Natural Ingredients In Skincare: Science Or Hype?

Are Natural & Organic Ingredients Better for Your Skin?

“Organic” and “Natural” are the cosmetic industry’s new buzzwords. However, it is important to realize that many natural ingredients can cause allergies, irritation, and skin sensitivities. When such an irritation or inflammation occurs it damages the skin’s ability to withstand the environment any more and heal the damage that has been done. What makes things trickier is that human skin is a master at disguising the fact that it is being irritated. If you don’t see any signs of irritation but the products that you’re using contain irritants it doesn’t mean that your skin is healthy.

Popular Natural Ingredients That Can Cause Skin Irritation

Many popularly used natural ingredients are known to cause allergies, skin irritation, and sun/skin sensitivity. These include but are not limited to: Almond extract, oak bark, allspice, thyme, angelica, arnica, lemon balm, balm mint, cottonseed oil, balsam, lavender oil, basil, bergamot, cinnamon, citrus, clove, wintergreen, clover blossom, coriander oil, peppermint, cypress, fennel, grapefruit, fir needle, geranium oil, horsetail, lemon, lemongrass, lime, marjoram, papaya, rose, rosemary, sage, Witch hazel, and ylang ylang.

Don’t Look for Natural Ingredients, Look for “Good” Natural Ingredients

The idea here is not that most natural ingredients are irritants but that a few certainly are and you should avoid them. When designing Paula’s Choice product range, only good natural ingredients are used. All ingredients with proven records of skin irritating properties are omitted.

FDA’s Word of Caution

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) maintains an objective stance on natural ingredients. Dr. Linda M. Katz, Office of Cosmetics and Colors Director has stated that people should not assume any product with “natural” or “organic” buzzwords to be more safe to use than its chemically-synthesized counterparts. She stressed that natural ingredients may actually be harder to protect from microbial growth as opposed to synthetic ingredients.

USDA Says to Watch Out for Organic and Natural Products

Joan Shaffer, spokeswoman for USDA warned people to use caution even when buying USDA approved or other organic certified cosmetics. She maintains that the National Organic Program aims at marketing various products to people; it doesn’t ingredients for either efficacy or safety. That said, the assured organic bundt cake or face cream that you bought for a premium, may or may not be safe to consume.

Lastly, you should pay special attention to natural the packaging of natural ingredients. Think how long a lettuce head can last in your refrigerator and you will get some idea about how important storage conditions are to maintain potency of natural ingredients. The wrong kind of packaging like clear jars can expose the ingredient to deteriorating effects of light and oxygen. Hence, always choose opaque and air tight storage which minimizes the degrading effects of environment.

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