Following a daily skin care routine can be a great way to keep your complexion glowing and your skin healthy. At the same time, knowing which products to include in your skin care regimen isn't always easy. Likewise, if you've been looking to take a more natural approach to caring for your body, you may feel (understandably) uneasy about some of the ingredients listed on popular skin care products.
Unfortunately, many of the most popular skin care products on the market contain harsh and even toxic chemicals that can do more harm than good. Yes, these are the same products that claim to fight the signs of aging, balance your complexion, and give your skin a beautiful glow.
If you really want to feel good about your skin care routine, it may be time to make the switch from those traditional store-bought products to a completely natural skin care regimen. But what exactly does it mean to use "natural" skin care products and where do you even begin? We've got some tips and tricks that will have you building your own personalized skin care routine in no time.
What is Natural Skin Care, Anyway?
The concept of a natural skin care routine can be confusing because there are so many products on the market that already use the term "natural" or "clean." Unfortunately, there isn't really any regulation in the skin care industry when it comes to the use of these terms. Any skin care company can use the term "natural" on their product label—regardless of the product's ingredients. There's a lot of debate throughout the industry about what's natural and what's not, after all.
So, what is natural beauty? What is clean beauty? To us, it's all about products that are free from harmful chemicals, toxins, and harsh ingredients such as fragrances and parabens.
Ultimately, however, you are the one who defines what natural skin care means for your own purposes. Some people, for example, are sensitive to essential oils; even though these are a natural ingredient, you may still want to avoid them in your own skin care products to prevent irritation.
Potential Benefits of a Natural Skin Care Routine
No matter what your definition of natural skin care entails, your skin can benefit from sticking to more basic products and ingredients.
For starters, natural beauty products tend to be safer and gentler on the skin when compared to products with synthetic or toxic ingredients. Most skin care products are topical, meaning they are applied directly to the skin; from there, the ingredients are slowly absorbed into the pores of the skin. Some ingredients will make their way into the blood stream. Even in small amounts, products containing toxins or other harsh chemicals could have adverse effects on the body. When you stick with skin care products with natural ingredients, you can avoid these potential effects while still reaping the benefits of healthier skin.
Likewise, you can feel good about the fact that natural and organic beauty products tend to be better for the environment. Many people fail to realize that the manufacturing of traditional skin care products can be very harmful to the environment. Products that contain aluminum, for example, require mining that contribute significantly to pollution. And when these products are discarded, they end up in landfills where they seep into the ground and create potential problems for nearby plants and animal populations.
By making a commitment to use only natural beauty products moving forward, you can better protect your own health and wellness while also doing your part to help the environment. It's a win-win situation you can feel good about.
Common Natural Skin Care Terminology
As you begin your search for the right skin care products for your new regimen, you'll come across a lot of terminology that can be confusing. By knowing what some of this commonly used terminology means, you can confidently select skin care products that suit your definition of natural.
Familiarize yourself with some common skin care jargon below:
- organic - when looking at a product that is labeled "organic," there are two possibilities. One is that the ingredients in the product all come from organic sources. The other is that the product has actually gone through the USDA's certification process for organic products. Unless you see an actual "USDA-certified organic" seal, this is probably not the case.
- vegan - skin care products that are labeled as "vegan" have been created without any animal by-products,
- green - unfortunately, the term "green" is completely unregulated in the skin-care industry—so seeing this term used on a product really doesn't mean much on the surface. However, some brands will label their products "green" because they are packaged in recycled bottles or have otherwise been made to limit environmental impacts. Without clarification or details, however, the "green" label doesn't necessarily mean the product itself is natural by any means.
- clean - here's another term that's thrown around regularly on skin care products. Unfortunately, the term "clean" is also totally unregulated within the industry. Products labeled as "clean" may contain non-toxic ingredients, but you'll need to look more closely at the labeling and ingredients to determine if you're comfortable using them on your skin.
- fair-trade - this term means that the ingredients used in the product have been ethically sourced. The use of this term is regulated.
- non-toxic - another unregulated term that doesn't really mean much if you're not looking closely at the ingredients.
- sulfate-free - this means that the product does not contain sulfates, which are more-or-less soaps that help other ingredients (such as oil and water) mix together.
- paraben-free - a product labeled this way will not have parabens in it; parabens are preservatives that are used to prevent mold and bacteria from growing within a product. The FDA has not found any link between parabens and adverse health effects in humans, but some people prefer to avoid them as part of a natural skin care routine anyway.
- phthalate-free - these products do not contain chemicals known as phthalates, which are often used for fragrance in soaps. As with parabens, the FDA has not noted any health effects from using phthalates, but this ingredient may be something to avoid in a natural skin care regimen.
Creating a Natural Skin Care Routine for Yourself
Now that you have a better feel for what natural skin care products look like and the kinds of terminology you'll come across, it's time to create your own natural skin care regimen.
Determine Your Skin Type
Start by figuring out your skin type and any problem areas you may want to address.
Common skin types include:
- oily - your face appeals shiny and produces a lot of oil throughout the day.
- dry - your skin feels tight and gets flaky.
- combination - your t-zone produces a lot of oil but the rest of your face is relatively dry.
- sensitive - your skin gets itchy and inflamed easily.
Find Products to Suit Your Skin Type
Once you have a better idea of your skin type, you can start researching natural skin care solutions to address your problem areas. For example, if you have oily skin, then you'll want to choose products with ingredients that will naturally rebalance your skin's oil production. Clay masks and even seaweed toners can be effective here.
Consider DIYing Your Own Products
As you explore options for natural skin care products, you may also be feeling mindful of your budget. Natural products do tend to cost a bit more than their alternatives, after all. The good news is that you can often DIY your own skin care products using natural ingredients, thus saving yourself some money in the process. Plus, when you make your own products, you can enjoy knowing exactly what's in them and how they were made!
For example, you can balance your skin's pH by making your own oatmeal mask out of ground oats, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Or, check out this recipe for a DIY matcha green tea face mask to reduce acne and cleanse your pores.
Don't Overlook Your Diet
Last but not least, remember that diet and nutrition contribute a lot to your skin health as well. You may want to consider adding a fish oil, gelatin, and/or magnesium supplement to your daily vitamin regimen. These can help to improve skin health, increase collagen production, and reduce inflammation.
Take Steps Towards Healthier Skin Today!
Going natural with your skin care routine can make all the difference in the health and appearance of your body's largest organ—your skin! And with a better understanding of what natural skin care entails and what to look for in the products you shop for, you can create a daily skin care regimen with confidence. Meanwhile, you can feel good knowing that you're also doing your part to help reduce environmental waste and protect wildlife as you work towards a healthier complexion and more radiant looking skin.