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Is Natural better than Synthetic

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

skincare products, beauty products
Natural Skincare Ingredients

It's not just fashion that influences what your wear it also influences your skincare and perfumes.

Over the last few years there has been alot of talk on synthetic notes that have now overtaken natural notes in both our perfumes and skincare - we have all seen the word 'perfum' on the labels of products we have brought but do we know if this is a good thing or bad thing for our health or a healthy lifestyle.

Allergies are definitely on the rise so is this down to what we eat, put on our skin or even breathe in on a daily basis?

When we see 'natural' on products we automatically think of safe, healthy, good for us but when we see 'chemical' we think, dangerous, toxic, allergies, cancerous, bad for us. I agree we need ingredients on labels but how many of us actually know what they are or if they are good or bad for us.

I'm not going to try and influence anyone either way I only want to help you perhaps understand a bit more.

Natural Essential Oils

We all know our wonderful world is made up of trees, plants, flowers, grasses, oceans etc. but as well as having fantastic healing, therapeutic properties they can be dangerous and can actually kill us. However, the world is actually made up of a huge great mass of 'chemicals', water is a chemical and even us humans are made up of different 'chemicals', so they can't all be bad can they?

Essential oils are made up of chemical components like, geranoil, citral, limonene, linalool, pinene, citronellol, eucalptol, eugenol, cinnamal, coumarin and many more. Every batch of essential oils made will be slightly different every year as it depends on how much sun, rain and wind the plants etc. receive, in fact it also depends where they are grown i.e. which country or what altitude. Nature is ever changing, so if essential oils are used in the manufacture of skincare products and perfumes the products may differ from year to year. If you loved a bottle of perfume but found when you brought the next bottle it smelt slightly different would you be happy or annoyed?

Some essential oils can contain some 'nasties' which we would rather do without, for example bergaptene which is a phototoxic chemical triggered by sunlight causing darkening and irritation of the skin, however, the terpinen-4-ol found in Tea Tree essential oil is known to kill certain bacteria, viruses and fungus and linalool is known to reduce anxiety and blood pressure. Lavender is known for relaxation, good for skin complaints and headaches and lemon we love for its freshness and antibacterial properties.

Essential oils have depth and warmth and certainly feel 'alive'.

These days allergen risks have to be, by law, listed on any ingredients label and rightly so, something as natural as nuts can cause serious problems and even death. In my previous blog called Allergies in Every Day Products I talk about the problems people suffer from due to the components found in natural and synthetic chemicals.

Aroma Chemicals

When we use essential oils we are adding all the components of every oil used in the skincare, soap or perfume. If we could extract some of the bad chemical components and just use the good components would it be better for us and would it reduce our skin problems or breathing problems? Again, reading Allergies in Every Day Products you will get an insight into some of the components that causes problems.

Chemists have found a way of doing just that, hence we now have Aroma Chemicals and also fragrance oils. I am not a chemist so can not describe how this is done but I do know that three different ways are used.

Firstly, from isolates of essential oils usually done by using the essential oil from wood pulp when paper has made. The paper manufacturers and the aroma chemicals got together to reduce pollutents that were released into the air.

Secondly, from chemically modified isolates from essential oils. Chemists found a way to capture alpha-pinene from essential oil and then process this into many other aroma chemicals.

Thirdly, the aroma chemicals are derived from the petrolchemical industry. Three chemical components are used, they are Benzene which is obtained from crude oil, Xylene which occurs naturally in petrol, coal and wood tar and Toluene which also occurs in crude oil. Chemists are able to modify all of these and make numerous aroma chemicals which mimic natural aromas.

As you can see from the above some aroma chemicals could be excellant to use but some you might question.

Summing up

I'll leave you to make your own minds up to which you think is better, perhaps, and I hope so, I have made you think abit more about natural or synthetic. Have you changed your mind?

No matter if you use essential oils, fragrance oils or aroma chemicals they are all subject to use and are 'policed' by the International Fragrance Association or INFRA as its known.

Its also worth realising that there could be more hazzards to using essential oils than using most aroma chemicals.

Next time you see the words 'parfum' or 'occurs in nature' or 'identical to nature' you now might have a little more knowledge on what they mean and you can make your own choice as to using the product or not.

The world loves aromas, the perfume and skincare industry is huge business so whether you choose natural or synthetic enjoy and surround yourself with the most wonderful smells and stay safe and healthy.

x Diane

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