A product can be green, natural and organic. Instead of talking being natural or organic, we should adopt a green beauty routine. Products can consist of some botanical ingredients can be named with an alluring phrase like “100% natural”, “non-toxic” etc. Anybody can put anything in a bottle and call it natural. There are bundles of fabulous products on the market today, and which are the products you can trust and are the products really as organic as what they are claimed? Even a product is natural or organic, and it may not be necessarily good for you. Some of these ingredients can also cause skin allergies in some people.
As much we are trying to be more healthy, we are also getting more concerned about what we put on our skins. If possible, we want to make sure we don’t soak our skins and bodies with potentially cancer-causing chemicals unknowingly. We should use less harmful ingredients, and it is good to educate ourselves and understand the words used in the skincare products. It may be quite confusing and difficult to figure out those words on the packaging. However, because more people today are more concerned and interested in what they put on the skin, there are apps available to provide information about the product ingredients and safety, and they are pretty awesome!
Frequent Words Used On Skincare Products
A comedo (or comedones, if more than one) is a type of pimple form as a result of clogged pores. Non-comedogenic is denoting a skin product that formulated so as not to cause blocked pores that will result in comedones, which is a less severe form of acne. If the comedo is closed at the skin’s surface, it’s called a whitehead. When it’s open at the skin’s surface, and you can see the plugged follicle darkened by melanin buildup, it’s called a blackhead [source: Mayo Clinic]. Hence, people with oily skin or acne prone skin will look for products that come with these words as they are not supposed to clog pores. It is good to look out for such words, however, remember it is still good to do a patch test as the ingredients may not cause clog pores but do not necessary means will not cause other skin problems and irritations.
This word means won’t cause an allergic reaction.
However, it is an individual reaction to an ingredient. An ingredient that might not cause an allergic in one person’s skin does not necessarily mean it won’t cause a rash to another person’s skin. And it takes a company to perform patch tests on sizeable subjects over a period of time to gather reliable results. The extent of such tests varies widely, and there is no official definition. As such, this word probably means nothing. If you are allergic to a particular ingredient or suffer from a condition which may cause a reaction after using a certain ingredient, it is better to check the ingredient label to ensure its content does not include the specific ingredient.
Accordingly to Dr. Hans Lautenschläger, “Dermatologically tested” means that a dermatologist has been in charge of the product tolerance tests that were carried out with voluntary test persons. However it does not provide any information regarding the way of testing, the amount of the product applied and how often on which specific body parts of the test persons, neither does it give any data regarding the results. The label “dermatologically tested” without further details has no practical value though and does not inform on the efficacy of the preparation. The label “dermatologically tested” only gives a false sense of safety which then in the particular case may not exist. [source: Dermaviduals]. Hence, this phrase is merely a marketing ploy placed on skin care products to make buyers think that a product is better or more effective than others.
The word “natural” actually means nothing when it comes to skin care products. To put the word “natural” on a skincare label, the company does not need to meet any standards or regulations. For organic, it is harder to qualify as it usually has to regulate and certify by a third-party organization. “Natural” in this contact does not mean the formula is without any synthetic ingredients. The word can be easily used, whenever a manufacturer wants, or the brand wishes. Also to keep in mind, no matter how natural the ingredient is, there is always some degree of physical processing such as cold pressed or steam distillation, etc. and may include the addition of other not-so-natural ingredients.
You may find some comfort in the term “organic” and especially if you find the word on the label of a skincare product. However, this term can be rather confusing. The first thing is not to confuse “organic chemistry” with “organic of its own” Organic chemistry refers to scientific technology that is used in a lab to make skincare products, usually, involves in molecularly exact matches for original ingredients that were pulled up from the earth. Organic of its own must adhere to certain guidelines to be truly organic, for example being grown without exposure to pesticides; the item cannot be genetically modified, etc. To be sure you are choosing truly organic skincare products, you need to make sure there is some form of organic certification by the third-party organization, for example, a product has a USDA Organic seal. The FDA does not define or regulate the term organic as it applies to beauty or personal care products; however, it does regulate the term organic when it comes to agricultural products with a USDA-certified organic seal. The facility that produces the agricultural ingredient(s) needs to be certified by a USDA-accredited organic certifying agent.
