Natural vs “Synthetics” in Skin Care

Natural vs “Synthetics” in Skin Care

Taking care of your skin is a daily routine, if you want to keep your skin vibrant and as resilient as it can be in order to keep that youthful glow we all desire for years to come.

It seems that everything in this world has an opposite match. As with most things in life, there are no easy answers and nothing is black or white. With regards to skin products, it’s a battle between natural skin care products against chemical-based ones.

As we all know there are so many skincare products on the market to choose from, the task of choosing the right one can be daunting.

For thousands of years, people have used naturally occurring compounds as part of their skin care regimen. The ancient Egyptians and the early Greeks used methods and processes to preserve the skin by using the most accessible elements found in nature: plants.

Natural skin care is care of the skin using natural ingredients such as herbs, roots, resins and essential oils—things found in nature. Organic and natural herbal ingredients are used in quantities and formulations intended to support the whole body.

Natural skin creams and serums are free of chemicals, making them usually risk-free when it comes to your health. No carcinogens, no unpronounceable ingredient names, no problems! In fact, some of the best and purest skin products are so clean that you could actually eat them. These are the kinds of creams and serums that have the most positive effects on your skin’s well-being.

Anything that is 100% natural is almost guaranteed to be safe. 100% natural skin care products tend to be hypo allergenic, non irritating, and safe to use on all skin types. The users can take comfort and security in knowing that what they put on their body will never hurt them.

In theory this may be true, however, in reality harmful contaminants exist in both natural and chemically derived ingredients. Natural is not always good: some the most poisonous compounds can be natural. For instance, would you want Poison Ivy in your moisturizer? I think not!

Unfortunately when certain chemical ingredients are used in skincare, they are not tested thoroughly enough or for a long enough time. While the short-term results may be dramatic even amazing, the long term effects are found out years later. Research has shown that the manufacturing process is often to blame. Starting with a botanical, doesn’t always mean that it maintains its biological integrity by the time it reaches the consumer.

For example, perhaps one of the most common chemical groups used in cosmetics and clearly printed on an ingredient labels is sodium laureth sulfate, which may claim to be natural because it is derived from coconut oil. It is used mostly as a sudsing agent and can damage the immune system. The residue from these suds can show up in the liver heart and lungs. When this chemical combines with other ingredients in the product carcinogenic nitrosating agents are created. In fact we recommend that anything in the laurel family should be avoided altogether.

On the other hand, some products made with chemical compounds are known to be as effective as natural products, but the ingredient list is somewhat like a mine field. A mere 11% percent of the 10,500 ingredients the FDA has documented in cosmetic products have even been assessed for safety. Are you allergic or do you have sensitive skin and you didn’t know it? Your face turns red, inflamed and the condition or problem you are treating gets even worse!

Moreover, if you decide to purchase skin care products that are naturally preserved, it doesn’t mean you are in the all clear either. If they are not stored or handled properly bacteria will form.

Unlike natural skin care products, chemical-based skin care products contain different kinds of chemicals and synthetic ingredients. Although chemicals make them effective in the short term, they also increase the risk of developing skin allergies and irritations. Sometimes, the chemicals are too harsh for sensitive skin and your overall health. Why take the risk of illness causing chemicals when natural products are available and do a fantastic job and prepare your skin for the long haul.

Check the Labels

Now, perhaps many people are quite happy to use products which are being promoted via misleading marketing, but what about all the finer details which are not included in the advertisements, such as the cocktail of ingredients being used. Sure they may mention one or two ingredients in the ads, but most will never be mentioned, apart from in the fine print on the packaging.

Some of the harmful ingredients that are used frequently in manufacturing the most common non-organic skin care and make-up items include:


  • Mercury
  • Dioxane
  • Nitrosamines
  • DEA
  • Cyclomethicone
  • Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
  • Alcohol, Isopropyl (SD-40)
  • Polyethylene Glycol
  • Polyethylene eth-


Most of these compounds are easily absorbed by the skin, yet the body has a hard time ridding itself of them. The toxins remain in the body and may ultimately spread through the body causing damage to the organs. Many of these products are also not good for the environment. Some of the stuff in your typical body lotion or shower gel, for example, takes 200 to 300 years to biodegrade once it washes down the drain.

Some categories of ingredients that you will find present in many types of skin care products, including organic skin care products are:


  • Emollients
  • Humectants
  • Emulsifiers
  • Surfactants
  • Preservatives


There are both synthetic and natural versions of each. Synthetic chemicals identical to the natural ones work exactly the same and can be used in exactly the same way. In fact, take away the labels, and you won’t be able to distinguish between the two – even when using cutting edge analytical equipment. Synthetic chemicals not found in nature are structurally different and may indeed work differently.

It is important to keep an open mind and understand, though, that synthetic does not necessarily mean dangerous. Plenty of synthetic products are demonstrably safe for human applications. However, not everyone involved in this issue is simply worried about the direct impact on people. Some concerns are environmental.

So, rather than thinking in terms of natural vs “unnatural”, it’s better to do your own research and investigate each specific ingredient. Study the most common skin care ingredients, to find out why they are used, where they’re derived from and how they’re processed. Also, pay attention to whether you’ve been sensitive to these ingredients in the past. Know your skin type. You should know what products to use that are suitable for your skin. Always check again the labels of your current skin care products to see if it contains harmful ingredients and most importantly nurture your skin the way you nurture your body.

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