The beauty industry is constantly evolving; it may be hard to keep up with new products, techniques, and skincare routines. Take clean beauty, for example:
Clean beauty and organic skincare might be terms that you may hear a lot in reference to natural skincare products. Natural beauty appeals to everyone, especially those who value skincare. Such customers care both about the health of their skin as well as the natural environment.
So what is clean beauty? Are you confused by the natural and organic products available in the market?
Let’s find out what is clean beauty, and while we are at it, let’s also look at the composition of these clean skincare lines.
What Is Clean Beauty?
Many advertising messages market organic and natural skincare and make it synonymous with clean beauty.
That’s not right; read on to know what is clean beauty for skin?
The invention of skincare routines and cosmetics occurred when ancient civilizations began using ingredients found in nature to cleanse and beautify their skin.
Today, we have expanded on the early use of botanicals. We still have a lot of chemically produced ingredients n our beauty care regimes.
Although there is no certified definition, clean beauty for skin is a movement to eliminate harmful toxins from our skincare products and cosmetics.
Therefore, clean skincare lines are carefully sourced and mindfully produced, keeping the health of your skin in mind:
- Non-Toxic Ingredients
‘Clean’ isn’t synonymous with organic. Here, it means non-toxic.
The beauty industry is constantly changing to cater to various skin types and skin conditions. As the industry grows, so does the chemicals infusion.
Clean beauty for skin focuses on producing non-toxic products that do not have adverse effects on your skin.
- Transparent Labelling
Have you ever wondered what ‘eco-friendly,’ ‘organic,’ etc., really mean? If you want to keep your skin well-protected, it is best to know everything you can about them!
Clean skincare lines mention their ingredients clearly so that you know what you’re putting on your face.
For clean beauty for skin, it’s essential to check the components. If the ingredients include anything like, for instance, ‘fragrance,’ it may be better to avoid the product; and here’s why:
Fragrances in beauty products are generally not suitable for skin. They can cause a lot of irritation and dryness.
However, more alarming is that cosmetic companies can include a potentially harmful ingredient in a product under an ‘umbrella term,’ so better be safe than sorry.
Is Clean Beauty the Same as Organic Skin Care?
You may see the terms “all-natural” or “organic” mentioned to show the ‘cleanliness’ of a product. While clean skincare lines may include these ingredients, it is not always the case.
Clean beauty is all about providing skincare products that include safe ingredients for the skin.
All-natural skin care products are made with ingredients derived from the earth and natural sources or grown from the soil. These include animal or insect-produced products such as honey, beeswax, etc.
Organic skin care ingredients can only be organic if they meet specific governmental standards about how they are grown and produced.
Tip: EWG’s Skin Deep App helps you to know more about the ingredients in your skincare product.
With clean beauty, the standards are less about where the ingredient comes from and more about the safety of that product for topical use.
While natural and organic ingredients are likely to be found in clean beauty products, it is crucial to understand that not all products included in skincare are natural.
They may have other additives or ingredients that may be more chemical in nature.
Therefore, if those chemicals or additives are harmful to the skin, they cannot be considered clean beauty products.
Clean beauty product line could include man-made products, too, as long as the preservatives and chemicals are not harmful to your skin.
Are Chemical Products Bad in Skin Care?
Most of us prefer natural over artificial. But, sometimes, chemically preserved products can be better than their natural alternatives.
Modern technology has given us the ability to produce chemical blends for skincare products that offer several benefits to the skin.
There may be chemicals in your skincare products to preserve their shelf-life. Sometimes chemical alternatives to natural ingredients are used because they are cheaper for mass production.
The confusion is that some chemicals are suitable for your skin, while others are very harmful. It is nearly impossible to categorize them when they are cleverly marketed to promote the benefits only.
Let us share a list of good chemicals for your skin and the toxic ones; you’ll be better off avoiding them.
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA)
You may find these labeled as glycolic, lactic, tartaric, and citric acid as well.
AHA’s are becoming increasingly popular in skincare products for their rejuvenating and anti-aging abilities. These are exfoliating acids that are either produced synthetically or derived from fruit sugars and milk.
Alpha Hydroxy acid can reduce discoloration, pigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles to keep your skin smooth. Stay on the lookout for side effects, including skin irritation and sunburn.
We suggest starting with a low dose and use AHA’s product every alternate day to gauge the results on your skin.
Don’t forget to apply sunscreen!
- Beta Hydroxy Acid
Most commonly available as Salicylic Acid, it works wonderfully to help achieve even skin tone and clear up blemishes. Moreover, Beta Hydroxy acid penetrates deep into your skin to unclog pores, helping you get rid of acne and blackheads.
