skin, leading to irritation and increased potential for acne. Instead, consider an oat based exfoliator as a natural and gentle alternative. Activated with a small amount of water, this soft grain becomes emollient, which will help gently buff away dead skin cells, while soothing and softening dry, itchy skin.
Ditch the synthetic fragrances
We’re all familiar with the smells: the sickly-sweet vanillas, thick coconut scents and sharp floral fragrances. These are often posed as a selling point for skincare products but are often artificially produced and added to mask chemical smells and make the product more appealing. While they are enjoyed by some, these sorts of fragrances are often derived from petroleum and crude oils, sometimes including harmful toxins such as aldehydes and phthalates. Not only that, but not all fragrance manufacturers are required to explicitly state what goes into their scent additives, meaning that. Synthetic fragrances can be unpleasant to wear, and can also largely irritate skin, eczema or psoriasis, as well as potentially trigger allergic reactions and headaches. Unscented, or lightly, naturally fragranced skincare products from pure ingredients not only smell better, but also avoid sparking and aggravating potential skin reactions.
Invest for the long run
There are no shortcuts when it comes to beautiful, healthy skin, and you always want to make sure that you’re putting on skincare that will protect not only your skin, but also your body. Minimising the body’s toxic and chemical load is vital in maintaining a healthy look and feel, while alleviating the potential for irritants and free radicals to further age your skin. We still do not definitively understand the effects of the long-term use of synthetic, chemical based skincare, and while many may give you that quick, squeaky clean feel, often times they are stripping your skin of its naturally produced and protective oils. Natural skincare is a great option if you are looking to find an organically based alternative for your skin while also taking a step towards a more environmentally conscious path. It takes the stressors out of your everyday beauty routine, and you can feel safe knowing that you are using chemical free and natural ingredients that will work hard to give you a healthy, vibrant glow!