Natural skin care
Natural skin care uses topical creams and lotions made of ingredients available in nature. Much of the recent literature reviews plant-derived ingredients, which may include herbs, roots, flowers and essential oils, but natural substances in skin care products include animal-derived products such as beeswax, and minerals. These substances may be combined with various carrier agents, preservatives, surfactants, humectants and emulsifiers.: 5–8
There are no legal definitions in the U.S. for advertising terms "natural" or "organic" when applied to personal care products. Consumers often express a preference for skin products with organic and natural ingredients. The personal skin care market based on natural products has shown strong growth. Clinical and laboratory studies have identified activities in many natural ingredients that have potential beneficial activities for personal skin care, but there is a shortage of convincing evidence for natural product efficacy in medical problems.
Some natural products and therapies may be harmful, either to the skin or systemically. People prone to allergies should pay careful attention to what they use on their skin. Dermatologists may feel that there is enough scientific evidence to assist in the selection or avoidance of particular natural ingredients.
Many countries require that the ingredient composition of skin care products is listed on the product, using the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI) conventions.: 4 Ingredients are listed in the order of their percentage within the product; natural ingredients are listed in Latin and synthetic ingredients are listed by technical name.: 4 "The U.S. government has documented more than 10,500 ingredients in cosmetic products, but only a small percentage of those chemicals have been tested for safety. Of those that have been tested, some have been identified as carcinogens (causes cancer), teratogens (causes birth defects), and reproductive toxicants (damages the ability to reproduce)."
The FDA surveyed 1,687 consumers ages 14 and older in 1994 about their use of cosmetics. Nearly half of these consumers felt that a product claiming to be "natural" should contain all natural ingredients. However, although the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated within its certain requirements within its specific area of regulation for organic products, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recognize a definition for natural products. Accordingly, there are no legal definitions in the U.S. for the advertising terms "natural" or "organic" in personal care products. The FDA prohibits certain ingredients in cosmetics.
Some organic products which are designated organic may be intensely modified, sometimes considerably more so than conventional products.
Consumers often express a preference for skin products with organic and natural ingredients. The skin care market based on natural products has shown strong growth. Clinical and laboratory studies have identified activities in many natural ingredients that have potential beneficial activities for the skin. Dermatologists may feel that there is enough scientific evidence to assist in the selection of particular natural ingredients.
Voluntary discontinuation of precursor substances that release small quantities of formaldehyde, which is a carcinogen, as well as reducing levels of the potentially carcinogenic impurity 1,4-dioxane. Polycyclic musk fragrance ingredients, which have raised concerns as persistent and bioaccumulative endocrine disruptors, are being discontinued.
There are significant reservations about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) including a "shortage of evidence supporting the efficacy and safety of CAM" for skin problems. However, patients express a desire to utilize natural ingredients as treatment. A literature search found a growing prevalence of CAM use for skin conditions. A number of textbooks address CAM perspectives of skin care. The purpose of this section is to review botanical compounds in skin care; a broader review the history and theory behind other CAM modalities such as psychocutaneous therapies, acupuncture and homeopathy can be found in recent reviews.
The plant monographs with dermatological relevance of the former German Commission E have recently been reviewed.
According to Baumann, "Botanical compounds for which dermatologic and cosmetic applications have emerged include: olive oil, chamomile, colloidal oatmeal, oat kernel extract, feverfew, acai berry, coffee berry, curcumin, green tea, pomegranate, licorice, paper mulberry, arbutin, and soy. "Many of these botanical sources offer biologically active components that require further in vitro and in vivo investigation".
Colloidal oatmeal may be beneficial in psoriasis. Aloe vera may help in atopic dermatitis. In both these conditions, the benefit may arise from anti-inflammatory properties. "For combating acne and rosacea, green tea, niacinamide and feverfew are considered efficacious. For hyperpigmentation and antioxidative capabilities, licorice, green tea, arbutin, soy, acai berry, turmeric and pomegranate are among those plants and compounds found to be most beneficial. Additional research is needed to determine to confirm and elucidate the benefits of these ingredients in the prevention and management of skin disease."
