Organic Skin Care vs Natural Skin Care
Every day, more and more people are getting involved in skin care. The industry is booming and there are so many different niches in skincare: natural, organic, K-Beauty. The list goes on and on.
Whether you’re a novice or a skin care junkie, you may be asking yourself, “What’s the difference between organic and natural skin care? Aren’t they the same thing?” They are not the same thing.
Organic Skin Care
In the context of goods production, organic means any item grown without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Instead of using these chemical fertilizers made of lab-created concoctions, natural fertilizers such as manure are used.
For skin care, the word organic can be slapped on the label of any product that contains organic ingredients. If it contains fruit extracts from organically grown fruit, it can be sold as organic skincare.
Not everything in your organic skin care is organic or derived from living matter, however. If the product’s ingredients are 95% organic, the product can have the label of “USDA Certified Organic”. Anything with less than 95% but more than 75% can say “made with organic ingredients.”
Only food-safe ingredients fall under this criteria. Ingredients such as essential oils cannot be labeled as “USDA Certified Organic.”
Products that are produced under organic growing conditions are thought to be healthier for human use because they are grown without toxic chemicals. This limits your exposure to harmful chemicals.
Natural Skin Care
The term natural is not regulated at all, especially in the skin care community. However, it is most often applied to products whose ingredients come from natural sources. These natural sources could include fragrance from fruit juices or palm oil from palm trees.
Natural ingredients do not have to be organically produced. A lot of natural skin care overlaps with the organic category, though.
There is no industry standard on how much of the product needs to be natural to label it as such. Natural skin care lines are relatively new to the market, so you may see some industry-wide standardization regarding the title in the future.
Many people are drawn to natural beauty because they believe that anything in nature is good for them. However, even natural products carry hazards. There’s a reason why humans evolved to not put certain things in our mouths or slathered on our skin.
Which Is Better?
When deciding between a natural or organic product, you’ll have to ask yourself which quality is more important to you.
Would you rather have a skin care product that’s derived entirely from natural sources but could be grown with toxic chemicals and pesticides? Or would you rather slather on a cream that is made from at least some organic ingredients but could contain ingredients not found naturally growing on Earth?
For example, hyaluronic acid is a powerful moisturizing agent that is added to many skin care products. However, hyaluronic acid occurs naturally within our bodies or animals’ bodies. If it’s obtained from one of these two sources, it could have the label of natural or organic (depending on how the farm animal was raised).
The only vegan source of hyaluronic acid is the form that is lab-manufactured. If eliminating animal by-products in your life is important to you, you’re going to have to pick a hyaluronic acid that is neither natural nor organic.
Natural skin care products may be beneficial to anyone who is sensitive to artificial dyes, perfumes, or preservatives. Natural skin care only contains ingredients derived from nature, and this may lead to less discomfort than the user previously experienced using a commercially produced product.
The jury is still out on the benefits of organic skin care. When talking about organic foods, there’s no nutritive difference between organic and non-organic produce. The only benefit would be the reduction of chemicals by eliminating fertilizers and pesticides.
So far, there is no scientific research to detail whether trace amounts of pesticides and chemical fertilizers actually end up in our skin care products, or at what levels they become harmful. Many chemicals have a toxicity threshold where someone has to be exposed to a certain amount to become ill.
Organic and natural aren’t new words. They’ve been in the dictionary for decades, if not centuries. However, they’ve just recently started to enter the vocabulary of skin care lines with organic face creams, natural face washes, toners containing organic ingredients, and spot treatments made of natural ingredients.
Before you let these words overwhelm you and make your head spin, remember that these words are largely just used as buzzwords. The FDA only controls whether a product is labelled “USDA Certified Organic.” They do not police the words “organic” or “natural” on every single skin care product label.
The best strategy is to learn what’s actually in your skin care. Having a better understanding of each ingredient’s purpose and where they are harvested from will help you cut down on the confusion on whether you should go with organic or natural skin care.