The Science of Natural Skincare: Should You Really Eat Your Skin Cream? - Sweet Bee Naturals

The Science of Natural Skincare: Should You Really Eat Your Skin Cream?

Treating our bodies like a “temple” is no longer a cliché, it is a must. Since we only have one body, we need to be careful what we consume via food and drink, and we can’t forget what we put on our skin as well. Consumers are becoming more conscious about the ingredients they apply to their skin, and many are opting for products so pure that they could, quite literally, eat them without harm. In fact, one of the new rules of skincare goes something like this: I will not put it on my skin if it is not safe enough for me to eat. But is this concept rooted in science, or is it just another passing fad? In this article, we will delve into the science of skincare and explore whether you should really be able to eat your skin cream.

As the body's largest organ, our skin is a highly complex and dynamic system that is always on duty. It serves as a protective barrier against the external environment, always. While it's designed to keep harmful substances out, such as harmful microorganisms, UV radiation, and pollution, it also has the remarkable ability to absorb certain substances that are applied topically.  

To maintain its health and integrity, the skin requires a careful balance of hydration, nutrition, and protection. If unbalanced, conditions such as skin eczema, dryness, inflammation, acne and other skin problems associated with dry skin can occur. There are thousands of skin care products on the market, many marketed with organic and natural ingredients that are also used in the foods we eat. These products have led some to suggest that a skincare product is better for you if you can eat it and will help alleviate some or all of these dry skin conditions.

The idea behind "eating your skin cream" stems from the belief that certain nutrients and compounds, when ingested, can positively impact the skin's appearance and health. There is no question that there is a link between our nutrition and skin health that helps reduce dry skin conditions.  As such, a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids can help maintain healthy skin, and give the skin the fuel it needs to continue to do its most important jobs.


The primary reason why natural skincare is safe enough to eat lies in the ingredients used. Natural skincare products are typically crafted from plant-based ingredients, such as oils, herbs, and botanical extracts, some of which are found in our kitchen pantries. These ingredients are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, providing numerous benefits for the skin, and our overall health.

On the other hand, traditional skincare products often contain synthetic chemicals and harsh additives that can be absorbed by the skin, potentially causing adverse effects over time. In contrast, natural skincare products for dry skin use ingredients sourced from nature, which are often biocompatible with the skin, reducing the risk of harmful absorption, irritation, or even hormonal disruption.


Dr. Marcelo Buzzi, PhD in Molecular and Biological Sciences, highlights the need for some restraint when adopting the eat your skincare philosophy.  He states, “You most certainly want to go natural with your skincare products and routine, however, certain elements and components are better applied as a topical compared to eating them.”  

Dr. Buzzi added, “The vast majority of bio-actives from medicinal plants that have therapeutic action on the skin and other organs are the result of the secondary metabolism of plants and accumulate in various plant organs such as flowers, leaves, stems, and roots. Many of these compounds are small molecules with characteristics that do a great job of penetrating through the skin, quickly reaching the epidermis and dermis, and have anti-inflammatory and regenerating effects. However, when in contact with stomach and intestinal mucous membranes, they can cause severe irritation and, in some cases, poisoning.” 

Dr. Buzzi gives the example of topical extracts from poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac that can be used to treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. They contain compounds like urushiol, which have anti-inflammatory properties and have been shown to help with eczema and psoriasis.  However, ingesting these plants or their extracts can cause severe allergic reactions, including rashes, blisters, intoxication, and internal irritation. Another example is arnica, a plant in the sunflower family. It is used worldwide topically for its anti-inflammatory properties and to relieve muscle aches and bruises. Yet, it contains helenalin, which can be toxic when ingested. Ingesting arnica can lead to nausea, vomiting, and other adverse effects. 

It's crucial to emphasize that while these plant compounds can have topical benefits when used in skin care products that have high quality control standards, they can also unfortunately be dangerous or toxic when ingested. The toxicity and adverse effects can vary depending on the concentration and preparation of the plant extracts used in cosmetic products, which are often difficult to determine simply by reading a label or visiting a products information page on the Internet. 

The reality is this: While some brands have marketed products that claim a skin care product is better if you can also ingest it,  it's essential to approach this trend with a healthy dose of caution.

Instead of relying solely on using ingestible skincare products, prioritize a healthy diet, hydration, sun protection, and a consistent skincare routine using natural ingredients to keep your skin looking and feeling its best. Engaging in this healthy lifestyle will reduce dry skin and conditions, such as eczema, redness, acne and skin inflammation and irritation. Remember that individual skin needs vary, and consulting a dermatologist can help you tailor your skincare regimen to your specific requirements. So, while it’s not the best idea to literally eat your skin cream, you can nourish your skin from the inside out with a nutrient-rich diet and proper skincare practices.

Sweet Bee Naturals fundamentally believes in this principle. We always use 100% natural ingredients, backed by science: Ingredients such as organic olive oil, avocado oil and bee-based ingredients that come from our earth, not created in a lab.  While our ingredients are found in the kitchen and are safe enough to eat (please don’t do that!), Sweet Bee Magic is truly made for application on top of your skin. Stop by and see our selection of CCOF certified organic products for you and your family to maintain happy and healthy skin!