All-natural skin care is all the rage, and for good reason.  With consumer education improving, the public is learning about the long-term consequences of certain ingredients in skin care products.  However, “natural” isn’t always “better,” and it’s important to know the difference between natural skincare that really works and ingredients that may actually cause damage to your skin.

Natural Skin Care Tips: Ingredients to Avoid

If you’re interested in all-natural skin care as an option for your health and well-being, you’re likely doing so to reduce your exposure to specific ingredients that studies have shown can be harmful to your skin and your health.  A few that we recommend avoiding include:


Products with ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate will strip your skin of its healthy oils, causing excessive dryness and overproduction of sebum. This combination will leave your skin uncomfortably tight and shiny.  Additionally, if you’re dealing with a dry, itchy scalp, look to your shampoo as a possible culprit.  It likely contains at least one of these ingredients.


Not all alcohols are bad, and alcohol is important to prevent infection when drawing blood or receiving injectable anti-aging treatments.  However, there are several types of alcohol that you never want to see in your skin care products. Denatured alcohol, typically listed as “alcohol denat.,” is a common additive to help skin care products absorb quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, denatured alcohol does this by damaging your skin’s natural protective barrier.  Other alcohols like ethanol, isopropyl alcohol and methanol are also harmful to your skin’s barrier when used daily for skin care.  Many skin toners contain alcohol, which can damage the skin, particularly if your skin is already sensitive.

Camphor and Menthol

These two ingredients are staples of popular lip balms, but they are actually making your lips more irritated and dry. The cooling effect of these ingredients comes from dilation of blood vessels, which can lead to increased irritation and rashes if overused.  This leads to you purchasing these products more frequently and causing an “addiction” to the products.  This may help the manufacturer, but it’ll destroy your skin.

Parabens and Pthalates

A popular preservative found in everything from shampoo to toothpaste, parabens have been linked to an increased risk of premature skin aging and DNA damage when exposed to UVB rays, making them unideal for topical skin care products; but that’s just scratching the surface.  Both parabens and pthalates are found in everything we come into contact with, including household dust, medications and foods.  Excessive exposure has been linked to cancer, fertility issues, asthma and allergies and even obesity.  While we can’t eliminate our exposure altogether, we recommend reducing your vulnerability by opting for paraben and pthalate free skin care products.  

Step Away From TikTok– The Truth About DIY Tips for Natural Skin Care

Natural is not always better.  Some skin care products and DIY recipes include ingredients that are not only unhelpful, but can be harmful to your skin in some cases. TikTok  and Pinterest is a great resource for food recipes but not a great place to find safe, natural skin care tips.  A few examples of bad skin care recipes include:

Baking Soda Scrubs

Baking soda is often touted as a safe, all natural exfoliant that won’t tear the skin or cause harm to the environment like plastic beads found in other exfoliating scrubs.  However, baking soda can damage the delicate pH balance of your facial skin, causing new skin problems to arise.  

Lemon and Sugar Scrubs

On their own, these ingredients are already bad for your skin. Mixing them together is a recipe for disaster. Lemon juice is touted for its brightening capabilities, and sugar is supposedly a “gentle exfoliant.” Unfortunately, the lemon juice will actually make skin more sensitive to sun damage while the sugar granules will cause micro tears in the new skin.

Tomato Whitening Mask

Tomatoes, like lemons, are incredibly acidic. While cosmetic-grade tomato extract is an effective whitening agent, grocery store tomatoes are not. Because the pH and chemical composition of a fresh tomato cannot be controlled the way cosmetic tomato extracts are, you could be unintentionally exposing your skin to too much acid, increasing its sensitivity. That alone will undermine any benefits you might get from the treatment.

When it comes to these DIY recipes, we recommend talking to your aesthetician or skin care expert about all-natural skin care products that really work, and save the food in your kitchen for eating instead.  Fresh squeezed lemonade with tomato salad, anyone?

Benefits of Natural Skin Care Products

Properly formulated natural skin care can do wonders for your skin. One big plus to natural skin care products is that you know exactly what’s being put onto your skin.

Some of the most popular natural ingredients have thousands of years of evidence to back them up like seaweed, rosehip seed oil and Vitamin C . Additionally, natural products are formulated to work closely with your skin over time, meaning your skin is not exposed to harsh, irritating fillers, and the results are achieved more gently.

Drawbacks of Natural Skin Care Products

While there are a lot of natural plant extracts with anecdotal claims of efficacy, there is not much scientific research to support the claims that naturally derived products are healthier or safer. The scientific community does not do as much research on natural compounds, so finding reliable studies can be difficult.

Another important factor to keep in mind is preservatives. Most of the preservatives in cosmetics today are inorganic, and the options for organic preservatives are very limited. Without effective preservatives, your products will have a short shelf life and have a much higher chance of harboring harmful bacteria once opened.

Therefore, if you’re using all natural skin care products, it’s important to discuss these products with your skin care expert and adhere closely to the manufacturer’s instructions regarding storage and expiration.

Where to Buy & Examples of Great Products at Skin by Lovely

Skin by Lovely is one of the top facial aesthetic practices in the United States, with locations in Santa Monica, CA, and Portland, OR. Our skin care specialists offer more than just aesthetic procedures for facial anti-aging; we offer a great selection of quality skin care products by vetted and clinically proven brands like Elta MD, SkinMedica and Revision.

Our facilities and online stores includes body care, makeup and facial care products that include a selection of all-natural products that contain organic ingredients. One of our most popular facial care products is The Body Deli’s Radiance Enzyme Superfood Peel, which contains probiotics, plant enzymes, and Vitamin C for younger, more elastic skin.

While there are good and bad aspects of natural skin care, it is important to remember to get advice from a skin care specialist first. If you’re in the Lake Oswego, Santa Monica or Portland area, book a consultation with Skin by Lovely to find out your best options for achieving healthy, glowing skin.