Alpha Hydroxy acids and Salicylic acid have similar applications and results. However, Salicylic acid might be more skin-tolerant than the former.
Are you looking for a bleaching agent to overcome hyperpigmentation? If yes, hydroquinone might be your answer!
Often used in skin-lightening creams and conjunction with sunscreen, the product works best to deal with discoloration, acne marks, freckles and reduce melanin production.
Melanin is a skin pigment that makes your skin color darker. Hydroquinone limits the production of melanin to reduce hyperpigmentation.
However, hydroquinone can make your skin dry and irritate. So, we recommend confirming with your dermatologist before you begin its application.
Retinoids are most commonly available as retinyl esters, retinol, and retinal aldehyde.
The products work to restore your skin’s hydration. They are used to treat aging and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
They are readily available over-the-counter and are easy on the skin too. As an anti-aging chemical, we suggest retinoids for ages above 25.
- Hyaluronic Acid
Are you searching for a miracle ingredient to boost the glow in your skin? Hyaluronic acid might be the answer!
It’s a naturally produced chemical that has the power to hold water 1000 times its weight.
Hyaluronic acid’s natural production lessens as our body ages, which is why it’s essential to get a hold of it through your skincare products. It’s hydrating and protects your skin from environmental dirt.
Chemicals You Should Avoid
Some call them the “dirty dozen” or the “terrible 12”, but these 12 chemical agents commonly found in your skincare products are ones that you should avoid as much as possible or altogether:
- Parabens — preservatives derived from petroleum, linked to breast cancer and known endocrine disruptors-can cause hormonal imbalance and fertility issues.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate — surfactant (a cleansing agent that makes the product produce bubbles) can dry and irritate your skin. It can also reduce ceramides in the skin and Contributes to acne.
- Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) — found in exfoliants and perfumes; It carries carcinogen and neurotoxic effects. It interferes with human reproductive processes and thyroid function.
- Mineral oil — petroleum byproduct present in a large number of all-natural skincare products. It Coats the skin, clogs pores, keeps skin from performing natural functions.
- Aluminum compounds — Can have estrogen-mimicking effects; most products contain trace amounts and are safe, but we recommend conducting thorough research on any products that contain aluminum.
- Diethanolamine (DEA) — This isn’t harmful alone but over time will react with other chemicals to form N-nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA), a potent carcinogen.
- Formaldehyde and Imidazolidinyl urea — Antimicrobial. (Imidazolidinyl urea is formaldehyde-forming) suspected carcinogen; it is banned in some countries.
- Toluene — (benzene, toluol, phenylmethane, or methylbenzene) is a petrochemical that can disrupt the immune system, the endocrine system, and fetal development.
- Phthalates — Solvents. It can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system.
- PEG (Polyethylene glycol) — carcinogen.
- Propylene Glycol (PG) & Butylene Glycol—can cause allergies or irritation, worse in higher concentrations.
- Triclosan — disrupts thyroid function.
For more information on chemicals to avoid, check out:
Are Clean Beauty Skin Care Products Better for Your Skin?
The short answer is yes, they are. But they are formulated to be safe for general use, not necessarily for your safety, and to ensure a healthy skincare routine.
The clean skincare lines will eliminate the potentially harmful ingredients from your skincare regime. So, they are a good alternative for people who want to be conscious of what they are putting on their skin.
However, even clean beauty products could “disagree” with your particular skin or contain ingredients that evoke an allergic response.
A smart tip is to start with your favorite beauty products.
Look up the ingredients and learn a little more about them. Review the company and read about how they source their ingredients.
It’s easier to choose companies and products you can stand behind when you know what you are paying for.
However, it’s not always as simple as comparing clean skincare lines with chemical products. Some clean skincare products may be excellent for the skin but may have chemicals as well.
With Clean Beauty Products, You Need to be Aware of:
- Your skin type
- Skin sensitivities
- Allergies to certain ingredients (like egg, wheat, milk, bees/honey, etc.)
- Shelf-life, especially if these products are homemade
- The cosmetic company’s transparency
The hype is ever-growing, but most definitions of ‘clean,’ ‘green,’ ‘organic,’ and ‘all-natural beauty products’ are specific to beauty companies.
Whether you choose to go with clean beauty for skin or products that contain some chemical agents, you must know your ingredients.
Some products will make your skin feel and smell good, but overall may not be doing a lot for the texture and health of your skin.
So, make a conscious decision because it’s not just your skin; beauty products affect your overall wellbeing too!