We hear two big buzzing concepts in skincare currently - 'organic' and 'natural.' There is no doubt that natural skin care ingredients benefit your skin on multiple levels… from replenishing its real moisture to supplying nutrients to the skin.
However, before you start buying ingredients randomly and slapping them on your skin, it would be helpful to know a few factors first:
1. Know your skin type (oily, dry, sensitive or combination). Some oils are better than others when it comes to supporting a certain skin type.
2. Identify any existing allergies. We are inclined to believe that organic will turn out to be the ultimate and universal cure for our skin. However, that is not the case. In fact, some organic products may even hurt your skin by triggering certain allergies. There is a group of organic products that are sold in their purest (raw) forms that contain more allergens, which can lead to long-lasting rashes and even eczema. People with acne prone skin should also be very cautious. You can study some of our skin care recipes for acne to learn more.
3. Don't be hung up on the word "organic." Organic does not automatically mean that the plant is clean and safe to use. You might recall the recent June 2011 E. coli outbreak in Europe that caused several deaths. The outbreak was from contaminated bean sprouts grown on an "organic" farm. Even the USDA states on their website the following:
"Are cosmetics made with "organic" ingredients safer for consumers than those made with ingredients from other sources? No. An ingredient's source does not determine its safety. For example, many plants, whether or not they are organically grown, contain substances that may be toxic or allergenic. For more on this subject, see FDA Poisonous Plant Database."
The terms 'organic' and 'natural' are largely responsible for fueling the misconception that all synthetic ingredients are automatically bad and that all organic or natural skin care ingredients are automatically good. Again, it is not all black and white. There are some man-made materials that are necessary (that are used as a preservative) and are not harmful to the skin if formulated properly.
Besides, in oder to receive an 'organic' label from the USDA, a skincare product must contain at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients. How about the other five percent? Even though a lot of cosmetic products do contain organic ingredients, they may also contain synthetic ingredients, so the term 'organic' does not apply to the whole formula. Therefore, it is important for all of us to have a basic understanding of what variations of synthetics are safe and what chemicals are absolutely toxic.
What To Look For When Picking Natural Skin Care Products?
Now, lets look at some powerful ingredients that you may want to use on your skin:
Purified water (triple-filtered and reverse osmosis purified) - removes chemicals from water either through filters or through osmosis, which stunts the chemicals to the side leaving the remaining water chemical-free.
Seaweed Extract (algae extract) is loaded with minerals. The natural active ingredients provide effective hydration and regeneration of skin. It is high in proteins and fatty acids, therefore, it targets skin aging from two different angles. On one hand it strengthens skin's fibers to lift and tone; while on the other, fatty acids improve skin's elasticity and firmness.
Organic Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii) is very rich and nourishing. It is an excellent skin protector and effective in the treatment of scars, stretch marks, eczema, burns, acne, blemishes, severely dry skin, chapped lips. Also, it can be used to repair very dry and damaged hair.
Vitamin E (Tocopherol Acetate) has very high amounts of essential fats and antioxidants which help accomplish shedding away dead skin cells and replacing them with healthy new cells leaving moisturized, soft and smooth skin. It also in an anti-inflammatory.
Organic Aloe Vera Juice is an essential first aid necessity. There are over 400 species of Aloe Vera. It's a potent healing and regenerative agent especially for burns, rashes or sunburn. Aloe Vera juice can also be taken internally to aid digestion and has been effective in soothing stomach ulcers and improving regularity of the colon, among other benefits.
Organic Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis) a wax ester, which are naturally found in skin, is the closest in composition to the skins natural sebum so it's very easily absorbed and rarely causes reactions. It has a very slight odor and can be used as a carrier for other ingredients and oils. Jojoba oil is rich in vitamins E, and B, as well as minerals such as zinc, copper and silicon chromium. Besides, it has antimicrobial properties and it nourishes and revitalizes the skin.
Organic Grapeseed Oil (Vitis Vinifera) is easily absorbed and doesn't leave a greasy residue on the skins surface. It's a light oil rich in vitamins, minerals proteins and low in saturated fats. Grapeseed oil helps strengthen tissue cells and has very nourishing properties.
