Let’s face it, the beauty world is abuzz with buzz words, with “organic” and “natural” being at the top of the list. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize that natural is not necessarily better. Being “natural” does not equate to being gentle, non-irritating, or even safe.
There are plenty of 100% natural things that are irritating or cause problems. Think about it- feather pillows and wool blankets are natural, yet many people are allergic to them. Feathers can cause respiratory symptoms, wool can cause itching. The same goes for the skincare world, you wouldn’t rub poison ivy all over your skin!
Alpha hydroxy acids are a major ingredient in skincare. While these are usually derived from fruit, and thus all natural, they can be extremely irritating at times. This is why you cannot buy the same strength of glycolic acid peel over the counter that you receive from a professional. Even if the fruits these are made from are certified organic, they still have the power to do major damage if used in too strong of a formula, or if used improperly.
Lip plumpers are often made with pepper or cinnamon, which are natural ingredients, but can be irritating. As a matter of fact, they can be so irritating that many people have sworn off this type of formula. Onion is a key ingredient in some products that reduce the appearance of scars, yet it is a major eye irritant. Tretinoin (brand name Retin-A) is a form of Vitamin A called retinoic acid. Although this is “just a vitamin,” it is available only with a prescription due to the extreme irritation it can cause. Some users have even reported scarring when used improperly.
Now, I’m not saying these ingredients are bad. As a matter of fact, they can be quite wonderful. And if you have your choice between an organic ingredient and a non-organic ingredient, chances are, the organic ingredient will be better. This is especially true if you are pregnant or have another concern where you want to avoid chemicals. Natural is a good thing, I prefer natural ingredients myself. However, I know to proceed with caution when trying something for the first time. Do your research before you invest in a new makeup or skincare item. Don’t be fooled when the salesperson tries to tell you “don’t worry, it’s all natural” and that it won’t irritate your sensitive skin.