How to choose natural skincare and why is it a better choice?
How natural is natural? What is in your mind when the words “natural skincare” pop out?
This definition varies from people to people, depending on their understanding of natural.
Plucking a fruit off a pesticide-free, wild crafted tree and consuming it immediately is definitely the ultimate form of natural. However, is that possible when we need to bottle these highly perishable foods in a bottle with a shelf-life of more than 2 weeks?
The answer is no.
Preservative is needed to prevent nasty micro-organisms from growing and wrecking our body system. We then have to decrease our perception of natural a little lower, a little more practical. We need a little processing here to get our natural extracts.
To maintain the goodness of the nature’s gifts, we need to expose these gems to minimal heat and chemical processes so the molecular structures of these goodies remain intact. That’s my perception of natural and how ingredients are selected for our products. As little processing as possible, physical process, with little or no chemical added at all.
What about the other chemical skin care category? What is in them that gives them the Chemical label?
Non-recognizable chemical names of additives, fragrances, emulsifiers, heavily processed oils, like petroleum oil, chemical solvents, likes propylene glycol, that don’t exist naturally and have no benefit to our well-beings and many more.
Decades back, before natural skincare was the new hype, one will be shocked to learn that the bottles of skincare one uses, regardless of the price tag, contains nothing but chemicals. Occasionally, 1 or 2 plant extracts can be seen out of the long list of chemicals. For now, there are various ratios of chemicals to natural extracts skincare products in the market. The natural, chemical-free ones are those with little to zero chemicals.
To be able to determine what they are, it will be good to know what makes a bottle of shampoo or skincare.
Water + surfactants + solvents or solubilizers + thickeners + conditioning agents + chelating agents + preservatives + fragrances = shampoo or shower gel
Water + actives (some products exclude this!)+ emollients + emulsifiers + thickeners + fragrances + preservatives = Moisturizers
There is always a natural or chemical option for each of the components. For instance, Water, Saccharomycopsis Ferment Filtrate (active), Butylene Glycol (chemical solvent), Polysorbate 20 (solubilizer) , Glycerin (emollient), Methylparaben (preservative), Sodium Benzoate (preservative), Disodium EDTA (chelating agent and preservative), PEG-150 (emulsifier), Sodium Citrate (preservative), Cellulose Gum (thickener), Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Salicylic Acid (actives to exfoliate and adjust pH), Sodium Hyaluronate (active for hydration).
Organic Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Distillate, Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) Distillate, Witch Hazel distillate, Rose distillate (all the water componenet), Vegetable glycerine (emollient/hydration), Pumpkin seed oil (Cucurbita pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil) (emollient), Niacinamide, N-acetyl glucosamine, MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) (actives, also taken in health supplements), Lactobacillus Ferment (active cum preservative), Alpha-Arbutin (active for whitening), Essential oil of Helichrysum Italicum, Lavender (lavandula angustifolia oil), Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), German Blue Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) (actives and “fragrance”), Liquid Lecithin (emollient), Guar Gum (thickener), Sodium Hyaluronate (<5k dalton) (active for hydration), Dehydroxanthan gum (thickener)
In the point of a biologist, natural skin care is the obvious choice. If these individual components are placed on 2 separate plates, which will you consume?
Written by Rizen Ng - Derma Specialist
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