For many consumers, the choice to purchase nature-based instead of synthetically enhanced personal care products simply makes sense. Natural products are powered by nature; they’re made of the food that we eat, oils that we rub on our skin, and therapeutic herbs that cultures around the world have used for centuries.
Switching up your beauty routine to include natural ingredients is going to create a significant difference because you’re taking steps to safely and effectively care for your body.
However, there is a misconception circling around that personal care products like lotions, soaps, and shampoos need additives and preservatives for them to be effective. After all, everything sold in stores would’ve been tested for safety, right? Companies wouldn’t release products meant for personal care that harm the public.
You might want to think again.
Research on Several Chemical Additives is Still Ongoing
Unfortunately, no one is watching over the manufacturing process of personal care products because the FDA doesn’t require safety testing prior to market distribution. Plus, there are chemical additives that you may think aren’t banned but are actually prohibited in certain states or countries. Let’s take a look at parabens as an example.
Parabens are a ubiquitous ingredient in beauty products, being used in formulations spanning lotions, creams, shampoos, body washes, and more. Yet so much controversy surrounds them. They’re used as a preservative to lengthen the potency of products, but the dark side behind parabens is that they’re a suspected carcinogen and hormone disruptor.
The European Commision has in fact banned five types of parabens for use in cosmetics because of their toxicity. These are isopropylparaben, phenylparaben, isobutylparaben, pentylparaben, and benzylparaben.
According to the FDA, their scientists continue to look into the potential dangers of parabens, but ample research has been documented for other regulatory bodies to conclude that paraben-laden products are potentially damaging our bodies. When toxins like these are scattered in stores and beauty isles, and regulations are minimal, ultimately, the choice is yours to study what’s good and bad for your health and to buy only from brands that you trust.
It’s all the more alarming when more companies are being affected by toxicity scares and warnings and are gradually taking out dubious ingredients from their formulations. In early 2017, CVS announced that they were removing parabens, phthalates, and formaldehyde donors from their beauty lines, and in 2014, Johnson & Johnson reformulated their baby shampoos and other products to remove formaldehyde, triclosan, parabens, and phthalates.
So, what is it about natural products allegedly being less effective? Are products made inside a laboratory automatically safer?
Natural Products Are Backed By Science, Too
The source materials of synthetic chemicals are found in nature as well. Chemicals start as derivatives of organic materials, and then are eventually transformed into man-made compounds. However, the process of how chemicals are yielded remains largely unknown. The secret to their preparation is locked inside the sterile environment of the cosmetic companies’ labs.
By using natural personal care products that are loaded with botanicals, you are taking the full benefits of the whole instead of a modified piece. This is not to say that all things from nature are 100% safe - poison ivy is natural, for instance. Nature-inspired products are also backed up by science and only the most potent and effective botanicals are used to improve your complexion and overall health.
Companies offering natural beauty products have the same sterile laboratories as traditional companies, and formulations are created with safe and effective levels of concentration. Preservatives have earned an unfavorable reputation due to scares involving parabens and the probable carcinogen formaldehyde (yes, the liquid widely used to embalm human corpses), so what most nature-powered companies do is replace them with safer alternatives.
Without preservatives, our shampoos, body washes, and creams could become breeding grounds for bacteria and fungi, so choosing the natural path shouldn’t mean sacrificing safety.
True beauty and health starts with educating yourself so you can make healthy choices and become your best self. The truth is that natural personal care products contain all the ingredients that you would expect in their larger, commercially available counterparts minus the potential dangers. Provide yourself with the best tools today and look for brands that you trust.