What Is An Organic Skincare Product?

We’ve all been bitten by the organic bug. We want everything that is organic…from the food that we eat, the fertilizers that we use, the skincare products that we buy to the clothes we wear – organic is the way to go. But how many of us really know what ‘organic’ really means. My knowledge bubble burst a few days back when I bought a skin care product that I ‘thought’ was organic. Here’s the 101 on Organic Skincare:

What is ‘Organic’?- Organic means that a plant is used to make a particular product or food item and has been sourced from soil that is free from chemical based hormones, fertilizers, pesticides, and doesn’t contain any trace elements of artificial products. The resultant product is therefore, free from even trace elements of chemicals. In order to certify a product as organic it is imperative that the ingredients used are grown without these chemical additives. In skin care herbs, bark, trees, oils, flowers and other natural extracts are grown without chemical support.

How to buy Organic? – Since there is an overwhelming choice of skin care products it’s difficult to figure out what really is organic. Popular skin care brands make tall claims of being organic. But are they really so? A number of skin care products are marketed as organic but in reality instead of using the real natural ingredient what is actually used is a chemical derivative of it! So when you see the term Sodium Hydroxysultaine being followed with ‘derived from coconut oil’ it is natural to assume that the chemical must somehow be ‘natural’ when in reality it is not!

 I wondered if there was an authority that governed the term ‘organic’. Thanks to the USDA’s National Organic Program we now have Federal regulations which define how organic produce is to be grown. In June 2011 it was announced that all organic personal care and skin care products will have to be ‘certified organic’.  This will ensure that labels are changed, products are reformulated and all necessary measures are taken to ensure that a product being touted as organic is in reality so. According to these standards all personal care and skin care products will have to have 95% of organic ingredients which are free from pesticides and toxic substances. The remaining 5% is to contain substances that are from an approved list of additives.

When you are buying organic here are the terms to look out for:

  • “Certified Organic” – This means that the product has been made according to the USDA standards following the same standards to certify foods as organic.
  • “Made with organic ________” – Products that claim this use 70% of organic ingredients and 30% with ingredients and substances that have been approved under strict regulations by the USDA.
  • “Contains Organic__________” – Products that claim to ‘contain organic ingredient/ingredients have to be certified according to the NSF Personal Care standards. According to this 70% of the ingredients have to be certified organic and the remaining 30% are allowable ingredients that have been tested for safety that are not stated in the USDA list since USDA regulates primarily food.

How organic are you in your skin care choices and how do you make those choices? Write in and share with us.


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There are 2 comments

  1. Yvonne Petterson

    Brittanie’s Thyme products are USDA certified organic, excellent even for senstive skin and reasonably priced. All products are 95% organic or higher except for two clay products. Give them a try!

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