An assessment of clinical trials on green tea preparations and their uses in dermatology found some evidence for potential benefits.
Ayurvedic skincare is derived from medicinal practices that began over 5,000-years ago in India. Ayurvedic medicine and healing practices are based on Indian philosophical, psychological, conventional, and medicinal understandings. Most of the ayurvedic skincare products contain the following herbs—aloe vera, almond, avocado, carrot, castor, clay, cocoa, coconut oil, cornmeal, cucumber, cutch tree, emu oil, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, grape seed oil, ground almond and walnut shell, horse chestnut, witch hazel, and honey.
Phyllanthus emblica (amla, Indian gooseberry) has been used in ayurvedic medicine. Standardized extracts of Phyllanthus emblica have a long-lasting and broad-spectrum antioxidant activity. This may be suitable for use in Anti-aging cream, sunscreen and general purpose skin care products.
Traditional Chinese medicine
- Egg oil can be used as an excipient/carrier in a variety of cosmetic preparations such as creams, ointments, sun-screen products, or lotions. In Indian, Japanese, Unani (Roghan Baiza Murgh) and Chinese traditional medicine, egg oil was traditionally used as a treatment for hair care.
- Jojoba is used for skin care because it is a natural moisturizer for the skin. Jojoba is actually a liquid wax that becomes solid below room temperature, but is known as an oil.
- Shea butter is derived from the kernel of the shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa). Shea butter is known for its cosmetic properties as a moisturizer and emollient.
Dermatological research suggests that the bioactive ingredients used in cosmeceuticals have benefits beyond the traditional moisturizer (e.g., Chen et al., 2005; Zettersten, Ghadially, Feingold, Crumrine, & Elias, 1997). However, despite reports of benefits from some cosmeceutical products, there are no formal requirements to prove that these products live up to their claims.
Biocompatible and environmentally friendly natural compounds have the potential to provide materials with photoresistant and thermoresistant properties.
Dehydroabietic acid (DAA), a naturally occurring diterpene resin acid, "has lifespan extension effects in Caenorhabditis elegans, prevents lipofuscin accumulation, and prevents collagen secretion in human dermal fibroblasts. We found that these anti-aging effects are primarily mediated by SIRT1 activation." DAA may activate SIRT1 enzymatic activity, which may have a preventive effect against the aging process.
Validated use of these materials and products awaits further assessment.
Cosmeceuticals are topically-applied, combination products that bring together cosmetics and "biologically active ingredients". Products which are similar in perceived benefits but ingested orally are known as nutricosmetics. According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act "does not recognize any such category as "cosmeceuticals". A product can be a drug, a cosmetic, or a combination of both, but the term "cosmeceutical" has no meaning under the law". Drugs are subject to an intensive review and approval process by FDA. Cosmetics, and these related products, although regulated, are not approved by FDA prior to sale.
The FDA recommends understanding the ingredient label and says "There is no list of ingredients that can be guaranteed not to cause allergic reactions, so consumers who are prone to allergies should pay careful attention to what they use on their skin", further warning that "[t]here is no basis in fact or scientific legitimacy to the notion that products containing natural ingredients are good for the skin". Food preservatives are commonly used to preserve the safety and efficacy in these products. Alternative remedies may increase the prevalence of eczema. Bhuchar recommends that "ingestible substances including most homeopathic, Ayurvedic, and traditional Chinese medicine herbal formulations that are not US FDA regulated should be viewed with caution as they may cause severe adverse effects" such as arsenic poisoning and liver failure."
Given the shortage of evidence for natural skin care efficacy, if applied it may often need to be used in combination with conventional treatment, rather than independently.
According to Bhuchar, there is a consensus in the literature that dermatologists need more information about CAM. Wu advises that "dermatologists should be aware of what patients may be using and be able to advise them about the efficacy of these ingredients or the potential for adverse effects". Many patients fail to inform their physicians about their use of herbal ingredients.
