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New Research in Natural Ingredients

By: Sherrie Berry
Posted: June 28, 2011, from the July 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
New Research in Natural Ingredients

Have you ever enjoyed or benefited from a man-made lake? If you have, you will appreciate the new research in natural ingredients. Why? Consider this: A man-made lake is none other than natural ingredients moved or manipulated for the purpose of providing beneficial resources, such as energy, drinking water and food.

So it is with natural ingredients. Recent research has shown that if you combine or manipulate certain natural ingredients, they can enhance each other’s performance in a synergistic way, providing beneficial and effective results.

Some words of caution: Because the cosmetic industry is self-regulated, cosmetic companies can make organic and natural claims without certification. Also, it is interesting to note that when it comes to organic cosmeceuticals, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not consider the term “cosmeceutical” to be a valid product class. It is a term coined by the cosmetic industry applied to products that are said to bridge the gap between cosmetics and drugs. The term cosmeceutical often is used in cosmetic advertising and may be misleading.

The natural revolution

The natural revolution is quietly gaining momentum in the skin care industry. Check out the following trends.

  • Organic cosmetic sales growth in the United States is increasing every year.
  • People are increasingly interested in natural beauty products.
  • According to Lee Kynaston, editor of Men’s Health magazine in the United Kingdom, men are inquiring and requesting all-natural products for their unique skin care issues. They are concerned that looking old or simply showing the natural indicators of aging, such as wrinkles, may affect their perceived value in the workplace.
  • Baby boomers are looking for healthier alternatives, from natural or organic food and clothing to pet food and makeup.
  • Young people are increasingly choosing organic clothing, food and skin care.

With these kinds of statistics, it is easy to understand why enthusiastic chemists and formulators are ramping up their research and rushing to satisfy this consumer demand. However, ask any natural skin care chemist how these trends have affected their daily routine, and they will say it’s a tough job. It’s difficult to maintain natural or organic standards—as upheld by organizations such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or Ecocert—and also make sure a formula is silky smooth, neutral or pleasantly scented, neutral or pleasantly colored, pleasantly textured, easy to absorb, nonoily/nongreasy, noncomedogenic, nonallergenic, hydrating, fair trade, eco-friendly, with a reasonable shelf life and, last but not least, just as effective as a conventional product, or better.