Skincare expert Abigail James explains why you should ditch your synthetic skincare products and go natural. Plus, she shares some of her favourite natural ingredients for beautiful and healthy skin.
Our skin is the largest organ of the body, one we often don’t give the respect and love it deserves. It has many incredible functions you might not be aware of, from regulating our body temperature to storing and processing our levels of Vitamin D. It acts as an essential barrier protecting our insides as well as the beautiful power of touch and sensation. It blushes when we are embarrassed and shows our inner health through its lack of colour and vibrancy.
It also has the ability to absorb a proportion of what is applied; this varies depending on what is being applied and which studies you read. Some of these things will absorb into the top outer layers whereas others can penetrate into the blood stream, making it really important to be mindful of what we apply to our body and face.
This is why it’s so important to choose skincare derived from a natural source and processed in a clean way, rather than ranges made up of synthetic ingredients. All ingredients are classed as chemical, but it’s the synthetics we need to be cautious of and avoid where possible. In some instances, they have been connected to skin irritations and allergies as well as other shocking health concerns.
The skincare industry is evolving at an alarming rate; when I first trained as a therapist almost 20 years ago, natural skincare formulations were quite basic and the risks associated with synthetics were not widely known. Now there are so many amazing natural ingredients available, as science and research have allowed this to grow to create really unique, effective plant-based products.
Natural skincare has become a hot topic in recent years. When I first became interested in natural skincare 15 years ago, I noticed skin reacting badly to synthetic brands. There was a limited choice of natural products available and “organic” definitely became a buzz word. However, this craze lost momentum somewhat as results were quite limited and people wanted more choice and visibility on results.
Today, this is readily available as research and formulations have refined and developed. At all ages, we are becoming more aware of our own health and of ageing well and safely. Plus, natural ingredients are obviously better for the environment.
Favourites & tips
There are so many natural ingredients I love—it’s hard to pick a favourite. It will depend on what your individual concerns are, but sodium hyaluronate is great; it’s found naturally in our bodies in the fluid that bathes our joints. It has the ability to hold more water than any other substance, so it's great for: hydrating, plumping, smoothing skin and making it appear more youthful. Scentless chamomile is also really unique, it gives a natural botox effect!
When selecting skincare for skin, I would always keep in mind some of the claims written on the packaging, sometimes these can be a little over promising! Not being tested on animals is really important, they don't need skincare to be tested on them and skincare is intended for humans. Non-allergenic is also a good thing to look out for especially if you know you have a sensitive skin. Some brands will highlight what percentage of natural ingredients they contain so keep an eye out for that.
If you haven’t switched to natural skincare yet, then it’s definitely a choice you might like to consider. Natural ingredients are effective without compromising your health, so you can age well without concern for yourself or the environment.