Cosmetics are used to improve the health and appearance of the skin. However, not all cosmetics are created equal.
Petrochemical-based cosmetics often contain chemicals that can be harmful or detrimental to your skin's health, while natural cosmetics are made from natural ingredients, making them a healthier option for your skin.
In this article, we'll explore the difference between natural cosmetics and petrochemical-based cosmetics and help you decide which option is best for your skin.
Cosmetics derived from petrochemicals
Petrochemical-based cosmetics are made from synthetic ingredients derived from petroleum, such as parabens, silicones, mineral oils, sulfates, and phthalates. These ingredients are often used to extend the shelf life of products, add texture or improve the appearance of the cosmetic product, and are much less expensive. However, they can have negative effects on the skin microbiome.
Parabens have been linked to hormonal disruptions, mineral oils tend to clog skin pores, and sulfates can dry out the skin and cause chronic skin irritation.
Focus on parabens
These ingredients are used in chemical cosmetics to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria. They are currently controversial because
They have been studied for their endocrine disrupting potential , that is, their ability to interfere with the body's natural hormones. Parabens could therefore affect the hormonal balance of the body. Studies* have shown that parabens can mimic the effect of estrogen in the body, which may increase the risk of breast cancer, although these studies are still controversial and the evidence is inconclusive.
* Darbre, PD et al. (2004). "Measurement of paraben concentrations in human breast tissue at serial locations across the breast from axilla to sternum." Journal of Applied Toxicology 24(1): 5-13.
*Golden, R. et al. (2008). "A review of the endocrine activity of parabens and implications for breast cancer." Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 108(1-2): 241-248.
*CSAS (2011). "Scientific Opinion on the safety of use of parabens in cosmetic products." The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety.
*Janjua, NR et al. (2012). "Systemic absorption of the sunscreens benzophenone-3, octyl-methoxycinnamate, and 3-(4-methyl-benzylidene) camphor after whole-body topical application and reproductive hormone levels in humans." Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology 22(2): 131-142.
*Hu, Y. et al. (2018). "Parabens and male reproductive function: A systematic review of human and animal evidence." Journal of Applied Toxicology 38(3): 319-329.
Parabens have also been linked to allergic and irritating skin reactions, although this is less common than hormonal issues.
Natural cosmetics, on the other hand, are made from natural ingredients such as essential oils, plant extracts, butters and vegetable oils. These ingredients are often grown organically, but we advise you to do your research!
This option in cosmetics is more environmentally friendly and healthier for the skin. Natural cosmetics do not contain harmful chemicals and are therefore less likely to cause irritation or allergic reactions.
In natural cosmetics, there are alternatives to parabens thanks to organic approved preservatives which also prevent the growth of mold and bacteria such as: Potassium Sorbate.
Potassium sorbate is derived from sorbic acid, which is found naturally in certain fruits and berries, including mountain ash berries. It is produced by the neutralization of sorbic acid with potassium hydroxide.
Which is the best option for your skin?
There is no universal answer to this question, as it will depend on each individual's individual needs and preferences.
Petrochemical-based cosmetics may be more affordable and easier to find, but they may also contain ingredients that are harmful to your skin's health. Natural cosmetics , on the other hand, can be more expensive, but they offer a healthier and more environmentally friendly alternative.
If you have sensitive or irritation-prone skin, natural cosmetics may be a better option for you.
If you are concerned about the environmental impact of your beauty products, natural cosmetics are also a more eco-friendly option.
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