Natural and Organic Products – Are They the Best Idea for Your Skin? Beauty is going all-natural. Everyone from social media influencers to the average person is becoming more informed and trying to make better decisions when buying skincare and beauty products. Social media is full of talk about the best all-natural products to help skin look better than ever. Countless products market themselves alongside pictures of beautiful plants calling themselves ‘nontoxic’ and ‘natural’. What does all of this mean? Close to 50 percent of women look for all-natural or organic ingredients in their skincare products. Many of them only buy those that are free of chemicals like phthalates and sulfates. Yet the truth is that the word ‘natural’ doesn’t conform to any accepted universal definition. There is no real regulation that can tell us what the term ‘natural’ means when it comes to beauty and skincare. This can be confusing for consumers of all ages, as many products on the market call themselves natural but still have many ingredients that aren’t anywhere close to natural. What Are You Getting for Your Money? What the products on the market usually mean when they say natural, is that the product is free from synthetic chemicals, possibly including fragrance, certain preservatives, and even some dyes. Though, this isn’t guaranteed either! According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA], products labeled ‘hypoallergenic’ are less likely to cause an allergic reaction. While most people think of natural and hypoallergenic as interchangeable, this is far from correct. If you have sensitive skin, natural products might be harsher on your skin than those that are tested and approved. Plant-based ingredients and essential oils are known to trigger skin reactions while Bergamot oil can make the skin more sun-sensitive. Natural or organic doesn’t even mean that the product is healthier, safer, or better for your skin. How Much Is Being Absorbed by The Skin? If you keep up with the research, you will learn that ‘natural’ or not, most molecules in skincare products are too large to penetrate the skin. But the science of making these products has gotten much smarter. We are now figuring out ways to improve absorption, efficacy and allow for a lesser concentration of an active ingredient in a product. On the flip side, people question whether it is safe at all for synthetic ingredients, including phthalates and parabens, to get into the body. Some research shows these ingredients as being potentially disruptors to the endocrine system or affecting your hormones. Some parts of the world take this more seriously than others. The European Union recently banned the use of five parabens, though it does allow small amounts of certain others. Regulators in the United States currently allow for 20 parabens or paraben-like chemicals, leading us to question – at what concentration or exposure level do these chemicals become dangerous? The short answer – we don’t know yet. Research is still underway, and until those findings are revealed, we’d say it’s best to be cautious with your choice of skincare products. High-quality, naturally derived ingredients are usually efficient and expensive. So, consult your dermatologists on which ones may be right for your skin and pick the ones that align with your values, goals, and budget.