Understanding Skin Care Ingredients | Let's Start with Some Basics

"What are these skin care ingredients for, and where do they come from?"

This question must be asked internally hundreds of times a day around the world as individuals are reading an ingredients list on a product.  

Hi Everyone, Jeanette here, Herbal Chemist & Formulator for Claribelskincare.com.

If you’re new to skin care, or learning about the various ingredients available, you might have some questions about some ingredients that you may not be familiar with. Don’t feel bad if some ingredients sound outlandish or from another planet. We’ll eventually get to all of them and try to make sense of them.

I personally never understood why producers of ingredients ever felt it was helpful to give ingredients their complicated, chemical sounding names. I suppose it’s to sound “official”, but I find it’s much more of an easy experience if we can identify ingredient by their derived origin or basic name.

While some of these in this list are fairly basic, this is a good place to start. Let’s find out more how they can be naturally derived and how you can benefit from them. You’ve probably skimmed over them in the past, but it’s always nice to know where an ingredient comes from and what it’s good for.

There may even be some misconceptions about certain ingredients out there. In that case, please always try to make sure your source of information is from a reliable place or based on an actual medical or clinical study.

Just because someone has a blog and claims to be an expert does not mean that they always are. And just because they had an experience with an ingredient does not mean it has anything to do with you. There is an abundance of confirmed medical and clinical studies done on natural ingredients that we can learn from and how they affect us, and it’s my hope to share some of that information and break it down in layman’s terms for you.

As an example, I came across a blog post by someone who stated that lemon is hazardous and very bad for your skin. It might be bad for their skin, but it’s probably not bad for your skin, or mine for that matter. Lemon can be very good for you topically and internally. Let’s establish right now that most fruits and vegetables can be beneficial to you topically in some way. They each might have an added benefit, hence the popularity of freshly made masks for skin and hair that you could make in your own kitchen. As Hippocrates once said, food is medicine.

Let’s start with the basics and go from there.

Castile: Our castile is made from coconut oil, olive oil, aloe vera gel and rosemary oil. It’s completely vegan based just as importantly – does not contain any sulfates or parabens. Super safe for skin and hair.

Citric acid: Citric acid is derived from citrus fruits – like lemons, limes, and oranges (among others). It is good for you topically as well as internally. In skin care, it is typically used to stabilize and preserve active ingredients. As a digestible ingredient, it can help with calcium absorption and can help protect against kidney stones.

Collagen: Our collagen is vegan and derived 100% from plants. It can strength the dermis layer of the skin and is very hydrating. You can definitely feel good about using our vegan collagen vs. the animal derived collagen that most product makers use.

Glycerin: Our glycerin is vegan and derived from palm oil. Glycerin is used as a humectant, allowing your skin to retain moisture and allow the other ingredients in the formulation to adhere to the skin as they are doing their work.

Panthenol (Vitamin B5): Our panthenol is vegan derived with zero animal proteins. We love panthenol because it can soothe irritated or acneic skin, and is a fantastic moisturizer.

Protein: There are so many different kinds of topical proteins but ours is derived from hydrolyzed rice. It is a wonderful and completely safe ingredients that is non-GMO. On the skin, it is a great choice for added hydration.

Retinol (Vitamin A): Our retinol is plant derived and does not contain animal components. We love vitamin a because it is considered the gentler version of the prescription Retin-A. Don’t be confused by their closeness in name, they are quite different. The prescription can be very harsh, is not naturally derived.  Vitamin A is a wonderful anti-aging ingredient to include in your skin care plan.

Tinctures: All of our tinctures are formulated in house with a glycerin base. They do not contain alcohol or water. You’ll greatly benefit from our solid list of plant based tinctures and their highly concentrated qualities.

Tocopherol (Vitamin E): Our vitamin E is vegan based and non-GMO. Vitamin E can protect cell membranes from damage by oxygen free radicals. It can also prevent premature aging of the skin that is normally caused by UV irradiation. Aside from all of that, it can be extremely moisturizing and healing.

Xanthan Gum: The xanthan gum we use is plant derived and non-gmo. We like to use it on the occasion that we need a natural thickener to some formulations and can give product a soft finish feel.

Is there an ingredient you’ve wondered about? Post here or let us know and we can go over it’s origin and how it’s used.

Herbal Chemist & Formulator

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