Natural Skin Care – Why Bother?

What is Natural Skin Care?

Natural skin care is normally understood to refer to those items characterised by the absence of synthetic elements, such as preservatives, petrochemical derivatives, nutrient oils, fragrances and harsh liquids.

Typically, natural skin care products are made using natural ingredients such as plant natural oils, essential oils, herbal and flower extracts (both aqueous and waxy), that have been prepared in the “old fashion way”, without chemical processing or even modification. Sometimes, ethically produced animal derivatives, such as beeswax, may also be found in natural skin care (1).

Natural skin care made with approved organically produced recycleables and practices can be organic certified by the relevant organic organizations.

Regrettably, there are numerous products in the market that claim to be either natural or which are cleverly marketed for their singular botanical extract or vitamin, amongst the dense cocktail of synthetic components. These are the “pseudo-natural” products (1). To help clarify if a skin care method really natural, it is recommended to read the constituents section in the label.
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Why is organic skin care better than synthetic?

Products which are made from ingredients that have been extracted normally from sustainably maintained plants and crops manifest the essence, the energy, the qualities and the benefits of the original source raw material, in ways that synthetics ingredients do not.

Simply put, the location, the soil and the water the plants are grown in, and also the sun exposure, the seasons and harvesting times contribute to the mature vegetation and crop yields in distinctive ways.

These factors cannot be mimicked in the laboratory or controlled nurseries, as the natural exposure to the environmental situations facilitates development of subtle differences in the particular plants. These are then reflected within the quality of the extracted oils, as well as on their specific composition, properties plus benefits.

Besides, synthetic ingredients are produced in laboratories using scientific, however often hazardous processes involving the utilization of carbon dioxide, propylene glycol or hexane based methods. Although these chemical agents may only be present is usually trace amounts in the final synthesised ingredients, it is unclear what impact they might have as they accumulate in our bodies, over a prolonged period of exposure (2).

Of course , some of the natural extracts and oils may also be affected or destabilised by the natural extraction methods utilized in their preparation. For these reasons manufacturers of natural skin care products give excellent consideration to the sourcing of their unprocessed trash and how natural ingredients are prepared from the second option.

What is Special About Plant Natural oils?

Plant oils are made up of complicated mixtures of different fatty acids (lipids). It does not take specific mix and ratio of these fatty acids that determines the unique character of any oil. In addition to the main lipid fraction, there are also other very important bioactive substances such as the phospholipids, phosphatides, phytosterols, phytoestrogens, isoflavones and nutritional vitamins. These bioactives are known as the unsaponifiable fraction of the oil. They normally are present is small amounts and are unique signatures of the oils (3).

To demonstrate how the oil composition determines the difference within functional properties, the typical fatty acid profile of apricot kernel and borage oils as described in Kusmirek (3) are compared below.

one – Apricot kernel oil is really a mixture of 58 – 74% of oleic acid, 25 – 30% of linoleic, with the remainder four – 7% composed of palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic and alpha-linolenic acids. The unsaponifiable content is approximately 0. 5 -0. 75%.

2 — Borage oil is a mixture of thirty – 40% linoleic acid, 6 – 25% gamma linolenic acidity, 15 – 20% oleic acidity, 9 – 12% palmitic acidity, 3 – 4% stearic acidity, 2 – 6 % eicosenoic acid. The unsaponifiable content is usually approximately 1%.

Apricot kernel essential oil is a great nourishing and emollient essential oil that is easily absorbed. These attributes are attribute to the high percentages of oleic and linoleic acids. Furthermore, apricot kernel oil can also be an excellent source of vitamin A, present in the particular unsaponifiable matter.

Borage oil is famous for its nourishing and penetrating attributes attributed to the presence of linoleic and oleic acids, but in addition the high content of gamma-linolenic acid confers its regenerating and firming qualities.

The differences within the properties of apricot kernel and borage oils, as well as those of additional oils not discussed here, show the importance to blend various vegetable oils for optimal skin care, so that the skin is adequately fed, continuously hydrated, smooth feeling and outfitted to regenerate efficiently. These are necessary to promote a healthy skin glow, regardless of age.

But , even if the synthetics oils were to reproduce the exact mixes and ratios of plant derived essential fatty acids and unsaponifiables, it would be nearly impossible in order to mimic into the synthetic oils the contribution from the energy that is kept in the plant, from which the equivalent oils were extracted. Thus, natural ingredients are very different from their synthetic equivalents.

What about important oils and other botanicals?

