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Why Most Natural Skincare Products are Not as Natural as You Think


Natural does not always mean Natural.  Hmm, confused?  It’s not surprising!

The dictionary definition of natural is:

“Existing in or derived from nature; not made or caused by humankind”.


So you would think natural skincare means exactly that!  WRONG!  Believe it or not, complex skincare products are extremely hard to create if just using 100% natural products.  Quite a few unnatural chemicals are added to preserve creams, lotions, gels and serums.  This is to make sure that they don’t go off, have an unpleasant odour or change colour.  However, the important factor to remember is just HOW natural your skincare of choice is.  It is really vital your skincare is as natural as possible so you get the benefits from plants, fruit and even vegetables.  Many (not all) chemicals are harmful or have properties that can be harmful.  We’re talking about parabens (these interfere with hormone production), sulphate (which causes dryness and lines), phthalates (which have been linked to birth defects and asthma) and glycols (causes dryness, fine lines and reduces lipids in skin) for example.


Many natural skincare products claim to be preservative free but this doesn’t cover their ingredients as being preservative free too.  So next time you’re looking at a label, take heed because don’t assume the pot of miracle cream you’ve just picked up is all-natural, preservative free or organic!

We are not disrespecting big brands but while they may not be adding preservatives to their skincare products – the natural ingredients they are using may well contain some type of preservative and this may or may not need to be represented on the label.  In fact the reason some companies can leave off the “unnatural” ingredients on their labels is down to plain old rules and regulations.  If products have a natural element then it seems they can be advertised as such (ignoring the fact that some of the natural ingredients are often blended with manmade or synthetic ingredients).

It’s obvious really.  As mentioned in the beginning of this article – all natural produce goes off after a few days so something has to be preserving it.  Imagine if you had an orange scented moisturiser, it could not be made out of oranges plus other natural products and have a completely natural scent nor a natural “orange” shade.  After a while, natural oranges go off and the juices go brown not to mention have a fizzy taste and collect bacteria without being preserved.  So colourful potions and lotions must have preservatives to keep them the shade they are.  It’s common sense, fruit will perish as will vegetables and plants too.

Often skincare manufacturers use chemical preservatives.  These are either (pause for breath – they are difficult to pronounce!)  phenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, benzoate, ethanol, ethylhexylglycerin or parabens.  They also may have other additives in them.  Before you panic though, generally the percentage used is normally miniscule although this is not always the rule.  If the amount is less than 5 % of the total product it is usually not even mentioned on a label.

Obviously you are at the mercy of skincare companies when trusting their all-natural product (although at Naturology we tell you exactly what IS natural and what is NOT natural – our products are at least 94% natural and we use no Parabens, sulphate, phthalates or other mentioned chemicals).  Consumers should sit up and take note because if you are allergic to some ingredients or you have very sensitive skin and you believe you are using a completely natural product, you could be in the dark as to why you have developed a rash or an allergy to your new moisturiser.  Likewise, some ingredients can accumulate in your body and cause damage.

If you are wondering if that magical miracle cream is really all-natural, look at the label, if it has any of these names listed, it’s not:

  • Lanolin
  • Mineral oil
  • Fragrance
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Talc

The following preservatives are dangerous to skin:

  • Imdiazolidinyl Urea (causes dermatitis)
  • Formaldehyd (causes dermatitis and skin rashes and has cancer inducing properties)
  • DMDM Hudantoin (causes dermatitis)
  • 2-Bromo-2-Nitro-Propane-1 3-diol (Bronopol) (causes dermatitis and allergies)
  • Quarternium-15 Toxic (causes rashes)
  • Chloromethylisothiazolinone (causes contact dermatitis)

Remember some of the ingredients that are used in products that are not natural will penetrate the skin and many of these ingredients aren’t fit for oral consumption so why they are allowed to go in our skin is another matter!  Once they are in our skin, they absorb into the blood stream.  Additionally look out for the words “derived from” which often appear after a natural product, this means it may have modified with synthetic ingredients but we are not told which.

The bottom line is NO skincare is completely natural but there are harmless amounts of good chemicals too.  Look for natural preservatives tea tree essential oil, thyme essential oil, grapefruit seed extract, Vitamins, Yucca extract, Castile Soap, Lecithin, Panthenol, Glycerin, Plant oils, Shea, Cocoa and Jojoba butters.

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  • Mark Wallace