Given the times we live in, terms like ‘eco-friendly,’ ‘sustainable’ and ‘green’ have become buzz words that are are an intrinsic part of the skincare industry too. Being ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ is the latest mantra in skin care. Considering the many benefits they offer, these products are in great demand, with most brands switching to natural alternatives and offering many tips to ensure good skin health.
The Holistic Approach to Care
What exactly is sustainable skin care? Well, these products use ingredients that are not only natural but produced in an environmentally friendly fashion from renewable raw materials. They are non-toxic, cruelty free and packaged with recyclable materials.
“Sustainable skincare goes hand in hand with green beauty,” says Amrita Alexander, co- founder of Auravedic. “It means that the ingredients on the inside of the package are safe for the skin without causing damage and are sustainable for long-term use. It is skin care without toxins, preservatives and carcinogenic elements. Truly sustainable ingredients are those that are ethically sourced and are proven to be safe for the environment. They are also packaged using biodegradable or recyclable material.”
Many of them use like jute, coconut shells, and natural paper as packing material.
A Smaller Carbon Footprint
Apart from the fact that sustainable skincare products are free from harsh chemicals like sulfates, parabens and additives like synthetic colors and fragrances, they use natural ingredients that are abundantly available in its raw form to make effective products.
“The environmental and social impacts are taken into consideration and special care is taken for the planet and everything associated with it,” says Natasha Tuli, CEO of Soulflower. “The most common example is soap. Soaps made using a natural process do not need any external heat, and there is no residue left. However, commercial soaps and bathing bars need an enormous amount of heat and have oil residue left over post-production.”
Beauty Secrets in our Kitchens
Indian kitchens are a treasure trove of ingredients that work wonders on our skin. There are a number of skin care tips, and well as anti-aging tips you can pick up there. Research has shown the efficacy of natural ingredients since they are replete with nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Raw milk, turmeric, cream, neem, saffron, olive, castor and coconut oil are just some time-tested, traditional ingredients from our kitchens that are popular with national and international skin care brands.
“Virgin coconut oil is known for its excellent antioxidant properties. When applied externally it enhances the texture and smoothness of the skin,” says Gaurav Aggarwal, CEO of Onelife Nutriscience Pvt Ltd.
While neem and tulsi, along with tea tree oil, have been used to deal with acne-prone skin and blemishes, turmeric and saffron are natural skin brightening ingredients that help even out skin tone and pigmentation. Essential oils of lavender, tea tree, lemon and primrose are found abundantly and are very good for the skin. “For smooth and supple skin, consider a mixture of oats and milk which can be used as a pack cum scrub 2-3 times a week,” says Dr. Ameesha Mahajan, dermatologist and skin care specialist at RM Aesthetics, Amritsar. “This can even be used once a week by people with sensitive skin. Rose water can be used as a gentle chemical-free toner. White butter and coconut oil from our kitchens can be used as wonderful moisturizers while ghee with its excellent moisturizing benefits helps cure cracked lips almost magically.”
Even fruits like papaya and orange are perfect for soft, supple and glowing skin. Orange peel powder is widely used to reduce blackheads, acne and pigmentation. While potato and lemon are used to remove blemishes, tomatoes are used to remove the oiliness of the skin due to its acidic nature. Almonds are rich in vitamin E and hence form for an effective exfoliator, nourishing the skin instantly. And if you want to add a dash of life to tired-looking skin, there is nothing like a generous application of aloe vera for great skin.
Skin Do’s and Don’ts
Natural ingredients mitigate the risk of the after effects of using potentially harmful chemicals and steroids, which cause problems like skin sensitivity, UV sensitivity and, in extreme cases, cancer. But people with sensitive skins can be allergic to even natural products at times. For instance, the use of undiluted lemon juice should be completely avoided on the face. You can take the advice of a dermatologist if you are developing sensitivity or a rash to a natural ingredient or product.
“It is important to maintain the pH balance of the skin to keep the skin integrity in place. Skin care products, apart from being natural, should contain active compounds in the right percentage to give the desired results.”