We came across The Truth About Beauty article in Mindfood (Dec 2018) and the extract – Natural isn’t always best. A bit long winded but it explains that synthetic doesn’t have to mean unnatural when it comes to skincare. Have a read…

Natural isn’t always best  – Extract from The truth about beauty, Nicole Saunders.

While there is definitely no shortage of natural-based skincare and make-up products to choose from, there’s never been more misinformation – and therefore more confusion – over natural ingredients in skincare.

“When it comes to what we apply to our skin, there is a huge amount of choice,” says Bacon (Katy Bacon, education manager for Murad Australasia Pacific). “The decision whether to choose a natural product or a cosmeceutical product really comes down to personal choice.”

However, in recent years, natural-based products have been touted as the way of the future, while the words ‘chemical’ and ‘synthetic’ have become synonymous with ‘toxic’, ‘hazardous’ and ‘poisonous’. Still, many chemicals are completely safe – we need them to survive and they actually benefit our skin. The same can be said of many synthetic or man-made ingredients.

“Synthetic does not mean ‘unnatural’,” explains Bacon. “It simply means that the ingredient was created to mimic its original. Synthetic or ‘man-made’ products can be made from animal derivative, lab-produced or plant based. An example of this is glycolic acid – this originally came from sugar cane but it is now synthetically created in a laboratory.”

Begoun (Paula Begoun, beauty myth buster and best-selling author) admits that while it might seem like she comes down hard on natural ingredients, research has revealed that there are actually hundreds of natural ingredients that are brilliant for the skin. However, she’s quick to add that the same can be said for synthetic ingredients.

“There are important synthetic ingredients that can have a beautiful impact on the skin,” she says. “The problem is that lots of natural ingredients are indeed bad for skin, just as some synthetic ingredients are bad.” Therefore, believing that natural is always best can hurt your skin – or at least deprive your skin of the beneficial ingredients that most natural products can’t provide. “For example, if your products only contained natural ingredients you’d be missing out on amazing ingredients like retinol, peptides, ceramides, potent antioxidants and hyaluronic acid, among so many others,” she says.

Despite being lab engineered, because our skin is able to recognise the aforementioned ingredients and knows how to use them, Begoun refers to them as “skin-natural ingredients”. “That’s why the best skincare products contain a mix of natural, synthetic and skin-natural ingredients,” she says.