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When it Comes to Skin Care, How Natural is Natural?

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Image Via Goldfaden MD
Image Via Goldfaden MD

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If this decade had a color, it would be green. Most of us are riding the wave of the au naturale movement, and this goes for everything- the foods we ingest, the clothes we wear and, increasingly enough, the beauty products we use.

Unsurprisingly enough, countless brands are riding this wave too, introducing entire lines of "natural" products, or just basing their business on the use of "organic" ingredients. All this hype, of course, raises some skepticism. Are these products actually as natural as they're marketed to be, or is it solely a trend that's hot this minute, but won't be the next? On that note, is it even possible to mass produce natural ingredients to the extent that drugstore brands suggest they do?

These questions have been burning for far too long, which is why we ran to Goldfaden MD, a Miami-based brand that's been in the natural skin care business before natural was even a lifestyle, to see if we could find some answers. The brand uses plant-based complexes and antioxidants in their products, so don't expect to find hard-to-pronounce, harsh chemicals in their creams. We sat down with Lisa Goldfaden, Vice President of Marketing at Goldfaden MD, to grab some insight on organic beauty and maybe, just maybe, figure out: how natural is natural?

By definition, organic means without the use of chemicals. But since beauty products need to have some sort of a shelf life, they can't be made up of entirely natural products. Can they really be considered organic then?
Organic and natural skincare products still have stabilizers, but they are natural, unlike parabens (the unnatural standard of preservatives). Natural stabilizers may be water or plant based.

What should you look for when trying to go natural with your beauty routine?
Start by looking for products that are free of parabens, mineral oil and petrochemicals.

What about drugstore brands or higher-end makeup brands with facial products. Can you really trust that they're adhering to "green" standards?
There is no governing body that regulates natural brands. The rule of thumb is to read the label. If the ingredient list is long it most likely is NOT a very clean or natural product. Also, pay attention to the first few ingredients listed, as they are the most powerful in the product.

What does a product need to contain (or not contain) in order to be considered natural? Is there an entity that monitors this?
The list is extremely long and since there is no governing body to regulate this, there's a lot of debate. Right now the 'hot buttons' of what should NOT be in natural products are parabens, sulfates, mineral oils, silicones and petrochemicals.

What are your favorite power ingredients at the moment?
Lactic Acid, which is derived from milk. It exfoliates the skin and is found in Goldfaden M.D's Fresh A Peel. I also like Indian Gooseberry, which is a skin brightener with high levels of Vitamin C and is found in our Vital Boost moisturizer, and Alpha Arbutin, which lightens your skin and is found in our Light Treatment.

What are some of the benefits of switching over to more natural products?
There is a lot of debate about how deep skincare products and ingredients penetrate the skin and are absorbed by the body. Originally the 'scare' that started the now trendy natural movement was based on the fear that bad ingredients were being absorbed into the bloodstream. From deodorant to hair products to nail polish, people started to pay attention to the possible dangerous cumulative effect this could have. We can see this across the organic food movement as well. So one benefit to switching to natural products is that you lessen your chances of having this happen. All in moderation though.

I've read that the move from chemical products to greener ones can be a tricky one. Is this true? What is the best way to make a move without shocking or irritating your skin?
One issue some people run into is switching to a natural product line that is super active or botanical. Active products can be aggressive so, again, use in moderation. Botanical lines can be heavily fragranced even if they are natural or organic, which can irritate skin or cause allergic reactions. Some people have naturally reactive or allergy prone skin. Know the difference and always start slowly to see how your skin will react.

What are some common misconceptions about natural beauty products?I think it is more important to be educated when it comes to what you put on your body. Understanding ingredients is the best line of defense.

There are tons of online recipes on how to make "natural" homemade products which could technically be considered organic depending on the ingredients. Do they actually work though?
Many DIY facials, hair or body treatments do work. Of course the more natural the ingredients the better so IF you're going to make it at home, use organic and natural ingredients.
· Goldfaden MD [Official Site]