Natural Skin Care: Advice, Ingredients, and What to Avoid

Comprehensive Guide to Natural Skin Care:

There is a lot of information out there regarding natural skin care, but let's start with the facts and what to looks for when focusing on the ingredients and skin care plan you'd like to have.  

While there is no shortage of studies, advice and information related to natural skin care, I'd first and foremost say to discern those that are experts vs. those that have an opinion.  There is a blogger around every corner making statements that are not backed by science.  The good news is, there are reputable studies and scientific advice readily available to you.  

Keep in mind two things:  Common sense can often prevail when considering a natural ingredient for your own natural skin care routine, and not every recommendation is good for everyone.  On the other side of it, just because something caused an adverse reaction to one person does not mean it’s bad for you. 

I read an article posted recently by an individual who did not had a strong background in health studies or skin care, but claimed that lemon on the skin is very hazardous.  This is not factually true.  It’s unfortunate that anyone can have a platform to make false claims.  While a particular ingredient was not suitable for this one person, it has many benefits for others. 

Keep in mind that almost all products that have been prepared for an inventory or store shelf have harsh chemicals and preservatives to extend their shelf life.  So while they may claim to include some attractive ingredients (Vitamin C, Retinol, DMAE, etc.) the positive qualities about these appealing ingredients is diminished or perhaps eliminated by the side effects of the harsh chemicals or preservatives also included. 

Per the FDA: “It’s important to understand that some cosmetics that are safe when people use them correctly may be unsafe when used the wrong way. Cosmetics must have any directions for use or warning statements needed to make sure people use the products safely. For example, some ingredients may be safe in products such as cleansers that we wash off the skin immediately, but not in products that we leave on the skin for hours. Similarly, ingredients that are safe for use on the hair or nails may be unsafe when used on the skin or near the eyes.”

The following ingredients are prohibited or restricted by FDA regulations:

Bithionol. The use of bithionol is prohibited because it may cause photocontact sensitization (21 CFR 700.11).

Chlorofluorocarbon propellants. The use of chlorofluorocarbon propellants in cosmetic aerosol products intended for domestic consumption is prohibited (21 CFR 700.23).

Chloroform. The use of chloroform in cosmetic products is prohibited because it causes cancer in animals and is likely to be harmful to human health, too. The regulation makes an exception for residual amounts from its use as a processing solvent during manufacture, or as a byproduct from the synthesis of an ingredient (21 CFR 700.18).

Halogenated salicylanilides (di-, tri-, metabromsalan and tetrachlorosalicylanilide). These are prohibited in cosmetic products because they may cause serious skin disorders (21 CFR 700.15).

Hexachlorophene. Because of its toxic effect and ability to penetrate human skin, hexachlorophene (HCP) may be used only when no other preservative has been shown to be as effective. The HCP concentration in a cosmetic may not exceed 0.1 percent, and it may not be used in cosmetics that are applied to mucous membranes, such as the lips (21 CFR 250.250).

Mercury compounds. Mercury compounds are readily absorbed through the skin on topical application and tend to accumulate in the body. They may cause allergic reactions, skin irritation, or neurotoxic problems. The use of mercury compounds in cosmetics is limited to eye area products at no more than 65 parts per million (0.0065 percent) of mercury calculated as the metal and is permitted only if no other effective and safe preservative is available. All other cosmetics containing mercury are adulterated and subject to regulatory action unless it occurs in a trace amount of less than 1 part per million (0.0001 percent) calculated as the metal and its presence is unavoidable under conditions of good manufacturing practice (21 CFR 700.13).

Methylene chloride. It causes cancer in animals and is likely to be harmful to human health, too (21 CFR 700.19).

Prohibited cattle materials. To protect against bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), also known as "mad cow disease," cosmetics may not be manufactured from, processed with, or otherwise contain, prohibited cattle materials. These materials include specified risk materials*, material from nonambulatory cattle, material from cattle not inspected and passed, or mechanically separated beef. Prohibited cattle materials do not include tallow that contains no more than 0.15 percent insoluble impurities, tallow derivatives, and hides and hide-derived products, and milk and milk products** (21 CFR 700.27).

Sunscreens in cosmetics. Use of the term "sunscreen" or similar sun protection wording in a product's labeling generally causes the product to be subject to regulation as a drug or a drug/cosmetic, depending on the claims. However, sunscreen ingredients may also be used in some cosmetic products to protect the products’ color. The labelling must also state why the sunscreen ingredient is used, for example, "Contains a sunscreen to protect product color." If this explanation isn’t present, the product may be subject to regulation as a drug (21 CFR 700.35). For more information on sunscreens, refer to Tanning Products.

Vinyl chloride. The use of vinyl chloride is prohibited as an ingredient of aerosol products, because it causes cancer and other health problems (21 CFR 700.14).

Zirconium-containing complexes. The use of zirconium-containing complexes in aerosol cosmetic products is prohibited because of their toxic effect on lungs of animals, as well as the formation of granulomas in human skin (21 CFR 700.16).

What about color additives?

Color additives are permitted in cosmetics only if FDA has approved them for the intended use. In addition, some may be used only if they are from batches that FDA has tested and certified. To learn more, see “Color Additives and Cosmetics.”

