What exactly is Natural Skin Care?
Natural skin care is normally understood to refer to those items characterised by the absence of synthetic substances, such as preservatives, petrochemical derivatives, nutrient oils, fragrances and harsh liquids.
Typically, natural skin care products are made using natural ingredients such as plant natural oils, essential oils, herbal and floral extracts (both aqueous and waxy), that have been prepared in the “old fashion way”, without chemical processing or modification. Sometimes, ethically produced pet derivatives, such as beeswax, may also be contained in natural skin care (1).
Natural skincare made with approved organically produced recycleables and practices can be organic authorized by the relevant organic organizations.
Regrettably, there are numerous products in the market that claims to be either natural or that are cleverly marketed for their singular botanical extract or vitamin, amongst a dense cocktail of synthetic substances. These are the “pseudo-natural” products (1). To help clarify if a skin care method really natural, it is recommended to read the constituents section in the label.
Why is organic skin care better than synthetic?
Products which are made from ingredients that have been extracted normally from sustainably maintained plants plus crops manifest the essence, the energy, the qualities and the benefits of the source raw material, in ways that synthetics ingredients do not.
Simply put, the geographical location, the soil and the water the plants are grown in, as well as the sun exposure, the seasons and collection times contribute to the mature plant life and crop yields in distinctive ways.
These factors cannot be mimicked in the laboratory or controlled nurseries, as the natural exposure to the environmental situations facilitates development of subtle differences in the particular plants. These are then reflected within the quality of the extracted oils, as well as their specific composition, properties plus benefits.
Besides, synthetic ingredients are usually produced in laboratories using scientific, yet often hazardous processes involving the usage of carbon dioxide, propylene glycol or hexane based methods. Although these chemical substance agents may only be present is definitely trace amounts in the final synthesised ingredients, it is unclear what impact they might have as they accumulate in our bodies, over a prolonged period of exposure (2).
Of course , some of the natural extracts plus oils may also be affected or destabilised by the natural extraction methods utilized in their preparation. For these reasons manufacturers of natural skin care products give great consideration to the sourcing of their recycleables and how natural ingredients are prepared from the second option.
What is Special About Plant Oils?
Plant oils are made up of complex mixtures of different fatty acids (lipids). It is the specific mix and ratio of the fatty acids that determines the unique character of any oil. In addition to the main lipid fraction, there are also other very important bioactive substances such as the phospholipids, phosphatides, phytosterols, phytoestrogens, isoflavones and nutritional vitamins. These bioactives are known as the unsaponifiable fraction of the oil. They normally can be found is small amounts and are unique signatures of the oils (3).
To demonstrate how the oil composition determines the difference in functional properties, the typical fatty acid profile of apricot kernel and borage oils as described in Kusmirek (3) are compared below.
1 – Apricot kernel oil is a mixture of 58 – 74% associated with oleic acid, 25 – 30% of linoleic, with the remainder four – 7% composed of palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic and alpha-linolenic acids. The unsaponifiable content is approximately 0. 5 -0. 75%.
2 – Borage oil is a mixture of 30 – 40% linoleic acid, 7 – 25% gamma linolenic acid, 15 – 20% oleic acidity, 9 – 12% palmitic acidity, 3 – 4% stearic acidity, 2 – 6 % eicosenoic acid. The unsaponifiable content is definitely approximately 1%.
Apricot kernel essential oil is a great nourishing and emollient essential oil that is easily absorbed. These qualities are attribute to the high percentages of oleic and linoleic acids. Furthermore, apricot kernel oil is also an excellent source of vitamin A, present in the particular unsaponifiable matter.
Borage oil is well known for its nourishing and penetrating qualities attributed to the presence of linoleic and oleic acids, but in addition the high content associated with gamma-linolenic acid confers its regenerating and firming qualities.
The differences in the properties of apricot kernel plus borage oils, as well as those of various other oils not discussed here, show the importance to blend various plant oils for optimal skin care, so that the skin is adequately fed, constantly hydrated, smooth feeling and equipped to regenerate efficiently. These are essential to promote a healthy skin glow, no matter age.
But , even if the synthetics natural oils were to reproduce the exact mixes plus ratios of plant derived essential fatty acids and unsaponifiables, it would be nearly impossible in order to mimic into the synthetic oils the particular contribution from the energy that is kept in the plant, from which the equivalent natural oils were extracted. Thus, natural ingredients are different from their synthetic equivalents.
What about important oils and other botanicals?
