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Natural skin care is the care of the skin (the largest organ of the body) using naturally-derived ingredients (such as herbs, roots, essential oils and flowers) combined with naturally occurring carrier agents, preservatives, surfactants, humectants and emulsifiers (everything from natural soap to oils to pure water). The classic definition of natural skin care is based on using botanically sourced ingredients currently existing in or formed by nature, without the use of synthetic chemicals, and manufactured in such a way to preserve the integrity of the ingredients.

As a result of this definition, many people who use natural skin care products, generally make their own products at home from naturally occurring ingredients. While there are many wives' tales surrounding the beneifts of certain ingredients, scientific studies have proven that such ingredients as Chamomile have demonstrated healing and anti-inflammatory properties when applied topically. Many people use natural skin care recipes to make remedies to care for their skin at home. Many spas and skin care salons now focus on using more naturally derived skin care products. Over the past ten years, several companies have been started to make available completely natural products to the general public.

[edit] History

Natural skin care has its roots in the 4th millennium BC in China and the Middle East. It is believed that the Egyptians developed many natural skin care treatments for a variety of skin conditions. One such treatment consists of bullock's bile, whipped ostrich eggs, olive oil, dough and resin mixed with milk. In the modern age many people with unique skin types and needs (sensitive skin, dry skin, oily skin) have turned to natural skin care solutions.

Some examples of natural skin care ingredients include jojoba, safflower oil, rose hip seed oil, shea butter, beeswax, witch hazel, aloe vera, tea tree oil, and chamomile. Many of these natural ingredient combinations can be tailored specifically to the individual's skin type or skin condition.

Natural skin care goes beyond the application of products on one's skin. It also pertains to a holistic philosophy surrounding the holistic care of one's body. This includes the belief that what is ingested will affects all aspects of health, including the health of skin. People who use natural skin care products are less concerned with artificial beauty enhancements, as they feel that natural beauty is healthy beauty.

There is, however, no actual definition of natural according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). All ingredients are chemicals by definition. "Derived" ingredients are unnatural both according to the original substance and the method of derivation.

The term natural has considerable market value in promoting skin care cosmetic products to consumers, but dermatologists say it has very little medical meaning and the FDA states the claim has no legal meaning. Despite pressure from advocacy groups such as The Environmental Working Group (EWG) the FDA has not defined what natural is or how to achieve it. Contrary to popular belief the FDA does not regulate the sale of skin care and cosmetic products before they are sold.

The FDA recommends understanding the ingredient label and says "There is no list of ingredients that can be guaranteed not to cause allergic reactions, so consumers who are prone to allergies should pay careful attention to what they use on their skin", further warning that "[t]here is no basis in fact or scientific legitimacy to the notion that products containing natural ingredients are good for the skin". Food preservatives are commonly used to preserve the safety and efficacy in these products.

[edit] Ayurvedic skin care

Ayurvedic skin care is derived from medicinal practices that began over 5,000 years ago. Ayurvedic medicine and healing practices are based on Indian philosophical, psychological, conventional, and medicinal understandings. Ayurvedic approach to skin care is holistic and considers the mind, body, and spirit together. Ayurvedas practices the belief that there are three basic principles or humors born out of five basic elements that exist in nature. These principles are known as Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. These principles are believed to work together in harmony to make up the entire body.

[edit] Ayurvedic skin types

Ayurvedic skin care theory claims that there are seven different types of constitution that govern skin and hair types: Vata, Pitta, Kapha, Vata-Pitta, Vata-Kapha, Pitta-Kapha, or Vata-Pitta-Kapha. Most people fall into a combination of two of the three principles.[1]

Ayurveda advises to modify one's diet, exercise, lifestyle and supplements according to one's constitution of these three humors. Most of the skin care products contain the following herbs - aloe vera, almond, avo cado, carrot, castor, clay, cocoa, coconut oil, cornmeal, cucumber, cutch tree, emu oil, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, grape seed oil, ground almond and wallnut shell, horse chestnut, witch hazel and honey.

[edit] Honey skin care

Honey's natural antioxidant and anti-microbial properties and ability to absorb and retain moisture have been recognised and used extensively in skin care treatments as they help to protect the skin from the damage of the sun's rays and rejuvenate depleted skin.

[edit] Shea butter skin care

Shea butter is derived from the kernel of the "Karite" tree, or Tree of Life. It can be found in a multitude of products at drug stores, high-end beauty boutiques, and e-tailers. When it is used in its purest, unrefined, certified organic form, it can provide healing for conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, stretch marks, and dermatitis. Shea butter is also a staple of African pharmacology due to its potent healing abilities. Even today, clinical trials demonstrate shea butter's ability to deliver effective therapeutic results as well as safe and natural skincare.

[edit] Jojoba skin care

Jojoba skin care is a natural remedy. Jojoba is a natural moisturizer for the skin. The oil is similar to the natural sebum of whale. Also, it softens the skin.