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.

I often get asked why I carry Guinot, 302 and PCA skin care lines at SkinSense so here is a brief summary of all three. Feel free to call with any questions about these products or any others that you may be using.

GUINOT is a skin care line that has been privately owned and operated for over half a century. With the cache of French luxury and the advantages of time tested formulas and modern science, the Guinot line offers the best possible solution to just about every skin problem. I have always used it because of the great results I have seen continuously on my clients’ skins over the two decades I have owned SkinSense. Each formula takes sensitivity into account which is so vital in today’s stressed world where acne, rosacea and even pigmentation can be triggered by our fast paced lives (see previous post on Melasma).

Essential oils, active botanicals and the latest in hydration and aging formulas are all available in this line which suits our clients interested in anti-aging and optimum skin maintenance.

302 Skincare is a 100% organic line with a wonderful avocado molecule that messages the cell receptors to get busy. Also great for sensitive skins, the formulas are uncomplicated and extremely gentle. Clients love the price point and simplicity of these products.

We use PCA skn care to target very specific issues like acne, rosacea and pigmentation and we find the formulas blend very well with everything else we stock. Once again the price point is extremely favorable and even though the ingredients are tough on acne and break-outs they rebalance and correct without causing any irritation.

It took us a long time to decide on these lines and are very proud and happy to utilise all three.

At this point I really believe from what I have seen on my clients’ skins and on my own, that great skin care requires a continuous and customized plan of action. We need to respect the skin as a fully functional and self regulating organ. Consistent daily care at home, rotating topicals, particularly A and C, combined with spa visits that include deep cleansing facials, lymphatic drainage, micro current and galvanic electrotherapy, can really boost cell production and repair sun and environmental damage.

I have written several times this year about the effectiveness of serums – their ability to penetrate quickly, add concentrated actives to the skin and increase the hydration level of moisturizers. Earlier this year, Guinot launched Longue Vie Serum, a new product that contains all the amino acids and vitamins of the Longue Vie family in a lighter, more concentrated form. During the winter months, we all need a little extra support, both in the hydration and anti-aging department. This new product can supply both.

I have also mentioned the effectiveness of glycolic acid in the past. We use a 30% glycolic acid solution with many of our spa facial treatments but wanted a product that you could use at home both as a spot treatment and also as an all-over radiance boost on a weekly basis. We now have this product. Gloprofessional has just launched Renew Serum – a blend of retinol, glycolic and salicylic acids that is proving to be very effective. It exfoliates the skin and keeps the complexion clear and fresh.

The common trend today seems to be about stimulating collagen and elastin production and making the skin cells work harder and longer. This less invasive approach produces, in plain words, new skin and a more youthful appearance.

Peptides form a very large part of the biological signaling mechanism. They carry information to cells and they are also major regulators of life. A peptide is a chemical compound composed of amino acids. Two or more amino acids linked together form a polypeptide. The amino acids are joined in a specific sequence by peptide bonds. According to how the peptides are joined, specific amino acids and proteins are formed. Peptides respond to cell receptors, are water soluble and cannot enter the cell. Their signal is transmitted to the DNA in the cell through the membrane receptor. Peptides are used in skin care to increase the amount of collagen being produced in the skin, stimulate fibroblast growth, and stimulate the production of keratinocytes. In other words, to minimize wrinkles and relax muscular activity. Matrixyl and Argireline are the most popular peptides currently in use but many more are becoming available. They are most effectively used in specific areas of the face like the eye area and orbicularis oris. The best method to apply them is in serum form and with the use of electrical protocols – for example, microcurrent, galvanism and ultrasound.

To learn more about how we use peptides at SkinSense Wellness Spa contact us.