Why natural skin care
Most of us use several skin and body care products on a daily basis. Up to 60% of what we put on our skin ends up being absorbed in the body and when the products we use are made from harmful artificial ingredients these place an unnecessary burden on the body’s detoxification processes and on the entire immune system, including the skin. Some chemicals remain stored in the body for several months or even years before they are completely eliminated.
Harmful ingredients in cosmetics aren’t just a personal issue any more. Every product we use on our skin will eventually end up in soil and waterways, where it can further impact microorganisms and aquatic life.
Natural ingredients are usually a much safer alternative, though we all need to bear in mind that plants can also trigger unwanted reactions in some people. Additionally, many ingredients labeled as natural or naturally-derived have undergone extensive chemical processing which can alter their nutritional profile and reduce their benefits to the skin. The most active, pure and beneficial cosmetic ingredients have undergone minimal processing (look for cold pressed extra virgin plant oils and steam-distilled essential oils) and come from organic or biodynamic plants.
Choosing the best skin and body care products for you will involve not only reading labels and becoming familiar with ingredients, but also learning about how the products are made. Cosmetics companies that truly care about the health and wellbeing of their customers and the environment will always be happy to share details about their ingredient selection and manufacturing processes.
What to look for in skin and body care products
As we’ve seen, choosing cosmetic products might be an important decision, but there’s no need to make it too complicated. There are two essential rules to keep in mind here:
1. Skin food – think of skin and body care products as edible treats for the skin and take the same approach you would apply to your diet. Healthy food is made from fresh, minimally processed natural ingredients. If you’re finding that you can’t decipher the ingredients in your moisturiser without having to call a friend with a PhD in chemical science, chances are that your body might have trouble knowing what to do with it also. Beware of products with a very long shelf life: vegetable oils are at their best when they are fresh, and while vitamins and natural preservatives can be added to enhance the stability of the product, it’s best to buy only products that you know you are going to use within a few months. Choosing multi-functional products can also go a long way towards ensuring that you are getting the best value out of your products and minimising waste.
2. Simple is always best – an excessively long ingredient list usually means that the product only contains minimal amounts of each ingredient: they might have great properties, but if only tiny quantities are present they are not going to work as well. It’s best to stick with those products that can define their main uses and benefits with only a few ingredients.