We are living in an age where consumers are becoming more aware of what is in the products we consume and apply to our body. We’re learning more about the impacts of chemicals on our body and the environment which has caused a shift to more conscious consumption.
You are probably aware that many store bought skin care products contain long lists of chemicals that can potentially cause harm to your body. While many people accept this as the price of looking after their skin, these ingredients are seeping into your skin through the pores and can cause damage in the long run.
Stabilisers, preservatives, aromatic agents and artificial colouring can all have negative effects on the body and the environment.
How do chemicals affect our skin?
The skin is the largest organ in the body in both weight and surface area. The skin has two layers, the dermis and the epidermis. The dermis provides support and structure to the skin. The epidermis functions to protect the body (acts as a shield). Underneath the dermis is the hypodermis which provides insulation for the skin.
Breaking through this barrier with chemical based skin care products puts you at a risk of developing irritations and allergies from synthetic materials.
Luckily, your skin does not have to suffer as there are a wide range of natural options available. When looking at the ingredients on your skincare products, keep an eye out for the below ingredients. We’ve compiled a list of the best natural ingredients for skincare that will help your skin glow.
Natural skincare ingredients
1. Coconut oil
Possibly the most famous natural skin care product, it is also the most versatile. Coconut oil can be ingested as well as applied topically and can cause a variety of beneficial effects on your skin, including purging dead skin cells, fortifying skin tissue, and protecting the skin from sunburns.
On top of that, coconut oil is an excellent antibiotic, letting you deal a serious blow to any bacteria, fungi, or even viruses that may have camped out in your epidermis. Coconut oil has even been found to be effective at fighting off skin diseases like dermatitis. This degree of potency and utility makes it the best natural ingredient for the skin in our book. We use this ingredient in almost all of our products! We use coconut oil is many of our hair products, they make them smell great too!
2. Tea tree oil
For hundreds of years, many women have been using tea tree oil to treat breakouts, inflammation and redness on the skin. In the treatment of acne, tea tree is a well-tolerated ingredient without any side effects.
Tea tree oil works well as a natural anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal ingredient. Applied directly to the skin, it is one of the most popular and versatile natural skin care ingredients because of the phytochemicals (chemical compounds that are produced by plants) in it.
3. Grape seed oil
Grape seed oil is a familiar ingredient for skincare products that are all natural. It is a common food ingredient as well. It is squeezed out of grape seeds after the wine ingredient has been extracted.
Just like the all-time favorite natural skin care ingredient coconut, grape seed oil also contains a lot of antioxidants and is rich in linoleic acid. Linoleic acid reduces acne and retains skin moisture.
Grape seed oil, unlike coconut oil, is non-comedogenic, thus it does not clog pores and can be used even on sensitive skins. It can also be used as an eye cream alternative to lighten dark circles. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties. It is a widely used moisturizer for skin that is prone to acne.
The best thing about grape seed oil is, it does not leave any residue on the skin. When applied it easily dries up thus it is a good make-up base.
Grape seed oil contains powerful antioxidants and PTOs (proanthocyanidin) that control free radicals working to prevent damage that may be caused by the sun and the lightning of age spots. PTOs also enhance the production of collagen to reducing the fine lines as well as stretch marks.
4. Rose water
Rose water is an effect ingredient for overall health and beauty. For the skin, rose water is effective in the treatment of acne as well as irritated skin. It can cool and soothe irritated skin. It acts as a cleanser for oily skin and as moisturizer for dry skin. It also serves as an anti-aging ingredient because it can tone, soften, rejuvenate, and revitalize mature skin to bring back its natural glow.
Rose water contains a lot of vitamins and antioxidants to nourish the skin. It also contains a lot of anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory properties and natural antiseptics. This natural ingredient works well with all skin types.
