What is Sustainable Skin Care?

November 14th, 2014

We often hear the word ‘sustainable’ as it gains marketing appeal, but what is considered sustainable skincare?  In the past much of skincare was laden with harsh chemicals not found in the sustainable (or green) natural face care of today.  That’s because educated consumers now opt for products that are safe for their skin as well as the environment, with a consciousness about where the ingredients were derived from.  The best day spas in NYC have been clued in on this fact for some time.  Because of this knowledge holistic spas, such as Joanna Vargas Skincare Sanctuary, developed a tightly edited all natural skincare line with the intent of enhancing endurance for your skin and the environment.

A fact: while researching eco-friendly spas I recently learned that the best natural day spas in New York choose high quality face cleansers, sera and moisturizers packaged specifically in glass containers.  There are no chemicals leaching into the contents that commonly happens with plastic containers.  The glass better preserves the nutrients and is reusable or easily recycled, so ultimately reduces the ecological footprint of the day spa and their clients.  This is because they equate sustainability and eco friendly, as most eco-conscious spas and producers of natural face care now agree.


How are sustainable products better for skin?

According to Ecobites.com a recent poll found that British women use an average of 515 chemicals a day with 50-60% finding its way into the bloodstream.  Sustainable face care avoids the litany of abrasive chemicals that are found in ordinary skin products including synthetic additives and preservatives.  Generally this choice of skincare uses direct trade or locally sourced ingredients, so the consumer knows what communities the botanicals were sourced from.

We have all had our run-ins with over perfumed or day-glow dyes found in cheap pharmacy grade skincare that you won’t find in  sustainable face care.  What’s clear from research is that these additives break down dermal health and should be avoided to whatever extent possible.  Now when you hit the store aisles to round out your face care cache it’s common to see products free of these top three chemical culprits:

Parabens.  In 2012 the Journal of Applied Technology found this chemical preservative in nearly 100 percent of all cases of malignant breast tumors.   So there is a plausible link between parabens and breast cancer.

Phthalates.  According to 60 Minutes on CBS, “the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, put phthalates on a list of chemicals that “may present a risk” to the environment or human health. That’s because they disrupt hormone activity and some preliminary studies show that they may be causing a slow and steady demasculinizing of men.”

Sodium Lauryl Sulfates.  The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, declares SLS a “moderate hazard.” In their findings the chemical increases internal toxicity potentially leads to cancer and endocrine disruption.  The more immediate side effect is visible skin irritation.

As a rule of thumb when you’re customizing a daily face care regime remember that if our skin, bodies or the environment cannot endure it, then it’s not sustainable.   Knowledgeable aestheticians at leading natural day spas can recommend the most effective eco-friendly products on the market for a healthy radiant complexion.


Deanna Lane has a BFA from Pratt Institute and a Masters degree in cultural anthropology from New Mexico State University–now writing health and wellness articles for Joanna Vargas Skincare Sanctuary in NYC.  Otherwise-trekking the national museum scene…