Organic Skin Care vs Natural Skin Care

The terms “organic skin care” or “natural skin care” are becoming more the norm on product labels. It is testament to the health and environmental movements that industry realises that the terms organic and natural are more likely to appeal in the market place.

First it is important to realise that there are no legal requirements for the terms “natural skin care” or “organic skin care” in most countries. Consequently you are going on trust when purchasing these products or ideally you have read the label and made an informed decision.

Many companies will define “natural” as skin care products “derived from natural ingredients”. This ignores that the ingredients themselves might have gone through significant synthetic processes and be “ghosts” of their original form.

For example we often see long chemical names followed by the phrase “derived from coconut oil”. For instance, to create cocoamide DEA from coconut oil requires the use of the carcinogenic synthetic chemical diethanolamine (DEA). Similarly with the term “organic”, many companies use the definition of organic as products containing carbon.

How do you protect yourself from companies that are simply green washing their skin care products with “organic” or “natural” labelling. There are two options:

1. Look for Organic Certification. When products have been certified organic by a suitable body or association that is your guarantee of pure, natural products with no synthetic chemicals or use of pesticides. Currently such products are certified organic to organic food industry standards. The Miessence range of certified organic skin care were the worlds first range to be certified organic to food industry levels.

2. Read Labels. Don’t trust the “natural” and “organic” terms… become an informed consumer and take those extra minutes to look at the ingredients. Some things to look for:

a) what are the first three or four ingredients in the skin care products? These legally are the ingredients that constitute the bulk of the products…watch out for the common trick of companies using water or hydrosol as their first ingredients (so you are mainly buying water with a few organic essential oil)

b) do you recognise the words? If you don’t recognise them, it is likely that they are synthetic chemicals..

c) learn how to look up MSDS, or manufacturers safety data sheets for various ingredients, one way is to type the ingredient into a search engine with MSDS next to it.

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