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03 April 2014

Is Organic Skin Care Really Better?

Organic is a buzz word for clothing, food, and skin care products right now, but are they really better for your healthy?  Organic skin care products are more expensive than their counterparts, but is the extra cost worth it?  Are you really getting a better product for your money?  Whether you choose an organic product or not, you should read the label carefully to see what you are buying.
The Organic Label

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the sale of cosmetics and skin care products.  As of this writing, the FDA does not define the word organic on cosmetic labels.  The United States Department of Agriculture does define organic, and they can deem a product certified organic if it meets their definition of the term.

In order to be labeled certified organic, the product needs to contain a certain percentage of organic ingredients.  The labels are as follows:

  • 100 percent organic products must contain only certified organic ingredients.
  • Organic products must contain 95 percent organic ingredients.
  • Made with organic ingredients must be made with 70 percent organic ingredients.
  • If the product is made with less than 70 percent organic ingredients, it may not use the organic label.  However, it can be label as using an organic ingredient if that ingredient is certified organic.  
Read the labels of organic skin care carefully.  If it says it is organic, there could be up to 5 percent of non-organic ingredients!  Likewise, if the product says it is made with organic ingredients, it could have up to 30 percent non-organic ingredients.  If the label highlights only one organic ingredient, then the rest of the ingredients are probably not organic.  

Aren't Organic Products Safer?

Not always.  Many organic skin care products use natural plant oils and extracts.  These can still cause an allergic reaction or skin irritation in some people, just as synthetic ingredients can.  

All skin care products that have water as an ingredient need a preservative to prevent bacteria and fungus from growing.  This is why some of the recipes that I feature need to be stored in the fridge and used within a certain length of time.  Some natural product use a natural preservative like vitamin E or grapeseed oil, but these are not as effective as a synthetic preservative.

The Bottom Line

Read the label carefully so you know what you are buying.  Manufacturer's know that putting the word organic on the label will increase sales, so they often label organic skin care so it looks better than it really is.  Remember that certified organic products can contain up to 5 percent non-organic ingredients, so read the label to see what those ingredients are.  If you want true organic skin care, make your own with the easy DIY beauty recipes that I feature using only certified organic ingredients.  

Photo via Stuart Miles /
Cari Dunn
Cari Dunn

Cari lives on a small farm in Ohio with her husband, three kids, two dogs, two cats, five goats, several chickens, and homing pigeons. She loves Gilmore Girls, coffee, and her kids. Not in that order.