The numerous different uses of some synthetic ingredients utilized by the cosmetics industry says much about those products, and goes someway into explaining why natural and organic skincare products are now replacing them on our bathroom shelves and dressers.
Who would have thought, for example, that a compound also used as a propellant for submarines, in the making of glow sticks, as a dye for paper, and as an odour controller in sewerage facilities would ever find its way into a skincare product?
But that’s just what Hydrogen Peroxide has done, and many people now use its disinfecting qualities for the treatment of acne. Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing agent, the opposite of the antioxidants that have become well liked in everything from skincare products to herbal teas, and the way it works is by adding an extra, highly volatile oxygen molecule onto the skin layer which damages the anaerobic (i.e. functioning without air) bacteria that cause acne.
As well as being oxidizing – which is generally thought to be bad for the skin – Hydrogen Peroxide is known to cause free radical damage because of the instability of the oxygen molecule that is introduced to the skin.
Organic and natural products can be used instead of this boisterous chemical. Tea Tree Oil, which is contained in many organic and natural products, is a fantastic cleanser. In its essential oil form Tea Tree can be brushed directly onto problem areas (with a cotton wool bud) or diluted into water and used to wash in.
In addition, Lavender water and Aloe Vera (which is a good moisturiser, and therefore great to combat the common problem of acne prone skin becoming over dried) are ingredients that someone with this kind of skin should look out for, along with lemon essential oil, lavender essential oil and cypress essential oil.
There are a number of natural skincare products on the market that carry a number of exfoliating facial cleansers that can help problem skin. As opposed to their non-natural counterparts, these products use their natural properties to gently protect skin against blemishes. One fantastic product in this regard is the Suki Exfoliating Lemongrass Cleanser, which is made with chamomile and vitamin C…as well as lemongrass. This cleanser effectively removes the layer of dead skin cells that can lead to acne, and gently stimulates the new layer to grow.
An alternative product available on the natural and organic skincare market is the Circaroma Skin Gentle Facial Cleansing Drops for Sensitive Skin. This product is a gentle cleaner that uses rose otto, the ‘complete’ essential oil that is formed with the re-adding of the phenyl ethyl alcohol to the ‘incomplete oil’ that is created during the water distillation process. It addition, these cleansing drops contain a natural perfume – patchouli – which has been used for centuries longer than the parabens of which so much has been written of late.
The movement away from synthetic ingredients doesn’t represent a regression into an imagined pre-industrialized golden-era, but a stance against those companies that have profited by spending their money on branding at the cost of the ingredients that make up their products.