Did you know the skin absorbs over 60% of the substances we apply to it? While it’s a good thing, many skincare fans acquire serious skin infections from the regular use of cosmetics containing a large portion of chemical substances. The impact of these toxic chemicals goes beyond the skin by affecting the person’s entire physical health. This reality encouraged consumers to pay more attention to the products they put in and on their bodies.
In the past years, consumers’ awareness about skincare ingredients has increased partly because of social media and news coverage. This leads to the rising popularity of organic and natural skincare products that are good for the skin and overall health. From essential oils and all-natural moisturizers to organic shampoo and hair-relaxing herbal serum, all these products have completely dominated makeup stores and beauty aisles.
The words “organic” and “natural” are not new to the world of skin care, but people’s awareness about the importance of non-toxic ingredients boosts their expectations of what they want for their skin and beauty needs. This article will talk about the difference between organic and natural skincare products and how these two products will help you achieve your skincare goals.
The word ‘organic’ refers to ingredients cultivated without the use of pesticides and fertilizers. Instead of regular farming soil, organic farmers use healthy, fertile soil by mixing various crops and incorporating organic materials, such as compost or animal manure into the soil. This farming approach is called organic agriculture, a holistic farming system that considers the ecosystem, nature, people, and animals.
Thus, organic skincare products came from plant-based ingredients grown and prepared without any form of chemical substance. But the use of the term ‘organic’ is strictly regulated by accrediting companies, such as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). A product with a USDA Organic Seal or 100% organic claims guarantees all ingredients contain certified organic ingredients.
Meanwhile, other accrediting agencies have specific standards on what makes an organic skincare product. One example is the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) that introduced the “Contains Organic Ingredients” standard for products that contain 70% organic weight.
Natural skin care
The term ‘natural’ is one of the popular buzzwords in the skincare industry, which refers to products derived from natural resources, such as plants, flowers, minerals, or animal by-products, instead of artificial origins. In other words, natural skincare products contain ingredients found in nature or grow naturally and are not produced using any chemicals, such as preservatives, colorants, artificial fragrances, and other synthetic additives. Still, it doesn’t mean natural skin care contains organic ingredients.
While the premise sounds appealing to health-conscious shoppers, the problem with natural skin care is there are no guidelines or legal regulations for what makes a natural skincare product. This means not all products that use the term “natural” on the label completely came from nature. Sadly, many brands use this term as a marketing spin to disguise their products as environmentally friendly.
This is why the skincare market is one of the least regulated industries in the U.S. Brands use unregulated terms anytime they want, which eventually misleads consumers because of their greenwashing techniques.
Others say that the reason behind the lack of regulation is the inability to draw the line between what makes a product natural and what is not. For example, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium are naturally occurring metals but aren’t applicable in the food or cosmetic context.
Thankfully, a few certification bodies have created a list of criteria on what makes a skincare product “natural.” The list includes naturally sourced ingredients, lack of genetically modified organisms (GMO), no animal testing, little or no petrochemical substances, no sulfates and parabens, and manufacturing protecting the integrity of the natural ingredients.
The bottom line
As the shopper, it’s your job to read and research the ingredients. Ingredients are listed from the highest to lowest percentage, so pick products where artificial ingredients are at the bottom. Another tip is to choose botanical-based products, such as Vitamin C-enriched and water-based serums.
With so many skincare products on the market, we understand how difficult it is to decide. You have to consider your budget, preference, product effectiveness, and, more importantly, your health. The good thing is that skincare companies are doing their best to provide us with products that cater to our overall health and well-being.
So the next time you plan to buy a skincare product, always consider buying natural and organic products. Your skin will even thank you for it.