Synthetics vs. Natural: The Skincare Debate

Unless you’re cleansing with only pure water, most skincare products are comprised of a formula – a mixture of ingredients designed to achieve a certain goal.  As with most things in life, skincare goals can be achieved in a variety of ways.  Many products may offer the short term results of smoother skin, less wrinkles and fewer blemishes.  But with skincare, the ultimate quality of a product does not rest on the surface of our skin alone, but rather much deeper in our bodies.  At Natura Veda we believe “how” matters and that great skin should never compromise holistic health and wellness.

Truth: synthetics can perform similarly to natural ingredients in many skincare products.  Science can prove that when it comes to the many many jobs we require of our skincare products – cleaning, schluffing, healing, smoothing, conditioning, evening and improving – synthetics and natural products are both sufficient.  The difference, however, is how ingredients work and the effects they have on your entire body.  “How” ingredients do their jobs matters.

Skincare, personal care and cosmetic products are designed to function in specific ways to perform their roles.  Many cleansers foam when combined with water to create a spreadable cleaning agent.  The same is required of toothpastes, shower gels and shampoos.  Moisturizers, lotions and serums also need to spread smoothly and penetrate skin to be effective.  Cosmetics use colors to tint skin.  Fragrances have a range of ingredients to provide a lingering scene.  The list goes on.  Ingredients are added to these products to make them foam, emulsify, spread, color, flavor, and penetrate, as well as ensure ingredients blend well with one another (such as oils and water) and are preserved for a long shelf life.  That’s a lot of ingredients before you even begin to add nutrients that will benefit skin.

As we mentioned, each of these skincare product roles can be achieved with synthetic or natural ingredients.  Synthetic, of course, are human-made compositions which are usually easier to come by and less expensive.  But here’s the doozey:  they often contain heavy metals and toxins that can have long term side effects on your skin and entire body.  And one of the biggest problems with synthetic ingredients is that they accumulate in the body and remain in our tissues for a very long time.  Together they contribute to body toxicity which burdens our body, impairs our immune system and can instigate serious diseases and chronic conditions resulting from inflammation, cellular damage and organ toxicity. 

For almost every synthetic ingredient function, a natural ingredient can achieve the same results.  Many synthetics are especially good as antimicrobial cleaning solvents.  That’s why they are used in many industrial strength cleaning products.  Many of the toxic synthetic ingredients found in everyday skincare items include petroleum-based petrachemicals, parabens, glycols and sulfates.  Most of us know to avoid heavy metals in our food and skincare, but products never list the heavy metals ingredients themselves.  Instead, components hide under lesser-known chemical names.  

Another truth:  Not all synthetics are toxic or harmful.  But do you know which ones are and are not?  And do you know that, somewhere in the manufacturing process, the non-toxic chemicals have not been contaminated?  No one can know from reading labels. 

The first goal of skincare products should be great skin.  Sometimes it takes testing out a few products to determine which bottles yield your best results.  But remember that beauty is not only skin deep and beauty should not come at the expense of your health.  “How” matters to us.  That’s why we choose all-natural alternatives in our skincare products.  Additionally, most of our skin-loving formulas are based on the incredible Moringa plant.  This singular plant offers over 90 phyto-nutrients that help achieve skincare goals, the natural way.  At Natura Veda, “how” matters!


Erin Stieglitz
Erin Stieglitz

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