Natural Skin Care – Is It Really Just Skin Deep?
Would you knowingly eat food that had formaldehyde, subtances proven to mess with estrogen levels and cause birth defects, or petrochemicals which can dissolve paint? Then why would you routinely put them onto your skin, where they’re absorbed right into your body?
A shocking number of popular skin care products contain formaldehyde, phosphates, toluene and other scary stuff which can quickly make their way into the body and cause major health issues. But if you’re like hundreds of millions of women, you may not even have considered the detrimental effects that body washes, shampoos and conditioners, facial cleansers and other skin care products can have.
Even worse, there’s virtually no government control over what manufacturers can put into those products. Research done by the Environmental Working Group shows that more than 10,000 ingredients in cosmetic and skin care products are known to federal regulators, but nearly 90 percent of them haven’t been evaluated for safety. The European Union has banned well over 1300 ingredients due to worries that they cause cancer or other serious health issues, but the U.S has banned just eleven of them.
The best natural skin products aren’t simply for the crunchy-granola set. They’re for anyone who cares about their long-term health. They also happen to be surprisingly effective, often outperforming traditional yet harmful body treatments.
Let’s first take a look at some of the most important arguments in favor of all-natural skin products and the reasons to buy organic skin care solutions. After that, we’ll check out some of the best ways to care for the skin naturally.
Why Choose Natural Products for Skin Care?
We all learned in school that the skin is the body’s largest organ, but no one in biology or health class ever taught us how to take care of it properly. It’s usually only after experiencing problems like acne, rashes, irritations or serious issues like skin cancer, that people become fully aware of how important natural beauty care products can be.
There are a number of reasons that natural skin treatments are the smart choice:
· They’ve stood the test of time. Professional skin care lines weren’t an option for thousands of years, yet women as far back as ancient civilizations were very concerned with skin beauty, and maintained it using many of the natural ingredients for skin care used in today’s top organic skin care brands.
· They don’t cause redness or irritation the way that many very popular brands of acne treatments and other skin treatments do. Many creams or ointments commonly used to get rid of acne or skin blemishes caused by bacteria use caustic chemicals like benzoyl peroxide, which leave behind telltale skin dryness and irritation. And some facial skin products use ingredients like mineral oil which make skin vulnerable to free radicals and can actually lead to blemishes or prematurely aged skin. The best natural products for face care, as well as some homemade skin care products, can eliminate problems without creating others.
· They don’t use the potentially-harmful petrochemicals, endocrine or estrogen disruptors, or the cancer-causing agents, routinely added to commercial, non-natural skin care products with the tacit approval of government regulators. Natural products are proven to “do no harm.”
· They can actually cost less than heavily-marketed, brand name treatments whose manufacturers charge premium prices to pay for their advertising and distribution costs. Many top natural organic skin care products are surprisingly inexpensive, and the use of natural herbs for skin care can sometimes deliver superior results to the fancy, non-natural products that are top-sellers. Totally natural skin care can be cost-effective, as well as just plain effective.
It’s important to know that the government doesn’t have legal definitions for what constitutes a natural skin product. Anyone can use the word natural to describe personal care products, and there are very loose regulations on the use of the word organic – even if a product has 30 percent non-organic ingredients, it can still advertise that it’s made with organic ingredients. That makes it crucial to understand what “all-natural body products” really are, and how to follow a natural skin regimen. Here we go, with our skin care natural tips.
Many people don’t realize that the intricate body treatments promoted by cosmetic and lotion manufacturers don’t accomplish more than common-sense care for the skin. And even though women may realize deep down that “anti-aging” formulas and other magic potions are simply the same ingredients repackaged for marketing purposes, they still buy them anyway.
Here’s what is really needed for the best natural skin care routine: a cleanser, a moisturizer, a toner (only if you have oily skin, enlarged pores or are prone to Rosacea) and a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Yep, that’s it. It’s the regime recommended by specialists in naturopathic skin care, but it’s a terrific recipe for everyone to follow.
What about products like eye creams, anti-cellulite creams or vitamin creams? Eye cream is just moisturizer, no topical product can fight cellulite, and your skin gets all the vitamins it needs if you take a daily multi-vitamin. Those products are great for manufacturers’ bottom lines, but won’t do a thing for your skin.
