Why choose natural skincare

As a Nutritional Therapist, I often find there is more awareness regarding the benefits of a natural and organic diet than there is of the benefits of natural and organic skincare. Most people know that food in its natural state, ideally organic, is preferable to convenience foods full of unhealthy sugars, salt, additives etc. However, less attention is paid to the equivalent in beauty products ie. natural, ideally organic, ingredients in skincare are preferable to the kind of chemicals that are as unhealthy for our skin as junk food is for our overall health.

If a skincare product or cosmetic is marketed successfully, it is easy to focus on what is being promised (such as fewer wrinkles), rather than how natural the ingredients are or indeed whether the product will actually fulfil its promises. But is conventional skincare any better at delivering results than natural skincare? There is research to show that ingredients such as parabens, foaming agents, PEGs, artificial fragrances, petrolatum are linked to various health concerns, skin irritation and ironically, skin aging. And not forgetting perfumes – artificial fragrances have been linked to headaches, fatigue, allergies, asthma and insomnia.

It is an alarming thought that, on average, women in Britain are apparently ‘hosting’ 515 cosmetic chemicals a day! Although the skincare industry argues that their ingredients are safe, this does not take into account that most women (and men) do not use a single product in one day, they use a number of them, and it is this cocktail of chemicals which is of greatest concern. If you consider how many products you use each day – shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser, hair products, not to mention make-up and perfume, it really can add up to quite a combination.

 

In a year, on average, you could be absorbing 5lbs worth of potentially toxic chemicals from your personal care products. The skin is our fourth organ of detoxification after the bowels, kidneys and liver and it needs also to be allowed to do its job as a protective barrier. As the skin is thought to absorb into the bloodstream a significant amount of what we put onto it, it surely makes sense to avoid skin products which can combine to create a cocktail of toxic chemicals and to minimise the amount of potentially harmful ingredients we put into our bodies, wherever possible, by taking as much care over what we put on our bodies as we do when deciding what to put in them.

© Vanessa May 2014
(First published in June edition of Thrive Magazine)