How clean skincare has become a serious power player in the beauty industry — ODE Dermatology

How clean skincare has become a serious power player in the beauty industry

Clean skincare has shaken off its hippie vibes to emerge as the high-performing, planet-loving beauty fix we all need

How clean skincare has become a serious power player in the beauty industry

As seen on Women’s Health Australia

By Penny Carroll •

Not long ago, if you wanted a natural beauty product you were reduced to searching the shelves of your local health food shop for jars of lavender-scented potions that promised not to irritate your skin.

Depending on who you ask, “clean” can mean using only natural or naturally derived ingredients; formulations that leave out certain nasties, like parabens and phthalates; or brands with a light
eco-footprint, cruelty-free practices and transparency in labelling.

There’s a practical element too, explains Dr Shyamalar Gunatheesan, founding dermatologist at ODE Dermatology in Melbourne, who notes that 2-3 per cent of the population has sensitive skin.

Chemical preservatives such as parabens and phthalates “absolutely can result in allergic contact dermatitis in a sensitive individual,” she points out.

“A lot of these synthetic preservatives release formaldehyde once they’re absorbed and formaldehyde is a toxin. Natural brands have set the precedent for more synthetic brands to try and get rid of this stuff and find safer alternatives, and I love that.”

Happily, cleaning up your beauty cabinet no longer means compromising on results. “We’re seeing leaps in cosmeceutical industry technology, how we can pair natural ingredients with skin-identical molecules and vehicles that can drive the actives into the right layers of the skin,” says Gunatheesan.


Keep your eye on these movements as clean skincare takes over the beauty industry.

Circular beauty

More than 120 billion units of packaging are produced each year by the global cosmetics industry, and most of it ends up in landfill. Not pretty.


Remember when a 12-step skincare routine was huge? Not anymore.

“The minimalist approach is really important because our skin is very clever at working out how to heal itself,” says Gunatheesan, who recommends only washing your face once a day.

Look for multipurpose products with few ingredients, or try making your own from kitchen staples for bonus skinimalism points.

Gunatheesan suggests mixing Greek yoghurt with a dash of turmeric for a brightening mask, or using MCT oil (derived from coconut oil) as a nourishing body lotion.


Research into botanical ingredients and natural dupes for chemicals is heating up as demand for clean skincare grows.

Shaking the notion that nature and science don’t mix, cleanical beauty brands are making waves with lab-tested formulas.

This research offers us reassurance, explains Gunatheesan. “I think the consumer needs to ask – even if it’s a small clinical study – what has been the improvement in skin hydration or in wrinkle depth?” she says.

“We should be open to natural ingredients actually giving results, but brands need to show clinical data and studies.”

Plant power

You won’t believe what these superhero botanicals can do.


A natural alternative to collagen-boosting retinol.

Lab studies show it has the same anti-ageing effects, minus the potential redness, irritation and UV sensitivity.

Kakadu plum

This Aussie fruit is a vitamin C superstar.

It also contains powerful antioxidants that can help to fight the signs of ageing and reduce dark circles, redness and pigmentation.

Sandalwood seel oil

Another Aussie native, its claim to fame is the rare ximenynic acid, which has strong anti-inflammatory effects.

It’s also known for regulating oily skin.

Marine extracts

Look to the botanicals of the sea to bump up hydration, preserve your skin’s natural barrier and protect against the natural breakdown of collagen.

Fragonia oil

A gentle and fragrant Aussie plant that’s antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.

It’s ideal for treating acne and soothing sensitive skin.

Kahai oil

The nut from the cacay tree is high in vitamins A and E and rich in nourishing fatty acids.

It’s known for hydrating skin, repairing damage and slowing the signs of ageing.


Targeted solutions and tailored treatments are offered to fulfil individual concerns of every age. This transcends into a guardianship of long-term, personal wellbeing and an amplification of the skin's innate intelligence.