Natural Skin Care, Naturally Better?

natural organic skin care, sensitive skin care With the surge of interest in organic food, there has also been more interest in organic and natural skin care. But many healthy foods have a health halo; they appear healthy, but they aren’t any better than regular junk food. Skin care products can hide behind the same guise. Like those foods, natural skin care products may not always be the best choice for you.

Health Halo: Natural skin care is better for sensitive skin.

Botanicals can often be more stimulating. Highly concentrated essential oils can overstimulate reactive skins. Ingredients can vary from batch to batch as seasons and farming conditions change. Some reactive skin types can’t handle these changes; they need more consistency.

Health Halo: Natural skin care is not as harsh.

Salicylic acid is derived from the botanical willow bark. Glycolic acid is derived from sugar. Apricot scrubs are completely natural and still incredibly aggressive. Sometimes, your sensitive skin can tolerate a natural form of an ingredient better. Sometimes it can’t tolerate an ingredient in any form. You may just have to experiment.

Health Halo: Natural skin care is less likely to cause allergic reactions.

You can be allergic to any ingredient, even natural ones. Poison ivy is completely natural and sometimes even organic, but you still don’t want to rub it on your face. Additionally, highly allergic skin types may find that the long lists of active ingredients make it difficult to narrow down specific ingredient reactions. They may find a simple list easier to navigate.

Health Halo: Natural skin care is more effective.

Natural skin care products can be incredibly effective. So can clinical skin care ingredients. It just depends on the condition of your skin and the results you desire. Some skin concerns, like acne, can respond well to natural ingredients like willow bark or tea tree oil. More persistent acne may need prescriptions like Retin-A or clindamycin. Your need changes just like your health. You may be able to avoid catching the flu by eating leafy greens and sleeping well, but once you’re sick, you might really need some Nyquil.

Health Halo: Natural skin care products are better for pregnancy.

Essential oils abound in natural skin care products, and they may be too stimulating for the sensitivities that can sometimes arise with pregnancy. There are also differing opinions on what essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy. As a rule, I advise women to avoid hydroquinone, retinoids, and benzoyl peroxide. Defer to your doctor for any other ingredients.

I really love natural skin care products. I love the light fragrance of the essential oils, the lack of synthetic preservatives and fillers. In fact, I prefer many natural ingredients. But I love the results I get with clinical products, and my skin also looks its best when I mix in ingredients like retinoids. Don’t choose natural skin care over clinical simply for the health halo. [Tweet this!] The best part about the skin care business is that you have plenty of options. What do you choose?



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A Pea in the Pod

It’s always so exciting to hear that one of my clients has gotten pregnant. It also always leads to a host of questions and concerns about skin care.  Here is some advice to consider if you’ve discovered that the stork will be visiting you soon.

Expect your skin to change, and be prepared to change with it. Some dry skin types will suddenly have oily skin, while oily skins may experience dryness for the first time in their lives. Don’t be afraid to change your products accordingly! Dry skin can switch to a creamier moisturizer or add a botanical oil under a current moisturizer.  Oily skin should switch to an oil-free, light-weight product. Some of these changes may last months after you deliver!

Stay miles away from retinol and Retin-A, benzoyl peroxide, and hydroquinone. Salicylic acid is hit-or-miss; I find that half of my clients doctors tell them to avoid it, and the other half say it’s okay. Definitely ask your doctor what he or she recommends, and follow those instructions.

Break outs are unfortunately very common during pregnancy, and as you may have noticed above, we just eliminated almost all of the acne-fighting ingredients. So how do you treat acne? Pure tea tree oil is generally okay, and since it is antimicrobial and antiseptic, it can provide a little relief by way of killing the bacteria that causes acne. Generally, AHAs like glycolic are considered okay. You may try a glycolic cleanser followed by a little tea tree oil under your moisturizer. Double check all of these ingredients with your doctor just to be sure.

Melasma, or hormonally-induced pigmentation, is also unfortunately very common during pregnancy. Try using a botanical brightener or lightening product. Look for serums that contain ingredients like arbutin, bearberry extract, or licorice extract. I highly recommend to start using a brightening product as soon as you realize you’re pregnant, since pigmentation is easier to avoid than it is to correct. And again, avoid hydroquinone like the plague.

I will also say that you should check all of my advice with your OB/GYN; as always, my advice is not intended to replace that of your healthcare provider. And most of all, remember to take care of you in this special time. Best wishes for a healthy delivery!