Roll up, the ultimate battle in skincare - big industry & their evil mass produced toxic chemical skincare V the honest living off the land natural organic producers making small batches from carefully selected plants. Who should win?
The truth of course is that natural, chemical, organic or synthetic are really just marketing words in skincare used to convince you dear reader to part with your synthetically produced (but plant based) notes. There's no difference between synthetic and natural. Neither in law or in practice. Everything is chemicals.
Organic skin care is not regulated in the same way as organic food. Nothing is chemical free. Nothing. Well a vacuum is, which ironically, is nothing.
"Ah" you counter "They might be, but naturally-occurring 'chemicals' can be mined out of the ground, or refined from living organisms such as animals or plants. Synthetic chemicals are cooked up in factories using methods different than those nature uses & these chemical structures aren't found in nature."
Good point! But are the finished natural products you are using as raw as the day they were mined? Or have they been processed in some way? Can a synthetic chemical be made from a natural product (i.e. naturally derived)?
Just because a product is marketed as green or clean or organic or natural doesn't mean it's superior or doesn't need the same degree of safety testing. Ricin is naturally made from Castor beans. Not great to eat. Even cucumbers are toxic in large enough amounts (google toxic squash syndrome, its a real thing).
And there's the rub - the toxicity of any chemical is about dose. Synthetic products are made to an exact method, natural extracts are a mixture of lots of different compounds whose quantities will vary making the exact quantity of each active ingredient hard to know. This means you can't be entirely sure of the dose form one batch to another.
This is not to say that sellers of natural, organic or clean products are peddling rubbish products. There many real benefits to using these products but they are usually buried in a confusing mess of marketing buzzwords and pseudoscience.