You don’t have to do much digging to come across an online debate about the differences between “chemical” and “natural” skin care and which is the best solution for your skin. When framed like this, it’s pretty easy to see which term is almost always labeled as “the bad guy.” However, upon closer inspection, it turns out that the answer to this question is not so clear-cut. Here is an overview of what these two terms actually mean (or don’t mean), and what you should look for when shopping for your next skin care products.
Defining “Chemical” and “Natural” in Skin Care
Most of us have been conditioned to view the word “chemical” as automatically “bad,” whereas “natural,” on the other hand, is “good.” While this general sentiment might hold true, at least for the most part, when it comes to things like foods, this type of thinking needs to be set aside when discussing things like skin care products. That’s because in the skin care world, there are no set rules or regulations as to which products are allowed to use terms like “natural” or “all-natural” on their packaging and which are not. In short, there is no legal meaning behind the word “natural,” at least as far as your skin care products are concerned . Secondly, not all “chemicals” are bad. In fact, many ingredients that are often lumped under this umbrella term are extremely beneficial for your skin. Ascorbic acid, for example, is a synthetic version of vitamin C that is often used in topical products to provide free radical protection, nourish collagen, and brighten the skin’s tone . In its natural form, vitamin C is highly unstable and easily breaks down when exposed to light and heat, reducing its usefulness in products. While it is true that certain harsh chemical ingredients such as sulfates and some preservatives can be detrimental to your skin, thinking of all types of chemical ingredients as necessarily bad for your skin isn’t accurate or useful. In the same sense, this isn’t to say that plant-derived ingredients can’t be highly effective. The problem arises when consumers too quickly write-off or trust a particular product or ingredient based purely on labels that are nothing more than clever marketing strategies.
Reading Skin Care Ingredient Labels
Another common misconception in skin care is that you should be able to pronounce each and every ingredient listed on the bottle. This goes along with the assumption that if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, it’s probably a “bad” chemical. Again, however, this isn’t necessarily the case, although it can be. When it comes to amino acids in skin care, which are quickly becoming known as some of the most advanced and effective topical ingredients currently available, you may be surprised to find that you can’t always pronounce each amino acid ingredient at first glance. This, however, does not mean that these ingredients aren’t good for your skin. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Although their names may seem a bit daunting, amino acids are already naturally present in your body and skin. Certain amino acids, called essential amino acids, even need to be obtained from outside sources since our body can’t produce them on its own. Additionally, many amino acid skin care products, including those offered by AminoGenesis, utilize amino acids derived from plant sources, despite their seemingly complex names.
The Bottom Line
When it comes down to it, there are plenty of “chemical” ingredients that are good and bad for your skin, just like there are “natural” or “plant-derived” ingredients that may be good or bad. Rather than choosing your skin care products based solely on labels like these, do a little more digging to find out what is actually inside the bottle and how those ingredients can affect your skin, whether for better or worse.