At Tracie Martyn, we’ve been doing natural, non-toxic skincare long before it became a modern movement, so we like to think we know a thing or two about it. Despite natural skincare becoming more popular, we’ve noticed that there is still a lot of misinformation and mystery out there, from what “natural” even means to what it can do for your skin. So today we’re tackling four common myths about natural skincare along with the truth.
Myth 1: "Natural skincare" means the same thing for every brand
We wish this wasn’t a myth, but because the terms “natural,” “clean,” and “organic” are not regulated by the FDA, any skincare brand can claim to be natural by simply having natural ingredients in their products. The beauty industry calls this “greenwashing”—companies branding their products as safe and natural through marketing, despite the fact that they contain many petrochemicals that are potentially harmful to both your body and the environment. Knowing how to read an ingredient list is a useful skill to have as a consumer.
At Tracie Martyn, we define “natural” as derived from natural ingredients or ingredients that are naturally found in our bodies—such as hyaluronic acid—and are therefore biocompatible. We also eliminate silicones, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, synthetic fragrances and dyes, and harmful preservatives. Some of these (like silicones) may not necessarily be harmful for your skin, but we believe there are better, more nourishing natural alternatives.“Clean” or “non-toxic” skincare is usually skincare that does not include known toxins or suspicious ingredients. How brands define this is totally up to them, so it is a good idea to do your research and know exactly what you’d like to avoid.
Myth 2: Natural skincare is not effective
Tracie Martyn was founded to debunk this myth. Natural ingredients can be incredibly powerful. One of the most influential medical discoveries in history, penicillin is natural. There’s a huge body of research that has proven the efficacy of natural ingredients, like anti-inflammatory and regenerative rosehip oil—found in the Face Resculpting Cream—and azelaic acid, a wheat-derived ingredient that’s in the Absolute Purity Toner and Complexion Savior. Every single natural ingredient in Tracie Martyn skincare is specifically picked, not just for being natural, but for its ability to improve the skin’s appearance. We also use science to improve the efficacy of natural ingredients. Science is how we determine which concentrations are the most effective and how to increase bioavailability without irritation. Science is how we get truly advanced clean skincare.
Myth 3: "Food-grade" ingredients are always good for your skin
Our skin does not have a digestive system, so it is unable to break down skincare ingredients in the same way it can break down food. Though the claim “so pure, you can eat it,” sounds catchy, it doesn’t necessarily lead to better skin. Instead, we believe that it’s important to consider the bioavailability of ingredients as well as peer-reviewed studies to choose the most efficacious natural ingredients. Superoxide Dismutase—an anti-aging enzyme found in the Tracie Martyn Firming Serum—doesn’t sound as appetizing as coconut oil, but there are studies that vouch for its ability to repair and protect the skin, so we’re happy to include it over a food-grade ingredient.
This isn’t to say that food-grade ingredients are bad or ineffective—we have plenty of edible ingredients in our skincare!—we just don’t believe that it’s the best way to evaluate a skincare ingredient. There are also plenty of natural edible ingredients that can be harmful for your skin; for instance, bergamot oil can cause phototoxicity.
Myth 4: A shorter ingredient list means better skincare
Though we all dream of having easy-breezy skin that just needs a few drops of jojoba oil to stay radiant, most of us want skincare to correct and actively improve our skin. As our largest organ, the skin is incredibly complex with needs that shift with age. Though super-sensitive skin types can benefit from a pared-down ingredient list, most of us who expect skincare to address various concerns need more than an ultra-simple face oil. We call our skincare “complete formulas” because they have been formulated with a long list of proven ingredients that address every skincare concern, from hyperpigmentation to fine lines and wrinkles to dullness and loss of radiance.