It can be time-consuming and frustrating to pore over ingredient lists, just to determine whether natural face care products or an “all natural” skin cleanser contain dangerous or questionable ingredients. A smart alternative is to check the Environmental Working Group’s database (which we’ve already referenced) for a terrific list which ranks common personal care brands by how toxic they are. But when looking at skin products online or at a store, don’t just settle for claims to be the “best natural skin cleanser.” There are some easy ways to narrow down your choices.
· Avoid products which use petrochemicals: these potentially cancer-causing agents are often found in shampoos and facial creams. If you see paraffin, petrolatum or mineral oil in the ingredient list, that’s a red flag.
· Watch out for other toxic ingredients: many won’t even be listed on labels, but some to stay away from are benzoyl peroxide, glycols like propylene glycol (PG), butylene glycol and polyethylene glycol (PEG), trichlosan and triclocarban, phthalates, parabens, DEA, MEA and TEA, SLS and SLES, and particularly urea and DMDM hydantoin which both can release formaldehyde.
· Be careful when using products with artificial fragrances and colors: artificial fragrances often contain phthalates, and coloring agents often contain carcinogenic heavy metal salts. FD&C or D&C are definitely red flags for artificial color; they’ve both been banned in the EU.
· Choose sunscreen carefully: sunscreen is crucial for maintaining healthy skin, but many brands contain agents which can cause cancer or damage DNA. Avoid PABA, avobenzone, ethoxycinnamate and benzphenone when choosing a sunscreen, and always go for SPF 50 or higher.
After you’ve considered what’s in the container it’s time to pay attention to the container itself because even if you’re buying all natural facial products, their packaging can be an issue. Glass is always safe because it won’t leach any toxic elements into what’s inside. Unfortunately, you can’t say the thing about plastics. Containers with the recycling codes #1, #2 and #5 are fine, but you should shy away from those with the codes #3V (which are made from PVC which can leak all sorts of cancer-causing agents) and #7 (which may leach hazardous BPAs into the beauty products inside).
We’ve mentioned the best natural skin care regimen and the types of products to avoid, but one element has been left out of this discussion: organic ingredients. One of the best ways to ensure that you’re using healthy skin care products is to use ones whose ingredients have been grown without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. But here’s the problem. The Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate the use of the word “organic” for personal care products; the only rules which come into play are from the Department of Agriculture, and as previously mentioned, the word can be used on products which still have as much as 30% non-organic material in them. The only federal certification you can trust is a label that says “USDA 100 percent organic” which means that all ingredients were organically produced
You can take things even a step further, and insist on products that are made from ingredients grown with techniques called biodynamic farming, which focuses on the holistic relationship between soil and plant. This may finally be getting into the crunchy-granola territory we mentioned earlier, but it definitely ensures that all organic ingredients have been used. The way to find biodynamically-farmed natural skin care products is to look on the label for certification from the Demeter Association.
Finally, if you make your own products from all-natural skin care recipes you can be certain that they’re healthy and safe. And that may be the only way to get your hands on dirt cheap organic skin care products, since the commercial ones are usually more pricey than non-organic alternatives. We’ll get into all of that a bit later on, once we’ve looked at the process of finding the best natural skincare brands, whether you’re shopping on skincare websites or in local skincare stores.
Researching the Best Natural Products For Skin Care
Now that you’ve read this far you may already be discouraged, thinking: “How am I ever going to sort through the millions of skin care products in stores and on websites to find all-natural skin care lines?” Don’t despair. Here’s a look at resources you can use for research. After that, we’ll give you some of our own suggestions on the best natural skin care brands.
The way to get a feel for what experts and other users have to say is by searching reputable skincare websites. We’re not talking about sketchy “review” sites promising “natural skin care reviews” or “best skin care products reviews” – because those are usually full of fake write-ups for products the owners are trying to sell. What we’re suggesting is visiting the skincare website sections of authority sites such as WebMD or honest natural skin care websites like Treehugger.com, where you’ll get unbiased information from people who aren’t trying to sell you things. You can also search large skin forums such as the one on RealSelf to see what other people have to say about the products they’ve tried. Always remember, though, when you search Google for terms like “natural skin care products reviews,” most of the sites that come up won’t have your best interest at heart. Stay away from those websites, because they’re just trying to make money. Stick with honest, authority websites.
OK, you’ve read up and gotten some ideas. Now it’s time to start actually shopping for products promising natural care for skin, and/or natural care for face.
