Health is often looked at in terms of diet and exercise, both of which are important, but this view is very limiting. Skin is the largest organ, and it absorbs over half of the products put on it. Therefore, far more care should be taken when choosing these products. Synthetic chemicals used in traditional cosmetics can cause side effects and adverse reactions.
Choosing natural cosmetics should be a priority for anyone in the pursuit of a more sustainable lifestyle. Read on for the benefits of choosing natural and organic products.
What does natural mean?
As the market becomes more saturated with products, it is important to know what natural means. A natural beauty product must possess most if not all of the following qualities:
- It is free from harmful chemicals.
- It is made from naturally derived ingredients.
- The ingredients are sustainably grown, harvested and fairly traded.
- The ingredients may be organic, which means they are cultivated without the use of pesticides.
- They do not have any synthetic fragrances or colours.
- They are produced without generating harmful by-products.
- The packaging is mostly, if not entirely, recycled and recyclable.
- They may be cruelty-free.
Choosing natural products has positive implications not only for you but also for the environment.
These chemicals are proven to detrimental to your health, and they should be avoided. Parabens are preservatives commonly found in make-up. They mimic oestrogen and disrupt endocrines which can lead to hormone imbalances and potentially cancers. Sodium lauryl sulphates are foaming agents which can cause skin allergies and irritation; it also produces by-products which are known carcinogens. Phthalate is an ingredient added to plastic packaging to stop it from becoming brittle—exposure to it can cause reproductive problems. Formaldehyde is a preservative, known carcinogen with links to asthma and neurotoxicity. Oxybenzone is usually found in sun cream and has been known to alter thyroid function. It is hard to believe that these products are legally allowed to contain these chemicals, but this simply highlights the importance of natural ingredients. From this, it should be evident that natural products are safer.
Kind to skin
Skin irritations take many forms, from rashes to allergies to inflammation. Most commonly, these irritations are due to the chemicals in your skincare products. Products that use synthetic chemicals can cause many adverse reactions and be detrimental in the long run. Natural products adhere to higher standards and are gentler. They work with your body to allow your skin the chance to mend itself and promote its own balance. For example, CBD oil is an excellent topical treatment whose anti-inflammatory properties are known to cure acne and reduce eczema and psoriasis. It can be hard to know where to get your hands on some CBD oil, so if you are now asking yourself, ‘where can I buy CBD oil’ – online is your best bet. Naturally CBD has a wide range of products so that you can find the right one for your needs.
Fragrance & Ingredients
Chemical products use artificial fragrances, which can further cause skin irritation as well as migraines and sinus issues. Natural products contain only the scents from their own ingredients, which makes them lighter on the nose. Some natural products are devoid of fragrance completely, meaning they are suitable for people with sensitive skin. The natural scents are less likely to cause reactions as they are not as toxic. Natural products are usually exclusively plant-based or mineral actives; they contain the nutrients the body requires anyway. Chemical products are more likely to have harmful additives affecting their efficacy.
Long-term effects and internal health
Traditional cosmetics often provide the effects that they boast in the short term, but your skin is usually worse than it was to start with in the long run. Chemical products simply don’t provide any long-term change. Natural products encourage your skin to heal itself, and so the results are more long-lasting. Product choice is essential as the products applied to the skin can make their way into the bloodstream and affect your internal organs. Conventional products contain many endocrine-disrupting chemicals, such as the ones outlined above. These chemicals can be carcinogenic and harm many internal systems. Natural products do not contain these and so do not affect the internal functions of your body.
As more people become more environmentally conscious, the implications of product choice are fast becoming a moral issue. Environmental damage and pollution are huge contributors to the climate crisis, and huge beauty brands feed into this. Products made from conventionally produced chemical ingredients are dreadful for the environment as their sourcing can destroy habitats and ecosystems. The mass production of them can create vast amounts of pollution. The farming of natural ingredients produces less pollution, making them the more eco-friendly option. A large portion of natural brands are also vegan and cruelty-free. Their products have no animal by-products in them and are not tested on animals. This is not the case for every brand, so ensure that you check all certifications when buying.
Manufacturers are bound by law to list their ingredients on the label, but they can still be vague and confusing. It is only from doing research that you discover what those words listed genuinely mean. Natural beauty products contain fewer ingredients, and often it is clear what is in them from the off. Most natural beauty brands are also honest about their ethical business practices, which is often not the case for more prominent traditional brands.
Natural cosmetics represent an investment both in yourself and in the environment. They are the only choice for the mindful consumer. Natural skincare is more accessible than ever, and the options are innumerable. The right products will make a significant difference to you both in appearance and well-being. However, you should bear in mind that there may be a brief detoxification period after the initial switch. Doing your research into the natural alternatives is paramount; to make the right decision, you must first be informed.