Are Natural Skin Care Products Really Natural?

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To me "natural" means that the skin care product contains ingredients extracted from plants, earth, and sea Examples would be essential oils extracted from botanicals, minerals such as mica, and zinc oxide which are found in mineral makeup, or marine ingredients such as seaweed, or sea salt.

Unfortunately, the term" natural" is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) and thus the term "natural" is often used very loosely in labeling and extensively in marketing ploys by the skin care industry. Additionally, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not define the term natural or organic. In fact the USFDA does not approve cosmetics before going to the market. The responsibility of the safety of the cosmetic lies with the manufacturer. Except for color additives and those ingredients which are prohibited or restricted by regulation, the manufacturer may use any ingredient in a cosmetic provided that they are safe and properly labeled and can coin numerous terms when marketing the cosmetic that may or may not be true. You can read more about the regulation of cosmetics at the Food and Drug Administration website.

If you are considering purchasing natural skin care products consider these tips:

Read the label - many skin care companies use the term "Natural" when in reality many products contain less than 1% of a natural ingredient such as aloe Vera, or essential oils as an example. The most prevalent ingredient will be listed at the top of the ingredient list and the least amount of an ingredient will be listed at the bottom. Therefore if you are buying an aloe Vera gel and aloe Vera is not listed at the top of the ingredient list, you are more than likely buying a gel containing an enormous amount of synthetic ingredients versus the natural ingredient of aloe Vera.

Question the product - Is there scientific proof or clinical testing that can substantiate the product claims? Are you paying more because the product is labeled natural skin care?

For those with sensitive skin it is best to avoid skin care product with fragrances, alcohol, FD and C colors, mineral oil and formaldehyde, however, mineral oil is in almost all skin care products and the more you use it the drier your skin becomes. Unfortunately many women continue to have irritated, dry, scaly, itchy or blotchy skin and jump from one chemical cosmetic to another trying to find the cure.

In short, always read the label on your skin care products and do a skin patch test to avoid topical dermatitis or an allergic reaction. Of all the chemicals used in cosmetics, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health has reported that nearly 900 are toxic - although other groups attack that figure as being far too conservative. Again, understanding the ingredients in your skin care products will provide a great advantage when shopping for a new lotion or cream. Addtionally understanding the ingredients in your skin care will help you select the best product for your skin type.

For wonderful homemade skin care recipes, including body scrubs, toners, exfoliates, facial peels and masks visit Complete Skin Care Therapy

Carol Belanger, author of 300+ Skin Care Recipes

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