Natural vs Synthetic?

There is a lot of debate surrounding the use of natural and synthetic ingredients in cosmetics. Some people swear by the benefits of using only natural ingredients, while others find that synthetic ingredients work better for them. So, what are the risks associated with each? Let's take a look.

The risks associated with using natural ingredients are mainly that they may not be as effective as synthetic ingredients. Additionally, some natural ingredients can be harmful if used in large quantities. For example, lavender oil is a popular natural ingredient in skincare products, but it can cause skin irritation if used in high concentrations. Just because an ingredient is natural, doesn't mean it's safe. For example, common Thyme essential oil, which is widely used for its antibacterial properties, is also a common allergen that can trigger asthma reactions. For example, cumin oil is safe in food, but can cause the skin to blister. Certain citrus oils used safely in food can also be harmful in cosmetics, particularly when applied to skin exposed to the sun.

FDA doesn’t have regulations defining “natural” or “organic” for cosmetics. All cosmetic products and ingredients must meet the same safety requirement, regardless of their source. To learn more, see “’Organic’ Cosmetics” and “FDA’s Poisonous Plant Database.”

The risks associated with using synthetic ingredients are mainly that they may be harmful if used in large quantities. For example, parabens are a type of synthetic preservative that have been linked to cancer. Similar studies and concerns have been raised over the years with phthalates and sulfates. And generally recognized safe synthetics now, may with further research, find them to be not so safe down the road. (Just think of all those late night tv commercials with all the lawsuits).

The bottom line is that natural and synthetic ingredients have their benefits and risks, but both are used in cosmetics because they're proven to work effectively when used responsibly. When shopping for natural or synthetic products, make sure to read the ingredient label and look out for any potential allergens.

natural ingredients, synthetic ingredients, safe, Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep Database, cancer, asthma reactions, parabens, phthalates, sulfates. 

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Jan 31st 2022 Jennifer T.

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