Organic skincare. We hear those words so often these days. But do you know what the term actually means?
What is organic skincare?
There are so many products in the beauty market, each with their own terminology - which can become very confusing when you’re trying to select a product which is right for you.
Organic skin care is generally defined as skin care products which contain organically grown ingredients that are free from pesticides. Organic products are deemed to be more beneficial for the skin, as it is presumed there are little to no harsh chemical ingredients, and they are marketed thus.
In the last 10 years or so, the market has seen a sizeable shift towards organic skin care as consumers are becoming more savy and more conscious of what ingredients they’re putting on their skin, thanks to studies revealing the long-term effects of using harsh, chemical-based products.
(Image source: istock)
The difference between natural skin care & organic skin care
‘Natural skincare’ comprises products which contain ingredients that come from natural sources but are not necessarily organically produced. They may contain preservatives and chemicals like many other products, however, their main ingredients may be plant-based and therefore marketed as ‘natural’. 'Organic skincare' includes products comprised from naturally sourced ingredients that are produced without chemicals or pesticides.
The meaning of certified organic
There has been some controversy over the years on the use of ambiguous labelling by beauty companies. The word ‘organic’ in particular has been somewhat misrepresented, as it has been revealed that almost any company can have the word on their product, even if the actual ingredients are NOT organic or only a very tiny portion on the ingredients are organic. The product may still contain non-organic ingredients, as well as chemicals and synthetic ingredients. This is where yet another term - ‘certified organic’ - comes in.
Certified organic skincare products are those that have been certified as comprising organic ingredients by regulatory bodies such as Australian Certified Organic and the Organic Food Chain, who set a certain number of production rules for organic certification.
These stringent measures ensure that the consumer is aware of a brand’s credibility when it comes to organic skincare, and thus are able to purchase and safely consume products without any adverse side effects usually associated with pesticides and other toxic ingredients.
The benefits of using organic skincare
There are numerous benefits of using certified organic skin care. The stricter criteria which must be met for these formulations means that they are free from ingredients which are known to have adverse effects on the human body, like causing allergies or organ toxicity. Parabens (types of preservatives), for example, may cause skin allergies and possibly even stimulate cancer cell growth, according to a study that was revealed late last year. 
Many small organic skincare companies also support local economies and producers by utilising native Australian ingredients (such as Kakadu Plum) that large international brands often choose to overlook.
Everyone is different, and it is always beneficial to read the labels of cleansers, moisturisers and the like to decide what your preference is when it comes to skincare - mainstream (commercial) brands, natural, organic or the gold standard - certified organic.