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Baylor College of Medicine News

Want your skin to glow, 'All natural' might not be the way to go

Warmer weather means it's time to show more skin, but if you are trying to increase your glow experts at Baylor College of Medicine say all natural products might not be the answer.

"All natural doesn't necessarily mean it will be safe for your skin. An example I always use is that poison ivy is all natural," said Dr. Rajani Katta, professor of dermatology at BCM. "Some people think that by going all natural with their skin care, that it will automatically be safer for their skin. That's not necessarily the case."

Whether it is cleansers or moisturizers, Katta said you can still have allergic reactions to the ingredients even if they are all natural or organic. Many natural ingredients, such as lavender extract or sandalwood oil, are actually types of fragrance additives. Even though these are natural fragrances, they can still cause the same type of allergic reactions. Other natural ingredients, such as tea tree oil, can also trigger allergic reactions.

Some turn to all natural skin care when they have sensitive skin, or when they develop irritation or allergic reactions. Some rely on labels that state "hypoallergenic" or "safe for sensitive skin."

"Many of these terms have no legal definition, and are just used for marketing purposes," Katta said.

Since it may be hard to pinpoint exactly what is causing irritation or allergic reactions just by reading labels, Katta suggests consulting a dermatologist.

"If you have very sensitive skin and you have a hard time finding skin care products, a dermatologist can help identify allergens that you should avoid," said Katta.