Good question! Why should you use natural skin care products rather than something that might have been formulated by chemists to look after your skin? Surely our scientists know more about chemistry that nature does, so surely they should be able to come up with some far better for our skin than any of these natural oils and butters you read about?
The only way to answer that satisfactorily is for you to decide for yourself. Rather than just state that one is better than the other, let’s examine together some of the ingredients contained in both 100% natural preparations and in the synthetics. Let’s consider shea butter, extracted from the nut* of the Shea-Karite tree of West and Central Africa and used to moisturize and restore the elasticity of dry and wrinkled skin. This can be smoothed onto your skin and smells delicious. You will soon find your skin feeling much suppler and your small wrinkles will begin to fade away.
Even natural olive oil can be formed into a butter, or, like shea nut extract, be incorporated into a lotion to help improve the tone of your skin. Nobody complains about these 100% natural skin care products drying up their skin, irritating it or causing itching and spots to break out. Cocoa butter, hemp seed oil, goat’s milk, coconut oil: all perfectly safe and each can do wonders for your skin. Each of these contains powerful antioxidants that kill of the free radicals that destroy your skin cells and give you the appearance of premature aging.
Some, like goat’s milk, contain natural exfoliants that remove dead skin cells, revealing the smooth, vibrant fresh skin underneath. Others contain natural anti-inflammatories that sooth irritated skin and help heal spots caused by acne and other skin conditions. All are natural skin care products, and all are beneficial to your skin. I could mention dozens more, and even more after that, every one 100% natural and 100% safe and beneficial to your skin. Their effects can be explained rationally by science, but after doing so science tries to replicate nature by using the cheapest synthetic chemicals it can find without informing you of the dangers of synthetic skin care products.
Keeping that in mind, let’s now compare these natural ingredients with one or two synthetic ingredients, starting with one simple piece of advice: read the list of ingredients on the label, and if there are some you can’t pronounce then don’t use it! Better still, don’t buy it. Simple as that! Suppliers will try to blind you with science, using long names in the hope that you will be impressed. It doesn’t impress me because I can see what they are up to: I know what these long names mean.
Let’s look at some of these ingredients. Petrolatum. This is sold under the trade name Vaseline, and might be OK for chapped lips, but when you rub it into your skin it clogs up your pores, stops your skin from breathing and prevents the evaporation of moisture that is your natural cooling system. These conditions are perfect for acne, caused by blocking of the sebaceous pores.
Here’s another: sodium lauryl (or laureth) sulfate: this is used in floor cleaners, detergents and degreasers, and can react with other ingredients to generate dangerous nitrates and dioxins. It is used in skin care preparations to stabilize mousses and foams, and it can cause hair loss and severe skin irritation. Keep clear of this. How about collagen and elastin? Natural? Yes, in respect of it being extracted from ground chicken feet (feet not feed) and dead animal skins and so an appalling option for vegetarians or vegans. In any case, the resultant molecules are very large and could never penetrate into your skin so they have no function other than to pollute it.
I could go on and mention disodium EDTA (a corrosive organic acid), ethanolamine or 2-aminoethanol (caustic and corrosive), and even propylene glycol – antifreeze! None of these are good for you, but they are cheaper than natural products and appear to have similar effects, but they don’t. I recommend none of them to you. None of them are natural products: all are manufactured.
So, rather than me just state that organic natural products are to be preferred to their synthetic cousins, you can make your own mind up. You might not mind paying less money for poisons and irritants, but in my view you would be better using nothing at all. Give your money to charity, buy nothing and your skin will likely be in better condition that if you used the synthetic substances mentioned above – and these are only a very few of them.
If you have the choice, buy natural every time. You should make sure that you know what you are rubbing into your skin and ignore advertising hype, because that’s what most of it is. Hype, to get you to part with your dollar. Don’t do it! Spend it on something that is going to benefit you, and purchase the best natural skin care products you can. However, if you suffer specific allergies, note the comment below (Purveyors of synthetics don’t tell you that.. Vegan face care