Natural skin care products, or as I prefer to call them these days Holistically-natural skin care products are most definitely the only answer to responsible healthy skin care. Any effect achieved by synthetic chemical containing products can be achieved using natural means, if you know how.
These days many consumers treat synthetic ingredients in their skin care as potentially harmful, and so they should. To settle this in your own mind, just have a look at this vast list of chemicals commonly found in mass-produced skin care products (some of these are also found in so-called natural skin care products) and look at some of the potential effects they could have on your health.
If you are asking yourself whether natural skin care products are the answer to all your skin care problems? The answer is a definite Yes. I have not come across a single skin problem that cannot be addressed equally well using natural skin care products as using any other types. Admittedly, I’ve only been in practice as a doctor of Chinese medicine for just over 20 years, however, so far I have yet to see a skin condition that cannot be treated using a natural approach, excluding of course emergency medical conditions such as severe 3rd degree burns over large parts of the body, etc.
In an article I can across recently, entitled “Are Natural Skin Care Products the Answer To All Problems?”, the author asks the following questions:
So, are natural skin care products the answer to all of our problems? What if a natural skin care product is not available for the treatment of a particular skin disorder? Are the synthetic skin care products so harmful that they should be banned?
Sorry, no skin care product is going to fix my car problems, they won’t. Maybe the author should have asked ...so, are natural skin care products to answer to all your skin problems, then the answer would have still been no, and neither do any other skin care products on the market today - natural or otherwise.
Not all skin problems can be treated using some topical application - Many diseases such as measles, syphilis, chickenpox and many more are diseases, which as part of their presentation, have a skin involvement. To think that using natural skin care products or for that matter a synthetically formulated skin care product could treat this types of conditions is ludicrous.
Sure, combine your internal medication (natural or drug-based) with a good quality, natural skin care products to address the itching, irritation and redness, etc., but don’t think for one moment that a skin care products is going to effect the chickenpox virus or any other infectious disease.
Similarly, skin problems just like any other long-term disorder have a multi-faceted complexity and require a systemic approach to treatment.
It is very important to identify what it is that you want your natural skin care products to do. Here I think we need to differentiate between natural skin care products, as applied to the cosmetic-, beauty- and skin care industry, which designs products to sooth, nourish, moisturise, cleans, tone, firm, etc., and the skin products that are therapeutic by design. That is, they are specifically designed to treat a skin disease.
Natural, therapeutic skin care products are an entirely different kettle of fish, well maybe not fish, but they are designed to be therapeutic. Now, in most western countries, therapeutic products require registeration with government health regulatory bodies and as such they are subjected to intense scrutiny - and rightly so. However, natural skin care products are not. They are cosmetic and are not supposed to make therapeutic claim on their labels or in their promotional material.
Natural skin care products world wide or rather the companies selling and promoting them continually cross this line and do, in many cases, make claims that their products can treat this or that, for example Acne, psoriasis, dermatitis, wrinkles, and many other skin conditions. They shouldn't, but they do.
Wildcrafted Herbal Products offers therapeutic grade natural skin care products that address various skin diseases and we do this via our VIRTUAL HERBALIST. This is a on-line service, where people can fill in a questionnaire stating their skin problems and related symptoms (or other health problems) and our medical herbalist will contact them and assess their skin/health problem. Then, if appropriate, our medical herbalist will offer to custom make a therapeutic cream or herbal compound or both for this particular person, which will address their specific health issues. That is the only way, a therapeutic product should be dispensed to a customer - by doing a consultation and assessing any underlying condition.
Of course a better option is to see this person in a clinical situation, however with a world-wide audience, this is not always possible.
If on the other hand we are simply referring to dry, oily, mature or sensitive skin, than there is no need for synthetic chemicals. Nor is this the case in the treatment of dermatitis, psoriasis or similar conditions, unless they are of a genetic origin - then there is very little that can be done other than symptom control, which natural skin care products can do just as well as any synthetic equivalent, if not better.
