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Why Choose Organic Skin Care Products?

by Jayne Koedding

Today, there is no need for even the most skeptical individual to hesitate when introducing organic skin and hair care products into a daily routine. Organic products, which deliver corrective results comparable to those of cosmeceuticals, now use organic ingredients from whole foods and other natural sources. More effective due to the ratio of vitamins and other nutrients they contain, truly organic skin and hair care products and makeup are not only more likely to work in harmony with, but also provide healthy, safe and ultra-nutritious meals for the skin.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers a special USDA Organic seal for skincare products that meet their specifications. Guidelines specify that edible plants must make up the majority of the ingredients and must be grown in accordance with the Organic Food Production Act. This means that all USDA certified organic botanicals must be produced without conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients, sewage sludge, bio-engineering and ionizing radiation. As an environmental perk, all botanicals used must be cultivated in ways that minimize air, soil and water pollution, and cultivation methods must seek to restore, maintain and enhance ecological harmony.

According to the National Organic Program (NOP), product labeling rules that must be followed in order to use the USDA Organic seal, a product claiming to be “100 percent organic” must use only organically grown plants. An “organic” product must contain at least 95 percent organically produced plant ingredients; the remaining 5 percent may be synthetic substances. A product “made with organic ingredients” must contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients; products containing less cannot display the USDA Organic seal, nor can they use the term “organic” on the display panel.

While reading labels, avoid synthetic chemicals and ingredients that contain petroleum derivatives from crude oil; artificial fragrances that can contain toxic chemicals, including benzene derivatives, aldehydes and other known toxics and sensitizers; and synthetic preservatives such as parabens. Two major ingredients to avoid in shampoos, as well as in face and body lotions and creams, are methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone.

Skincare products are best when made in small quantities that are sold and used within six months. Although mass-produced commercial lines are generally preserved for one year, fresh, handmade specialty products can be preserved for six months. Boutique manufacturers can more easily produce a line of products that meet these requirements. 

We are faced with skin care choices that are similar to those involved when choosing our food: do we want a spongy loaf of bread preserved with chemicals that make it last for a long time, or do we prefer a nutritious and freshly baked loaf made with organic ingredients that tastes better but hardens in a few days? Doing due diligence before choosing an organic skin care line, including spray tanning and hair care products, will help us to not only understand how the creams and lotions work but also help us discover what we are feeding our skin.

Jayne Koedding is a licensed esthetician and owner of Organic Skincare & Bodyworx, 13240 Tamiami Trail, Ste. 207 (Royal Cove Shopping Center), in Naples. For more information, call 239-514-4494.

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