Are natural cosmetics safer for sensitive skin?

The debate surrounding all-natural cosmetics is undoubtedly of the hottest topics in the beauty world. But can things really be as simple as “natural = good” while” synthetic = bad” - particularly when it comes to sensitive skin? We sort the fact from the fiction!

Natural cosmetics - the holy grail of sensitive skincare?

Today’s globalised world sees us worrying more than ever about the ingredients we’re putting on our skin - not to mention where they come from. Recent developments in skincare have resulted in a lot of hype surrounding all-natural products, but do they really hold all the answers to our sensitive skincare problems?

Of course, while formulations that rely on natural ingredients can be great news for sensitive skin, it’s important that you don’t make the mistake of assuming that products with exclusively all-natural formulations are all good for your skin. Just as spicy foods can irritate or inflame delicate complexions, certain essential oils risk provoking feelings of redness or irritation in sensitive skin . One example of this is caipisicum, which - although a completely natural ingredient - is such a well-known irritant that it’s actually used as a basis for sensitive skincare tests. Tea tree oil, while known for its spot-fighting properties, has also been known to provoke harsh reactions in sensitive skin. However, many natural ingredients are also known for their soothing properties, making them ideal for sensitive skin. One such example is shea butter, which helps hydrate skin for lasting smoothness, while olive oil has been touted as a great all-natural cleanser and makeup remover.

So, is artificial all-bad?

It goes without saying that products featuring fragrances or perfume tend to be common culprits when it comes to upsetting very sensitive skin, generally as a result of their high alcohol content. This can leave skin feeling dry, stripping it of valuable moisture. However, that doesn’t mean that all synthetic fragrances are going to upset your skin. Only the most sensitive skins should beware of products featuring colorants and/or perfumes. What’s more, all of Vichy’s products - regardless of whether or not they contain fragrance - are hypoallergenic, having been specially formulated and tested to avoid irritating sensitive skin.

Instead, when looking at the label on the back of your skincare products, try and establish what the active ingredients are. These are the components - both natural and synthetic - that help the product to achieve its stated goal, whether that’s soothing, hydrating or perfecting skin. Common active ingredients include salycylic acid, vitamins C and E, or petrolatum. Inactive ingredients tend to include artificial colours, preservatives - such as alcohol - and perfumes. Naturally, high levels of inactive ingredients leaves less room in the product’s formulation for others better suited to directly treating skin problems. In terms of active ingredients, Vichy Aqualia Extrasensitive contains Vichy Mineralizing Water to help soothe the skin, as well as hyaluronic acid to lock in water for lasting hydration - plus no parabens, preservatives or colours.

The moral of the story? Skin can react badly to any number of ingredients, whether natural or synthetic - so it’s worth checking out exactly what’s in your skincare to make sure your skin sees all the benefits your products are promising.