Organic Rosehip Seed Oil is known to improve overall appearance of skins natural tone and color. It is very high in linoleic and linolenic acid (Vitamin F) which are essential skin nutrients; Vitamin A, which helps with cell regeneration, collagen and elastin production, leading to firmer, smoother and more elastic skin; and essential fatty acids (Vitamin E), which help accomplish healthy skin. Studies show its regenerative success with damaged skin such as scar tissue, acne scars, burn scars, surgical scars, chicken pox, premature aging, stretch marks, dermatitis, psoriasis, UV and radiation damage.
Organic Avocado Oil (Persea Gratissima) is a rich and nourishing moisturizer that penetrates deeper into the skin than any other plant, making it ideal for mature skin. It is high in vitamins A, which assists with cell regeneration and D, which is a powerful anti-oxidant and anticarcinogen. Also, it is rich in vitamin E, which is considered the youth mineral due to numerous benefits for anti-aging such as reducing wrinkles, protection from UV rays, pollution and other free radicals. Organic Tangerine Oil (Citrus Nobilis) is a god send for mothers-to-be. It's an extremely calming and refreshing oil which relieves fatigue, stress and fluid retention while preventing stretch marks.
Organic Sweet Almond Oil (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis) is rich in vitamin D, protein, glucosides, minerals, oleic and fatty acids. It is an excellent nourishing emollient helping condition the skin resulting in younger, softer looking skin. Sweet almond oil is particularly useful in relieving itchy, dry, sore and inflamed skin experienced during pregnancy.
Organic Unrefined Beeswax (Cera Alba) is a very hydrating wax ester. It increases the essential moisture and protects the skin.
Organic Sugar-Cane Ethanol is a natural solvent for herbs and delivers beneficial ingredients deep into the skin.
D-Panthenol (Vitamin B5) is a natural humectant used in shampoos and conditioners. It binds the hair shafts and seals the surface. It is very healing and soothing. Non-GMO Lecithin (soybean oil) is an excellent restoring agent. Its natural and moisturizing factors soften and hydrate the skin.
Non-GMO Lecithin has the capability to penetrate deeply into the skin, delivering other ingredients to the cellular level.
Organic Marshmallow Extract (Althaeu officinalis) is used to treat inflammation. It's believed to help soothe, soften and heal skin.
Grapefruit Extract is a potent antibacterial and anti-fungal agent. Caution - make sure it is only real grapefruit extract. Companies often want to avoid liabilities and opt for industrial 'grapefruit extracts' that have harmful additives such as benzethonium chloride. Once again, watch what you buy because it depends on the product.
Green Tea Extract is a great antioxidant and counteracts irritation caused by acidic products on the skin.
Organic Witch Hazel Extract is a natural astringent and anti-inflammatory derived from the steamed distillation of twigs and shrubs. Witch hazel has been the natural toner for over 100 years.
Organic Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia) has been known to improve circulation which actually helps in reducing cellulite and water retention. Lavender can help acne troubled skin due to its antiseptic and antibiotic properties. Its regenerative and calming properties are suitable for all skin types.
Organic Neroli (Citrus Aurantuim Amara) carries an intense scent and is best used mixed with jojoba oil. It can be used by all skin types and is particularly beneficial for fragile, mature and dry skin.
Olive Extract is great for removing make-up. It is full of anti-oxidants and it is an excellent skin protector because it is high in vitamin E and full of anti-oxidants.
Xanthan and Natural Gum is a natural thickener, emollient, binder and stabilizer. It is found in various tropical and asian plants and trees like acacia.
It is good to keep in mind that some of the natural skin care ingredients mentioned above must be 'organic,' because if the soil contains pesticides, herbicides and / or other chemicals, they would be absorbed into the plant.
Is this a long enough list for you? Joking aside, let us know what natural skin care ingredients would you add to this list?
Oh, and if you would like to put some of these ingredients to work and learn a few fun skin care recipes, then visit naturalvibrancy.com
Sources: SkinDeep, The Green Beauty Guide