HistoLab Canada ·  April 05, 2022


Often people have the perception that organic products are better than clinical ones since organic ingredients are made using natural ingredients while clinical skincare are lab-made with chemical ingredients.  After all, organic and all natural are always better for us, right? When it comes to skincare products, this is not necessarily the case.


We can all agree on the idea of being all-natural and organic sounds healthy and appealing. However, it’s important to understand that all-natural and organic do not promise to be science-based or effective. The truth is ingredients can be ineffective or harmful to your skin even if they are natural, such as tobacco, opium poppy, and tobacco. We’re not insinuating that all natural and organic skincare lines contain harmful ingredients. However, many of these natural skincare lines have not undergone the necessary safety and efficacy test. Medical skincare or cosmeceutical skincare, on the other hand, usually must go through extensive studies of efficacy and safety test.


Natural or organic doesn’t ensure healthier, safer, or better for your skin. These terms don’t mean hypoallergenic, “Hypoallergenic” suggests that it’s less likely than non-hypoallergenic products to cause an allergic reaction, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration [FDA]. Plant-based ingredients cause irritation all the time, Poison ivy is a classic example. While no one is making a cream with poison ivy in it, natural products often contain essential oils, which can trigger a similar skin reaction.


Another problem is, that in the skincare world, the term “natural” or “organic” is not an official term. There’s no formal system that regulates ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ in skincare or a legal definition of what this term means. This gets complicated for consumers, as companies can make a claim that a product is natural while still containing ingredients that don’t constitute as natural. “All natural” or “Organic” is more of a marketing term – not a promise. 


What about Medical Skincare?

Medical Skincare, also known as cosmeceutical skincare, is targeted to specific medical conditions and needs, such as acne, hyperpigmentation, or wrinkles. The concentration of active ingredients is generally greater than what you can find over the counter, and they have been tested to be effective on the skin, hence there are greater results with such skincare. 


Medical skincare products have gone through extensive studies and are sold by licensed aestheticians and physicians. They are made with a higher concentration of effective ingredients and few “fillers”. Their safety and efficacy are the results of extensive research and are science based.


Medical skincare is often more potent with greater concentration of active ingredients, as it is designed to be that way. it should be emphasized that chemicals are not bad; they themselves are often derived from nature. Chemical acids, for example, are often plant-based. We must recognize that not all chemicals are harmful and not all are synthetic. Synthetic ingredients are also not all bad. Scientists are constantly working on improving natural ingredients by creating their own similar ingredients that are more bioavailable and effective for our skin.

Solution: Integrating Natural and Medical Skincare

The truth is skincare is changing. The best skincare companies out there today are finding the balance of using both natural and synthetic ingredients. They do this by simply choosing the best ingredients possible, despite where they come from. Some ingredients are harmful and if there are natural or synthetic counterparts for these ingredients, a good skincare company will find those alternatives and use them instead. The integration of both forms of skincare is a beautiful harmony to skincare.


The main issue with this discussion is that it isn’t black and white, so demonizing synthetic ingredients and overlooking issues with natural ingredients just to market products as “Natural” misses the point entirely. Science-based skincare has always been concerned with safety and efficacy and it uses the best in synthetics AND natural ingredients in order to achieve the best outcomes for consumers. Science isn’t concerned with consumer perceptions, it's concerned with evidence.