Do you sometimes wonder what “natural” skin care really means? There is now a good deal of green washing in the skin care industry – so much so, that I spend a great deal of time trying to review product lines that are the real thing. Along my journey, I came across Emily Fritchey of Sunshine Botanicals, who is Emily Fritchey, founder and CEO of Sunshine Botanicals. She has a cutting-edge approach to dramatic skin transformation and is a respected trend-setter among her peers in the field of aesthetics, plastic surgery and dermatology. She is also an award-winning product formulator and expert in the development of botanical skin treatments.
Emily is such a mine of information regarding natural skin care, that she kindly agreed to do an exclusive interview for Gorgeously Green. Here is Part 1 of the interview (Part 2 will go live next week). I hope you enjoy her expertize:
S. U. You are a clinical aesthetician – what got you into “natural” versus synthetic skin care in the first place?
E.F. Preceding my 25 + years in professional skin care was my own painful struggle with two chronic skin conditions that conventional medicine simply could not resolve. I was given a number of different medications over a period of several years in the vain attempt to correct the problems I was experiencing, and every time I stopped using these drugs the symptoms returned almost immediately. I was most frustrated because none of the doctors could ever tell me why these conditions existed in the first place. Drug therapy was all that was known and recommended. Instinctively, I knew that there had to be an underlying issue that was causing my skin problems and became determined to find out what it was. I began to study everything I could get my hands on to understand how the skin functions and how cosmetic ingredients, stress and nutrition could be contributing to the cause of my condition. (God – what a shock that was!) This intense research and discovery ultimately led to more in-depth studies in natural medicine, cosmetic chemistry, nutrition, herbology, and Iridology – and finally to the understanding of what the root causes of my problem skin condition actually were. I felt I had finally “cracked the code” as I began to understand what was causing these issues, and discovered the specific ingredients and nutritional changes necessary to produce the clear skin results I had wanted for so long. My work today is a result of what I had to go through in order to help and teach others on their journey to beauty, wellness and truth…
S.U. What does “natural” really mean to you?
E.F. “Natural” as it relates to skin care and beauty treatments simply means that a product has ingredients that are made from a renewable resource found in nature (flora, fauna, minerals, etc.), with absolutely no petroleum compounds.
S.U. We hear all these buzzwords, such as “made with botanical” and “anti-oxidants”. How can consumers tell whether this is just marketing hype or the real deal?
When it comes to evaluating any skin care product and attempting to understand the ingredients listed on a product label, it can be a bit daunting. The first rule of thumb is this: educate yourself and know your source! The “green” beauty market is a billion dollar industry and natural and organic products are in high demand, and often times companies will ‘angel dust’ natural ingredients into their formulas in order to claim the ingredient on their label for marketing proposes. “Angel dusting” is an industry term that means a manufacturer uses just enough of an ingredient to be able to list it on their product label. Even the most potent botanical out there must be used in high enough concentration to be effective in a skin formulation. So, what can you do about that? Since you may never REALLY know if it’s the real deal or not, your first line of defense is to learn how to read a cosmetic label and understand some ingredient basics, so at least you are not totally in the dark, and do a little research on the company you buy from and purchase your products from a manufacturer who’s integrity you know and trust.
S.U. What is a “botanical”?
E.F. Simply put, a botanical is a plant or plant part valued for its medicinal or therapeutic properties, flavor and/or scent”, and herbs area botanical subcategory.
S.U. Many people worry that truly natural skin care won’t be as effective as some of the more known “anti-aging” lines. When we see a magazine ad telling us a cream contains the latest scientific breakthrough in anti-aging, and then compare this product to an entirely natural one, what is the difference?
E.F. Wow – I love this question! Natural ingredients and botanical products can be equally as effective (and often more so) than their synthetic, mass produced counterparts. Lack of consumer understanding of how potent and effective herbal medicine and plant extracts really are is a large part of the confusion in this area. Combine that with million dollar marketing budgets by large cosmetic companies to sell mass produced beauty products to an aging population (who is already on “information overload”) , and you have lots of confusion and misinformation about healthy, effective ingredients that are available today. The scientific validation of herbal medicine is readily available and the research on the activity and medicinal properties of plant medicine can rival the latest, most sophisticated scientific discoveries we see in the beauty marketplace today. That said, it is important for consumers to know that all natural products are not created equally, and the specific ingredients and manufacturing methods used to create a product determine the overall efficacy of that formula, and can vary widely in strength. For example, each manufacturer has its own method of extracting plant medicine and has its own unique distillation methods. While these methods may not make a difference to consumers, it should. The number of different extraction methods illustrates the contrasting philosophies pulling at the ends of contemporary herbal medicine. One supports the highly scientific method of standardization, which involves measuring and extracting specific compounds believed to be responsible for the herbs’ medicinal effects. The other is the traditional “whole herb” school of thought, which asserts that all of a plant’s compounds contribute to its ability to heal and protect health, and plucking out one or a few compounds means losing that synergy. The creation of highly effective, highly potent herbal tinctures and botanical skin care formulas is both a science – and art. When a skilled craftsman applies effective extraction techniques to high quality plant material (filled with life force energy) – the finished formula can be profound and every bit as effective for treatment of specific skin conditions as the latest, greatest – most razzle dazzle “chemical soup” that ever came out of a laboratory…