Screenshot 2014-11-17 18.52.16Knowing How to Read Labels is Key

Everybody wants beautiful, younger looking skin. In fact, some people pay a small fortune in search of just the right product to treat blemishes, combat dryness and erase the signs of aging.  And because many of us are looking for skin-healthier alternatives to traditional chemical-laden products, more and more manufacturers are slapping the “ALL NATURAL” label on the packaging.

The problem is, unlike with food labels, personal care claims aren’t regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so the words “all natural,” “organic,” and “made with botanicals” may not mean much. By reading the packaging, the product seems to be all natural, but how do you really know?

It helps to become knowledgable about the ingredients used in these products so that reading the label is actually a helpful exercise.  If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, or have no idea what it is, the chances are high that it is not natural. All-natural ingredients are usually recognizable.

Look for product ingredients that you might actually eat as many of these edibles are now popping up in beauty care items.  Honey has natural antimicrobial properties and food oils like avocado, olive, chia seed and almond have long been used for skin care. Look for organic.In addition, many herbs have astringent, anti-inflammatory or healing properties. It’s important to note, however, that there are all-natural plant based products such as butters from cocoa, jojoba and murumuru plants that can be beneficial for your skin but may not be safe to eat.

In general, stay away from synthetic ingredients such as parabens and sulfates.  Parabens (methyl and benzyl) are preservatives meant to increase shelf life, but research shows they are inherently toxic and have been linked to a whole host of negative consequences, including reproductive toxicity and certain cancers. Sulfates are used to make lather, and although we are conditioned to think that rich lather equals better cleansing, it’s not necessary, and is actually an irritant, especially to sensitive skin.  Look for 100% natural ingredients.

Because the FDA doesn’t regulate these products, there are groups — USDA, Whole Foods, PETA — who have created their own standards for labeling products based on how they are formulated, packaged and tested. Many all natural products feature seals and endorsements from these groups and can be helpful in selecting truly natural (or vegan) products.

Finding fantastic natural skin care products to nourish your skin doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.  By educating yourself, you can leave the chemicals in the science lab and select plant-based beauty care products that hydrate, moisturize and nurture your skin naturally.  Whole Body Health offers natural skin care services including massage therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic services which alongside with natural skin care products can help you achieve radiant skin and health from the inside out.