Preservative-free, sulphate-free, all-natural and evergreen, there’s an enduring magic in plant-powered beauty products that’s almost impossible to find in commercially formulated applications. Botanical beauty innovations exude a timeless, abiding quality that conjure miracles on the skin in a gentle, healthy and harmless way. But in an age where a burgeoning legion of beauty brands are clamouring for skin share, it can be hard to distinguish between safe and unsafe.

When making a skincare buy, it is important to ask yourself some basic questions. What am I seeking from this product? How do its individual ingredients impact my skin? Does it contain parabens, sulphates or phthalates? How will it deliver scientifically on its promise? To gain a holistic understanding of how a beauty product can enhance your skin naturally, take a step back to consider how skin reacts to a range of applications and how processes like skin lightening, anti-ageing, inflammation control, pigmentation reduction and skin moisturisation really work.

Skin Lightening

The colouring of one’s natural skin is controlled by melanocytes, cells located in the bottom layer of the epidermis, which produce a natural pigment called melanin. Lower melanin production leads to lighter skin, whereas harder working melanocytes imply a darker complexion. When it comes to skin lightening, the only way that melanin production can be slowed is by hindering the multistep melanin production process. Fairness creams abound in the Indian beauty market, but it is wise to pay heed to their formulations. While some formulations may contain molecules too large to even penetrate the upper epidermal layer, some may be composed of unwelcome, unsafe ingredients that do more harm than good. Steer clear of skin lightening cures that contain active ingredients like mercury, steroids, hydroquinone and monobenzone, which not only act as short-lived melanin inhibitors, but can cause permanent damage to skin. In particular, hydroquinone is suspected to be cytotoxic (toxic to cells), mutagenic (capable of genetic mutations) and carcinogenic (cancer causing). It is thought to be linked to complications such as thyroid disorders, liver disease and adrenal dysfunction. As a result, it has been prohibited for sale as a skin lightener in Europe, Japan, and Australia. Likewise, long-term use of mercury is tethered to kidney and nervous system damage.


As your skin grows older, you’ll notice wrinkles, age spots and fine lines begin to set in. Ageing is caused by the breakdown of dermal elastin fibres and collagen, which not only lose much of their robustness and symmetry with time, but also their ability to restore and replenish. Without this structure supporting the epidermis, the skin begins to sag, giving way to wrinkles and age spots. In addition, the skin’s production of hyaluronic acid, which works as a powerful humectant and keeps skin plump and supple, reduces. Before you reach for an anti-ageing product that entices you with promises of youthful-looking skin and banished wrinkles, it’s important to realise that ageing is an irreversible phenomenon, and nature’s way. However, with topical applications of hyaluronic acid, the skin’s ability to absorb and retain water can be enhanced. In turn, it can present a smoother, fuller appearance. Aside from hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and Retinol (vitamin A) can also work wonders in stimulating collagen production. That being said, if you do seek out a vitamin C anti-ageing cure, check the label to ensure that vitamin C forms at least 10% of the product’s formulation. In a less concentrated form, you likely won’t get the results you wish for.

Inflamed Skin

If you have been engaged in a time-served battle with conditions like itchy, red or sensitive skin it is possible that the products you’ve been using haven’t really been pressing the problem at its root but instead has only been attending to the symptoms. Inflammation is a result of skin not agreeing with something that is going in to your stomach or something that you are putting on it. This can then lead to microbial infection. For instance – dandruff. Dandruff is the product of bacteria preying on sick, inflamed skin. Therefore, the best way to treat this condition is not only to kill the microbes itself, but to identify the root of the inflammation. Addressing the cause while also attending to its symptoms can provide a lasting solution to the problem. The harsh truth is that many of the cleansers, face wash, bath gels shampoos marketed as a ‘one-wash, anti-dandruff treatment’etc, in fact, contain abrasive sulphates, which cause inflammation in the first place. Plant-powered innovations, on the other hand, can work as a gentle antidote for inflamed skin, soothing and restoring it to wellness.

Pigmentation Reduction

It isn’t uncommon to start noticing an uneven skin tone as you age. Patchy skin is usually a result of pigmentation, or an uneven production of melanin. Pigmentation is almost always caused by extended exposure to sunlight, which leads to oxidation, cell death and eventually, photoageing. Botanical beauty products like peels and lightening creams can conjure away age spots and blemishes triggered by photoageing, gently peeling back the upper layers of the skin to reveal smoother, fresher underlying layers. Sunscreens also play an important role in keeping UVA and UVB rays at bay and preventing the formation of new age spots. Anti oxidants help in combating free radicles that are responsible for this type of oxidative damage.

Skin Moisturisation

Dry skin is your body’s way of telling you that it is essentially moisture-deprived, and is a result of excessive water loss due to gaps in epidermal lipids. As skin ages, the lipid layer becomes weaker and loses much of its erstwhile uniformity, leading to inevitable moisture escape. Effective moisture-imparting balms and creams are typically composed of three key elements: water, oil or butter, and a film forrner. While water imparts cells with necessary moisture, emollients like oil or butter serve as a temporary anchor that keeps the moisture in place. A film former like aloe vera lends longevity to emollients, ensuring that a formulation lasts longer. Without these three key ingredients, a moisturiser will likely leave no lasting benefits on your skin. When evaluating a product, trust the label as a window into the product. If it doesn’t offer you a wide enough view, it’s probably not worth your time.

High-quality, botanical beauty products can open a world of miracles for your skin, offering a sweeping suite of superlative benefits. In light of this, it is important to note the scope of topical applications. Knowing where to draw the line between self-care and medical treatment is imperative and it’s always a good idea to get a dermatologist’s opinion on skin or hair problems you may be facing. Straddling the path between cosmetic and medical treatment can be just the blessing your skin has been waiting for.