People are generally becoming better informed about their health and the environment and are making buying choices that reflect their values.
Natural skin care products eliminate unnecessary chemicals and additives that can be irritating to sensitive skin. These chemical-based ingredients are added by manufacturers to keep the product formula shelf-stable, but they aren't always great for maintaining healthy skin.
Natural skin care products are rich in botanical, mineral, and animal by-products that are much less damaging to the environment and gentler on the skin.
We'll go over some of our favorite natural ingredients that help support healthy glowing skin.
11 Favorite Natural Skin Care Ingredients
1. Hemp-Derived CBD Extract
CBD or cannabidiol comes from the cannabis plant. This ingredient was illegal until the US Farm Bill, which allows the sale and production of hemp containing less than 0.3% THC as CBD has been extensively researched for its health and wellness benefits while being non-intoxicating.
CBD is best known for its anti-inflammatory properties that help to support the skin's immune response, which many people find helpful for addressing scarring, redness, and acne .
In clinical studies, CBD has been shown to have antioxidant effects and stimulate collagen production in the epidermis, which may support the body's ability to resist free radical damage that contributes to premature aging .
Since the research for CBD's benefits to the skin is still new, there is no FDA-approved product that treats or manages skin conditions, but that hasn't stopped CBD from becoming a favorite natural-based ingredient in skincare and beauty products for anti-aging concerns and break-out prone skin.
2. Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is different from CBD. CBD is a cannabinoid harvested from the resin on the flower, stalks, and leaves, whereas hemp seed oil comes from the seeds. Hemp seeds don't contain any cannabinoids, but it contains high amounts of omega-3, 6, and 9 fatty acids which help to support the skin's inflammatory response.
Hemp seed oil is easily absorbed into the body and face without having to worry about it clogging pores. It's gentle enough for sensitive skin types, helping to add moisture deep into the skin and controls excess oil production.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil or melaleuca oil comes from distilling the essential oils from the indigenous Australian melaleuca tree. It's a popular skin care ingredient in acne treatment products because of its powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
Essential oils are also naturally anti-microbial and anti-fungal, which can help to prolong the shelf life of natural skincare products without nasty chemicals.
Tea tree oil is extremely potent, so while some people can apply it directly to their skin as a treatment for fungus, acne, or insect bites, it may irritate some people, so it's best diluted with carrier oils.
4. Lavender Oil
Lavender essential oil reminds us of luxury spa visits and relaxing afternoons. Lavender essential oil supports healthy inflammation levels in the skin and is used to soothe red, blotchy skin. It also has powerful aromatherapy benefits to promote a sense of calm and wellness.
5. Green Tea Extract
Green tea is good for you inside and out. It's rich in non-essential amino acids that are anti-oxidant, which may help address multiple skin concerns, such as combating the signs of aging and reducing the severity of acne.
Some pharmaceutical-grade skin treatments have concentrated green tea extract to combat UV damage in humans and animal skin cells 
Most skin care products will include green tea extract in morning routines, as massaging it into the face may help to reduce puffiness.
6. Arnica Montana
Arnica Montana, or wolf's bane, is a small yellow flower that grows in the mountains. It's been used for hundreds of years as a natural wound healing remedy for bruises, burns, insect bites, cuts, and scrapes for its anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and sterilizing properties.
It's a powerful ingredient all on its own, so it may irritate the skin when applied alone, so it's best diluted in a formula to reduce the chance of irritation.
7. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera gel is another age-old healing remedy used to treat sunburns, cuts, acne, and abrasions. It naturally contains high levels of vitamin C and A, which promote skin health.
Aloe vera gel has a cooling effect and adds moisture to the skin while delivering active ingredients that help to reduce redness and soothes pain.
8. Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil comes from the nut of the jojoba plant, which contains essential vitamins, copper, and zinc. It's a common ingredient in skin and hair care products and often acts as a carrier oil to dilute potent compounds.
People with dry skin, oily skin, or concerned about fine lines and wrinkles swear by this ingredient as it's intensely moisturizing and absorbs quickly into the skin without leaving a greasy feeling.
9. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil on the face isn't right for everyone. It's considered a comedogenic ingredient that's likely to clog pores, but coconut oil can work wonders on dry areas of the body.
Coconut oil is made up of medium-chain fatty acids with antimicrobial properties that can help keep nasty bacteria off your skin that may contribute to acne or other skin concerns.
10. Zinc Oxide
We couldn't make a natural ingredients list for skin care without adding something that protects you from harmful UV rays. Zinc oxide is a mineral found in natural sunscreens, and it's allowed in concentrations of up to 25% in formulations, regulated by the FDA.
It's effective at protecting the skin from UVA and UVB damage by reflecting and scattering photons before it penetrates the skin layers to cause damage to skin cells. Zinc oxide has not been shown to penetrate the skin and bloodstream for potential toxicity concerns, so it's one of the safer natural ingredients used for sun protection.
11. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can be used as a spot treatment when dipped with a cotton swab or as an exfoliator to help remove dead skin cells and reveal a more even skin tone.
Because apple cider vinegar is a natural antibacterial, it may also reduce the bacteria that leads to acne breakouts. This natural ingredient is extremely potent when applied topically and could irritate, so you should dilute it with water. Never apply it to extremely damaged skin and use it very sparingly as an all-over exfoliant and rinse with water after use.
The Difference Between Natural Vs. Organic Skincare
Natural ingredients are derived from botanicals, minerals, or animal by-products. It's a loose term in marketing as it refers to any ingredient found in nature. Unlike organic certifications, it doesn't have regulations surrounding it, so any company can use it in their marketing, which is why it's important to dive deeper into the ingredient list and look for uncomplicated, recognizable compounds.
"Organic" products mean that 95% of the ingredients must be organically produced and tend to have a better environmental impact—prepared and grown without chemical fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, and parabens. Organic certifications are regulated and expensive to attain, so organic products come at a higher price point.
Skincare products, especially smaller brands, may use sustainable and organic ingredients but don't have the certifications due to the costs involved with attaining one.
The Takeaway: Natural Skin Care Ingredients You Can Feel Good About
Good skincare doesn't have to be complicated. Many ingredients in nature can provide our skin the nutrients and protection it needs without contributing to devastating environmental impacts or using nasty chemicals.
When you recognize the ingredient list of your skin care product and understand your skin concerns, you'll be better at giving it the TLC it needs to stay healthy while reducing the chances of producing irritation.
There is plenty of natural ingredients out there that contains potent anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties that you can feel good about. Natural-based products are also less likely to produce irritation and involve better manufacturing practices for the environment.
- Palmieri, B., Laurino, C., & Vadalà, M. (2019). A therapeutic effect of CBD-enriched ointment in inflammatory skin diseases and cutaneous scars. Clin Ter, 170(2), e93-e99.
- Rajan, T. S., Giacoppo, S., Iori, R., De Nicola, G. R., Grassi, G., Pollastro, F., ... & Mazzon, E. (2016). Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of a combination of cannabidiol and moringin in LPS-stimulated macrophages. Fitoterapia, 112, 104-115.
- Katiyar, S. K. (2003). Skin photoprotection by green tea: antioxidant and immunomodulatory effects. Current Drug Targets-Immune, Endocrine & Metabolic Disorders, 3(3), 234-242.
The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated the statements made regarding these products. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant to substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product.