The Increase Of Sustainable Cosmetics And Skincare Products

Modern consumers are more likely to purchase skincare products which are “green”; the manufacturing process is receiving more attention than ever before. There has been a gradual increase in businesses dealing with sustainable cosmetics and skincare products.

We’re all gradually gaining knowledge on the effects our actions directly have on the world we live, and our environmental responsibilities. Micro-plastics are abundantly present in the oceans of which we are yet to know the effects, diesel cars pump out toxic pollutants causing respiratory illnesses in children. The true list of negative effects we’ve had on the environment is staggering, and the outcomes of which are quite simply unpredictable. One thing we know for certain, they won’t be any good.

With this increased concern, it only makes sense that the products we use on a daily basis reduces waste and mitigates any further damage. Reusing products and purchasing natural, sustainable products is gaining traction (e.g. paper straws in restaurants). These products are typically more expensive but it’s becoming common practice to spend an additional few pounds to ‘do your part’.

In addition to the environmental aspect, more research is being published on common cosmetic products and their long and short term health effects. Aluminium present in antiperspirants has been linked to breast cancer. While not all cases are so severe, a natural product which yields the same effects as a synthetic one with an extensive manufacturing process is likely the more sustainable option.

Companies are also creating more sustainable products; understanding that they too have some corporate responsibility. Entrepreneurs are also taking action to take advantage of this increase in demand, the number of natural/organic skincare brands has seen a sharp increase since 2017.

How is sustainability defined with such cosmetic products?

It involves a combination of production processes as well as the ingredients used. Testing should be cruelty-free (i.e no animal testing), and possibly contain no animal products (vegan certified). Other things include being GMO-free and certified organic among others.

So, what will 2021 bring?

Personally, I feel more sustainable companies are to emerge. There is clearly demand which is increasing as more of the population is informed. With that, here are the top four in my opinion which you should check out:

  1. Botanicals https://www.botanicals.co.uk/
  2. Weleda https://www.weleda.co.uk/
  3. Acure https://acure.com/
  4. annmarie https://www.annmariegianni.com/

The Ordinary – Salicylic Acid 2% Solution

The Ordinary has been established as a reputable skincare brand focused on cruelty-free, vegan, natural skincare solutions for all skin types. As a subsidiary of the Deciem group, it is no surprise that their products are perhaps some of the best on the market, both in price point and results.

The product

The Ordinary – Salicylic Acid 2% Solution claims to “exfoliate the inside walls of pores to fight the appearance of blemishes” 1. Salicylic acid is the working chemical in this formulation, a beta hydroxy acid.

What is a beta-hydroxy acid?

Let me digress, you hear names/descriptions such as these around the skincare world a lot these days, it has definitely gotten a little complicated. Perhaps it’s a selling point, big words sell things right?

Anyway, a beta-hydroxy acid contains a carboxylic acid functional group, and a hydroxy functional group, which is separated by two carbon atoms. Contrarily, an alpha hydroxy is separated only by one carbon atom, I’ll discuss these with other products. Enough chemistry however, in the cosmetics world beta-hydroxy almost exclusively refers to salicylic acid2, one less thing to think about.

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid chemical diagram

Salicylic acid works to reduce inflammation, it has non-steroidal anti-inflammatory properties, (or NSAI, something you may have seen on medications such as Ibuprofen). It does this by inhibiting the formation of pro inflammatory prostaglandins3. As a topical agent (applied to the skin), the chemical causes epidermis cells to shed more easily; preventing pores from clogging and promoting cell growth.

Read before using!

Beta-hydroxy acids increase skin sensitivity, especially in the sunlight. Either apply SPF or stay away from direct sunlight to reduce any harm. If you have sensitive skin, trial this product on a small patch of skin first as BHA’s can be an irritant or cause chemical burns.

My skin type

I’d say I have combination skin, my cheeks and lip area being somewhat on the dry side and my T-Zone being excessively oily. As you may know, oily skin leads to clogged pores and blackheads; as well as looking like I’ve dunked my face in Vaseline on my face in the morning. Consequently, I suffer from breakouts and  in this region. Now, I wash my face two if not three times a day, yet those pesky blackheads never seem to leave my face. At least until I discovered this product.

How it’s helped me

Day 1

It burns. If your skin is at all sensitive this might take some getting used to, as with most people I didn’t read the fine print. This led to quite a few chemical burns around my lip and cheek areas; possibly due to the dryness. Nonetheless, after reading a few blog posts assuring me this is normal, I went back for some more, although considerably less this time round.

Day 3

The skin around my T-zone is considerably less oily, the pores have decreased in size and are less clogged than before. Still not perfect, though I had imagined prolonged use would yield the best results. There is still some sensitivity at this point.

Day 7

My skin certainly hasn’t looked this good in a while. Considerably fewer breakouts, not oily at all, and most if not all the blackheads are gone. Skin is far less sensitive compared to day 1, and I can apply the solution almost anywhere without getting chemical burns or feeling sore.

Day 45

I have used this product for well over a month now. My skin looks and feels fantastic. All that time I’d spend exfoliating, using steam, black head tools, pore strips, has been replaced been with one product. My problem was the size of my pores, these are now considerably smaller. I’ll attribute this to the decreased oily secretions and blackheads, either way, definite results. The best results are achieved when you use this product in conjunction with Niacinamide. Read our post on The Ordinary – Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Solution, if you’re serious about reducing the size of your pores.

I personally vouch for this product; it is now an essential in my skincare regime. The solution is non-oily, non-greasy and sinks right into the skin. Get it here from Deciem’s website.

*Note: The Ordinary are currently updating their Salicylic Acid Formula and are looking to release it again soon.

References:

1 – https://theordinary.com/product/rdn-salicylic-acid-2pct-solution-30ml

2 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beta_hydroxy_acid

3 – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salicylic_acid

4 – https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Salicylic-acid