Natural skin care – Does Natural Really Mean Natural?

In 2020, how is it even possible that we still need to discuss the safety of products we use every day? Sure, not all cosmetics will ever be equal in quality. But, how is it allowed for the toxic products to be freely and proudly displayed on all beauty shelves?

Unfortunately, the majority of body care and household products do contain chemicals that have been proven to be harmful for human health. And unfortunately, the “all natural” statements on the packaging don’t mean a lot.

What Is Natural Skin care?

In the last couple of decades, it became clear not all cosmetic products can be trusted. Some ingredients that were (and still are) commonly used in beauty products were linked to not only skin-related issues (such as allergies and skin irritations), but even to severe health problems.

A good portion of what we apply to our skin gets absorbed and ultimately ends up in our bloodstream. Once there, it has the ability to cause many health related issues.

The consumers finally got tired of having to wonder whether their shampoos and moisturizers could be a serious threat to their health. A few years ago, many women started to search for products that won’t only give them the beauty benefits. They wanted products they can safely use for many years, even around their kids.

Cosmetic companies recognized this need. Soon, the beauty shelves got filled with products labeled as natural, organic, clean or green. Sadly, though, many companies are more focused on attracting the consumers with claims that cannot be checked and verified, rather than on making products that really are safe for human health.

Which brings us back to the question – what is natural skin care?

Truly natural skincare products are only the products whose ingredients can be found in the nature. In other words, only the products that don’t contain any synthetic chemicals can be called completely natural.

Common natural skincare ingredients include: natural oils and butters, hydrosols, herbs, clays, aloe vera, Himalayan salt, honey, green tea, oatmeal, avocado, apple cider vinegar, algae, etc.

But, before you jump to conclusions, here’s another thing to think about – some “natural” ingredients can lose a lot of their value and can even have added chemicals, depending on the way they are derived and processed. Not every shea butter or honey is raw and organic. Or glycerin, for example, can be plant-derived, but there is also synthetic glycerin that is derived from petroleum.

What Is Greenwashing?

Some cosmetic companies use the claims on their labels a bit too freely. Terms such as all natural, organic or chemical-free often don’t mean a thing. These are only marketing terms whose purpose is to promote the products as safe or better for your health and skin.

The problem is – there is no law restriction or proper regulation of the term “natural”. And there are no globally established standards of what criteria a product needs to fulfill to be able to get the “natural” label.

So, technically, though sneaky, these companies do not break any law, because there is no law that clearly states what a cosmetic product can and cannot contain to be considered as safe and natural.

Here’s what the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says about it: “The law does not require cosmetic labeling to have FDA approval before cosmetic products go on the market, and FDA does not have a list of approved or accepted claims for cosmetics.”

Even the claims that have some proof of being natural or organic don’t have to be 100% organic. For example, if a product has the USDA Organic Seal, that means that that 95% of it are organic ingredients. But for a “made with organic ingredients” label, a product needs to be made of at least 70 percent organic ingredients.

So, How Can You Know Whether Your Skincare Products Are Really Natural?

One option is to try and swap as many of the products as you can with their natural, homemade alternatives. Not only you will be able to much better control what goes onto your skin, but making your own products is also a fun and easy process. Soon, you’ll learn what ingredients your skin particularly likes and how to mix and match ingredients to come up with your own custom products.

However, be careful –not all natural ingredients you can find on the market are completely harmless. Whether you use plant oils, green tea or fresh fruits and veggies, make sure to check their quality.

If DIY-ing is not really your thing, you can also try and use only cosmetic lines that have been certified by a third-party organisation, such as The Environmental Working Group (EWG).

EWG is a non-profit, non-partisan organization whose main goal is to protect the consumers from the false claims on product labels. To be EWG verified, a product needs to not contain any of the concerning ingredients, enlisted on the EWG’s “Unacceptable” list. It also needs to disclose all the ingredients it contains and to be produced using good manufacturing practices.

All of this will give you a much better idea on what kind of products you are using and what exactly goes onto your skin.

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Kelly Fielding

Kelly is a passionate writer, enthusiastic yogi and professional sunrise chaser. Kelly has traveled and worked extensively around the world in health resorts, detox centers, and wellness retreats. Specialising in health and wellness, her written work is regularly published in both print and online media. A gypsy heart and lover of nature, Kelly finds inspiration in the world around her and translates her visions into whimsical stories and creative projects.