Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Natural vs. Synthetic

Now that we have defined what organic really means scientifically, lets explore natural vs. synthetic and try to better understand what that means to us as consumers.

It's unfortunate that the word synthetic has such a negative connotation in today's world, there are many natural substances which are harmful and we would never think to use (snake venom and poison ivy for example), but the second someone sees or hears synthetic it is automatically bad and will cause some awful ailment.

Let's look at this more closely.  Synthetic ingredients can be just as effective and may have certain advantages over ingredients derived naturally from plants. Why?  Because they are formulated in a controlled and sterile environment and often times studies for months, even years and decades after they have been created.  They are tweaked and improved upon as new science comes to light.  Also synthetic ingredients are often times inspired by something that was originally natural and then improved upon in a laboratory.

For instance hyaluronic acid is an ingredient used to bind moisture in formulations, the natural version of this substance was originally derived from rooster combs. While a great ingredient its synthetic counterpart is more stable with more water binding properties and predictable when used in formulations not to mention the roosters are much happier to keep their combs.  If we as consumers all only wanted natural ingredients our environment could be seriously affected adversely.  Whole races of animals would be wiped off the planet, forests would be completely gone, etc.  Let the scientists take the natural ingredients and work with them to produce the synthetic cousin so we can keep this blue marble spinning.

Are all natural ingredients bad?  Of course not, there are many that are great, the important thing to understand is to be able to find the balance between the worlds of natural and synthetic.  Some natural resources cause a negative environmental impact and should not be considered, synthetic ingredients really shine in this department.  Both have positive and negative drawbacks and both need to be researched with an open mind in order to make informed decisions. 

So the next time you are shopping for your new bath and body product, remember to read the ingredient list with an open mind, if you don't recognize an ingredient don't automatically think that it is bad, I encourage you to look it up, sometimes the long scary names are merely the INCI names or "International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients" which simply means the scientific name which is recognized world wide. 

We believe in education our already intelligent consumers with the correct information and not some marketing mumbo jumbo which has become the norm in society these days.  We encourage you to ask us questions about our products and ingredients, we are always happy to answer and help you to make the right decision for your skin and lifestyle.

 Stay bubbly my friends
~ Your Soapsmith

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