With many of us turning to a more natural lifestyle, we are paying more attention to the ingredients we are buying in our food and skincare. And just like food labels, skincare ingredients lists can be confusing.
Natural skincare might be better for our skin as it generally contains fewer irritants that can cause skin reactions. Also, natural skincare does not usually contain controversial ingredients, such as Methylisothiazolinone (MI). MI is a preservative that is found in a wide range of shower gels, moisturisers, shampoos and make-up. Experts believe that this controversial ingredient has led to a steep rise in allergies and conditions such as dermatitis.
Opting for natural products when choosing your skincare can relive some of the worry about ingredients that may be banned in the future. Here we will look into how our skin works, how natural ingredients can work to benefit many skin issues and if there are some products that are too good to be true.
The skin is the largest organ of the body and protects us from the elements and microbes; it also helps to regulate body temperature and allows the sensations of touch, heat and cold. Our skin is made up of three primary layers, the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. Each of these layers plays a different role in the functioning of the skin:
Epidermis: This is the outermost layer of the skin. It provides a waterproof barrier to the elements and gives us our skin tone.
Dermis: Underneath the dermis, this layer contains touch connective tissue and is where hair follicles and sweat glands are located.
Hypodermis: The hypodermis is the innermost and thickest layer of the skin and is made up of fat and connective tissue. It acts as an energy reserve and pads your bones.
Natural ingredients offer many skin boosting benefits and are highly researched. Natural ingredients also undergo rigorous testing, meaning they are usually very safe to use.
Many studies have been conducted to determine the benefits of Aloe Vera and it was found that the plant does have several properties that are effective in treating a variety of skin conditions.
It acts as a moisturiser, preventing dryness and flakiness. Also, due to its anti-inflammatory properties it can be used to treat sunburn and can be used as an aftershave to soothe an irritated epidermis.
Tea Tree oil has a long history of medicinal use. The practice of applying the oil to skin comes from Australia, where Aborigines have been using it as an anti-septic to treat cuts and burns for thousands of years.
It can be used as a topical anti-septic and antifungal treatment as it is able to penetrate to the deeper layer of the dermis. It can also help acne as is can reach the blockage between the skin and sebaceous glands (sweat glands). Tea Tree can also disinfect pores and dry out whiteheads and blackheads at the epidermis layer. It is also highly effective at providing relief from the itchiness of rashes due to its soothing properties.
Often used to aid restful sleep and calm the mind, Lavender oil is a versatile essential oil that can be traced far back in human history. In Latin, lavender takes the name “Lavare” which means “to wash”!
Lavender oil is particularly effective a helping to heal damaged skin and preventing scarring. It is incredibly gentle and also helps to treat acne, eczema and psoriasis as it addresses the skin from the inside out. Lavender oil is able to penetrate through all of the skin’s layers and enter into the blood stream, which will take the oil around the body.
It is often said that if something is too good to be true, it usually is and the same could be said for some beauty and skincare products. An ingredient called prostaglandin analogues, which is in many eyelash ‘growth’ serums was recently found to cause severe side effects such as eye irritation, itching, eye pain and even a change in eye colour! As a result, this ingredient is now banned from sale to consumers under new UK regulations. This is another reason to opt for natural skincare; knowing that controversial ingredients are not included in your skincare will mean you have no reason to worry about the products’ safety.