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Chemical vs Natural Skin Care, Which One Should You Go For?

August 20, 2018 | By Lorena Jiménez
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The beauty market is constantly growing. It seems like everyday more and more brands and products come out in an already overly saturated market. New formulas, new ingredients and new consistencies, but also new concerns.

The more research it is done, the more products that come out and the newer the ingredients, there seems to be rising concerns about the consequences and results of the use of certain components. Creams, makeup, hair products, among many other lifestyle goods are starting to be an extra source of worry for consumers that are starting to be doubtful about if beauty companies are to be trusted.

All this has sparked multiple responses and lately there seems to be some sort of ingredient war on everything cosmetic related. There is an increasing number of people that are trying to be aware of what they put on their body, which can be a very positive thing, but also with all the misinterpretation and misinformation running around this could eventually, intentionally or not, create the wrong results.

Chemical Vs Natural Skin Care
This whole scenario has created a general sense of distrust, from which many people do not know what to choose anymore and as a result there seem to be a lot of advocates of "natural" ingredients vs chemically formulated ones. So it is, that many times it is hard to see any beauty discussions, where the chemical vs natural skin care debate it is not brought up.

I guess the real question here is, if "natural" ingredients and products are undeniably a better choice?

As a person that has dealt with difficult skin for a very long time, researching and studying ingredients is no news to me. I have been doing it since age 14, when my skin had become so thin from being prescribed one harsh medicine and cream after the other, that I decided to take matters in my own hands. As I always tell you research and information equal power, but you have to make sure that information is well researched, and comes from trusted sources.

Following that and spending a consequential amount of time researching and investigating, I managed to crack down the ingredients that my skin needed to resolve all my previous concerns. Skin keeps changing though and if you want to best take care of any different concerns that might come up, it is important for you to know how different things work. That is why the chemical vs natural skin care debate, is something that needs to be properly addressed.
"Natural", Organic, Raw, Chemical what Type of Ingredients are Best

"Natural" and Organic Ingredients
As you can see I keep writing "natural" in between quotation marks. You might be wondering the why, and in fact it is because most of the times what is put as natural on cosmetics, it is far from natural. Let's start with the fact that sadly you should not believe everything you see. The truth is that there are many small breaches in marketing, legislation and consumer laws that might allow products to say natural, even when they are not.

So my first advice, is for you to never just trust wholeheartedly all packaging claims that might state natural or even organic, just because it is written on the label. The word natural or packaging with very well though earthy tones and design that might make it look more eco friendly, does not mean it is in fact made solely of natural ingredients. Even certain stamps for natural, organic or even cruelty free cosmetics can not fully guarantee the veracity of those claims. So I state once again that if this is something that interests you, you should try to be informed, at least to a certain degree.

Raw Vs Chemical
Now let's go with the second big point of today's discussion, are raw ingredients better for the skin? We have already addressed the chemical vs natural skin care debate, but there are also many people that claim that using natural and raw ingredients brings great results to the skin.

The truth is that for me, besides a couple of natural ingredients that I really enjoy using such as Matcha, Manuka honey, Aloe Vera or Rose Water among others and ALWAYS using their most pure and organic versions, in general chemical ingredients tend to be more stable on the skin, specially when talking about sensitive skin. So for example a softly formulated toner such as [Klairs] Supple Preparation Unscented Toner, will work a lot better than most DIY concoctions or "natural" skin care alternatives that you might find, keeping the skin hydrated and balanced without the irritation that most natural blends can bring.

I advise you to also be very careful, if you have been going through posts or videos, you might have even seen people advising the use of certain raw organic ingredients like for example lemon or apple cider vinegar, as a brightening step or raw oils to cleanse the face. Natural raw ingredients are indeed something to be very aware of when applied topically, something like lemon or vinegar can completely disrupt your PH or even burn your skin and most oils are highly occlusive, which can end up being a major cause for bigger skin issues in most users.

Instead of trying to illuminate your skin with lemon juice or a self made toner made out of highly acidic ingredients or washing your face with coconut oil, I recommend you to look at products with similar formulas to [By Wishtrend] Mandelic Acid 5% Prep Water or [Klairs] Gentle Black Deep Cleansing Oil that will provide much better results while not damaging or causing further concerns onto the skin.

Key point to address the whole chemical vs natural skin care issue
Even when it is a great thing to want to be more eco friendly and use more natural products, it is important to do it wisely. Knowing that the importance does not mainly lay on the product having natural or chemical ingredients, but mostly on how well is the cosmetic product formulated. Two products with the same active ingredient or ingredients, will bring completely diverse results on the same person, because of the different formulations of each specific product.

Having that said there are certain ingredients that as a beauty professional I have decided it is on my best interest not to use, or some that are simply a no no on my skin care dictionary, but those decisions have come after the proper research and not due to the solely fact of if they were naturally or chemically formulated, but for me considering them unsafe or capable of bringing negative effects to my skin or overall health.

To sum it up, there is no real winner among natural vs chemical, as the importance for it to work well and do its job, lays mostly on the formulation of the product, but I can safely say that in most cases the new chemically formulated ingredients are in general a lot safer and more stable to use than most of the natural alternatives available out there, especially for sensitive skin.

As for completely raw ingredients, unless you are completely positive about the results and safety of the specific ingredient, I suggest you leave those ingredients on you kitchen for their normal food making purposes, since they will benefit you much more giving you the vitamins and nutrition from the inside out, than when applied topically. I hope all this helped you clear up your mind for the next time you encounter the chemical vs natural skin care topic and when you do, do not forget to follow my advice and always try to be informed. Have a beautiful day.
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