What is Organic Skincare and What are the Benefits?

Organic skincare products are derived from organically farmed ingredients.

Organic skin care products use organically farmed ingredients that work with your skin. Nutrients found in organic products can aid in maintaining and improving common and seasonal conditions. The benefits of organic products include no harm to animals, packed with nutrients, better for the environment, and easier on the skin.

To be certified as an organic skincare product, the ingredients must meet USDA and FDA requirements. Ingredients must be free of synthetic chemicals or pesticides, fertilizers, and any other non-organic substance.

The Difference in Organic and Natural Skincare Products

When you hear the terms organic and natural, it is easy to mistake them for the same. There are a few differences between the two that are helpful to know and understand.

The origins of the ingredients are one of the determining factors. Ingredients that are organically farmed are known to be certified as organic. Environmental protection and chemical-free ingredients are the priority of organic certified skincare products. Water is one of the most common components of a product labeled to be natural. Along with water, it is common to see berries, herbs, botanicals, salt, and clay in the ingredients. These can be found and incorporated organically, but they are not organically farmed and cannot be certified as organic.

The definition of organic and natural is another critical player in differentiating the two. Certified organic products will have a notable certification listed on the back with the ingredients and must pass FDA inspection and approval. Natural skin care products can also be certified and will have a certification on the back with the ingredients. If your skin works well with certified natural products, there is no need to switch to a certified organic line. Just be sure to check for the certification to protect your skin.

There are skincare products that claim to be natural since naturally derived ingredients are used, but these ingredients can be highly processed and can cause harm rather than prevent. Always check the ingredients and the certification to make sure you are buying and using something that will work for you and not against it. 

To be certified as organic or natural, there are different percentages of either natural or organic ingredients that need to be used to meet certification standards. Products do not need to be made from 100% natural or organic ingredients. Skincare lines certified as organic or natural may contain both natural and organic substances, but the breakdown will determine the organically farmed or naturally derived percentage.

Most of both organic and natural products are water-based. The certification percentage may be confusing as the average person would consider water to be organic, but it is not. Water is natural. A product claiming to be 95% organic can also be seen to have a percentage of natural ingredients, most likely to be water, and vice versa. A product that is certified to have 15% certified organic ingredients can have a high percentage of natural ingredients due to the amount of water and other naturally derived components as the base and majority of the product.

Another vital part of the certification is being a product not tested on animals, not containing parabens, phthalates, synthetic colors, synthetic fragrances, or chemicals. Natural and organic products can both be beneficial to the skin. The main thing to remember is to look for the certification, read through the ingredients, and use a product or product line that works well with your skin without creating any unwanted skin irritation or other problems.

Benefits of Organic Skincare

There are many benefits to using organic skincare products. The top benefits include using fewer chemicals to make the products, being more nutrient-rich than other non-organic lines, eco-friendly ingredients, promotes a healthy lifestyle, and while benefiting your own body, you will also be helping the environment.

Organic certified products do not contain synthetic fragrances or colors, parabens, or any controversial chemicals. This ensures that you are not overloading your face or skin with harmful chemicals; this is good for two reasons. The first reason is your skin feels less weighed down by the product. The second reason is the amount of topical products absorbed by the skin and potentially travels into the bloodstream is less harmful when the ingredients are certified to be organic. You would not eat a chemical covered apple; your skin does not want to either.

Organic products can be just as effective as non-organic, depending on your skin and any ailments or conditions that may require additional help to maintain or reduce. If your doctor or dermatologist clears you to use certified organic skincare products, it is worth trying. Some skin conditions require extra help to alleviate or treat problem areas, but there may be organic options available to help those concerns. Ask your dermatologist for recommendations if you want to make the switch to organic.

Certified organic products are nutrient-rich and contain ingredients that your skin may need to be the healthiest it can be. Common nutrient-rich ingredients are aloe, coconut, sunflower, beeswax, oatmeal, tea tree, lavender, green tea, honey, jojoba, clay, and kelp, to name a few. These ingredients can be used to promote hydration, healing, purifying, calming, soothing, exfoliation, and serve as an antioxidant.

Vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E are also naturally found in certified organic products. Vitamins are great for skin support, reduces wrinkles and fine lines, and helps fight against aging skin appearance.

