Herbanizing Your Skincare


Imidazolidinyl Urea, Triethanolamine, “Fragrance”… huh?

Ever take a good, hard look at the labels on your skincare products?

The skin absorbs into your body much of what you put on it. Without slipping into fear-mongering, it is important to know what those long and often unpronounceable words mean.

But it is also just as important to know what the simple words mean, as they can hide dangerous combinations behind their easy façades.

With summer at last here, you may be thinking about transitioning to a more natural skincare regimen by herbanizing your bath and body regimen. Even if you aren’t, or you already have, there are three basic things to keep in mind, regardless of whatever you are putting on your skin.

1. Always do your own research.

Make an effort to look up ingredients you don’t know about and make a gentle practice of this awareness: your body will thank you over the long term. So many folks now have the world at their fingertips with instant internet access, making it simple to do a quick search.

Here’s a basic list of some major ingredients to avoid. Such additives can be catalysts for anything from allergies to cancer.

And there’s one more thing you may not have thought of: doing your research goes for herbs as well. Plant extracts can negatively impact you if an imbalanced combination is used; if herbal material was grown with pesticides, you may be adding those to your body; and just because a certain botanical is all the rage this month doesn’t mean that it will solve all your problems or even those for which it is being popularized.

2. Even the words “natural” or “fragrance” can be a problem.

These are words that unfortunately, due to current legislation, can hide anything and can conceal more than one synthetic ingredient. Try to go certified organic if possible or buy from a maker you trust.

3. Less is generally more…and change happens.

As herbal products rise in popularity, so does an impulse for companies to add in all sorts of herbal stuff to magnify a product’s natural and eco-friendly aspects. This isn’t necessary a wise thing, as herbs do have complex interactions within the body and you can also have too much of a good thing.

The other thing to watch out for is changing formulas. For example, I had found a facial lotion I adored. It was completely certified-organic, from a reputable company, I understood the ingredients…and it smelled so divine that I often thought about getting my ice cream spoon out and having a wee bite.

And then they changed the formula and added in some nasties. It is a sad fact, but some small companies—often once they reach popularity—succumb to various pressures. In changing their formulas to save money or meet other demands, they can also take a less pure route.

The good news? You have choice when it comes to what you put on your skin. Meanwhile, bath, body, and cosmetic companies are increasingly turning towards healthier choices due to demand and an awareness of the damaging effects of certain ingredients. You can join in the positive change by simply being a conscious consumer.

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