In looking for quality assurance today, many people believe that if something is considered natural it will be both better and safer than something considered synthetic. This belief makes sense. We want our foods to be organic, free from pesticides and chemical fertilizers, because these substances have been shown to build up in our bodies and potentially lead to cancer and other disease. We want our chickens to be free-range, our beef to be grass fed, and our milk from cows that haven’t been fed hormones. Because we have read about the coming plague of “superbugs” we would rather our farm animals not be routinely fed antibiotics.
So when we hear the word “natural” it fits with all these expectations. Natural equals good, right?
Natural does not equal Safe
Unfortunately, just because something is natural does not make it safer, more efficacious, or better than a synthetic substance, particularly in skin care.
There are two reasons for this. First, while we have assumptions about the word “natural” there are no regulations of how it is used in labeling. Anything a manufacturer wants to label as “natural” can be. But even if there were regulations, how exactly could you define “natural”? Is olive oil natural? How about mineral oil? Most people would say yes to the former, but no to the latter. Yet mineral oil comes from the earth just as much as olive oil does. Even the ingredients in plastic come from the earth.
Second, botanicals, substances derived from plants, are the major ingredient in most skin care products labeled natural. Botanicals in natural acne treatments are far more likely to cause allergic reactions than their synthetic counterparts. Botanicals also break down faster than synthetics and the very plant material that is considered natural harbors fungi and bacteria, and therefore requires more preservative ingredients to keep natural products stable.
Botanical oils are also comedogenic – contributing to the development of comedones, those plugs that lead to acne lesions — so have no place in acne treatment.
Do Natural Acne Treatments Exist?
Sometimes people think of home remedies as “natural acne treatments” and may turn to these in frustration when the treatments they have received from a dermatologist or an over-the-counter acne remedy doesn’t work. These home remedies can include lemon juice, toothpaste, vinegar, garlic, mint and even urine. While they may be natural, none of them will get rid of acne. A couple of them will dry up pustules, but that isn’t going to solve your acne problem.
There is no single product, natural or synthetic, that will get rid of acne. In fact, not even a single group of products, natural or synthetic, will be the ultimate remedy for acne.
Instead of looking for a natural acne remedy, look for a remedy that works. What works is working with an acne specialist: someone who understands acne, knows your skin, can monitor your condition, can determine which products your skin needs and can coach you on how to adjust your home care as your skin adapts and gets used to products.
Looking for simple, natural acne treatments? They don’t exist. But we will coach you through the process of getting clear. If you are tired of all those bogus remedies for acne and you are willing to put in the effort, we really want to work with you. Our clients get exceptional results. Give us a call today and let’s get started.
© 2011 Jane Neville Dudik; The Acne Treatment Center and www.acnetreatmentcenterWA.com