5. Argan oil
Many regard argan oil as a super skincare ingredient. This is so because it is rich in natural Vitamin E, essential fatty acids and antioxidants. It is effective in reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines as well as scarring and stretch marks. It also works well in fighting the early signs of sun damage and aging as well as enhancing the elasticity of the skin.
Argan oil is often an important natural ingredient in facial moisturizers, facial cleansers, eye creams, anti-aging skincare and make-up products.
6. East Indian sandalwood
This essential oil effectively quells the proliferation of bacteria on the skin, and it calms down inflammation as quickly as any commercially available pimple cream out there. East Indian Sandalwood is perfect for treating a particularly rebellious breakout. It’s best applied by mixing it with almond oil, as just slathering it all over your face outright can make you end up feeling quite irritated. About two or three drops of East Indian Sandalwood in 180 mL of almond oil should be enough.
7. Apple cider vinegar
Another commonly known natural skin care product is apple cider vinegar. This substance contains a potent acetic acid, making it brilliant at skin cleansing, killing off fungi, bacteria, and other pathogens in the skin and is a capable stopper for acne. Apple cider vinegar’s beneficial effects even extend internally for when ingested, it promotes a healthy level of bacteria in the digestive tract and even optimises liver function.
8. Sea salt
Mother of all life, the sea has provided every organism on the planet with the means with which to survive. Being such a kickass mom, the sea even provided us with a skin care solution in the form of sea salts.
These little seaborne crystals have accumulated loads of minerals in its journey from the vast ocean onto the shore including calcium, potassium, magnesium, and of course, sodium. These minerals are essential components of our skin cells, which are always looking for spare parts to keep on chugging.
Sea salts should be applied topically, and they work best when mixed into a facial scrub with raw honey and avocado, which are also fantastic antioxidants. A good mix would be one part sea salt for every two parts of honey and avocado, though you can experiment with mixture ratios to find the best one for you.
9. Coffee bean
No skin care solution is complete without a dose of antioxidants, and the coffee bean does exactly that. It apparently has a greater antioxidant capability than even green tea, and the studies surrounding the products seem to support that. In testing, it was proven that coffee bean products caused dramatic improvements in people who have developed wrinkles and pigmentation. We use this ingredient in our anti-aging night cream, and let’s just say, it’s amazing!
These little fruits are well-regarded by dermatologists to be one of the most efficacious natural skin brighteners. The chief selling point of bearberry extract is its abundant levels of arbutin, which is a powerful deterrent for the development of dark spots on your skin.
Still, bearberry extract isn’t as potent as the more common hydroquinone, but due to its natural, unadulterated nature, it’s considered to be much safer. Unlike hydroquinone, bearberry extract is safe to use during pregnancy or when nursing.
Ingredients to avoid for sensitive skin
1. Butyl, Ethyl Parabe, Propyl and Methyl.
These ingredients are cheap and have long shelf lifes. They are however toxic and may cause skin reactions and allergies.
2. Synthetic Colors
They are listed in labels as D&C or FD&C followed by the number of the color. Most of these toxic substances are made of coal-tar linked to agents that cause cancer.
3. Synthetic Fragrances
These are often listed in labels as simply “Fragrance” and could be in any of over 200 synthetic and toxic ingredients manufacturers can get hold of. They can cause headaches, rashes, skin irritations and so much more.
4. Diethanolamine (DEA)/Triethanolamine (TEA)
These ingredients work for the adjustment of pH balance. These toxic chemicals can cause dryness of the hair and skin and also eye problems.
5. Behentrimonium Chloride
This is an ammonia compound. It is highly toxic and may be fatal when ingested.
All of these ingredients can enter the bloodstream through skin care products, which can expose the body to carcinogenic substances that are known to cause cancer.
So next time you are shopping for new skin or hair care products, read the ingredients label! Remember the benefits of choosing natural ingredients of chemical and feel confident in the products you are buying.
The Grahams Natural range is naturally formulated and scientifically developed to look after your skin and treat sensitive skin conditions. You can view the full range here.