In recent years, we as consumers have become much more aware of how many chemicals are present all around us. The chemical-free path often leads to an interest in natural skin care.
It's easy to see how eating food with chemicals in it is harmful to health. But does what we put on our skin matter just as much?
There are certainly those who would say it's a lot of alarm over nothing. Yet, the evidence seems to be mounting that a more natural skin care routine is better.
If you've thought about switching out your skincare products for natural options, here are 5 reasons to go ahead and make the switch. Plus, learn some tips for making the switch easier.
Reasons to Switch to Natural Skin Care
Better for Your Health
While it's easy to see that toxins in the food we eat can harm our health, what goes on our skin is almost as important.
Your skin is actually the largest organ in your body and will typically absorb about 60% of what is put on it. (1) So that means if you are putting products with chemicals on your body, about 60% of that is ending up inside your body.
The major concern with skin care products is that it's a very unregulated industry.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cannot require companies to test cosmetics products for safety. In addition, the FDA has prohibited only 11 different ingredients from being used due to safety concerns, while the European Union has banned over 1,000. (2)
There are several common (and legal) skincare ingredients that could have a negative impact on your health.
For example, parabens are known hormone disrupters yet are a commonly used preservative in conventional skincare products. Phthalates are another group of chemicals known to be endocrine disrupters and have been linked to birth defects and breast cancer. (3)
Choosing to go the natural route benefits your health by avoiding these and other toxins.
Better for Your Skin
Not only do chemicals in conventional skin care products raise health concerns, they may not be the best choice for your skin, either.
Skin irritation and sensitivity can be caused by many different chemical and synthetic ingredients. For example, sodium laurel sulfate (SLS) is a foaming agent in many shampoos and soaps that is also a documented skin irritant. (3)
Artificial fragrances are another problem. Because fragrance is considered to be a trade secret, companies do not have to list ingredients used to make the fragrance.
While there are certainly natural ingredients that can cause irritation or an allergic reaction in specific people, choosing natural skin care with wholesome ingredients is more beneficial for skin.
For example, switching to a natural soap bar made of plant-based oils is much more soothing to skin that soap filled with foaming agents and fragrances.
Better for the Environment
Natural skin care doesn't automatically equal environmentally friendly, but often the two will go together.
Also, it's important to realize that the ingredients in skincare products will end up back in the environment. Whether they are washed off or thrown away, what we use on our bodies returns to nature at some point.
Unfortunately, synthetic ingredients often do not break down well in the environment or cause problems when they do.
For example, microbeads are tiny, round pieces of plastic that used to be found in many body and face scrubs where they acted as exfoliators. These small beads made their way into the water supply and were mistaken for food by fish and other wildlife.
This had such a negative effect that microbeads were banned in rinse-off cosmetics in 2015 (effective deadline of 2018-19). (5)
While this problem was resolved, using ingredients from nature in skincare makes it much easier on the environment when they end up back in nature.
Natural Skin Care Works
While the movement toward natural skin care seems recent, many ingredients like oils and herbs have centuries of use for beauty and skincare.
Nature is the original source of antioxidants and other compounds that are so vital for healthy skin. Scientific research may still be proving the benefits of ingredients like essential oils and plant extracts, but there is a long history of using nature for beauty.
For example, shea butter is a popular natural skin care ingredient today, but it may have been used as far back as Cleopatra. (6)
You Can Use Everyday Ingredients
One of the hesitations people have about switching out their skincare products is that many natural and organic skin care options seem so much more expensive.
But the truth is, you can use ingredients you might already have on hand for your skin.
Coconut oil is one of the most popular choices for skin care and has many, many uses. Olive oil and castor oil can be used to cleanse and moisturize skin. Aloe vera is a great oil-free option to hydrate and support skin.
While there are very expensive natural product being sold, there are also many smaller and ethical companies selling natural skin care with simple ingredients.
Tips for Switching to Natural Skin Care
If you are ready to make the switch to natural skin care, here are a few tips.
Tip #1: Start Slowly
It can feel overwhelming at first to try to switch out all of your skincare products for more natural ones. The good news is you don't have to do it all at once.
Pick one product to start with (shampoo, soap, lotion, etc.) and replace it with the natural version. Then, give yourself a chance to get used to the new product before picking another to replace.
Tip #2: Be Careful With Your Choices
The main problem with natural skin care is that because the industry in so unregulated, there aren't any rules about what can be labeled "natural" or "organic". (2)
Even if something is called "natural," it's a good idea to read the label and look for more information about the company itself.
Of course, you can always buy the raw ingredients and make quite a few skincare products yourself.
Tip #3: Don't Be Afraid of New Things
Switching to natural skin care is a process. It can take time to get used to shampoo that doesn't foam as much or applying oil as moisturizer instead of lotion.
Don't be afraid to experiment with different products and ingredients until you find what works best for you. Give yourself time to adjust to the new world of natural skincare.
Are You Ready to Switch?
Switching over to natural skin care can be better for you, your skin, and the environment.
You will feel better knowing that you aren't putting chemicals on that will be absorbed by your skin. And your skin will enjoy the benefits of powerful, all-natural ingredients.
If you're ready to make the switch, get started today!