Cosmetic ingredients get a lot of negative press, but what ingredients are really beneficial in skin care products? Lets look at some things that you should be looking for on your label. Here are a few.

Natural Vegetable oils. Natural vegetable oils offer the skin a variety of necessary fatty acids that the skin needs to maintain its barrier function. Some vegetable oils also provide phytoestrogens and other nutrients and antioxidants. Good vegetable oils include olive oil, meadowfoam oil, rice bran oil, avocado oil and more.

Water. Water is an important part of a skin moisturizer because only water can moisturize. An all oil product can help hold in water into the skin and softens the skin but it of course cannot add water or moisture to the skin.

Preservative. Preservative free is a big trend now but just like food, anything that you keep for more than a day or so requires preserving. You can make a nice bowl of soup using fresh ingredients from your garden and it tastes great when you make it. But you would never leave it on your dresser and take a bite each night for the next few months. A non-preserved skin care product that you might make at home such as a mask is great to use immediately, but it needs to be preserved if you are not planning to use it up within a few days. It is just not safe to use an unpreserved product and you are putting yourself at risk for infection.

Something extra. There are many extras for skin care products from humectants to herb extracts and higher end ingredients such as peptides. Depending on what you want from your product you might want to look for these.

Humectants. Humectants bind water to help it stay close to the skin. These include glycerin, hyaluronic acid, honey or caprylyl glycol.

Vitamins. Vitamins are popular in cosmetics and might include vitamin E, vitamin B, vitamin C and vitamin A. Vitamin C is unstable and so is often found as vitamin C ester. Vitamin A is often masked in another oil or extract that is high in vitamin A such as parsley, pumpkin or calendula flower extracts. These vegetable sources of vitamin A are actually a provitamin A called carotenoids. Vitamin B has several family members seen in skin care products including Vitamin B3 (niacin) often seen as niacinamide and Vitamin B5 or pantothenic acid. Vitamin B deficiency can result in redness, irritation, dermatitis and hyperpigmentation.

Peptides. Peptides are made in a lab but made by green chemistry meaning they it does not use or produce hazardous substances. Many peptides are now available that help promote collagen and other proteins found in the dermis of the skin.

Read your labels and look for something extra in your skin care. Natural skin care products can and should contain actives. And if you can't pronounce it, just ask - its not an indicator of toxicity.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Cindy Jones is a cosmetic formulator and herbalist and owner of Colorado Aromatics Cultivated Skin Care.