A growing environmental trend and increasing warnings about the harmfulness of chemicals in cosmetic products, more and more people are choosing products based on natural ingredients. Every ingredient in cosmetics is basically a chemical substance. The only difference is that some substances are of natural origin (cocoa butter, aloe vera) while others are created in chemical laboratories. Most synthesized substances are safe to use. Some substances can cause eczema, psoriasis or inflammation of the skin (a foaming agent sodium lauryl sulfate). Some substances, on the other hand, are in the constant focus of testing by health professionals (including the group of preservatives known as parabens).
Ingredients on any product are always written from a substance that is present in greater quantity than substances that are present in smaller quantities. If the organic matter is at the bottom of this list it means that the preparation contains them in small quantities.
What is the basic difference between organic and natural ingredients in preparations?
The organic ingredients of cosmetics are oils and extracts obtained from plants grown without the use of artificial pesticides and fertilizers. The natural ingredients of the products are of the same origin from the same plants but often with the use of agricultural chemicals. Organic cosmetics do not contain artificially synthesized preservatives, while natural cosmetic formulas may contain a small percentage of these substances.
How to determine the reaction of a skin to an ingredient in a product?
Experts say an allergic skin reaction is different from skin irritation due to a particular ingredient in a product. Irritation is accompanied by redness and itching immediately after the first application of the preparation. These symptoms are not a reflection of a person’s immune system reaction and they withdraw immediately after stopping use of the preparation. Allergic reactions occur in a small number of people fortunately (after several consecutive applications of a preparation). Unlike skin irritation, a person’s immune system is linked to an allergic reaction.
Some experts and advocates of the use of organic matter claim that some artificial preservatives can cause breast cancer in women because they stimulate estrogen. Scientists, on the other hand, deny the existence of a link between said preservatives and breast tumors. They claim that removing them from the makeup of cosmetics actually increases the risk of use. Unless the cream contains preservatives, bacteria and other micro-organisms can be developed that are favorable for skin infection. This is especially true for preparations containing water as they are most susceptible to pollution. Understandably, all these arguments and counterarguments confuse users (customers). The crux of the problem is that most experts talk about parabens as one ingredient, although there are numerous types of parabens. Many are naturally present in plant species (blackberries and blueberries).
As extraction of parabens from natural sources and their inclusion in cosmetic products is not economically feasible, they are artificially synthesized. They are identical in action to natural parabens. The safety of the use of all cosmetics is thoroughly tested. They usually contain a small amount of parabens. Some commonly used ones do not show significant estrogenic activity. The best example is methylparaben (second in use), after water. The conclusion is that not all parabens are the same.
Organic proponents believe that cosmetic products must be carefully selected. They find that what we put on our skin is just as important as the food we eat in the body. They believe that the use of organic products is a way to avoid the uptake of pesticides and carcinogens.
How much of what we use (creams, gels, serums, etc.) can our skin absorb?
Experts who advocate organic cosmetics believe that the skin absorbs up to 60% of ingredients from cosmetics (penetrates the skin through the bloodstream). More skilled drug dealers say there is no evidence to support this claim. Experience in conventional medicine has shown that human skin can give rise to certain substances, but is also a good barrier. Research shows that a 24-hour formulation (such as a nicotine patch) cannot emit anywhere near 60 µg of active ingredients into the skin.
Tests for the octyl salicylate (paraben) contained in the tanning preparation showed that the total amount absorbed (after continuous use for 48 hours) was less than 2%. The trend to include as few preservatives and amounts as possible continues. Organic foods are produced under strictly controlled rules. Organic cosmetics are not subject to the same rules. It is sufficient for one product to contain 1% organic matter in order to be classified in this category. The remaining 99% of the composition can be synthesized in the laboratory.
For a product to be truly organic, 95% of its constituents (except water) were grown on organic soil without the use of pesticides and artificial fertilizers.