Understanding Beauty Label Lingo

Natural v Science-Based Skincare Products – Which Are Best? 

There are A LOT of buzzwords surrounding skincare products, and trying to determine what those buzzwords mean (if anything!) and which is better can be a little confusing. Isn’t “natural” always better? What does “clean” even mean? Scientifically-based can’t be bad … right?

You see what we are getting at, there is a lot to unpack when trying to find the skincare product best suited for your skin type and your skincare goals. So let’s take a look at what that beauty label lingo really means and which products we think have the greatest impact on our patients (and our own!) skin health.

Many of us are trying to be more conscious about what we buy and make informed choices around the products we use and consume. And this is even truer when it comes to our skincare products. There are typically two perspectives on what makes a better skincare product:

  • Those that are scientific and lab-based (i.e chemical) or
  • Those that are eco-friendly and plant-based (aka natural)

Opinions on which is better seem to pinball in different directions on a daily basis!

What Makes a Skincare Product Natural?

That’s a good question, unfortunately there isn’t a straight-forward answer. Technically, there is no set definition of what makes a skincare product “natural,” and it typically means different things to different brands. Natural products generally implies that the product is formulated with ingredients found in nature, and are often plant-based. Natural can also mean that the product lacks synthetic preservatives such as parabens.

Unlike the food industry, there is no regulation in the beauty industry controlling the use of the terms ‘natural’ and ‘organic’. The most common mistake then is to assume that natural skincare is somehow safer than products that don’t have the label, but this is not necessarily true since these products are not held to any type of standard. The fact is, just as synthetic ingredients can be harmful, there are lots of natural ingredients to be found in organic products that are harmful to the skin. Just because an ingredient is natural does not necessarily mean it is better and just because an ingredient is made in a lab, does not make it toxic.

But do natural products actually work? Some do to varying extents, some don’t. What we do know is that many natural ingredients are unstable and can degrade quickly and lose their efficacy. Another thing to keep in mind is that the outer layer of the skin, the stratum corneum, is designed to keep foreign materials out of our body. So ingredients need to be formulated with some kind of penetration enhancer to be able to permeate the outer skin layer.

What Are Scientifically-Based Skincare Products?

The science of skincare is not just a catchy phrase, but actually refers to a constantly evolving understanding of the skin and its structure that allows for more informed decisions on how to care for it. Many scientifically-based skincare products provide a better way to slow the aging process and unlock the potential for the skin to heal from within.

Synthetic skincare refers to products that incorporate laboratory and scientifically derived ingredients. Many synthetic ingredients are actually based on natural compounds, but by synthesising them in a lab they can sometimes be made more effective, as well as having a consistent composition that is the same every time.

Synthetically created skincare products often enhance the positive aspects of a natural ingredient and remove any portions known to cause reactions. Pretty clever stuff. And since synthetic/human-made ingredients are consistent in their composition, they are less likely to cause a reaction/sensitivity.

But do scientifically-based products actually work? Just like natural skincare products, some do to varying extents, some don’t. There is merit in both natural and synthetically created skincare. It is important to remember that the topic is not black and white and it is far better to familiarize yourself with ingredients that are evidence based.

So Which Skincare Products Do We recommend?

At Timeless, we have spent more than 17 years in aesthetic medicine, and have been introduced to and used a wide variety of skincare products. While there are many high-quality skincare regimens on the market, our favorites have always been SkinMedica, Obagi, and ColoreScience. We appreciate that their products are scientifically developed and their results are proven.

SkinMedica® prides itself on using scientifically proven ingredients to formulate advanced skin care products. Many of the SkinMedica products include it’s renowned growth factor formula TNS, the first topical cosmetic made almost entirely of stabilized human growth factors, proven to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, skin tone and texture.

Timeless Medical Director, Erin Olah, notes, “While our patients’ results speak for themselves, TNS Essential Serum has more clinical studies than any other topical growth factor in the market today.”

At Timeless, our medical providers create an individual SkinScript for each of our patients to help them achieve their skincare goals and our selected skincare product lines play a big role in this. For example, when Jess Ropp FNP-C sought to help her patient address unwanted pigmentation, she recommended a combination of SkinMedica and Obagi products.

In just 3 short months the patient’s pigmentation has reduced significantly! Jess notes, “These results highlight how important a good skincare regimen is, using products with proven results to maximize outcomes.” She goes on to say, ”For patients who want to do more, we can combine products and treatments for increased improvement.”

Just take a look at these results … achieved with the following skincare regimen:


At Timeless Skin Solutions, our providers can help you to determine your ultimate goals and the best combination of products and treatments to help you achieve them. Our goal is to help you look natural and refreshed – you, just a little better. Contact us if you have any questions about the products you are using and to start your skincare journey today.


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