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.