When seeking out the ideal skincare and beauty products, many of us now actively pursue the term “natural” on the product label. Demand for natural ingredients in skincare has become widespread, and the natural beauty and skincare industry continues to be one of the fastest growing markets in the UK and across the globe.
This is all excellent news. After all, using natural products to boost the health of our skin can only be a good thing, right? It eliminates nasty, synthetic additives and harmful chemicals. It’s environmentally friendly, too.
However, not all natural products are beneficial for the skin. Just as there are helpful and harmful synthetic chemicals, there are helpful and harmful natural ingredients. To help you select the best natural remedies to keep your skin healthy, we’re here with the lowdown on products that are proven to be effective and are more than worthy of a place in your toiletries bag.
What is Natural Skincare?
The term “natural” crops up often in the cosmetics and skincare industry but unfortunately the label is insufficiently regulated. Some products imply that they are natural by stressing the infusion of botanicals such as essential oils, when, in fact, those natural ingredients are combined with synthetic chemicals that can be detrimental to the skin. It’s always a good idea to closely read the label of any new skincare product. Generally speaking, the more ingredients listed on the packaging, the more likely it is to contain unnatural and possibly harmful, skin-irritating ingredients.
While there is ongoing debate around what is natural exactly, in this article we’re focusing on ‘clean and natural’ skin tonics without additives, such as plant extracts, that can provide the skin with several health benefits. Our choices are also backed by the experts. You can purchase pure forms of our recommended natural skincare remedies, or make a note of them to search for on the ingredients list of your next moisturiser purchase.
Why Natural Ingredients?
Natural extracts are often found to contain high concentrations of all the good stuff our skin desires. These include antioxidants, vitamins, proteins, terpenoids, essential oils and bioactive compounds. These nutrients help to keep skin healthy by fighting free radicals, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, hydrating the skin, soothing redness and irritation, battling breakouts and even minimising UV damage.
In addition to the positive impact on your skin, natural products are usually safe to use, can be less irritating for the skin and are often very reasonable in price. So if you’re ready to forget the frills of fancy beauty products, let’s get back to basics and find out which natural extracts should become a staple in our bathroom cabinets.
Backed by Science: 6 of the Best Natural Extracts for Skin
CBD for Stressed, Dehydrated Complexions
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a natural compound derived from the cannabis plant. Use of CBD has become more prevalent of late, thanks to developments in scientific research outlining its many benefits for the skin, mind and body. Studies show that CBD has anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties. When applied topically as CBD facial cream or oil, it can soothe and hydrate dry skin, calm redness and promote a more supple, youthful complexion, especially when combined with naturally hydrating hyaluronic acid.
Shea Butter for Hydration in All Skin Types
Shea butter is a popular ingredient that has been used in skin creams for centuries. It is a fat that is derived from the nut of the shea tea, and it is an extremely effective hydrator thanks to its high concentration of fatty acids. Shea butter also contains an abundance of vitamins such as the highly beneficial vitamin E. It can be used to treat and soothe skin conditions such as eczema, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that regular topical application of shea butter can significantly improve symptoms such as itching. Not only does shea butter effectively smooth and condition the skin, it rarely causes skin allergies and is suitable for all skin types, even sensitive.
Aloe Vera to Soothe Irritated Skin
Another ingredient that has been used for centuries in cosmetic products is aloe vera. This clear gel is derived from aloe plant leaves and consists of dozens of vitamins, amino acids and many more beneficial components for the skin. Aloe vera is famous for its soothing properties and is commonly used to treat sunburn. It’s moisturising and anti-inflammatory properties promote skin healing, and the plant extract has also been proven to help treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Thanks to antimicrobial properties and its ability to retain moisture within the skin, aloe vera can be successful at treating acne and keeping skin hydrated and supple.
Chamomile for Anti-Ageing and Reducing Acne
Chamomile is a plant that has been used as a traditional medicine for thousands of years. In skincare, chamomile can fight oxidative damage caused by free radicals and environmental stressors, thanks to high levels of antioxidants. Oxidative damage is a key source of the most visible signs of ageing: wrinkles, fine line and hyperpigmentation.
Additionally, chamomile can help tackle acne and breakouts. It is a natural astringent which reduce the appearance of pores and help to fade acne scars.
Coconut Oil to Fight Itchy, Dry Skin
There has been much hype over the benefits of coconut oil in recent years and many users swear by it to moisturise dry skin (and even hair). This plant fat can not only be used to cook with, but used topically, it can decrease inflammation, soothe dry and itchy skin and provide hydration. However, coconut oil is a comedogenic oil and can aggravate acne, therefore it is best avoided if you have oily or blemish-prone skin.