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Plant-Based Skincare: Is it a Sustainable Practice?

Plant-Based Skincare: Is it a Sustainable Practice?
The history of applying ointments, salves, and serums to the skin in hopes of a more youthful appearance is a long one, not surprisingly filled with many questionable, toxic, and otherwise harmful ingredients. What may be more surprising is that so many of the ingredients used in skincare today seem better suited to the 12th century than the 21st.

Through our continued dedication to provide improved education to our patients, we highlight a few of the worst and best ingredients found in the skincare industry; and share our suggestions for ridding your shelves and your skin of harmful, unethical, and ineffective ingredients.

The Ugly Truth of Animal Byproducts in Modern Skincare

Most people are probably aware of the use of lanolin (an emollient found in sheep’s wool) in countless skincare products to provide a glossy or soothing texture when applied to the skin. Lesser known, however, is the use of many other animal byproducts that are cleverly disguised in ingredient listings as innocuous-sounding additives.

Some of these ingredients include:

  1. Squalene: A chemical derived from shark liver oil favored for its purported anti-aging benefits.


  1. Guanine: An ingredient common in bronzers and other cosmetic products; made by scraping the scales off dead fish.


  1. Collagen: An additive in many skincare products boasting anti-aging benefits, this protein is extracted from animal bones, skin, and tendons. (The stimulation of natural collagen production in our skin can be achieved through the application of products containing plant-based vitamins C and A.)


  1. Snail Slime: This ingredient is added to many beauty products in an attempt to offer the same protective benefits to human skin as it provides to snail tissue.


Plant-Based Alternatives and their Efficacy

Thankfully, the skincare industry has a come a long way in recent history. Some of the most effective ingredients are now derived largely from plants, making them not only better for the environment, but more advantageous to a truly supportive skincare regimen.

Here are a few plant-based ingredients found throughout the Lumen product line:

  1. Kinetin is a plant-based protein and growth factor ingredient that increases moisturization, improves the skin’s natural barrier functions, and minimizes signs of aging. Products containing kinetin include Restoration + GF, Antioxidant Eye + GF, and Neck Define + GF.


  1. Kojic acid, derived from various forms of fungi, is an ingredient that provides brightening properties to help combat signs of hyperpigmentation. Products containing kojic acid include Luminous and Brightening Peel Pads.


  1. Salicylic acid, from willow bark, is a powerful acne-fighting ingredient as it aids in exfoliation and contains both antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Products containing salicylic acid include Clarifying Clay Mask, Clarifying Cleanser, and Daily Clarifying Pads.


The Case for Ethically Sourced Skincare

In addition to causing undue harm to our environment, animal byproducts in skincare have been proven unnecessary with the advent of plant-based extracts. In the same way that our bodies and minds function better when fueled by a healthy diet, our skin requires the proper nutrients to ward off disease, protect itself from extrinsic harm, and undo signs of premature aging.

By investing in Lumen’s 100% vegan and cruelty-free products, you can ensure that your skin remains beautiful without the need to sacrifice your ethics or your environment.

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