Přírodní chemie

Natural chemistry

I recently heard, "Plants are not inert, they contain a lot of chemicals." It is not an entirely simple topic, there is a lot of fog and misinformation around it.
The first half of the sentence says: Plants are not inert (note that inert = non-reactive with other substances, in cosmetics it means that it will not do anything to the skin, it will not irritate it). Many of us believe that herbal/natural cosmetics are automatically safer, healthier, more sustainable. Often the opposite is true and on the contrary there is a much greater risk of allergies and irritation.

And another part of the sentence that resonates a lot with me as a biochemist ...they contain a lot of chemicals : the word chemical was adapted somewhere along the way and somehow took on a different meaning than it actually has. A chemical is not a substance derived from petroleum or a laboratory. It's just a molecule. The word itself does not indicate the origin of the substance. It just describes the functional or structural ~chemical~ nature of that substance.

So I ask:
Are natural cosmetics safer?
Does my product contain any toxic ingredients?
Should I avoid chemicals?
These questions or doubts are quite understandable and mostly common. Many brands pride themselves on being green, clean, eco, organic, etc. and display badges and corresponding symbols on their products. The given certifications are then subject to the institutions that proposed them, not to national or international legislation.
Beauty product sales are worth $500 billion worldwide today and are estimated to reach $800 billion by 2023. Natural and beauty products make up just a fraction of that amount, around $11 billion, but are expected to double in annual sales to 2024. Many companies are thus responding to stricter environmental standards, greater transparency and more natural products in the brand portfolio.
There are countless reasons to buy natural products and why we prefer them. The main argument is the health and safety of the cosmetics that we apply to our skin, and I therefore dwell on why the prevailing opinion is that synthetics are automatically dangerous.
The toxicity of substances is determined by the relationship between hazard and risk.
Let's imagine:
The tiger is a very dangerous animal that lives on our planet, so the risk is high. But I live in the Czech Republic - the risk of meeting him here is small. So should I be worried?
In toxicology, the same consideration is applied to all substances, and for their occurrence in cosmetics, the maximum permissible amount is expressed, at which there is 100% no risk.
So is it necessary to avoid "controversial" substances?
Example of petroleum jelly: it is made from petroleum. But it is the purest product of the cosmetic industry. It is even used on the recommendation of dermatologists, because it is completely inert, which means that it does not react with anything. It will provide dry and extremely sensitive skin with unique protection, which it naturally lacks due to low sebum production, without any reactions.

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