Only 42% of natural skincare products are actually natural, says study
A new study has revealed how the word “natural” is being misused to market non-natural skincare products, with only 42% of those marked up as “natural skincare” being truly natural.
Research conducted by skincare specialists The Derm Review analysed the ingredient lists of the top 100 best-selling natural skincare products and found that more than half (58%) contained synthetic ingredients, while all the “natural” serums in the study contained at least one synthetic ingredient.
Nearly eight in 10 (78%) “natural” face masks in the study contained synthetic ingredients, the report found, with the average amount of synthetic ingredients coming out in these skincare products being 2.4.
Meanwhile, the data also found that skincare products marketed as “natural” are 24% more expensive than regular skincare items. For example, “natural” facial toners are 479% more expensive than regular toners.
This data is intriguing, especially when organic and natural beauty sales are up by 13%. Read our beauty jargon busted guide, which explains what natural and organic really mean.
Top synthetic ingredients found in natural skincare products:
Ethylhexylglycerin is the most used synthetic ingredient found in 24% of all the skincare products analysed in the study.
“It is deemed safe and is generally used in low concentrations in skincare products, however, it can cause minor irritation to the skin and eyes if high concentrations are used,” said The Derm Review in its report.
The second synthetic ingredient was phenoxyethanol, which was found in 22% of the products. Like Ethylhexylglycerin, it is considered safe “but can cause irritation when high concentrations are used,” said The Derm Review.
“It is used mainly as a preservative and antimicrobial agent used to help your products last longer and prolong their safety and efficacy.”
Sodium ascorbyl phosphate came in third as it was found in 13% of the natural products. “While being a synthetic agent, it is generally safe for all skin types, and is a type of vitamin C,” added The Derm Review.
Elle MacLeman, skincare biochemist at The Derm Review, commented: “Sadly, many brands overuse the word ‘natural’ in their marketing to sell more products, and that feels misleading and deceptive. Especially as our research found that these products tend to be priced higher while not necessarily being better, safer, or more environmentally friendly.
“I think one of the problems is that the industry is pretty much unregulated when it comes to making claims. For instance, it’s common to see ‘chemical-free’ products on the shelves, but that doesn’t make any sense as even water is a chemical.”
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