Natural and Organic Skin Care Brands
This is not an exhaustive rundown of all natural facial care products, because it’s impossible to determine the “best skincare line.” It’s a partial list of companies who can make a reasonable claim to having the best natural skin care line on the market. Some rely completely on organic ingredients while others use a mix of natural and organic components. Each, however, offers outstanding skin care with natural ingredients, without potentially dangerous chemicals or additives.
Our first group features designer or brand names, each offering natural products good for skin – but tough on wallets. They all use top-level ingredients, and expect you to pay top-level prices for them. Natural remedies for skin care you should at least investigate:
· 100% Pure: It’s hard to find a better line of all natural face products. Many are organic and have are pleasing natural scents created by ingredients like lavender, eucalyptus, mint tea carrot, red wine and jasmine. There are cleansers and moisturizers, as well as scrubs, serums and skin care masks, giving you the best in natural face treatment at a price that isn’t quite as high as some other entries on this list.
· RMS Beauty: For example, this entry. The natural skin and facial care products from RMS Beauty are among the most costly you’ll find, but they’re extremely popular because they work so well. Their top seller is Living Luminizer, a natural treatment for skin promoted by a number of Victoria’s Secret models. If you’re looking for natural skin oils, the herbal antioxidant RMS Beauty Oil is extremely expensive, but completely organic.
· Sircuit: When it comes to the very best natural face products, women who use 100% natural skin care products have made this company’s X-Trap+ daily face wash one of the world’s best selling all-natural face care products. Also very popular is the Surcuit Cloud 9+ moisturizer, an all natural skin cream.
· Suki Skin Care: This company’s Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser is often called a “cult favorite,” because it’s not as well known as products from other nature skin care brands. However, users swear it’s the best natural skin cleanser they’ve found, and that Suki is one of the best natural skin care lines available.
· ESPA Skin Care: The outfit which operates high-end spas also sells high-end natural products. They’re the highest-priced products on this list, but ESPA may be the best all-natural skin care line you can find. The Optimal Skin ProCleanser uses some of the best natural ingredients for skin available, like jojoba, moringa seed and pumpkin enzymes, to clean and nourish skin naturally. And the Optimal Skim ProSerum makes use of Omega 3, 6 and 9 natural oils for skin care and nourishment.
This next group features some of the best natural organic skin care products you can buy. As mentioned earlier, many natural skin care companies will use the word organic when they really use some non-organic ingredients; these companies, though, all sell 100% organic skin care products. Some are extremely expensive; others are surprisingly inexpensive. We’ve included examples of both in our list of the best all natural organic skin care products.
· Kora Organics: Get ready to pull out that wallet again; famed model Miranda Kerr is the driving force behind the high-priced certified organic products produced by Kora. The best way to experience these natural ingredients for the skin is with the company’s three-step system, which includes cleansing, toning and moisturizing products. Different versions of their organic face and skin care products are available for dry, oily and sensitive skin care ranges.
· Balanced Guru: OK, you can put the wallet away again. Balanced Guru’s “organic farm-a-ceuticals” provide an unusual experience in an organic skincare online store – they’re affordable. Their organic body scrub is made with sugar and cocoa butter, coconut and babassu natural skin care oils; their facial serum is one of the most effective organic, natural face products you’ll find, and that’s just scraping the surface of their catalog. All of Balanced Guru’s line is safe for children and expecting mothers, and costs much less than most certified organic skin care natural products you’ll find.
· Trillium Organics: Certified organic by the USDA, Trillum has an amazing range of face and skin care products. There are offerings like organic, natural oil for skin care moisturizing, and botanical soap which is used in place of body wash. Their natural face products center on several types of organic cleansing and treatment oils and mists. They also feature the best natural baby skin care products like organic moisturizers and balms, plus an aromatherapy treatment for infants with the sniffles.
You can also find organic or “natural ingredients” skin care products from reputable companies at the friendlier price levels you’d pay for top-rated skin care products that have chemicals or other hazardous substances in them. Here are a few to look for:
· Bubble and Bee: Most of their products are certified organic. You can buy natural skincare products like soaps, facial cleansers and body butter, and they have one of the biggest selections of organic deodorants anywhere. They’re some of the best body and skin care products you’ll find.
