Herbal and ayurvedic skin care remedies have taken the Indian market by storm. We somehow feel safer using “chemical-free” herbal products.
Many people stick to herbal brands like Himalaya Herbals, Lotus Herbals or Biotique and do not use chemical or English brands such as Neutrogena or Sebamed.
Many of these people have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get herbal creams to work for their skin problems. They will not go to a doctor, they will not use any chemical-based creams or medicated treatments because to them, herbal is safer.
Let us see what goes into making an herbal product.
The Neem Cream formula
Say you want to make a neem cream. You would require neem leaves of course. That is going to be the active ingredient in the neem cream. If you were to buy this neem paste, it would last about a week and even then you would have to keep it in the refrigerator the whole time.
- To make this neem paste look like a cream and spread easily, you add a cream base.
- To make this neem paste last 3 years and not 3 days, you add preservatives.
- To make this neem paste smell good, you add fragrance.
- To make this neem paste a light, minty shade of green, you add coloring.
The cream base, preservatives, fragrance and coloring, often passed off as inactive ingredients are actually a complex mix of chemicals. These chemicals can cause anything from acne to cancer.
The herbal products you are buying in the form of tubes and jars contain herbal active ingredients mixed with chemical-based inactive ingredients.
To make their products into nice-smelling, tempting, smooth creams people can carry around in jars, companies add chemicals. That makes herbal products just as bad as any other chemical containing creams.
Herbal companies proudly list all the herbal active ingredients, but cleverly avoid listing what chemicals have gone into making the cream/lotion base, coloring, fragrance and preservatives. They simply don’t put those chemical names on the label and try to create an impression that their products are herbal-only and somehow safe.
Who is the fool here? The customers, who are so bent on using herbal remedies that they don’t stop and think why their neem cream is smelling like aftershave when it is claimed to be herbal!
- Herbal and ayurvedic ingredients can be very powerful and can completely clear your skin. If and only if they don’t come loaded with a comedogenic (acne causing) cream base / lotion and skin-irritating fragrance and coloring. Alas, most herbal companies use all the right active ingredients, but carelessly or ignorantly use a cream base that clogs pores and causes more pimples. It is quite common for herbal acne creams to actually cause more acne because of their thick cream base.
- Don’t let your skin condition get worse and worse just because you only want to stick to “chemical-free herbal” formulas. The companies are already fooling you, now you don’t keep fooling yourself into thinking that by using herbal products you are somehow safer.
- Acne is a disease – even if you only get a couple pimples here and there. If herbal formulas have failed to give you completely clear skin, go to a dermatologist. Even if you don’t want to go to a doctor, there are many good treatments available in the market which you were earlier rejecting because you only wanted to use herbal products.
- Herbal products may be cheaper, but because of trying one ineffective herbal cream after another, you are paying a bigger price in the form of acne and permanent acne scars. This is not to say chemical-based creams always work, but don’t limit your options to herbal-only products. Open your mind to other treatments as well.
Hope for herbal
These days bigger herbal companies like Himalaya Herbals declare that they use parabens in their products. Parabens have been linked to cancer. Himalaya Herbals even lists that their products contain “herbal actives” which means that the active ingredients are herbal and the product as a whole is not necessarily all-herbal.
Lotus Herbals have started listing all the ingredients on their labels and you will see lots of them are “chemicals”. Their products also contain parabens. Aroma Magic is taking it one step further by coming out with paraben-free products, but you still don’t see the full ingredient list on many of their products.
Ayur and Biotique only list herbal ingredients and no inactive ingredients. Other brands such as Everyouth, Aroma Treasures, Nature’s Essence, Jovees don’t list full ingredients either.
Don’t get me wrong. I love herbal products as much as you do and would be the first in line to buy if someone were selling safe, effective, herbal-only skin care products.