Organic food for your skin

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Creamy coconut, refreshing cucumber, stimulating lemon, nutrient-rich avocado–we feel good about putting these foods into our body because they’re nutritious and beneficial.

Now think about how delicious our skin would feel if we used these same products in our skin care–products free of harsh chemicals, synthetics, pesticides and preservatives, sulfates, plastics, parabens, silicone, mineral oil, petroleum and petrochemical-derivatives.

Organic skincare products are becoming more and more popular, with some claiming to be so pure they’re practically edible. When we know that our skin is our largest organ, it makes sense to be just as careful with what we put on our bodies as what we put in them.

While the Food and Drug Administration regulates the manufacture of food and drugs, the standards for skin care are far lower than food standards, allowing some very harmful chemicals to be used. Some harmful ingredients added to skin care products include mercury, dioxane, nitrosamines, DEA, cyclomethicone, ammonium laureth sulfate, alcohol, isopropyl (SD-40) and polyethylene glycol.

Most of these compounds are easily absorbed by the skin, but not so easily eliminated by the body. The toxins that remain can eventually damage your body. Additionally, they can easily cause sensitivities and irritations, clog your pores and produce acne.

So what’s the difference between natural and organic products? Natural ingredients are at least partially derived from natural sources with no synthetic compounds. Organic ingredients should contain only plant-sourced ingredients that are cultivated without the use of synthetic chemicals, irradiation or pesticides. However, given the lack of regulations, it is always a question as to whether or not these products actually are made according to the claims about their formulations.
If a product is labeled “organic,” it should mean that it has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological and mechanical practices that not only take into account the preservation of the environment but that also avoid the use of synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation and genetic engineering. Organic skincare products are made from ingredients grown without the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers. Legally, a product must be certified by the USDA and bear a logo indicating such. This means the product has been grown and processed under a very strict code of cleanliness, with no pesticides or fertilizers and absolutely no genetically modified organisms.

Ingredients such as emollients, humectants, emulsifiers, surfactants and preservatives can be found in all skincare products, whether organic or not. However, organic products will not use a synthetic version of these ingredients. Your best bet is to read the label. If you see words such as synthetic, petroleum, parabens, sulfates, mineral oil or any of the other ingredients listed above, steer clear.

There are a number of organic skin care lines on the market, many of which go above and beyond expectations and boast food-grade ingredients. One of the most popular is Juice Beauty, of which actress Gwyneth Paltrow is creative director.
Juice Beauty promises to start with an organic botanical juice base and then add powerful skin care ingredients, such as Vitamin C and fruit stem cells, vegetable hyaluronic acids, which feed your skin, instead of using petroleum derivatives as many traditional skincare companies do.

The company also promises that products are formulated without parabens, petroleum, pesticides, propylene, butylene glycols, phthalates, sulfates, PEGs, TEA, DEA, GMO, silicones, gluten, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrances. In fact, on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show, Gwyneth Paltrow was seen dipping a French fry in one Juice Beauty Goop product and eating it.

Intelligent Nutrients is another line of organic products with food-grade ingredients. Intelligent Nutrients is a certified organic health and beauty company founded by Horst Rechelbacher, the man who founded Aveda and later sold it to Estee Lauder. Products by Intelligent Nutrients are free of sulfates, plastics, parabens, silicone, mineral oil, petrochemical derivatives and synthetics. They utilize plant stem cells cultivated without soil in what they call the purest lab conditions, saying this revolutionary process releases the life force of the plant in its most pure form.

Osmia is an organic skincare line that specializes in luxurious face products made with botanical extracts in combination with moisturizing ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and niacinamide and scented with organic and wild harvest essential oils. Their best-selling soap is made with Black Australian clay, Dead Sea mud, organic almond, avocado and castor bean oils. Coconut milk helps make the beautiful white lather.

The bottom line is this: shop for products with a Certified Organic or USDA Organic seal and check your labels. You don’t necessarily want to eat the products you put on your skin, but you should at the very least not be afraid to do so. After all, what’s going on your skin will eventually end up in your body anyway! HLM

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