Once certified, a product might be eligible for one of the four following categories:
* 100% Organic: Every ingredient (except water and salt) is organically produced.
* Organic: Contains at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients.
* Made with Organic Ingredients: Contains at least 70 percent organically produced ingredients. The product label may list up to three of these ingredients on the principal display panel (for example: “Made with organic lavender, chamomile, and rosemary”).
* Less than 70 percent organic ingredients: This product cannot use the term organic anywhere on the principal display panel, but it can identify specific ingredients that are organically produced on the information panel.
Make Your Skincare Routine More Green
It is really difficult to figure out what skincare products are perfect for you and you need to know how to read the ingredient labels. Many times they are just confusing because of their chemical names even for natural ingredients. Even a product is truly natural or organic, and it may not be necessarily good for you. Some of these ingredients can also cause skin allergies too. Unless the ingredient is gathered straight from the farm or forest, there is always some form of processing, and a natural ingredient won’t be able to last without some form of preservatives as well. Instead of talking being natural or organic, probably we should go for more green products. As much as possible, if you can eliminate as many synthetic ingredients from a product and opt for a more natural, greener option, it will be a better choice.
If you have time to make your own personal care products, you should as this will be definitely more natural and green.
Useful Apps To Use As A Guide
Today, there are apps you can download from your smartphone for checking product safety! They may not be perfect and have their downfalls, but they serve as a good reference guide in this world of overwhelming information, especially the lack of information about product ingredients and safety.
Think Dirty App
Aim to help consumers to learn more about the potentially toxic of the product ingredients, and it compares brands. Think Dirty allows consumers to scan UPC codes to get a hazard score for products based on the individual ingredient scores. This gives you easy-to-understand information on the product, its ingredients and helps you to decide on a cleaner, greener option.
Think Dirty has a score range from 0-10, 10 being a “high hazard.”
Good to note:
- The app’s users do not get access to accurate information and true comparisons because of the current scoring methodology, the lack of context about company policies, and the fact that brands that fully disclose ingredients are compared with some companies that are not disclosing all of their ingredients.
- Some of the ingredients in Think Dirty score a 10 (High Hazard) due to one or more studies indicating they may be allergens. Unfortunately, just because one person may be allergic, it doesn’t mean, and ingredient is dangerous to the entire population. Think about peanuts.
- Some ingredients score high in the app due to potential impurities. They do not take into account the fact that companies can obtain certificates of purity from their suppliers ensuring that their ingredients are not contaminated.
- Preservatives also score high (which in many cases this is warranted), but if a company uses any water in their product, preservatives are necessary for small amounts (usually less than 1%). This should be taken into account because not using preservatives also poses a health risk.
- This type of scoring system could unintentionally incentivize companies to hide high scoring ingredients from their ingredients lists and penalize companies who are being completely transparent. Again, the FDA leaves it up to the cosmetics companies to ensure they are labeling properly.
EWG’s Health Living App
EWG’s App is now called “Healthy Living” (previously Skin Deep) and not only includes cosmetics & personal care product scores but also includes food scores too. You can also look up scores on their Skin Deep website. They are leading the industry in terms of resources and data to help consumers make accurate assessments about the safety of their products. Companies can apply to be EWG Verified, meaning they are free of EWG’s ingredients of concern, they fully disclose all ingredients and follow good manufacturing practices.
EWG has a hazard score, a 1-10 scale from low to high hazard
Good to note:
- Some products are not listed at all, and you may not be able to find ratings on some very popular, high-end brands.
- Sometimes products have a lower or higher hazard score due to limited availability of an ingredient’s safety.
- According to the FDA, “It is the manufacturer’s and distributor’s responsibility to ensure that products are labeled properly,” For the report to be completely accurate, the percentages of each ingredient in the product make-up must be made know. The accuracy of the safety data is only as accurate as the manufacturer’s label.
Once again, if you are afraid that a product will cause you problems with your skin be sure to do a patch test before using it.