Natural skin care is normally understood to refer to those products characterised by the lack of synthetic ingredients, such as preservatives, petrochemical derivatives, mineral oils, fragrances and harsh detergents.
Typically, natural skincare products are made using natural ingredients such as for example plant oils, essential oils, herbal and floral extracts (both aqueous and waxy), which were prepared in the “old fashion way”, without chemical processing or modification. Sometimes, ethically produced animal derivatives, such as beeswax, may also be within natural skin care (1).
Natural skin care made out of approved organically produced recycleables and practices could be organic certified by the relevant organic organizations.
Unfortunately, there are numerous products in the market that claim to be either natural or which are cleverly marketed for his or her singular botanical extract or vitamin, amongst a dense cocktail of synthetic ingredients. https://taisyuukea.cloud-line.com/blog/ are the “pseudo-natural” products (1). To help clarify if a skincare product is really natural, it is recommended to read the ingredients section in the label.
Why is natural skin care better than synthetic?
Products that are created from ingredients that have been extracted naturally from sustainably maintained plants and crops manifest the essence, the power, 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, plus the sun exposure, the seasons and harvesting times donate to the mature plants and crop yields in unique ways.
These factors can’t be mimicked in the laboratory or controlled nurseries, as the natural exposure to the environmental conditions facilitates development of subtle differences in the plants. These are then reflected in the grade of the extracted oils, as well as on the specific composition, properties and benefits.
Besides, synthetic ingredients are produced in laboratories using scientific, yet often hazardous processes relating to the use of skin tightening and, propylene glycol or hexane based methods. Although these chemical agents may only be there is trace amounts in the final synthesised ingredients, it really is unclear what effect they could have as they accumulate inside our bodies, over a prolonged period of exposure (2).
Of course, some of the natural extracts and oils may also be affected or destabilised by the natural extraction methods found in their preparation. Therefore manufacturers of natural skincare products give great consideration to the sourcing of these raw materials and how natural ingredients are prepared from the latter.
What’s Special About Plant Oils?
Plant oils are made up of complex mixtures of different essential fatty acids (lipids). It is the specific mix and ratio of these 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 vitamins. These bioactives are known as the unsaponifiable fraction of the oil. They normally are present is small amounts and are unique signatures of the oils (3).
To demonstrate the way 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 combination of 58 – 74% of oleic acid, 25 – 30% of linoleic, with the rest 4 – 7% made up of palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic and alpha-linolenic acids. The unsaponifiable content is approximately 0.5 -0.75%.
2 – Borage oil is a combination of 30 – 40% linoleic acid, 8 – 25% gamma linolenic acid, 15 – 20% oleic acid, 9 – 12% palmitic acid, 3 – 4% stearic acid, 2 – 6 % eicosenoic acid. The unsaponifiable content is approximately 1%.
Apricot kernel oil is a great nourishing and emollient oil that is easily absorbed. These properties are attribute to the high percentages of oleic and linoleic acids. Furthermore, apricot kernel oil can be an excellent source of vitamin A, present in the unsaponifiable matter.
Borage oil is known because of its nourishing and penetrating properties attributed to the presence of linoleic and oleic acids, but additionally the high content of gamma-linolenic acid confers its regenerating and firming qualities.
The differences in the properties of apricot kernel and borage oils, as well as those of other oils not discussed here, demonstrate the significance to blend various plant oils for optimal skincare, so the skin is adequately fed, continuously hydrated, smooth feeling and equipped to regenerate efficiently. These are essential to promote a healthy skin glow, irrespective of age.
But, even if the synthetics oils were to reproduce the precise mixes and ratios of plant derived fatty acids and unsaponifiables, it might be nearly impossible to mimic in to the synthetic oils the contribution from the power that is held in the plant, that the equivalent natural oils were extracted. Thus, 100 % natural ingredients will vary from their synthetic equivalents.
What about essential oils along with other botanicals?
Essential oils are concentrated extracts of aromatic along with other volatile plant substances, sometimes containing growth factors known for their regenerative properties. They are the source of the scents of nature and may be used to include scent to natural products. Because of their concentrated nature and high cost to create, only small amounts of essential oils are used in natural skin care. Besides, as essential oils may be irritating to the skin, they ought to never be used undiluted.
In contrast to oils, floral/herbal waters are the aqueous extracts from flowers/plants. Naturally produced oils and aqueous extracts are made through distillation, steaming, or infusion techniques. They are slow and frequently inefficient processes that add to cost. But, the products generated using non-synthetic approaches are much safer and healthier than those extracted by using artificial methods.