What Is Vegan Skincare?
To be clear, a label that says "vegan" does not necessarily mean "cruelty-free". Vegan strictly means that nothing in that tube, jar, or bottle is made from an animal byproduct. Choose vegan skincare for cruelty-free, ethical beauty. Your money supports kindness, not harm. Discover more.
Vegan products may undergo animal testing, especially if they're intended for sale in China, where such testing is mandated for imported cosmetics. Another potential problem comes when products are made from palm oil. This product, known by names like PKO, palmitate, palmate, or palm kernel stearin, often drives deforestation, endangering species like orangutans and worsening climate change. Certain companies, unable to replace this cost-effective oil, have pledged to seek sustainable, conflict-free sources of palm oil.
In summary, for vegans and those prioritizing animal welfare, seek products labeled as both vegan and cruelty-free. Note that the "certified organic" label does not guarantee vegan, cruelty-free, or even effective products.
A Vegan Diet Could Do Wonders For Your Skin
A vegan diet tends to be high in fiber and lower in saturated fat than the average American diet. This allows for improved function of insulin and glucagon production, which control your sugar metabolism, a suspected cause of acne. (Insulin imbalance affects your skin’s sebaceous glands, which can lead to clogged pores, causing acne).
Plant-based diets are high in fruits and vegetables, which in turn are rich in antioxidants. I tell my patients to eat a rainbow of naturally colorful plants, like fresh tomatoes, roasted sweet potato, yellow bell peppers, baby spinach, blueberries, and beets: The more variety of natural colors available, the better. That way, you’re getting a big array of a variety of protective antioxidants.
We all know that loading our plates up with fruits and vegetables is good for our insides. But a healthy diet rich in plant-based, whole foods can also benefit us on the outside. Cutting out processed meat, dairy, and embracing whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and berries could have some major skin benefits. But can a plant-based diet really transform our skin?
Dermatologist around the world thinks “If you want really good skin, or you want to help prevent yourself from getting some of the diseases that your family members might have, you really need to look into eating plant-based, whole foods.”
Vegan Diets For Skin Health: Eczema, Psoriasis, And Radiance
A vegan diet could also help people who suffer from eczema–a condition where patches of skin become inflamed, itchy, and cracked. According to Healthline, some limited studies suggest that a raw, vegan diet may offer potential benefits, although conclusive evidence is lacking.
Plant-based foods have also been linked with easing psoriasis, an immune-mediated disease. Similar to eczema, it causes raised red flaky patches to appear on the skin.
Eating a whole food plant-based diet can help psoriasis sufferers because it is naturally low in inflammatory foods, says dietician Deirdre Earls, RD, LD. She was once hospitalized with psoriasis as a child, but switching to a plant-based diet helped her manage the condition effectively.
She told Everyday Health, “I drastically changed my diet. I removed diet coke and ultra-processed items, replacing them with simple, mostly plant-based whole foods. Within six months, my skin had cleared.” She added, “psoriasis is an inflammatory condition, so anything you can do to cut down on inflammation should help.”
Reality TV personality Kim Kardashian-West, dealing with psoriasis for a decade, was recently diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. She shared her journey and the benefits of a plant-based diet on sister Kourtney Kardashian's website, Poosh.
“I love a healthy life and try to eat as plant-based as possible and drink sea moss smoothies,” she said, adding that she also tries to keep her stress levels to a minimum. “I hope my story can help anyone else with an autoimmune disease feel confident that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Eating vegan foods can help with painful conditions, but they can also just make your skin glow too.
You Can Find Affordable Vegan Skincare For Every Skin Type
The rising demand for vegan beauty products has led to a wide range of options for all consumers. (It also means you can buy cheap vegan skincare, thanks to the laws of supply and demand.)
Looking for a cleanser that won't irritate your sensitive skin? Plant-derived ingredients can cleanse and exfoliate the skin gently, without causing harm to the natural barrier or triggering allergies.
Need a moisturizer that won't leave you with clogged pores and an acne breakout? A lotion with anti-inflammatory antioxidants from seed oils, plus some probiotics to balance out the skin's microbiome, is at the ready—no animal products necessary.
Turning your medicine cabinet vegan might just be one of many steps you take toward weaning yourself off of all animal products. Or choosing vegan cosmetics could be the only step you can see yourself taking right now. Either way, it's never been easier to make this switch, and it won't be a compromise but an improvement.