If switching to organic is starting with your skincare (food may come later) then you’re already on your way to reducing the presence of chemicals or synthetic ingredients in your day-to-day.
It may be because we know that the skin is the largest organ in our body and behaves similarly to our digestive system in that it has the ability to absorb what’s put on it. If this is you and you’re in the research phase of shopping for organic skincare products there are a few things to look for and know to ensure you’re getting the real deal.
1. Is it organic?
There may be some brands that claim they’re organic, however don’t have the Australian Certified Organic Certification. This is a third-party guarantee, which means the ACO will verify ingredients and test them to ensure organic status. Many skincare products will be derived from plant materials, so this will test whether any pesticides or fertilisers were used during the growing of the materials which are used as skin care ingredients. However, the ACO state that products must be 70-95% organic, so read the label to make sure your product is labelled 100% organic.
If a product doesn’t have certification, which may be the case for smaller companies who cannot afford certification, make sure you read the ingredients to know if all materials are organic or just a percentage.
2. What else is in it?
Just because something is organic doesn’t mean it won’t have other nasties in it such as preservatives, chemicals or fragrances – always read the label. Good quality organic products should include naturally occurring nutrients that behave similarly to synthetic ingredients. For example, coconut oil is a great stabiliser, which we all know as a pantry staple melts in summer and hardens in winter, it is also a great preservative due to its antimicrobial action.
3. It’s not the same as natural
Labelling a product natural can be described as green washing, it sounds good, but do we really know what we’re buying into? Just because a product is labelled natural doesn’t mean it’s organic. Unfortunately, the word natural is not regulated, so anyone can use it on their packaging and not have a governing body certify that it is. Natural essentially means it could have been derived from a mineral, animal by-product, plant, gas etc. but a product could still contain synthetic materials.
4. They can have a therapeutic effect
Skin care ingredients are often derived from plants, which when we eat behave as nutritionally beneficial. Therefore, skincare may also behave like a therapeutic agent for our skin. For example, oils like RosehipPLUS are nutritive, anti-inflammatory and contain vital antioxidants which may be favourable for people with dry skin, damaged skin tissue or scaring.
5. Does it feel good?
Just because a product is organic doesn’t mean your skin will enjoy it. Like anything we eat, we may not agree with everything we digest, so “taste testing” a product may be the way to go. Often beauty stores will have samples of products to try before buy, that way you may avoid the possibility of paying hard-earned cash on a 100% organic product only to find that your skin is fussy and doesn’t react well to it. Best way to test what you buy is to place a small amount into the crook of your elbow [where the skin is thinnest] and leave it for 24hrs. if all clear – then it is good to use!