You see most mass-produced skin care products, whether they are 100% natural skin care products or have a synthetic component, will not work on any condition where an internal disease process is involved. For example a hormonal imbalance may cause acne. This acne will persist until the hormonal imbalance is corrected.
Similarly, viral infections can cause a skin rash and it will persist until the viral infection has been addressed. Again, sure use a topical ointment or cream for the rash and yes, make sure it is a natural skin care product, because you don’t need to introduce more chemicals into the body, which it may have difficulty in utilising and/or eliminating.
In the article, the auther's answer to the above questions states:
Different people have different answers to these questions. However, the reality is that due to presence of synthetic preservatives, it’s really tough to find a natural skin care product that is 100% natural. There are natural skin care products that have natural preservatives, but their cost might be detrimental. Moreover, such natural skin products have a shorter shelf life and hence are not preferred by the manufacturers of natural skin care products.
Firstly, 100% natural skin care products are really not hard to find. There are dozens of companies that produce good quality, natural skin care products and they can be found using Yahoo, MSN or Google without much difficulty. Yes, they can be expensive, but they are no more expensive than similar, products containing synthetic chemicals produced by major brands such as L’Oreal, Lancôme, and others. In fact, most are a lot less costly.
Secondly, just because a natural skin care product has a natural preservative does not make them any more expensive. I should know, as we make a large range of natural skin care products and have done so for over 20 years. We supply customers all over the world, as well as our own patients, and over 80% of our customers have been long-term customers. Some of our products use natural preservatives such as Grape seed oil extract or Wheat Germ oil and neither of these oils are very pricey, especially when compared to some of the other ingredients we use in our natural skin care products such as essential oil of Jasmine or Rose.
In addition, Essential oils are some of the most powerful antiseptic substances around, some also have powerful antibiotic properties and if used correctly, they will preserve natural skin care products for at least 2 to 3 years and longer without any trouble. Furthermore, many of our natural skin care and personal care products contain herbal extracts. Herbal extracts are by nature alcoholic and alcohol is a very good preservative. So you see, good quality natural skin care products do not need to have preservatives (synthetic or natural) added to them.
This author further states:
Some people carry a wrong notion that since natural skin care products are natural, they cannot cause any harm to the skin. The suitability of a skin care product is not based on whether it is synthetic or natural. An unsuitable natural skin care product can harm you in almost the same way as a synthetic one. So, use natural skin care products, but be open to synthetic ones too (you might need them when a natural solution is not available)
Sure, we all know that nature produces powerful substances and some of these are the most potent killers if we are exposed to them - strychnine is an example that comes to mine, but any substance found in nature has the potential to create problems, some more serious than other. Why else would herbalist have to be trained for years if you could take any old tea and drink it to your heart’s content?
Many people have allergies to all sorts of chemicals (I mean naturally occurring ones as well as synthetic ones). However, that is not the product’s fault, these people unfortunately for them have a hypersensitivity to particular substances and their immune system needs to be treated. DON’T use a synthetic substitute - the natural substances are just as powerful as synthetic chemicals, why do you think is it that modern medicine still uses morphine-based drugs to treat severe pain? - there is no synthetic substitute that is more powerful a pain killer.
Natural skin care products that have been properly formulated to target a specific skin care need are safer, usually more effective and cost no more than their synthetic counter parts.
When ever you choose to buy a new product which you use on your skin, be it a natural one or not, you should consider the following:
Always look at the ingredient list and see if there are any to which you may be allergic.
Before you start using a product apply a small area of your skin first to see if you have any undesirable reaction. You may be allergic to something in the product, which you are not aware of and this may or may not be a natural substance.
Know what the product does and what it is indicated for before you buy it. 'Unsuitable' products (as the auther calls them), whether natural or not will not do what you want them to do and may in fact be potentially harmful, but that has nothing to do with whether the product is natural or synthetic, it's all to do with suitability. Unlike synthetically-based products however, natural ones are in fact less likely to cause lasting, if any harm, where as synthetic chemicals may well cause irreversable side effects.
Choose products to suit your skin type and your skin’s needs.
If you are not sure, ask the manufacturer, write them an email or ring them up and ask them to explain or help.
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.