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Organic vs. Natural Skincare: What's the Difference?

submitted on 17 August 2023 by


As you wander down the aisles of your local supermarket or browse through the skincare section of your favorite beauty store, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of products that claim to be "natural" or "organic." But what does it all mean? Are they actually any better for your skin – or the environment – than conventional, synthetic products? And, most importantly, is it worth the extra money you'll need to fork over to get your hands on them?In this article, I'll be delving into the world of natural and organic skincare, comparing and contrasting the two terms and offering some valuable insights and practical advice to help you navigate this complex terrain. So, let's get started, shall we?

Defining "Natural" and "Organic" Skincare

First things first: what exactly do we mean when we talk about "natural" and "organic" skincare? While the terms are often used interchangeably, they have distinct and specific meanings that are important to understand.Natural SkincareA product is considered natural if it is made from ingredients that are derived from nature and minimally processed. This means that the ingredients should come from plants, minerals, or animal by-products (like beeswax or honey) and have not been chemically altered. However, just because a product is labeled as "natural" doesn't necessarily mean it's entirely free of synthetic or artificial ingredients – it may still contain a small percentage of these, depending on the particular brand or formulation.Organic SkincareOrganic skincare products, on the other hand, are made from ingredients that have been grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or ionizing radiation. In order for a product to be labeled as "organic," it must meet specific standards set by a certifying body, such as the USDA or the Soil Association. These standards are stricter than those for natural products and generally require that at least 95% of the ingredients (by weight) be organic.

Benefits of Natural and Organic Skincare

Now that we've defined the two terms, let's take a closer look at the benefits of using natural or organic skincare products.1. Better for Sensitive SkinOne of the main advantages of choosing natural or organic skincare products is that they are typically free of harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrances, and artificial dyes that can cause irritation or allergic reactions in people with sensitive skin. Instead, they rely on gentle, plant-based ingredients that have soothing and calming properties, making them a better choice for those who are prone to redness, itching, or other skin issues.2. Environmentally FriendlyBecause organic skincare products are made from ingredients that are grown without the use of harmful chemicals, they are generally considered to be better for the environment. Conventional agriculture can lead to soil degradation, water pollution, and the destruction of wildlife habitats. Organic farming, on the other hand, promotes biodiversity, improves soil quality, and reduces water contamination. This means that by choosing organic skincare products, you're not only doing your skin a favor but also helping to protect the planet.3. No GMOs or Artificial AdditivesAnother benefit of using natural and organic skincare products is that they are free of GMOs and artificial additives, which some people believe can cause health problems or contribute to the development of certain diseases. While the jury is still out on the long-term effects of these substances, many people prefer to err on the side of caution and avoid them altogether, opting for natural and organic alternatives instead.

Is It Worth the Extra Cost?

Now we come to the million-dollar question: is it worth paying more for natural or organic skincare products? The answer to this will ultimately depend on your individual priorities and preferences.If you have sensitive skin or allergies, you may find that the benefits of using natural and organic products far outweigh the added expense. In this case, investing in higher-quality skincare can actually save you money in the long run, as you'll likely experience fewer flare-ups, rashes, or other skin problems that might require medical treatment or prescription medication.If you're concerned about the environmental impact of your skincare choices, opting for organic products can be a good way to put your money where your mouth is and support more sustainable farming practices. However, it's also worth considering other factors, such as the packaging, transportation, and overall "footprint" of the products you buy – sometimes, a locally-made, non-organic product may be the greener choice.Ultimately, the decision to go natural or organic is a personal one, and there's no one-size-fits-all answer. The best approach is to educate yourself about the ingredients in your skincare products, consider your individual needs and values, and make an informed choice based on your own unique circumstances.
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