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When It Comes To Skin Care, Botanical Isn't Always Better

Armen Hareyan's picture

Natural Skin Care

Grapeseed, avocados, apricots and vanilla. They are not items on a grocery list, but ingredients for today's popular skin care products. They may sound replenishing, but dermatologists at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston say natural products are not the best bet for the skin.

"So many of my patients resort to `all-natural' remedies, in the thought that these products are better for the skin," said Dr. Rajani Katta, an assistant professor of dermatology at BCM. "However, these natural ingredients can be a problem for sensitive skin."

Katta, who specializes in contact dermatitis (inflammation of the skin due to contact with substances), said the most common offending agent in these botanical products is fragrance.

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"Patients with sensitive skin may develop allergic reactions to fragrance ingredients," said Katta. "Because botanical ingredients can serve as fragrances, they may lead to rashes in some patients."

Although popular skin care lines advocate that botanical ingredients are better than artificial chemicals, Katta said patients often develop reactions to the plant extracts.

"There is nothing that says natural ingredients cannot cause skin rashes," said Katta. "The classic example provided by dermatologists is that of poison ivy."

When shopping for skin care products, Katta recommends that those with sensitive skin choose fragrance-free products, and use mild soap and moisturizing creams.