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Are Natural Ingredients Safer than Synthetics?

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By James Kennedy

Many beauty and skincare products tout the benefits of natural ingredients, but are natural products really safer?

What are Natural Ingredients?
The term ‘natural’ is only an appropriate label for single ingredients that have undergone minimal or no processing. Even plant-based skincare products aren’t entirely natural, because those combinations of ingredients have never occurred in nature before.

Are Natural Products Better or Safer?
Everything on Earth consists of chemicals, many of which have very long names and are difficult to pronounce. The active ingredient in chili peppers? 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl methyl-8-methyl-non 6-enamide.

All of what we consume includes small amounts of ingredients that would be harmful if consumed in large amounts, and naturally occurring chemicals are not necessarily safer than those created synthetically. In fact, five of the seven most toxic chemicals ever discovered occur naturally. All of which is why a product labelled ‘natural’ is not necessarily safer or any more effective than its synthetic counterpart.

James Kennedy is an Australian science teacher and a chemical safety expert with over five years of experience advocating for a rational approach to public chemical safety. James Kennedy has provided permission for the use of this content for HEALTHY ESSENTIALS®.

©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2019

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