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You are here: Making Smart Skin Care Choices > Myths and Misconceptions >

Natural vs synthetic

Many people feel compelled to use skin care with natural ingredients only. This is understandable: humankind has synthesized enough harmful chemicals to scare virtually anyone. Still, the all-or-nothing approach may not be the most productive.

First, according to modern science, biological effects of a particular chemical are the same whether it is isolated from natural sources or synthesized in the lab. Second, we should distinguish between the chemicals that are synthetic but structurally identical to the natural ones, and synthetic chemical not found in nature.

Synthetic chemicals identical to the natural ones work exactly the same and can be used in exactly the same way. In fact, take away the labels, and you won't be able to distinguish between the two -- even if using cutting edge analytical equipment. Synthetic chemicals not found in nature are structurally different and may indeed work differently. However, there is no direct relationship between the benefits and dangers of a paticular chemical and its origin as a natural or manmade substance. Many natural chemicals can be harmful, especially if misused. Many synthetic chemicals not found in nature are life-saving drugs.

The bottom line

A product's merits depend on whether its ingredients are proven safe and effective by comprehensive research and whether the concentration and delivery of the ingredients are appropriate.

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