As estheticians, your clients will look to you for help understanding the claims and ingredient science behind the best products for their skin. As a consumer it's also important for you to know what constitutes a “natural” versus “organic” product and be able to separate fact from fiction. Here are a few true & false – see how you do!
THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS CHEMICAL FREE. (TRUE)
Everything is made of chemicals – including our bodies. Plants are the same – they contain carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, chlorine, etc. The benefits to the skin are because of their special chemical components. Using the term “chemical free” is not only wrong – its shows a misunderstanding of science.
NATURALS ARE LESS LIKELY TO CAUSE ALLERGIES/REACTIONS/SENSITIVITIES. (FALSE)
Many allergies are caused by proteins which are commonly found in plant extracts. Its possible natural ingredients may be more likely to cause a reaction. Also, anyone can be sensitive or reactive to anything – including plants. Plants have complex chemical makeups so the skin is exposed to a lot of components interacting with each other and with the skin.
THERE’S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NATURAL AND ORGANIC. (TRUE)
The term organic is regulated by the USDA (Dept. of Agriculture) which determines that the ingredients have been grown under certain conditions. Certified organic means the majority of the ingredients in the product have been grown from certified organic sources.
Natural can mean that much of the ingredients are derived from natural sources, but are mixed or suspended with ingredients that are not naturally sourced.
MANY CHEMICALS IN PRODUCTS COME FROM PLANT SOURCES. (TRUE)
Examples include salicylic acid (willow bark), AHA’s like glycolic (sugar cane) and lactic acid (milk). Many prescription drugs come from plant sourced components.
PRODUCTS MADE WITH NATURAL INGREDIENTS DON’T NEED PRESERVATION. (FALSE)
Preservation of some kind is necessary to kill bacteria and other contaminants. Mostly natural and/or organic products may spoil or oxidize faster, therefore preservation is extremely important.
SOME NATURAL PRODUCTS WORK EFFECTIVELY JUST AS THEY COME FROM NATURE. (TRUE)
Examples include Aloe Vera Gel, Green Tea and arnica. All can be used in their original state.
NATURAL INGREDIENTS IN PRODUCTS ARE MORE EFFECTIVE. (FALSE)
No evidence exists that a chemical extracted from a plant is more effective than one produced in a lab.
EDUCATION IS THE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING INGREDIENTS. (TRUE)
There is so much out there to study and learn about ingredients and new and changing information is constantly being discovered. Look for good, non-biased classes, webinars, books and videos.