Here are six skin care ingredients that are legal in the US but are banned in other countries:

  1. Formaldehyde: This chemical is used as a preservative and also includes a group of substances known as “formaldehyde donors,” which effectively release formaldehyde into a product.

One of the most controversial of these donors is quaternium-15, which until recently was found in the popular baby shampoos. The American Academy of Dermatology warns that formaldehyde can cause severe allergic reactions. Canada has banned it in personal care products.

  1. Petroleum distillates: The same oil refineries that pump out oil for heating and cars also produce petroleum that is often found in mascaras sold in the United States. Petroleum distillates are used as emollients and are also found in eye shadow, lotions, creams, hairspray, and foundation makeup. They’ve been banned in the European Union.
  2. Hydroquinone: This bleaching agent is often used to lighten dark patches of skin

called hyperpigmentation, age spots, or liver spots. It has also been linked to lung irritation and tumors in mice. Canada and some Asian and African countries have banned the use of hydroquinone in skin products.

  1. BHA: Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) is used as a preservative in moisturizers, shaving creams, fragrances, and makeup, particularly lipsticks. It is linked to endocrine disruption and cancer, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

The EU prohibits its use in fragrances, and California requires a warning label on all products that contain BHA. On top of the human danger, it adversely affects the environment because it accumulates in water and kills wildlife.

  1. Parabens: These chemicals are used as preservatives in a variety of cosmetics. They are suspected endocrine disruptors and may interfere with male reproductive function. They’re commonly used in deodorants and antiperspirants and have been also linked to breast cancer. The EU banned parabens in 2012.
  2. Methyl cellosolve: This solvent is used in anti-aging creams, moisturizers, and serums. According to the EWG, methyl cellosolve is a neurotoxin that causes DNA mutation. It’s an obscure ingredient that is sometimes not explicitly listed on labels. It has been banned in Canada and restricted in the EU.

Below are some of the very best in natural skin care ingredients.  You could start incorporating some of these into your skin care routine, many of which you might already have in your own home.  Once you determine the ones you can most benefit from, you can build from there, and add botanicals and healthy active ingredients that help you reach your skin care goals:

Alpha Lipoic Acid:  Also know as ALA, this is a strong antioxidant, derived from a variety of vegetables. It is excellent for helping alleviate wrinkles, swelling, puffiness, and assist in shrinking pore size.

Coenzyme Q10:  Also known as ubiquinone, is plant derived and excellent for encouraging significant collagen production.

Grapeseed: Rich in vitamins, minerals and fatty acids. Great for hydration and aging skin.

Green Tea: Can decrease the risk of skin cancer and alleviates water retention in skin. Great for firming and toning.  Anti-viral and anti-bacterial. 

Licorice: Has been used as an Aryuvedic remedy, is a strong antioxidant, and aids in lightening, toning, firming, and cellulite reduction.

Niacinamide:  Improves skin color, decreases inflammation, improves blotchiness, and can lighten skin per the National Library of Medicine.

Oats: Full of vitamins, minerals and lipids. Has anti-inflammatory benefits and contains antioxidants.

Retinol:  Increases collagen production. Retinol is vitamin A which is a natural ingredient, not to be confused with the prescription drug Retin-A.

Soy:  Great for healing, anti aging, and preventing future damage.

Vitamin C:  Known to prevent aging of the skin,and also to repair damage.

Willow Bark:  Naturally derived and contains the natural version of salicylic acid. Promotes cell turnover, exfoliation, acne prevention, and the reduction of wrinkles.

Don't be fooled by cosmetic advertising: Myriad creams, lotions, and potions at the drugstore and cosmetics counter make promises they could never deliver on. (Trust us, all the fancy products in the world will never turn the tide of aging.) Eye creams, for instance, rarely vary in formulation from your basic facial moisturizer. Our recommendation is to keep it simple: All you need is a basic cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and broad-spectrum sunscreen to keep your skin in tip-top shape. Everything else is just dressing.

Tips to keep in mind when shopping for natural skin care products:

  1. Natural does not necessarily mean all natural. Just because a product contains an appealing natural ingredient, does not mean it has completely eliminated some synthetic or chemicals ingredients.  Read the label and if you’re not sure, go to gov or
  2. Look for recycled, nontoxic packaging. I can guarantee that all of our packaging and labeling is recycled and eco friendly.  If you’re not sure about another company, inquire to find out more.
  3. Avoid artificial fragrance and colors. While it may not seem like a big deal, more than ninety five percent of the chemicals in synthetic fragrances are derived from petrochemicals. These chemicals include: benzene derivatives, aldehydes, phthalates, and a slew of other known toxins that are capable of causing cancer, birth defects, nervous-system disorders and allergies—some of which are cited on the EPA’s hazardous waste list.
  4. A healthy lifestyle is a very important part of a healthy looking outward appearance. Many times, skin and hair issues are caused by something going on internally.  Hair loss can often be attributed to hormonal issues, and those aren’t always limited to older women.  Even young people can have hormonal issues, especially if they are consuming products that can adversely effect their hormones.  Start with eating fresh foods, drinking enough water, getting sufficient sleep, and doing a review of the medications you currently take.

If you have any questions regarding this information, please feel free to contact us direct at, or call 770-568-8921.



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published