Nat­u­ral skin­care

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - WOMEN’S WORLD - — The Straits Times / Asia News Net­work

WITH so many face creams and lo­tions boast­ing “newly dis­cov­ered” won­der herbs or the lat­est sci­en­tific break­throughs, it can be hard to tell whether nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents or syn­thetic prod­ucts are bet­ter at solv­ing beauty prob­lems.

Some peo­ple swear by the ef­fi­cacy of plants and other nat­u­ral prod­ucts. They be­lieve any or­ganic sub­stance is bet­ter than man- made prod­ucts, and that all syn­thetic in­gre­di­ents are po­ten­tially harm­ful.

If you want to go the nat­u­ral route, it’s a case of “buyer beware”. Many brands claim to be “nat­u­ral” or “made with nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents”, but the only way to know for sure is to scru­ti­nise the list of in­gre­di­ents.

It is pos­si­ble for a prod­uct to con­tain nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents, but with so many ar­ti­fi­cial ad­di­tives such as emul­si­fiers, preser­va­tives, stabilising agents or fra­grance that the per­cent­age of truly nat­u­ral in­gre­di­ents be­comes mi­nus­cule.

Der­ma­tol­o­gists warn that while nat­u­ral prod­ucts in the­ory seem less harm­ful, it does not mean that they are hypo- al­ler­genic. Cer­tain plant- or an­i­mal- de­rived prod­ucts can po­ten­tially cause al­ler­gies or skin ir­ri­ta­tion for peo­ple with sen­si­tive skin.

In some cases, cer­tain syn­thetic in­gre­di­ents with proven ben­e­fi­cial prop­er­ties sim­ply can­not be de­rived from a nat­u­ral source.

An ex­am­ple is tretinoin, the syn­thetic form of vi­ta­min A which is used to re­duce wrinkles.

If you are keen to try nat­u­ral skin­care prod­ucts, look for those that place the names of plants or other nat­u­ral com­po­nents at the top of or near the top of the list of in­gre­di­ents.

Also, look for words such as “fra­grance- free”, “no added colour”, “hypo- al­ler­genic” and “paraben- free” that in­di­cate a cer­tain level of pu­rity.

You can also check if a brand has been awarded or cer­ti­fied by a na­tional or in­ter­na­tional agency that reg­u­lates the use of nat­u­ral or or­ganic in­gre­di­ents in skin­care prod­ucts.

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