Herbal and Natural Skin Care Products are becoming very popular. However, there is some confusion over the difference between Herbal and Natural skin care products. Is one better than the other? Is there a difference? What does Herbal or Natural skin care actually mean?
Herbal skin care, Natural skin care: Is there a difference?
The media, or rather the skin care companies are flooding the media with benefits of herbal and/or natural skin care product promotion, but is there a difference?
Herbal skin care products are made wholly, or at least in part, with herbal products such as herbal or plant extracts. Herbal skin care is a derivative of herbal medicine and this promotes or suggests the idea that because the skin care products are called herbal skin care products, they are natural and therefore must be good for your. On the other hand, Natural skin care products do not associate themselves directly with Herbal medicine, but the word Natural communicates the same message as herbal or herbal medicine.
At Wildcrafted Herbal Products we use the term interchangeably and do not differentiate. However, herbal or natural skin care products may or may not be as natural as their names would make you believe. Many companies include one or more so called natural or herbal ingredient, in order to make consumers believe that their products are totally natural and/or based on plant extracts. Often this is very misleading and a close look at the ingredients on the label will reveal that apart from the natural ingredients, there are a considerable number of artificial and or synthetic chemicals listed.
At Wildcrafted we only consider a skin care product as natural or herbal if all the ingredients are 100% natural. If a formulation for a natural or herbal skin care product, including its base cream or lotion, contains an ingredient that is not natural we do not consider that product a natural herbal skin care products.
This may be a hard line to take, however, if 99% or 90% natural ingredients is considered to be "close enough", then where is the line between Natural and no longer Natural? Is it 80%, 50%, or what? Some countries require only 5% Organic content in order for companies to be able to label these products as "Organic". In our opinion this is unacceptable. How can a product that consists of 95% of non-natural ingredients be labeled as organic?
The biggest problem is that people who have sensitive or problem skin that reacts adversely to non-natural or artificial ingredients, see the word "Natural" or "Herbal" and believe they are buying a 100% natural skin care product. When in reality this may well not be true. It has only been recently that people are becoming more aware of this issue, that they are starting to look at the list of ingredients and have educated themselves to know what is a natural ingredient and what is not. However, not everybody has the ability or time to do this and subsequently may end up buying a "natural" product only to find they end up with allergic reactions or worse.
Another issue is, that usually only "active" ingredients are listed on product labels. That means the emulsifiers, etc., are not listed, usually due to lack of space on the labels, and many ingredients that are not active may not be natural, but still contained in some, so called, 'natural' or 'herbal' skin care products.
In some countries there is a government policy requiring companies to include certain preservatives in their products at certain concentrations. So, where does that leave the consumer who wants Natural or Herbal skin care products?
As a rule of thumb, if herbalists or natural therapists formulate the products, there is a very good chance that their products are natural and contain no artificial or synthetic ingredients. Many companies have Web sites, where they are able to provide more information than is possible on labels, taking a look at their web sites can provide valuable information as to who formulates their products, what their company's philosophy is and much more.
If all else fails, ring them up and ask.
Danny Siegenthaler is a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and together with his wife Susan, a medical herbalist and Aromatherapist, they have created Natural Skin Care Products by Wildcrafted Herbal Products to share their 40 years of combined expertise with you.