When choosing skin care products, it’s so much easier to focus on which ingredients to avoid than those that are good for you. This has been true for me, in that so much of my research on ingredients has been about which ones are harmful.

The sad truth is that the cosmetic and toiletries industries are basically unregulated, and there are no industry standards or established meanings for terms such as natural, organic or safe. For the most part, organic has referred to farming and food production, not personal care products. In addition, manufacturers are not required to prove the claims they make about their products or to test a product’s safety.

While we can sit around and bemoan the fact that there are some truly funky ingredients in our skin care products, I see the glass as half-full. This is a great opportunity to be proactive and learn about all ingredients–both good and harmful. It’s important to be responsible for not only what you put in your mouth, but also what you put on your body.

Actually, there are many personal care products that have excellent ingredients. Much like organic produce, these products are likely to cost more because of the care taken in producing and purchasing good ingredients. Factors such as where and how the ingredients are grown, soil content, environmental stability, lack of pesticide use, how the ingredients are collected or harvested (time of day, by hand versus machinery), temperature, how they’re processed, preserved, and exposure to chemicals. The point here is that there are many variables to take into consideration in maintaining the integrity of the ingredients to achieve the highest quality and efficacy.

A great place to start is understanding a little about good ingredients. All ingredients in your skin care products have a purpose, and are included for their effect on your skin.

There are three basic ingredient groups in your skin care products:

• Oils. These carrier oils may include olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil, etc.
• Water-based ingredients. These include such things as distilled water, aloe, witch hazel, etc.
• Essential oils. This includes aromatic oils such as rose oil, lavender oil, rosemary oil, etc.

Nourishing your skin is an important component to its health and immunity function. Here are a few ingredients from the essential oil group that are considered particularly beneficial:

• Neroli or Orange Blossom. Extracted from the flower blossoms of the orange tree or in some cases, the orange peel itself. Different varieties have different properties, but in general, this essential oil has an uplifting citrus and floral fragrance. Neroli or Orange Blossom generally comes from Spain or France and can be a little pricey. It’s good for all skin types and can soothe mature skin and hormonal acne.

• Lavender. This moderately priced essential oil is extracted from the flowers of the Lavender plant. The finest Lavender comes from France, and has a gentle, relaxing fragrance. Lavender is good for all skin types and conditions. including rosacea and coupe rose conditions. It promotes cell regeneration, helps prevent scarring and stretch marks, and is known for it’s wound healing properties. Lavender is great for soothing sunburns when mixed with Aloe Vera.

• Rose. Extracted from rose petals, this essential oil has an aromatic floral fragrance and was originally produced in the Middle East. As a cell rejuvenator, rose oil is good for all skin types. While rose oil is expensive, it has many uses. It’s used as a soothing agent for blood vessel problems including varicose veins.. Rose oil also has strong antiseptic properties and can be used on bacterial and viral skin infections.

• Rosemary. This moderately priced essential oil is extracted from the flower tops and leaves of the Rosemary plant and has a fresh, herbal fragrance. Originally from the Mediterranean area, Rosemary is very antiseptic, and is used as a potent antibacterial, antiviral and anti fungal agent for the skin. It’s great for sluggish skin as it boosts circulation, reduces cellulite, and decreases inflammation and dermatitis.

These are only a few or the many fabulous skin care ingredients available. Look for more about ingredients in future blog post.