Natural ingredients are ingredients that naturally grow such as plants and minerals, and that are not produced in a lab. So a product which is predominately made up of natural ingredients must be much better than a product predominately made up of synthetic ingredients, right? After all natural is better than non-natural, right?
Well, not always. I read an article by Bloom Organics about natural ingredients wherein the author posed the following:
“If a flower is grown in a field next to a nuclear plant, it’s still natural, but is it full of beneficial compounds that my body can use or full of harmful ones?”
We find that a very interesting question and it certainly does make you stop and think.
Also products which are 100% natural but which also contain water (aqua) or other aqueous liquids as an ingredient are not necessarily 100% safe.
When water is used in a skincare product, that product must contain a preservative. Water provides a medium for harmful bacteria, mould, yeast and fungi to grow over time. If used, a contaminated product could cause severe health problems, blindness and even death. So your product must be adequately preserved to prevent contamination and bacterial growth. Most natural preservatives are not active against the most threatening microbes found in water known as pseudomonads.
Preservatives also act to preserve the vital nutrients in each ingredient. For example, assume you buy some fresh, juicy raspberries. How long would you be willing to wait until you eat your raspberries? Not long, right? Maybe a week, max. Before too long the raspberries will begin to grow fungi and become inedible.
The same applies to skincare products. If they do not contain a preservative then their nutritional value will soon begin to decline. And what’s worse, where the rapsberries will begin to grow visible fungi on them as a warning: “Don’t eat me”, the bacteria in your skincare product will, most likely, be invisible to the naked eye. Scary, right?
It is becoming more and more common that manufacturers are turning to essential oils as their preservative in order to maintain a 100% natural status. However for essential oils to be effective preservatives, they need to be used in very high concentrations, which can make them dangerous and toxic. And as mentioned above, most natural preservatives are not active against pseudomonads.
So as you can see skincare products which contain natural ingredients can be good for our skin provided you know that the natural ingredients come from a reliable source. However, 100% natural does not necessarily mean 100% safe. Which would you prefer: natural before safety or safety before natural?