A significant turn to going green and being eco-friendly has been visible in the current times. Choosing to use organic skincare lines gives back to the farmers who follow organic-farming and believe in not testing on animals. Natural and organic ingredients can be broken down and will not be harmful to the planet or the body. Most companies that use organic-farmed ingredients and can be certified as organic are also using recycled goods for product packaging. Some brands even focus on zero toxic waste and reduced carbon scores to protect local ecosystems.

Certified organic skincare products meet the same standards as certified organic food; this allows your skin to better balance itself against common skin problems and unwanted concerns. All skin types should benefit from organic products, even sensitive skin since no chemicals or harsh substances are added.

Organic products are typically non-allergenic because they do not have any additives or chemicals that can cause unknown allergic reactions or skin irritations. However, this does not mean that all are free from having allergic reactions when using organic products. This means that if there is a reaction, it will be easier to identify or avoid since all the ingredients are listed and should always be looked over before purchasing or using. For example, if you are allergic to sunflower oil, it is best not to buy or use products that contain sunflower oil.

Can Organic Products be Harmful?

Most of the time, organic products have more benefits than harm, but that does not mean they are always harmless. If you have a previously identified skin allergy or condition, it is still best to consult your dermatologist or care provider before switching to an organic product.

The frequency that specific products are used can be harmful to skin; over-exfoliating is one example. Some exfoliants can be too abrasive or cause deeper irritations as they scrub away dead and dry skin. While synthetic fragrances are not permitted to be used in certified organic products, some natural fragrances can cause irritations or unwanted reactions. Essential oils have their benefits, but applying essential oils to the skin can be harmful to some under certain circumstances and situations.

Citrus products are not necessarily harmful, but when used for more extended periods, they can begin to affect skin sensitivities and enhance negative impacts from free radicals, such as sunlight, rather than protect and reduce the effects. Some citrus ingredients can be used seasonally or in smaller quantities to get the wanted benefits but still protect the skin structure.

Product packaging also affects the good or bad of the product. Exposure to light and temperature can cause an increased breakdown of the ingredients. Products packaged in clear containers will be more likely to break down prematurely as they are not protected from excess light. When ingredients start to breakdown, they become less effective and might have a reverse effect.

Know the Products You Use

Whether you use a certified organic skincare product or a non-organic product, only you and your body will notice a difference. One is not necessarily better than the other in terms of skin irritancies or conditions. Some individuals need extra ingredients that others do not when combatting against acne-prone skin, dry, oily, or combination skin. The molecular structure of the product is what makes the difference from person to person.

If your preference is to use certified organic or certified natural products, that is entirely up to you. Make sure to know and be familiar with the ingredients used in your preferred line and brand of skincare products. Use tried, tested, and certified products over non-certified and not thoroughly tested.

Give your skin time to adjust and react to new products before trying something new. Take note of ingredients used, how your skin reacted, what you liked and did not like from it, and what you would like more or less of if you are not 100% satisfied with the current product.

Creating an Organic Skincare Routine

Creating a healthy skincare routine does not have to be complicated or challenging. Dermatologists highly recommend starting every morning with a cleanser followed by a moisturizer and sunscreen. Even on non-sunny days, sunscreen will help protect against free radicals that are more prominent than realized.

A good morning routine should include a gentle cleanser and warm water as the first step. If you wash your face every night, your face shouldn’t feel dirty when you wake up, but it did just spend eight or so hours resting on a pillow and pillowcase that undoubtedly is not washed every evening before bed. Natural facial and hair oils, along with dead skin cells, dust particles, and random hair strands, are left on pillows after every use. Who wouldn’t want to wash all that overnight debris off?

After washing with a gentle cleanser, follow with a face moisturizer. If you have an antioxidant serum, apply it before the moisturizer for increased protection from the sun and pollution. The next step is sunscreen. If your moisturizer does not already have sunscreen included, it is recommended to use a sunscreen of SPF 30. After these steps are done, you are clear to apply any makeup you would like to use for the day if any.

The evening skincare routine will be similar to the morning routine, but with the addition of using makeup removers before washing, more specifically, eye makeup removers. Using a preferred eye makeup remover cloth and cleaner is the first step. After that is done, it is time to wash the face with a gentle cleanser to remove the rest of the makeup, naturally accumulated oil, and any other debris stuck to the skin. After washing, apply a nightly moisturizer to prevent the skin from drying out. The addition of masking and exfoliating should be done less frequently to avoid over-drying, overloading, and overworking your natural skin cycle.

To Your Success,

Heather Hanrahan

Learn about the latest in makeup and skin care trends from Mary Kay.

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Heather Hanrahan

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