· Nourish Organic: The offerings here are a little more expensive than Bubble and Bee, but much cheaper than those in most high-quality organic skin care stores online – and many of the products are USDA certified organic. Their face cleansers, toners and serums are among the best natural facial products on the market, and their natural skin remedies measure up as well.
· Everyday Shea: The natural facial products and all natural skin lotion produced by Everyday Shea are the lowest-priced on our list, but their quality is unquestioned. And they don’t just sell 100% natural beauty products; they have a large line of natural body washes, shampoos, conditioners, bubble baths and body lotions for babies.
There are many “specialty” products available as well, designed for those with problem skin or special needs who still want to protect their natural skin beauty. Here’s a sampling:
· Seventh Generation Boosts: This company is known for its natural cleaning products, but they have a number of natural, plant-based serums for special types of skin. Hydrating Boost provides natural skin care for dry skin, their Clearing Boost is one of the best natural skin care products for acne, Soothing Boost is designed to provide natural skincare for sensitive skin, and other products are formulated for those with skin irritation, wrinkled skin or skin regularly exposed to the elements.
· Burt’s Bees: If you’re plagued by the redness and irritation that goes with sensitive skin, this is a one-stop shop for you. This well-known company has an entire line of natural face products for sensitive skin, as well as creams that provide the best natural skincare for sensitive skin. Their ingredients provide the extra level of moisture required for those who aren’t in the “other” skincare ranges (oily or “normal”).
· Nyraju Natural Skincare: Providing a full line of African-American skin care products, Nyraju focuses on natural creams for face care and natural skin cleanser alternatives to treat the uneven skin tones, oily skin and dark spots which sometimes plague women of color and can only be effectively be treated by black skin care products.
· Ayurda: Those who are interested in the best skin care products for face and body treatment which are both natural and based on ancient Ayurvedic (a holistic approach to medicine which originated in India) principles should check out Ayurda. They started as an Australian natural skin care company which is now operating worldwide; you’ll be asked to take a quiz to determine your Ayurvedic skin type before being shown the best all-natural face products and natural skin cleanser for you.
· Tatcha: Time-honored Geisha beauty rituals inspired this line of Japanese skin care products made with traditional all-natural Japanese ingredients like green tea, rice bran, red algae, silk and gold. Expensive? Absolutely, but also luxurious.
· Intelligent Nutrients: Natural skincare for men can be a touchy subject; what man wants to ditch his Axe body spray or cheap soap? Products from Intelligent Nutrients might be the answer. These cleansers, moisturizers and serums are made from plants so they don’t smell like fruit, and they’re designed to be high-performance for the active man.
Groom+Style have recently created a list of our top 10 favourite natural skin care products targeted specifically at men.
Where do you find all of these nature skin care products? Most of the top natural skin care brands maintain a skin care shop online, and many can also be found at Amazon or at skin care stores at your local mall. The most convenient way to buy them is at a skincare online shop, because you can often find free shipping deals or special offers not available when you buy in person.
Natural Skin Care: Homemade Products
Are there true skin care natural remedies you can put together on your own, without spending a lot of money and doing a lot of shopping? Absolutely. Natural skin care at home is easy, and many devotees claim it’s even more effective than store-bought natural products for face or skin care. And of course, it’s the best way to be 100% positive there are no harmful ingredients touching your skin. Here are our natural skin care tips at home:
· Dry Skin: Exfoliate with a homemade scrub made from organic sugar and olive or coconut oil, cleanse with castor oil, and moisturize with a lotion made from almond oil, coconut oil and beeswax.
· Oily Skin: Exfoliate with a mix of olive oil and sea salt, cleanse with a mix of ½ castor oil and ½ olive oil, and moisturize (if needed) with apple cider vinegar.
· Normal Skin: Use the sugar/oil scrub to exfoliate, cleanse with ¼ castor oil and ¾ olive oil, and moisturize with a bit of coconut oil or a natural lotion bar.
There are also numerous benefits of coconut oil, the least of which is to treat acne.
This type of natural facial and skin care is inexpensive and may be the best skin care regimen you can adopt for the long-term. Natural recipes for skin care are simple to make all on your own. And when you perform your skin care naturally, your body will love you for it.
Additionally, you’ll want to be careful about all the other products you expose yourself to on a regular basis, which can include toxic cleaning agents and processed foods.
If you would like to learn more about skin care, you might want to read our article about advanced skin care tips.