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Your Guide to Natural, Safe and Clean Skincare

Adopt a cleaner beauty routine by making these small changes.

1. Is natural skincare better?

    a. What’s the difference between clean skincare and natural skincare?
    b. Is natural beauty safer?

2. What natural ingredients are good for skin?

    a. Is hyaluronic acid good for skin?

3. How to use hyaluronic acid

 

Natural, organic, green and clean are all words used to describe one of the biggest trends in skincare right now. The movement is rejecting products with common chemicals such as parabens, fragrance, synthetic colours and phthalates, making room for plant-based alternatives made from natural, safe and sustainable ingredients. And with more options than ever before, you don’t need to stray from your local drugstore to find clean products.

Not sure where to start? Here’s what you should know about natural, healthy skincare and how these products can positively affect your skin—and overall health.



1. Is natural skincare better?


Does “natural” mean they are better than their synthetically formulated chemical counterparts? Sometimes, but certainly not always. It depends on several factors, such as the formulas, your skin type and the product itself.


a. What’s the difference between clean skincare and natural skincare?


There are no governmental standards when it comes to defining “natural” or “clean” beauty products. Since these words mean nothing as far as Health Canada or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is concerned, there is no clear distinction—or industry-wide definition. In fact, most people use the terms interchangeably, but there are some important differences.

Most of the time, “natural” is used to describe the purity of a plant-based skincare ingredient, rather than it being lab-made with chemicals. It’s often considered the purest form of the ingredient. However, there’s a movement to steer away from the word because there are many safe synthetic ingredients that are naturally derived.

“Clean” beauty, on the other hand, comes from the clean eating movement. The ingredients in these formulas can be synthetic and/or natural, and in terms of the amount, it’s a “less is more” approach, also known as minimal formulas. A third party is often involved to ensure the safety of these ingredients and whether or not they are sourced (or created) sustainably. Vichy Minéral 89 (11 ingredients) and LiftActiv Specialist Peptide-C Ampoules (10 ingredients) both have minimal formulas that have been tested under dermatological control. These third-party tests are important because they prove that the skincare products are safe, clean and deliver effective results.

One area in which natural skincare and clean skincare intersects is the “no nasties” list. This means that these formulas don’t contain ingredients like parabens, sulphates, alcohol, fragrance and phthalates.

b. Is natural beauty safer?


In short, no. Even the most organic ingredients can be extremely unpredictable. One of the main reasons why brands create synthetic ingredients is to ensure that their products will work well, every single time. Just because something’s made in a lab doesn’t mean it’s toxic—and just because something’s completely natural doesn’t mean it’s not.

Case in point: lavender essential. Sure, it’s plant-based and it’s “natural,” but that doesn’t automatically make it safe, or even effective, for topical use. As it happens, lavender essential oil, even in its most watered-down form, is a common allergen.Of course, this doesn’t mean that all natural products are bad; it just means that not all of them are good for the skin—or safe.



2. What natural ingredients are good for skin?


We know that not everything natural is good for skin, but there are thousands of botanical and natural skincare ingredients that are safe and effective at treating skin concerns. If you are looking for natural skincare for mature skin and wondering what natural ingredient tightens skin, consider buying a product with witch hazel. Extracts from the plant help minimize sun-damaged and aging skin by attenuating the appearance of pores. But if you’re looking for natural care for dry skin, try a product that contains manuka honey, which is anti-bacterial and extremely moisturizing. Another great natural skincare option for dryness and low skin hydration is hyaluronic acid.

a. Is hyaluronic acid good for skin?


Wondering what hyaluronic acid is? It’s glycosaminoglycan that’s found in both nature and your body. Hyaluronic acid is a sugar molecule that occurs naturally in the skin, and it helps to bind water, trapping it in the skin so that skin can appear plumper and more hydrated. The hyaluronic acid for skin is a naturally extracted skincare ingredient from plant and wheat fermentation. The process looks something like this: Wheat is fermented with specific bacteria, then purified and precipitated. This process extracts the hyaluronic acid that is naturally present in wheat, creating a naturally derived form of hyaluronic acid.



3. How to use hyaluronic acid?


The first step on how to hydrate your skin naturally is with a face serum. A hyaluronic acid serum helps improve dryness and is also great for dehydrated skin and mature skin types.

In order to get the best performance from your hyaluronic acid serum, apply it to damp skin and then add a moisturizer overtop. Try a clean moisturizer, like Vichy Aqualia Thermal Light Cream. It contains 97% naturally derived ingredients, including hyaluronic acid and mannose (a plant sugar).

Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means it draws water to the skin and helps prevent moisture loss. The added layer of moisturizer will protect your skin barrier while also helping to pull water into the skin. The combo keeps your complexion looking fresh by improving the skin’s texture, hydrating and helping smooth fine lines over time.



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