“Natural” is an eye-catching buzzword in modern skin care. Although it has no official definition, most companies use it to refer to ingredients that occur in nature and are not synthetically derived. “Natural” ingredients are not necessarily healthier or more effective than synthetic ingredients—but a few of them, such as glycerin, witch hazel and certain antioxidants, can provide especially outstanding benefits for your skin. While new ingredients are constantly being introduced into the skin care world, here are a few that have proven time and time again of their potency in skin care.
1. For Dry Skin: Glycerin
A very common ingredient in moisturizers, glycerin can be either natural or synthetic. Natural glycerin is derived from animal or vegetable fats, and synthetic glycerin is derived from petroleum. Also called glycerol, glycerin is a humectant compound that occurs naturally in our skin. In addition to its antimicrobial properties, glycerin can improve skin hydration and skin barrier function, help guard against irritants and help wounds heal faster. Glycerin is particularly beneficial for people who suffer from dry skin and conditions such as atopic dermatitis, which compromises skin barrier function.
2. For Acne-Prone Skin: Witch Hazel
Native to North America, witch hazel is a botanical anti-inflammatory that’s been the subject of numerous medical studies for its medicinal effects. According to a 2014 study in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, witch hazel contains anti-inflammatory chemicals called tannins that naturally constrict body tissues—which results in an astringent effect on the skin. This is why it’s often in skin toners designed for controlling oil on the skin. Witch hazel is as effective as over-the-counter pharmaceutical products in treating skin irritation, and its antioxidant properties may also help strengthen connective tissue in skin and blood vessels.
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