Essential natural oils are concentrated extracts of perfumed and other volatile plant substances, occasionally containing growth factors known for their own regenerative properties. They are the source of the scents of nature and may be used to add scent to natural products. Because of their concentrated nature and higher cost to produce, only small amounts of essential oils are used in natural skin care. Besides, as essential natural oils may be irritating to the skin, they ought to never be used undiluted.

In contrast to oils, floral/herbal waters are the aqueous extracts from flowers/plants. Naturally produced natural oils and aqueous extracts are made by means of distillation, steaming, or infusion methods. These are slow and often inefficient processes that add to cost. But , the products generated using non-synthetic approaches are much safer and healthier than those extracted with the use of artificial methods.

Is there an issue with the variation in natural ingredient batches?

The quick answer is NO!

Certainly, naturally produced ingredients display “batch variation”, but this is section of nature, demonstrating the cycles of change. These are natural bio- tempos, and as with everything in character sometimes there is abundant sunshine, other times there are only clouds. Naturally, these weather changes affect the growth patterns of the plants.

This means that periodically some of the natural ingredients may contain a slightly increased or lower percentage of one and even several of the components, but over a period of time, these variations balance out. The key stage is that the overall effect of using natural ingredients is still beneficial in the long run.

Supporters of the mainstream cosmetic industry object for this variation associated with natural ingredients. Instead they advocate that synthetic ingredients really are a far better option to manufacture any items, including skin care. They argue that artificial ingredients are scientifically controlled, exacting, standardised and can be made in a completely reproducible manner. But , at the end of the day… they may not be natural!

What about preservatives, stabilisers and emulsifiers?

Sure, preservatives and stabilisers extend the shelf-life of any product, natural and synthetic (1, 2, 4). Because of this recognition Euro and USA organic and regulatory organisations have approved the use of certain preservatives for which there has been long standing accumulation of safety and toxicity data, e. g. blends of dehydro-acetic acid. These preservatives were designed to replace the paraben category of preservatives in the personal care products. Although natural products ought to have the minimum necessary amounts of preservatives.

Without a doubt, chemical preservatives such as the parabens, the phenol derivatives and the denatured alcohols are extremely effective, as they increase the product shelf-life almost indefinitely! But , they are also known to interfere with hormone balance and can be allergenic (1, 2). Clearly, they are not wellness promoting substances. As they are easily absorbed by the skin and are longer lasting, their long-term effects on distal organs are unknown, and thus undesirable.

Interestingly, vitamin E is a powerful organic anti-oxidant, as well as a fantastic natural additive for oil blends and emulsified oils (2). Extracts of rosemary and oregano are also considered organic preservatives because of their anti-bacterial properties (2). However , these are not frequently used because they impart a strong scent and may give rise to some skin irritation. This is an sort of where caution has to be exercised with natural substances. Though these occurrences are more the exception than the principle.

Alginic acid obtained from brown algae is sometimes used as a stabiliser (4). But , allantoin, an extract from comfrey root is a more suitable organic stabiliser for skin care preparations (2).

Emulsifiers are substances that assist to prevent the parting of the of essential oil and water fractions in a lotion or lotion. In natural skincare these include lethicin and the wax cetearyl alcohol (1, 2, 4). Lecithin is extracted from soya beans and is known to soften the skin plus help penetration of the skin care item. Cetearyl alcohol is a mix of benefit melting point cetyl and stearyl fatty acids derived from either animal or plant fats. In natural skin care it is preferable to have plant found cetearyl alcohol. Apart from its great emulsifying properties, this fatty acid blend facilitates maintenance of skin hydration.

So , what’s he take home message?

No matter some of the limitations of natural skincare, the natural ingredients in these products continue to be far more beneficial than those that are totally synthetic. Synthetics are unable to reproduce the unique heterogeneous and nourishing character of the natural extracts and oils, because discussed above.

Technology aside, it is also clear that there are major financial benefits for manufacturers to use mostly, if not strictly synthetic ingredients. The cost of producing natural skin care products is of necessity higher than that of synthesising vast amounts of easy to make and make use of synthetic ingredients. Compared to their comparative natural counterparts they afford versatility on the production line, on the shelf-life, as well as on profitability.

These attributes of scientifically designed skin care in the 20th century satisfied the increasing marketplace desire for youth elixirs. However , because the 1960’s growing conscious awareness of the thing that was in our food, demand for organic and natural products increased. This requirement prolonged to the personal care sector also. Indeed, the natural and organic cosmetics market has been the fastest growing field of the personal care products since the past due 1980’s.

Fortunately nowadays, the driver is just not purely for skin care that makes a person look good, but for products that can accomplish this goal with respect for human beings and the environment.


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