Many people seek out products that have “natural” ingredients to help reduce the amount of chemicals they put on their skin. They’re a great addition to your skincare routine and can provide amazing benefits to the skin. However, it’s important to know what a natural ingredient really is before you use it on your face or body. The FDA doesn’t have a specific definition of what makes something natural, so it’s up to consumers to make their own decisions about what ingredients they are willing to put on their bodies.
The term natural is not defined by the FDA, but it’s commonly interpreted to mean that a product contains no artificial or synthetic ingredients. It also doesn’t have to be organic or made with certified-organic ingredients. In terms of beauty and skincare, the best natural ingredients are organic and plant-based. However, a lot of organic products also contain synthetic chemicals and ingredients. This is why finding the right balance is so important to keep your skin healthy and safe.
When it comes to food, the FDA has a very loose definition of natural, which allows for all sorts of processing mechanisms. Food manufacturers often mix both natural and artificial flavors in their products, which may end up having the same chemical composition as a flavor isolated directly from nature. Even distilling aromatic plants to produce essential oils can create new chemicals that didn’t exist in the original material. This is why it’s so important to read the label and look for third-party certifications, such as Leaping Bunny, Rainforest Alliance, kosher or halal.
In cosmetics and skincare, the term natural refers to ingredients that are derived from plants, animals or minerals, but are processed no more than what can be done in a household kitchen. Depending on the product, this can include physical or chemical processing. Physically processed ingredients such as cold-pressed oil or raw butter are a good example. Chemically processed ingredients, on the other hand, are more likely to have added chemicals such as preservatives and other functional additives to ensure safety.
The most common ingredients that are considered to be natural in the US include botanicals, herbs and essential oils. They are free of chemical additives and come from plant or animal sources. These are very versatile ingredients that have been used in cosmetic and skincare products for centuries, offering a variety of benefits to the skin.
Many people are wary of synthetic ingredients, especially those that have been linked to health issues such as cancer. However, the vast majority of cosmetic and skincare ingredients are synthetic. Some examples of these are polyethylene glycol and xantham gum, which are used in a wide range of foods and personal care products as thickening agents. Fortunately, there are alternatives to these ingredients that are not only natural, but also safe for use. There are also products available that have been certified as organic, a much more rigorous process.