Organic, natural, synthetic and what it all means for your skin
How do you know what is the right choice for you? As far as your skin is concerned, its more about what chemicals your skin can recognise and therefore tolerate. Yes chemicals! Whether organic, natural or synthetic, chemicals are a compound or substance and these chemicals will either interact well with our skin function or be detrimental to it.
Natural or synthetic unfortunately does not determine whether your skin will interact well with them and of course some skins may react to different chemical compounds then others. Man made products probably get the worst wrap, but many substances developed in a laboratory are proven to support and enhance skin health and simply do not live in a natural environment. Not all natural ingredients are that successful at penetrating our skin, they may need assistance from man made delivery systems. Organic or natural products may have additional fragrance to cover up pungent smells of the raw material that can occur. Fragrance -even natural fragrance -is not tolerated by our skin. It actually causes quite a volatile chemical reaction with in the skin and this over time can cause the skin to become desensitized.
So, let’s talk about some facts you should know about these product types so you can start making informed decisions for your self with out being lured in by misinformation and clever marketing.
As one of my personal pet peeves is the way products are marketed to us as one thing when they sure are another!
You would be shocked to know organic doesn’t always mean organic, so do your research.
What does certified organic mean? It means the ingredients are free range, pastured fed, cruelty free, socially responsible and grown with out GM synthetic pesticides and herbicides, hormones and antibiotics. Certified organic requires 95% or more of the ingredients to be certified organic.
If a product contains 70%-94% certified ingredients it can carry a recognised certification logo and can use the terms ‘contains of’ or ‘made with’.
If the product does not have a certification it can use the words ‘made with’ and ‘contains’ loosely (this is where that tricky marketing comes in). The product could have just ONE Ingredient out of the whole ingredients listing! The word organic is unfortunately not regulated in Australia so it can be misleading.
What does natural mean? The ingredients to be found of natural and not synthetic origin. Natural ingredients are defined by a chemical occurring in a natural environment that is extracted using a process that does not cause a chemical change in the substance. Many products with ingredient derived from natural sources, do not meet the definition of a naturally occurring chemical. This is usually due to the extraction process. Natural products are also not regulated and very misleading, as they often contain many synthetic ingredients.
Synthetic means manmade or made in a lab. This can often mean more pure, permeable and sustainable ingredients for the skin. If made with a proven and safe formulation, they can work WITH not AGAINST your skin’s natural barrier. There are definitely bad synthetic ingredients as well. That are often camouflaged in the matrix of your ingredient listings. The main ingredients that interrupt your skins barrier function are…..
Parabens, sulphates, colour, fragrance, silicones, mineral oils, lanolin and low-quality alcohols in high amounts.
There are good and bad sides to each of theses types of ingredients. My advice would be maybe don’t make your entire decision on what skin care is right for you solely on this factor alone. Take your time to research and ask plenty of questions.
We are always here to share our knowledge.
Skin care is an investment and the decisions you make now will affect your skin in the years to come.