Our skin is our largest organ. It acts as a protective shell and exudes an unmistakable glow when we are healthy. It also absorbs the ingredients—good and bad—found in our personal-care products. This is why it is important to avoid questionable ingredients such as petrochemicals and synthetic preservatives and fragrances, which may dehydrate, irritate and clog the skin, leading to inflammation, breakouts or potentially more serious health problems such as liver and kidney damage, and cancer.
Be especially careful when choosing products to help put your best face forward—especially those that claim to remove wrinkles, blemishes, blotches and scars. These products often contain some of the most potent and harsh chemicals that may damage the top layer of skin and cause severe irritation, burns, swelling and pain. Avoid skin lighteners with hydroquinone and anti-aging products with alpha and beta hydroxy acids (AHA and BHA), lactic acid and glycolic acid, which may increase the risk of skin cancer. Support natural, healthy skin regeneration with antioxidant-rich ingredients such as green and black tea, pomegranate, and vitamins C and E.
Instead of relying on harsh chemicals to soothe and moisturize, gently cleanse, feed and nourish your skin with wholesome ingredients found in natural products. Intense scrubbing and harsh, synthetic chemicals can strip skin of natural oils and make it vulnerable to damage. Use fewer, simpler products; look for natural and organic cleansers and moisturizers made from plant and mineral ingredients. Replenish dry skin with jojoba, olive and almond oils; balance oily skin with witch hazel, aloe and rosemary; and calm sensitive skin with chamomile, calendula and yarrow.
Natural Skin Care Products
1. Waleda One-Step Cleanser & Toner
This milky two-in-one cleanser and toner won’t dry skin, and the phthalate-free citrus fragrance is derived from pure essential oils. 3.4 oz., $19
2. 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream
Wake up tired, puffy eyes with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich coffee extracts. A little of this cream goes a long way to reduce fine lines and brighten dark circles. 1 oz., $19
3. Pangea Organics Moroccan Argan with Willow & Rosemary Facial Cream
Formulated for oily to blemish-prone skin, this lightweight moisturizer calms irritated skin and won’t clog pores. 2 oz., $36
4. Dr. Bronner's Classic Fair Trade Bar Soaps
Made with organic coconut, palm, olive, hemp and jojoba oils, Dr. Bronner’s castile bar soaps are scented with organic essential oils. Unscented Baby Mild formula is great for sensitive skin. 5 oz., $4
5. Everyday Shea Shea Butter Baby Body Lotion
Handcrafted, unrefined fair-trade shea butter and nourishing aloe moisturize skin without making it feel greasy. This unscented lotion also contains calming lemon balm. 16 oz.; $10
6. Acure Radical Wrinkle Complex
Highly concentrated organic chlorella growth factor and argan stem cells protect and rebuild collagen in this nutrient-rich night cream. 1 oz., $30
7. Himalaya Herbal Healthcare Exfoliating Walnut & Wood Apple Face Scrub
Fine particles of walnut, wood apple and nutmeg shell gently remove dead skin cells while organic fruit extracts stimulate cell regeneration. 5.07 oz., $9
For more natural skin care products, see our Resource Guide for Personal-Care Products. For more on chemicals in beauty products, read the original article, "Come Clean: Natural Alternatives to Chemical-Laden Personal-Care Products."