The whole ‘clean beauty’ movement as a trend originated from conscious consumerism. With consumers jumping into the sustainable and eco-friendly bandwagon, companies are making products that would cater to this market. The beauty industry is currently valued at $532 billion and is looking up based on a report by retail analyst Edited.[1] So, what is the clean beauty movement all about and what do dermatologists have to say about it?

What exactly is clean beauty?

You must be familiar with the concept of “clean eating” where the food isn’t processed and mostly consists of whole foods in the diet. Similarly, clean beauty products focus on the safety aspect where they embrace natural as well as man-made ingredients. Clean beauty is synonymous with non-toxic beauty. One thing that is evident about these products is that they do not contain parabens, sulphates, silicones, phthalates and synthetic fragrances.

Clean beauty product users have experienced several benefits—they saw a dramatic improvement in their skin, hormone health, immunity and increase in energy levels. Sustainability-wise, clean beauty brands often offer refills that work out easier on the pocket and better for the environment. Another aspect that draws consumers to clean beauty products is that it is free from animal testing.

Why is clean beauty trending?

People believe that if the ingredients used in a product are ‘clean’ it automatically makes it ‘natural’. But that does not mean that it is necessarily better for you. Even clean products can cause allergies and make your skin sensitive since each person’s skin type and response to products is vastly different Also, the concentration and dose of an ingredient present in the ‘clean beauty’ product can make a difference. The concept of clean beauty rides on people’s perceptions that any product with chemicals is bad for the skin.

How true are the claims associated with clean beauty?

While clean beauty pushes for more natural ingredients, it has propagated the idea that the use of certain chemicals is toxic and carcinogenic. For example, clean beauty products stay away from chemicals such as parabens which are used as preservatives in products to increase shelf life and prevent bacteria. However, while clean beauty products stay away from parabens, they do contain other preservatives such as methylisothiazolinone which is supposed to be an alternative[2] that can equally cause allergies.

Furthermore, although clean beauty uses ingredients that are “natural” or “organic” if they haven’t been used correctly and in the right concentration, it proves to be harmful to your skin or hair.

How suitable are clean beauty products?

At the end of the day, it is vital to remember that the way one person’s skin responds to a product is different from that of another person. While it’s good that you may want to move to more natural products as opposed to synthetic ones, dermatologist believes that the right way forward would be to have more clarity on what ingredients work best on your skin.

To bring back that glow to your skin and the bounce back to your hair, it’s best to avoid labels just because they are trending. Instead, speak with your dermatologist who would be able to guide you on the right choice of products after assessing your skin and hair type.

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