- Bowe WP, Pugliese S (2014). "Cosmetic benefits of natural ingredients". Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 13 (9): 1021–5, quiz 26–7. PMID 25226001.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Fowler JF, Woolery-Lloyd H, Waldorf H, Saini R (2010). "Innovations in natural ingredients and their use in skin care". Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 9 (6 Suppl): S72–81, quiz s82–3. PMID 20626172.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Baumann L, Woolery-Lloyd H, Friedman A (2009). ""Natural" ingredients in cosmetic dermatology". Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 8 (6 Suppl): s5–9. PMID 19562883.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Reuter J, Merfort I, Schempp CM (2010). "Botanicals in dermatology: an evidence-based review". Am J Clin Dermatol. 11 (4): 247–67. doi:10.2165/11533220-000000000-00000. PMID 20509719. S2CID 207298809.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Berton H. The Essential Guide to Natural Skin Care. Llewellyn Worldwide, 2012. ISBN 9780738730561
- Kessler R. More than Cosmetic Changes: Taking Stock of Personal Care Product Safety. Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.123-A120 
- Tundis R, Loizzo MR, Bonesi M, Menichini F (2015). "Potential role of natural compounds against skin aging". Curr. Med. Chem. 22 (12): 1515–38. doi:10.2174/0929867322666150227151809. PMID 25723509.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Bhuchar S, Katta R, Wolf J (2012). "Complementary and alternative medicine in dermatology: an overview of selected modalities for the practicing dermatologist". Am J Clin Dermatol. 13 (5): 311–7. doi:10.2165/11597560-000000000-00000. PMID 22668453. S2CID 34734099.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Silverberg JI, Lee-Wong M, Silverberg NB (2014). "Complementary and alternative medicines and childhood eczema: a US population-based study". Dermatitis. 25 (5): 246–54. doi:10.1097/DER.0000000000000072. PMID 25207686. S2CID 6910026.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- "Beauty or the Beast?" (PDF). National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
- Lewis C. Clearing Up Cosmetic Confusion. TGC magazine
- FDA. Cosmetics: Guidance & Regulation; Laws & Regulations. Prohibited & Restricted Ingredients.. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD. Updated 26 January 2015.
- Binic I, Lazarevic V, Ljubenovic M, et al. (2013). "Skin ageing: natural weapons and strategies". Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013: 1–10. doi:10.1155/2013/827248. PMC 3569896. PMID 23431351.
- Lucas A. Cosmetics, Perfumes and Incense in Ancient Egypt. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology. May, 1930; Vol. 16, No. 1/2, pp. 41–53. Published by: Egypt Exploration Society. Stable URL:
- Mukherjee PK, Maity N, Nema NK, Sarkar BK (2011). "Bioactive compounds from natural resources against skin aging". Phytomedicine. 19 (1): 64–73. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2011.10.003. PMID 22115797.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Narahari SR, Prasanna KS, Sushma KV (2013). "Evidence-based integrative dermatology". Indian J Dermatol. 58 (2): 127–31. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.108046. PMC 3657212. PMID 23716802.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Epstein H (2009). "Cosmeceutical vehicles". Clin. Dermatol. 27 (5): 453–60. doi:10.1016/j.clindermatol.2009.05.007. PMID 19695476.
- $2.5 billion spent, no alternative cures found. Alternative Medicine. NBCNews.com. Associated Press.
- Abdulla, Sara (May 13, 1999). "Phytotherapy - good science or big business?". Nature: news990513–8. doi:10.1038/news990513-8 – via DOI.org (Crossref).
