A ‘natural’ ingredient is considered to be anything that’s a plant, mineral or animal by-product. However, because natural products – or those claiming to be natural – aren’t regulated by any governing body, brands can use the word natural on their packaging purely as a marketing ploy.
This means a product that contains a handful of natural skin care ingredients can claim it’s natural, despite the addition of synthetic ingredients.
Organic Skin Care
Because today’s consumers are more conscious of their health and the environment, there are more organic skin care products available than ever before.
Other people may have developed allergies to all of the toxins and chemicals used in commercial skin care produts and are looking for a healthier alternative.
Some commonly used ingredients in commercial products include fragrances, dyes, and various types of acids.
1. Natural Ingredients
By contrast, organic skin care products contain natural ingredients such as vitamins A, C, or E, essential oils, antioxidants, or proteins. These are necessary to replace the skin cells lost as we age.
As the body gets older, it produces less collagen and elastin, which leads to dry, wrinkled skin. Re-hydrating the cells from the outside is the only way to repair this age-related damage.
You can now find organic skin care products in almost any pharmacy, drug store, or health food and nutrition store. If you do not have access to any of these places, there are many retailers online to choose your natural cosmetics from.
Some spas and salons have also added organic products to their inventory, so you may want to look there as well. Most of these products are free of fragrances and dyes and will not cause or aggravate existing allergies.
2. Advantages and Disadvantages
There are organic products available both men and women. Men can find organic shaving lotion and after-shave, while women usually have more options of cleansers, creams, toners, and gels.
Unfortunately, organic products generally cost more than the synthetic version of the same item. It is worth the extra cost to protect your skin and your health from toxic chemicals and preservatives.
An alarming number of mainstream skin care products may contain the wetting agents diethanolamine and triethanolamine, sometimes listed on ingredient labels as DEA and TEA, respectively.
These substances by themselves are not considered to be a cancer risk. If the product contains nitrites as contaminants, this may cause a chemical reaction that creates cancer-causing nitrosamines.
3. Bactericides And Preservatives
Most commercial cosmetic products include some type of bactericides or preservatives. These are necessary to protect the cosmetics from contamination, but may also be dangerous or even carcinogenic.
For instance, trace amounts of formaldehyde are found in some products. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and is neurotoxic in higher doses.
How can you be sure that your skin care products are really organic? Unfortunately, there is still plenty of room for vagueness in labeling of cosmetic products. Generally, a cosmetic product must follow the same USDA rules as would a food product.
The product must contain no less than 95% organic and natural ingredients in order to qualify for the label.
After the 95% threshhold is met, there is a serious lack of additional guidance and regulations.
There are no restrictions on the words cosmetic manufacturers can use on their labels, so you many see plenty of products called “organic” or “botanical” even though they may still contain a small amount of synthetic chemicals.
Read the ingredient labels carefully to be sure that your organic skin care products are really made of only organic materials.
The fail-safe way of checking this is to turn the bottle around or upside-down and read the ingredients list.
Ingredients are listed in order of percentage from highest to lowest, so if you’re trying to limit synthetic ingredients, make sure they’re always listed towards the bottom.
However, don’t let the scientific names of natural skin care ingredients fool you into thinking they’re actually synthetic.
Ingredients like benzyl alcohol – a natural preservative – often sound synthetic, but this particular one is actually produced naturally in a number of plants. A little research will clear up any queries, though.