Because beauty is more than skin deep.
Over many years, there has been an exponential rise in allergies, and the majority in the medical profession is asking "Why".
However, also over recent years, advances in the pharmaceutical industry have resulted in skin patches which allow the administration of various medications into the bloodstream through the skin. It makes sense therefore, that unwanted chemicals can also be absorbed into your body through your skin care products, all too often causing an allergic reaction and dermatitis.
Why should I use organic beauty products?
Many of today's beauty products are made up of varying mixtures of synthetically produced chemicals. The skin is the largest organ in your body. Individual ingredients vary in their ability to penetrate the skin, some are absorbed in tiny amounts while some can reach the blood vessels below the skin and be transported around the body. While one product may contain very small amounts of some of these ingredients, it is the cumulative effect of applying various products regularly that causes concern.
Over the past few years there have been certain cosmetic ingredients that have been highlighted in the media due to their links with health scares which has led some people to choosing organic as a safer alternative. In addition people that suffer from sensitive skin or conditions such as eczema or psoriasis report that organic skin care products work better for them as they contain either tiny amounts of synthetic chemicals, or no synthetic chemicals at all.
Parents are increasingly choosing organic products for their babies and children as their bodies are still developing and are more susceptible to chemicals in non-organic products and more likely to develop allergic reactions to ingredients such as fragrances. Others choose organic products because they eat organic food, and want to continue to support the positive benefits environment that their organic choices make.
Many choose organic beauty products simply because they find they work better!
The good news is a growing number of beauty companies are now making organic beauty products so we don't have to compromise on performance in order to become an organic beauty. Already available are gorgeous lotions, luscious balms and even organic shampoo, all packed with organic ingredients and avoiding the use of chemicals linked to health issues.
However, all is not what it may seem – whereas organic food must meet legal standards, the same does not apply to beauty products. The term organic can be used on products that contain literally a whiff of organic essential oil and are then topped up with ingredients you want to avoid, even those aimed at babies
This is why the Soil Association (SA) developed its standards, so you can look for the SA symbol to be sure your beauty product is truly organic. The standards for organic beauty products are based on the food standards. This means if an ingredient is available organically, it must be used. The remaining ingredients must meet strict criteria to ensure that they are not damaging to our health or the environment.
This means no nasties like synthetic fragrances and colours. When you see the terms 'fragrance' or 'parfum' on a beauty product these can contain up to 100 different ingredients - which can cause a problem if you are sensitive or allergic to a particular fragrance chemical. In fact, synthetic fragrances are the most frequent cause of allergies from cosmetics and cause up to one third of all cosmetic allergies.
The SA also ban irritating foaming agents like Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, found in most shower gels, bubble baths and shampoos. It foams very well, but it's also a skin irritant and in concentrations of only 2-5% can cause allergic or sensitisation reactions. Any impact these ingredients have on us, are multiplied when used by children as their bodies are still developing and therefore more susceptible to these effects. It's worth adding the SA also ban cosmetic solvents commonly found in antifreeze, and parabens, preservatives that have been linked to breast cancer.
10 Easy ways to become an organic beauty
The most obvious answer is to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of fresh water, if you feel thirsty, your skin is already dehydrated!
- Treat your skin with tender loving care - it is with you for life...
- Get into the habit of cleansing, toning and moisturising twice a day, using pure, organic products - never go to bed in your make up!
- Take a walk in the fresh air - just half-an-hour will release endorphins, your body's 'feel-good' factor. And it's free!
- Try to leave your skin bare of foundation, blusher, powder etc for as long as possible. Use your full make up kit on a night out only. This will guarantee your natural beauty will shine through.
- ALWAYS use a moisturiser with a sun protection of at least SPF15.
- Ask for information – if you are faced with a product that says it's organic, but you are curious about its credentials then ask the shop staff or ring the company's customer care line and ask them about the claims they are making. If they are selling genuine products, they will be happy that you asked and will be sure to discuss the product thoroughly.
- Look for the symbol! If the label says that the product is organic or contains organic ingredients but does not carry the Soil Association symbol (or a European equivalent like Ecocert in France) then this may just be an unsubstantiated marketing ploy.
- Visit the Organic Directory for details of companies that have Soil Association certified organic products.
- If you are interested in making your own simple cosmetics then why not switch to using oils? You can make your own blends easily using a mix of essential oils and a base oil. They can be applied to your face, body or in the bath. If you haven't used oils before please find a reputable supplier and ask their advice before applying.
- Cut down on the products that you and your family use – much of the concern is about the 'cocktail effect' of the chemicals in the different products that we use. Many women are using over 20 different products a day, bombarding themselves with hundreds of different chemicals – is that eyelash conditioner really essential?
I hope that you have found this information useful, please contact me if you have any further questions.
The Fair Trade Faerie