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The Clean Beauty Trend

From CNN

If you've shopped for any beauty product recently, from lipstick to shampoo, you may have noticed new labels that call out certain products as "clean beauty." But what does "clean beauty" really mean? Is it the same as organic? Natural? And what are the benefits of having a "clean" beauty ritual, anyway?

As more brands continue to get into the clean beauty game, understanding the benefits of what you're buying can be confusing, especially because beauty products are regulated — but not technically "approved" — by the Food and Drug Administration. According to the FDA, "the law does not require cosmetic products and ingredients ... to have FDA approval before they go on the market."

And that makes it tricky to understand what "clean" beauty products really are. "The US Food and Drug Administration has failed to define 'clean' and 'natural' beauty, leaving these labels open to interpretation by non-dermatologists and retailers who have set out to define clean beauty for themselves," says New York dermatologist Dr. Anne Chapas, founder and medical director of Union Square Laser Dermatology and clinical dermatology instructor at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. Here's what you need to know.

Defining clean beauty

At the most basic level, clean beauty products generally do not include potentially toxic and harsh ingredients, including parabens, which some research suggests may be carcinogenic and hormone disrupters, and formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Instead, they often contain naturally-occurring ingredients that have been sustainably and ethically sourced. "They rely more heavily on natural preservatives and antioxidants and utilize the power of vitamins and minerals in their purest, most natural forms," says Washington, D.C. esthetician Sarah Akram.

Especially for people with sensitive skin, clean beauty products can be a game-changer. "Products formulated with harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrances, color and plasticizers, which are often added to help makeup and moisturizers adhere to your face longer, can irritate the skin causing redness, roughness, irritation and breakouts," says Suzanne LeRoux, founder of One Love Organics, a brand that identifies as "clean." According to Akram, another upside to clean beauty products is that, if formulated correctly, they may be more effective. "Time and time again, we find synthetic versions of raw, natural ingredients never fully replicate their effects," Akram says.

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