Essential natural oils are concentrated extracts of perfumed and other volatile plant substances, occasionally containing growth factors known for their regenerative properties. They are the source of the particular scents of nature and may be used to add scent to natural items. Because of their concentrated nature and high cost to produce, only small amounts associated with essential oils are used in organic skin care. Besides, as essential natural oils may be irritating to the skin, they ought to never be used undiluted.
In contrast to oils, floral/herbal waters are the aqueous components from flowers/plants. Naturally produced natural oils and aqueous extracts are made by means of distillation, steaming, or infusion techniques. These are slow and often inefficient procedures that add to cost. But , the products generated using non-synthetic approaches are safer and healthier than those taken out with the use of artificial methods.
Is there a problem with the variation in natural ingredient batches?
The quick answer is not any!
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Certainly, naturally produced ingredients display “batch variation”, but this is part of nature, demonstrating the cycles of change. These are natural bio- rhythms, and as with everything in character sometimes there is abundant sunshine, also there are only clouds. Naturally, these weather changes affect the growth designs of the plants.
This means that periodically some of the natural ingredients may contain a slightly increased or lower percentage of one or maybe several of the components, but over a period of period, these variations balance out. The key point is that the overall effect of using 100 % natural ingredients is still beneficial in the long run.
Supporters of the mainstream cosmetic industry object to this variation associated with natural ingredients. Instead they will advocate that synthetic ingredients really are a far better option to manufacture any items, including skin care. They argue that synthetic ingredients are scientifically controlled, exacting, standardised and can be made in a completely reproducible manner. But , at the end of the day… they are not natural!
What about preservatives, stabilisers and emulsifiers?
Sure, preservatives and stabilisers extend the shelf-life of any kind of product, natural and synthetic (1, 2, 4). Because of this recognition Western and USA organic and regulating organisations have approved the use of particular preservatives for which there has been long standing up accumulation of safety and toxicity data, e. g. blends associated with dehydro-acetic acid. These preservatives had been designed to replace the paraben family of preservatives in the personal care products. Even though natural products ought to have the minimal necessary amounts of preservatives.
Without a doubt, chemical preservatives such as the parabens, the phenol derivatives and the denatured alcohols are extremely effective, as they increase the product shelf-life nearly indefinitely! But , they are also known to hinder hormone balance and can be allergy (1, 2). Clearly, they are not health promoting substances. As they are readily absorbed by the skin and are long lasting, their long-term effects on distal organs are unknown, and thus unwanted.
Interestingly, vitamin E is a powerful natural anti-oxidant, as well as a fantastic natural preservative for oil blends and emulsified oils (2). Extracts of rosemary and oregano are also considered organic preservatives because of their anti-bacterial properties (2). However , these are not frequently used because they impart a strong scent and may give rise to some skin irritation. This is an example of where caution has to be exercised with natural substances. Though these occurrences are more the exception than the principle.
Alginic acid obtained from brown algae is sometimes used as a stabiliser (4). But , allantoin, an extract through comfrey root is a more suitable organic stabiliser for skin care preparations (2).
Emulsifiers are substances that help to prevent the parting of the of essential oil and water fractions in a cream or lotion. In natural skin care these include lethicin and the wax cetearyl alcohol (1, 2, 4). Lecithin is extracted from soya beans and is known to soften the skin and help penetration of the skin care product. Cetearyl alcohol is a mix of benefit melting point cetyl and stearyl fatty acids derived from either animal or even plant fats. In natural skincare it is preferable to have plant found cetearyl alcohol. Apart from its great emulsifying properties, this fatty acid mix facilitates maintenance of skin hydration.
So , what’s he take home message?
Regardless of some of the limitations of natural skin care, the natural ingredients in these products continue to be far more beneficial than those that are completely synthetic. Synthetics are unable to reproduce the unique heterogeneous and nourishing character from the natural extracts and oils, because discussed above.
Technology aside, it is also clear that there are major financial benefits for manufacturers to use mostly, otherwise strictly synthetic ingredients. The cost of producing natural skin care products is of requirement higher than that of synthesising vast amounts of easy to make and use synthetic ingredients. Compared to their equivalent natural counterparts they afford versatility on the production line, on the shelf-life, as well as on profitability.
These attributes associated with scientifically designed skin care in the twentieth century satisfied the increasing marketplace desire for youth elixirs. However , since the 1960’s growing conscious awareness of what was in our food, demand for natural and organic products increased. This requirement prolonged to the personal care sector furthermore. Indeed, the natural and organic cosmetics marketplace has been the fastest growing industry of the personal care products since the past due 1980’s.
Fortunately nowadays, the driver is just not purely for skin care that makes you look good, but for products that can achieve this goal with respect for human beings and the environment.