Skincare Labeling: Natural, Organic, and Synthetic Chemical Ingredients

 

We automatically believe a label to be true if it says ‘natural’, ‘organic’, or ‘safe’. Why is that so?

Well, firstly, as consumers, we are very trusting and assume that the companies from which we buy skincare products must surely follow all the regulations put down by the government, judging by such claims made on their product packaging.

This assumption makes sense for other industries but does not hold true for cosmetic and skin care products, even if much of the same claims can be found on the labels. These products often don’t pass the test, because not much weight is put on the screening and labeling of cosmetics and skin care as compared to food items and other goods.

You will be surprised to know that the $60 billion cosmetic industry isn’t thoroughly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as previously believed to be, which gives marketing teams of big companies the liberty to create half truths about their products. It is then the job of the consumer to determine what product is good and what is not as well as to be informed of what the market is selling under the guise of a natural product.

At Verità Skin, we use 10 ingredients or less and clearly mark the ingredients on the label. We do not mask what is in our products with fancy names or hide behind a scientific sounding term. We list which ingredients are organic and let you know what percentage is natural and organic. All Verità products use either 100% organic ingredients or 99% organic and 1% natural ingredients. That is our promise to you and how we empower women consumers to take charge of the skin.

Definition of Organic Ingredient

Simply put, the definition of organic means that the ingredient was harvested, processed, and mixed into a product without using chemical fertilizers, enhancers, dyes, and pesticides at any stage of the manufacturing process. It also means the item or product is free from any synthetic additives. It is important to note that just because an ingredient may be organic going into the brand, the final product ceases to be organic if the cosmetic or skin care product has synthetic chemicals in it to preserve the item, used to bind ingredients together, or speed up evaporation on skin.

If consumers see the ‘Certified Organic’ or ‘USDA Organic’ seal on any product’s packaging then that means that the item must constitute of 95% or more, certified, organic content from the approved ingredients’ list. That product has also been certified by the USDA. One label commonly seen is ‘100% Organic’, which means the ingredients that the product is made of, must or do meet the guidelines approved by the FDA. Another label, ‘Made with Organic’, means that 70% or more ingredients must be of organic base although the USDA approved seal can’t be used.

As a small company, Verità Skin does not currently carry the USDA certification label. The certification process costs tens of thousands of dollars and is a great investment for a company in the long-term. We hope to have the certification label in the near future. In the interim, we have listed all our ingredients and noted their organic and natural origins as well as the organic composition of the final product. All our ingredients come with organic certificates from our suppliers in the United States and around the world.

What is the meaning of Synthetic Chemical?

There are some consumers who think that the terms ‘artificial’ and ‘synthetic’ are one and the same; however, there is a very obvious difference. Artificially made products need to be made by human intervention and from natural based ingredients.

Products that are made synthetically, on the other hand, not only need human intervention but can only be made in a laboratory via a process known as chemical synthesis. This means that parts taken from different places are combined to make a whole, a compound. In understandable words, the ingredients used to make them aren’t available in nature.

The danger in the skin care industry is that companies create synthetic ingredients to mass produce products with cheaper ingredients. Synthetic ingredients are cheaper than organic because they are created easily in a test tube versus grow in the ground over months. What we must ask ourselves is, at what cost does our skin bare for cheap fillers? Toxic synthetic chemicals used in the cosmetic industry include the following:

  • Parabens and Phthalates – Known to be carcinogenic and particularly linked to breast cancer
  • Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfates – The most toxic ingredients on the market and a deadly form of carcinogen
  • PEGS (polyethylene glycols) and petrochemical products – PEGs are used to dissolve oil and grease, thus opening skin to harmful toxins and bacteria by stripping the outer skin layers
  • Petrolatum – This has two well-known carcinogens: Benzo-A-Pyrene and Benzo-B-Fluroanthene
  • Mineral Oil – A petroleum derivative that slows cell development and causes early aging by preventing skin from breathing
  • DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine) – All three disrupt hormones and are particularly linked to liver and kidney cancer

If you take the label of your cosmetic or skincare product and want to read about each individual ingredient, go to the EWG's Skin Deep Database. You can enter the ingredient name and all known studies and reports listed in connection with the ingredient will come up including any warnings or advisory notes. Empower yourself by knowing what you put on your skin and thus in your body.

The Natural vs. Organic Debate

Many would think that both these words mean the same; however, this cannot be more wrong. If a cosmetic product is ‘labeled’ as being natural, this does not mean that it was made with organic ingredients. Even if a product is made naturally, there may be preservatives or artificial colors in it. To make matters worse, the FDA and the USDA do not regulate products labeled ‘natural’; something manufacturers take advantage of to keep products on the market that have toxic synthetic ingredients.

Here are a few rules of thumb to keep in mind when reading a product label:

  • While Organic may be displayed on the front of the bottle, your product is likely made from only a small percentage of organic ingredients. Brands must list all ingredients and mark whether they are organic or not. Make sure to read all ingredients.
  • Brands must list ingredients in order of content percentages – the largest amount of ingredients at the top. That said, if only the last few ingredients are organic, you are probably only getting a few drops of organic ingredients supplemented cheap quality fillers at the top.
  • If water is listed as the first ingredient, your product is predominantly water and must contain a preservative and a binding agent to mix water and oils or butters. Not all preservatives are bad, but watch out for harmful parabens and other synthetic chemicals. Binding agents are unnecessary chemicals for the skin with unintended consequences.
  • If you don’t know how to pronounce an ingredient, do you really want it on your skin?

The only thing consumers can do to not get tricked into buying something that is not what the label says; but to be well informed of what is put into the jar of face cream or tube of lip balm by reading the list of ingredients carefully before every purchase. As we always say at Verità, ‘the truth is in the label.’


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