Vegan Diet? Yes! But Vegan Skincare? WHAAT??
In general, vegans follow a diet free of meat and animal byproducts such as milk or cheese. Much like these dietary restrictions, vegan skin care also forgoes animal-derived ingredients when formulating products.
Vegan skincare is a routine that uses products that do not contain any animal ingredient or animal-derived by-product rejecting the ideology of using animals as a commodity. The underlying value in doing so is to believe that all creatures have the right to life and freedom, therefore consciously avoiding the consumption or use of such products by shifting to other alternatives that are available.
Veganism does not only reject meats but also animals by-products such as dairy, eggs, fur, wool, honey, collagen, (non-synthetic) stearic acid, beeswax or even lesser-known products like rennet and isinglass.
There are plenty of other animal-derived ingredients that vegan skin care brands avoid, including carmine (a colorant derived from beetles) and silk, and they tend to use plant-based or synthetic ingredients instead.
In most cases, vegan products even steer clear of animal byproducts that are ethically sourced.
The term ‘animal derived’ isn’t always such a clear designation. Lanolin, a fantastic moisturizer, comes from the washing of sheep’s wool. It doesn’t hurt the sheep and it’s actually necessary to shear the sheep so their coat doesn’t get too heavy. But many vegan products avoid this ingredient since it does come from an animal.
When you hear that a product is vegan and free of animal byproducts, you’d think it's also cruelty-free, right? Not necessarily.
“'Cruelty free' simply means a product or its ingredients have not been tested on animals by a supplier, manufacturer, producer or any third-party entity. Some brands may be cruelty-free without being vegan.
Cruelty-free products can be ethically sourced but still contain animal byproducts like beeswax, carmine and lanolin, so you need to read the ingredients list.
You might also assume that vegan skin care products are always considered organic or natural since they tend to use plant-based ingredients. But since they often use synthetic colorants or fragrances, that’s not always the case.
“'Organic' means that the product was grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or (genetically modified organisms). The term ‘natural,’ on the other hand, means that the product does not contain anything artificial or synthetic. Since many vegan skincare ingredients are synthetic, they are by definition 'not natural" or 'organic'.
Keep your eyes open for several specific ingredients, including aloe, shea butter, grape seed extract and green tea, which are all vegan in nature.
But if you’re pressed for time and don’t feel like poring over an ingredients list, you can also look out for several common vegan seals on products you’re considering purchasing.
“There is no one official certifying agency, but there are groups such as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) that do label certain products as being vegan or cruelty-free. At EpiLynx by Dr. Liia, we always consider PETA website to make sure we only source Vegan Ingredients.
The Big Question is: Is vegan skin care better for you?
In theory, more plant-based ingredients should be better for your skin, and vegan skin care products can offer a range of benefits.
Vegan ingredients such as aloe vera, ginger, garlic, mint and lavender have been used for centuries for their healing and cosmetic properties.
Additionally, vegan products are often rich in vitamins filled with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and since they typically contain fewer ingredients, it can be easier to understand exactly what you’re putting on your skin.
If you can do without certain popular ingredients such as honey, elastin, lanolin and collagen, vegan skin care could be better for you especially if you have sensitive skin. While many of the non vegan ingredients are not harmful, when you use vegan products you probably are getting more vitamins and minerals from the ingredients that come from plants and you will feel better using it. Ethically it is :).
Shifting to Veganism does not only mean excluding animal origin products from your diet but also extends to changing every other aspect in your lifestyle from household equipment to clothes and accessories to skincare, cosmetics and so on. These are the few benefits received by you and your environment by incorporating a vegan-friendly skin care routine:
Reduces the aggravation of skin : Vegan products are generally made through natural and organic ingredients that tend to be gentler to sensitive skin. These products contain fewer ingredients that do not reduce the risk of reactions, itchiness or breakouts.
Reduce the strain on the environment by excluding animal products : As per the 2010 report by the United Nations Environment Programme, animal products are a key cause of environmental damage that include climate change, water depletion and soil erosion. Shifting to this routine will ensure that you lead a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle, reducing your negative impact on the environment.
Avoid cruelty against animals : Generally, products that incorporate veganism also avoid testing on animals and are cruelty-free. That means such products do not harm or kill animals to test the reaction of their products. These tests are often painful and are the cause of millions of deaths of animals every year. However, you must note that not all vegan – friendly products are cruelty – free and one must refrain from using such products if we want to avoid cruelty to animals in every aspect of our lives.
At the same time, vegan skin care products can still potentially cause irritation.
“Just because something is vegan doesn’t mean you can’t be allergic to it. Many plant-derived ingredients, or plants themselves, can cause irritation or a contact allergy. Especially if they are not purified and isolated correctly and are not synthetically derived.
Hoping to minimize potential irritation from vegan skin care products? Check the label for the words "preservative-free, and 'fragrance-free" since preservatives and fragrances can often aggravate skin.
Since vegan products use a lot of plant-based ingredients, you might wonder how long they last.
Vegan products can have preservative ingredients that are not animal-derived, so if that's the case, the shelf life can be comparable to non vegan products.
If vegan products forgo chemical preservatives, however, they can expire faster and require storage in lower temperatures in order to extend their shelf life. That's why it's so crucial to read those labels and do some research on the brands you use.
Any reputable cosmetic company will stability-test and include a period after opening date on the label that indicates how long it’s good for. So check the label for a symbol that looks like an open jar to see what the period after opening date is. Be careful of any product that doesn’t indicate the shelf life and does not have anything with a date on it.
Want to try some Fun Vegan Skincare Products? Here you go!
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