This is a question that I get asked quite frequently by both skincare aficionados and natural beauty devotees. The first answer that springs to mind is “the best ingredient is the one that suits your skin, the one you can afford and are committed to using”. If this answer leaves you just as confused as to which is the best natural skincare ingredient, then read on to discover my opinion on some of the most common ingredients found in modern skincare today.
Pros: A must-have for dehydrated skin which is very effective even at low dosages.
Cons: Low molecular weight hyaluronic acid is not always tolerated well by sensitive skin.
Pros: Loved by every skin type for its soothing and wound healing abilities, it calms irritated skin and decreases excessive sebum production in oily/congested complexions.
Cons: At high concentrations it can leave an unpleasant sticky residue behind.
Pros: For optimal skin-health we need elastin, however it’s also one of the key proteins that our bodies stop producing naturally in our twenties.
Cons: There is not much point using elastin topically as the molecule is too big to penetrate the skin and the smaller version (hydrolysed) does not have the desired effect. The best strategy is to use other ingredients that prevent the degradation of the elastin already present in skin.
Pros: This ‘active’ part of vegetable oil is one of the best natural skincare ingredients around. Highly compatible with skin as it’s one of the main components of human sebum.
Cons: Rarely found in commercial skincare, because they can be difficult to be incorporated in formulas and their extraction costs are high.
Pros: Gives support and strength to skin tissue.
Cons: Just as with elastin, when used topically, the molecule is too big to penetrate skin and the smaller version (hydrolysed) does not have the desired effect.
Pros: You can use it on its own to soften skin while improving its tone and elasticity.
Cons: Not the best natural skincare ingredient to use if you are prone to clogged pores or blackheads.
Tea tree oil
Pros: Traditional ingredient widely used at low doses for treating breakouts.
Cons: Like most essential oils, it can cause irritation.
Pros: Leaves skin refreshed and soothed. It’s a natural exfoliant or polish without the negative effects of a scrub or peel.
Cons: Some formulas can leave skin irritated and tight.