Organic vs. Cosmeceuticals

Organic, natural, cosmeceutical skin care. What’s the difference?

In recent years the concept of using organic products has really taken off. The word ‘organic’ has sprung up all over the place – on food, clothing and many household goods.

We carry an excellent organic line at SkinSense Wellness Spa called 302 Skincare and it sells really well. And we carry other lines that mix synthetic ingredients, cosmeceuticals with botanicals, natural plant extracts and essential oils. So I thought it might be useful to clarify these variations so that you can decide more easily what to use on your own skin.

The terms ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ are often interpreted as the same thing and this is not the case. A natural ingredient can mean anything from arsenic to digitalis, neither of which would be safe to use on the skin! And safety often depends on how an extract is processed.

A truly organic USDA approved product has gone through stricter regulatory conditions than other organic products which means crops are grown without using most conventional pesticides or fertilizers. There are, in fact three categories of manufacturing levels instituted by the USDA:

  • 100% organic
  • Organic
  • Made with organic ingredients.

Both natural and organic products incorporate botanical and herbal ingredients into their formulations and both are susceptible to quality variations more so than synthetic. Plant growing conditions like weather variations and pest control, harvesting times, transport and storage can drastically affect consistency. Many clients who prefer organic products have sensitive skin and are concerned about consistency as their skins don’t like change. Other client’s are concerned about the environment. Word to the wise. There is such a thing as ‘wildcrafting’ where wild plants are harvested for commercial use. This is unregulated and puts both clients and certain plants at risk. Sustainable practices should be supported and we need as consumers to know the difference.

The term ‘synthetic’ can often imply something artificially derived or chemically produced in a laboratory but in fact all products are produced in a laboratory, synthetic or otherwise. And synthetic ingredients can sometimes offer more consistency. Cosmeceutical ingredients trend towards the newly discovered anti-aging ingredients – like ATP, collagen, retinoids,and stem cell extract, for example. Then we have botanicals and essential oils that offer a myriad of anti-oxidant and restorative benefits.

In my experience the one factor that is most important in skin care is quality. All ingredients should be rigorously tested and of the highest grade. And as well as being great at performing day to day maintenance should offer extensive anti-aging benefits. That is why we choose to offer a wide range of skin care products to suit every skin type.

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