Natural skincare is a popular term these days. You’ve seen the words “natural,” “nature-derived” or “nature identical” on many of your favourite natural skincare products. It sounds healthy and important, but what does it all mean?

 

If you’re like many consumers, you’re reading the labels of natural skincare products more closely now than ever before. You don’t want to put anything harmful on your skin. In Part 1 of our Skincare Education Series, we’ll define these common terms you see on your labels.

What is natural?

Natural products feature at least one or two ingredients in their natural state. Technically, no governing organization regulates this term or specifies the minimum number of natural ingredients a product contains to carry the  “natural” label. The good news is there are other terms to search for on the label to help you gain some clarity.

Other terms to look for on the label

Review the ingredients on the label and take note of natural ingredients. Look for these phrases on the label as well:

  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • GMO-free
  • Organic

The label will often specify the formula doesn’t contain harmful chemicals or irritants or preservatives. It may also contain all-natural, organic ingredients.

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What is nature-derived?

Nature-derived ingredients aren’t found in their raw form. Instead, they undergo processing to capture the beneficial components, such as fats or oils. It’s not that the ingredient isn’t natural or doesn’t come from plants; it just means the ingredient wasn’t used in its raw form. 

What is nature identical?

Experts create nature identical ingredients in a lab to mimic an ingredient as it’s found in nature. Often, products use nature identical ingredients when the natural ingredient is too difficult to incorporate into a formula. For example, if the ingredient in its natural state is unstable in the product,  a nature-identical ingredient mimics the benefits without the limitations of the natural ingredient.

So, which is better?

There’s no straight answer. Although in an ideal world, all-natural is best, it’s often more complicated than that. For example, olive oil is a potent ingredient that nourishes and hydrates the skin; however, the lab must process the olives to get the oil. The same is true for coconut oil and most other fruit and nut-derived oils. It doesn’t mean that it’s bad for your skin; it’s just not used in its purest, rawest form.

To see where your favourite products stand, go online and do some research. For example, Cosmedix products are plant-based with natural active ingredients. They’re free of parabens and artificial dyes and fragrances so you don’t have to worry about annoying irritation or other skin flare-ups.

 

In the next two blog posts, we’ll delve into the common families of active ingredients you’ll see on a product label, like amino acids and alpha hydroxy acids. We’ll also get into what sensitises your skin, such as harsh chemicals and nasty parabens.

 

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