The number of people converting to natural skin care products is rising all the time. In the last decade or so the average consumer has become a lot more informed about what is going into their cosmetics and, armed with this information, many have decided to choose natural skin care instead.

However, it is not just the issue of chemicals in skin products that is driving the shift towards a more natural approach. There are many factors which encourage people to search for natural face creams and body care products, and of course everyone will have their own reasons for making the switch. Our research shows the main influences are as follows:

Natural skin care – being eco friendly

The growing concern about climate change and encouragement to move towards a greener, more sustainable approach to living has got people thinking more about what their household is consuming. Is what they are buying biodegradable? Is it recyclable? How does it impact the environment?

Whilst not all natural skin care products are packaged to be biodegradable or recyclable, there is a greater tendency for the producers to make them in such a way due to the very nature of their business. Green People has certainly always given a lot of thought to sourcing eco-friendly packaging for its products, as well as every aspect of the business, something which we know is much appreciated by our customers.

It is not only the packaging which should be eco-friendly, either. Toiletries such as shampoos, shower gels and face washes find their way down the plughole and some products, such as sunscreens, are washed off in the sea. Some ingredients give cause for concern about the impact that they have on the environment once they have entered the water. Companies that specialise in natural skin care products are less likely to use ingredients such as Triclosan which could be toxic to aquatic life.

Natural skin care – avoiding chemical “nasties”

Some of the ingredients used in mainstream skin products have come under scrutiny in recent years due to questions about whether they could be harmful. Two of the most publicized are phthalates and parabens, both commonly used in all kinds of toiletries by some of the large cosmetics companies. Research is still ongoing to determine the exact effects these chemicals have so it is by no means cut and dried, but many natural skin care brands do not use these ingredients at all.

There are some other ingredients, like Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), which we are certain can have a detrimental effect on skin. SLS is used in clinical studies as a standard skin irritant against which other potential irritants are compared. It is a foaming agent which is used in everything from shampoos to liquid soaps and can cause skin irritation in some people. Very few natural skin care companies today use this ingredient.

Many of the mainstream cosmetics brands use synthetic fragrances, colourants and other additives in order to reduce the cost of their skin products. Unfortunately, synthetic ingredients can be bad news for those with sensitive skin and synthetic fragrances in particular can cause problems for some people. In fact, they are the number one reason for reactions to skin care products. Most natural skin care products will contain essential oils as fragrance instead, and whilst these can still cause some people to react, it will affect far less.

Written by Alexandra Gubbins of Green People, a one of the UK’s leading natural skin care brands.