Green is the new black -- and every fashion and beauty brand is touting their all-natural lines as the latest, greatest way to get and stay gorgeous. Is natural really all that much better than the alternative?
Why natural is better
Manmade chemicals work fast and create results -- important when choosing a beauty product. However, they are seldom without some sort of side effect, like drier or more oily skin, skin sensitivity and peeling -- not to mention what they can do to the environment.
The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health reports that nearly 900 toxic chemicals are used in cosmetic products. While the amounts used in these formulas are approved by the FDA for cosmetic use, these are still potentially toxic synthetic preservatives, suspected carcinogens, drying alcohols and synthetic fragrances and dyes -- scary stuff to be slathering on your largest organ. All of these chemicals must somehow be metabolized by our bodies and can cause allergic reactions, headaches, rashes, asthma, hormonal imbalances, and potentially cancers and reproductive failures.
The benefits of natural
Natural ingredients are often gentler on the skin while providing comparable results. Such substances are made of the same building blocks as our own bodies and are therefore less harmful than their manmade counterparts. For example, petrolatum, used in many lip balms, is a by-product of petroleum production -- the same petroleum used to power your car. A natural alternative is bees' wax, which provides comparable protection and coverage. Jojoba oil is another good option for mature skin.
Natural oils have long been known to have beneficial properties for the skin. Look for coconut oil, sesame oil, sweet almond oil or apricot kernel oil on the ingredient list. Botanicals like chamomile, lavender, comfrey, seaweed and rose have a calming effect on the skin.
Natural antioxidants can prevent or slow the damage of free radicals, which can break down aging skin. You can consume antioxidants, and you can seek out natural beauty products that contain them. Look for ingredients such as grape seed oil, vitamin C, vitamin A, lemon oil and green tea extract.
the natural alternative
Natural products can offer a gentler alternative to otherwise harsh beauty treatments. For example, strong chemical astringents can overdry oily skin, leading the skin to produce even more sebum -- merely amplifying the problem. By choosing gentle, natural alternatives like bergamot, lavender or geranium oil, your skin will be gently yet effectively cleansed and conditioned.
Natural beauty products have enjoyed a surge of popularity of late, but don't shy away because you think it is just another fad. Mother Nature, the most beautiful woman of all, has provided us with all her beauty secrets so we can enjoy the same timeless beauty!
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