- Leach M. Clinical Decision Making in Complementary & Alternative Medicine. Publisher: Churchill Livingstone; 1 edition (July 30, 2010) pages 67-72 and 228-237 ISBN 9780729539333
- Reuter J, Wölfle U, Weckesser S, Schempp C (2010). "Which plant for which skin disease? Part 1: Atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, acne, condyloma and herpes simplex". J Dtsch Dermatol Ges. 8 (10): 788–96. doi:10.1111/j.1610-0387.2010.07496.x. PMID 20707875. S2CID 3778742.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Pazyar N, Feily A, Kazerouni A (2012). "Green tea in dermatology". Skinmed. 10 (6): 352–5. PMID 23346663.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Routh HB, Bhowmik KR (1999). "Traditional Indian medicine in dermatology". Clin. Dermatol. 17 (1): 41–7. doi:10.1016/s0738-081x(98)00070-4. PMID 10089584.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Chaudhuri RK (2002). "Emblica cascading antioxidant: a novel natural skin care ingredient". Skin Pharmacol. Appl. Skin Physiol. 15 (5): 374–80. doi:10.1159/000064544. PMID 12239434. S2CID 43763682.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- H. Panda: Handbook On Ayurvedic Medicines With Formulae, Processes And Their Uses
- Babu, S. Suresh (2005). Home Made Herbal Cosmetics. Pustak Mahal. ISBN 978-81-223-0775-7.
- Zhong Ying Zhou, Hui De Jin: Clinical manual of Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture
- Pazyar N, Yaghoobi R, Ghassemi MR, et al. (2013). "Jojoba in dermatology: a succinct review". G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 148 (6): 687–91. PMID 24442052.
- Meier L, Stange R, Michalsen A, Uehleke B (2012). "Clay jojoba oil facial mask for lesioned skin and mild acne--results of a prospective, observational pilot study" (PDF). Forsch Komplementärmed. 19 (2): 75–9. doi:10.1159/000338076. PMID 22585103. S2CID 31083201.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Ranzato E, Martinotti S, Burlando B (2011). "Wound healing properties of jojoba liquid wax: an in vitro study". J Ethnopharmacol. 134 (2): 443–9. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2010.12.042. PMID 21211559.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Ayegnon BP, Kayodé AP, Tchobo FP, et al. (2014). "Profiling the quality characteristics of the butter of Pentadesma butyracea with reference to shea butter". J. Sci. Food Agric. 95 (15): 3137–43. doi:10.1002/jsfa.7052. PMID 25523343.
- Zhang J, Kurita M, Shinozaki T, et al. (2014). "Triterpene glycosides and other polar constituents of shea (Vitellaria paradoxa) kernels and their bioactivities". Phytochemistry. 108: 157–70. doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2014.09.017. PMID 25446237.
- Zhou Chen, Jin Young Seo, Yeon Kyung Kim, Se Rah Lee, Kyu Han Kim, Kwang Hyun Cho, Hee Chul Eun, and Jin Ho Chung, Heat Modulation of Tropoelastin, Fibrillin-1, and MatrixMetalloproteinase-12 in Human Skin In VivoJ Invest Dermatol 124:70 –78, 2005
- Zettersten EM, Ghadially R, Feingold KR, Crumrine D, Elias PM (1997). "Optimal ratios of topical stratum corneum lipids improve barrier recovery in chronologically aged skin". J. Am. Acad. Dermatol. 37 (3 Pt 1): 403–8. doi:10.1016/s0190-9622(97)70140-3. PMID 9308554.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
- Fernandes SC, Alonso-Varona A, Palomares T, et al. (2015). "Exploiting Mycosporines as Natural Molecular Sunscreens for the Fabrication of UV-Absorbing Green Materials". ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 7 (30): 16558–64. doi:10.1021/acsami.5b04064. PMID 26168193.
- Kim J, Kang YG, Lee JY, et al. (2015). "The natural phytochemical dehydroabietic acid is an anti-aging reagent that mediates the direct activation of SIRT1". Mol. Cell. Endocrinol. 412: 216–25. doi:10.1016/j.mce.2015.05.006. PMID 25976661. S2CID 2357873.
- Wu J (2006). "Treatment of rosacea with herbal ingredients". Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. 5 (1): 29–32. PMID 16468289.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)