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Organic Isn't Just About Food

By Email author - Wed, 29 Aug 2012 13:30:00 GMT
Organic Isn't Just About Food

Organic beauty products image; Credit: © Shutterstock

Anyone who cares about what they put into their body and how they interact with the environment around them will probably try and buy as much organic produce as possible when filling their weekly shopping basket. Sometimes money (there's no denying organic fruit and veg is more expensive) and availability mean we aren't able to go organic every time, but most of us recognise it is the healthier option for ourselves and for the planet. So why don't we apply the same principle to the cosmetic products we use on our skin? After all, the skin just happens to be the largest organ we have and almost anything that is applied to that organ ends up in the body.

Skin will absorb up to 60% of everything that is put on it - and nowadays many companies even include 'penetration enhancers' to make sure your skin absorbs their product. That's why it is surprising how little attention people pay to the chemicals they are using on their skin and how little they worry about the chemicals that are going into their body.

There are thousands upon thousands of synthetic chemicals that we absorb on a day-to-day basis from our food, toiletries and the environment around us. More and more studies are now being done on the effects these chemicals are having on the rise in allergies, skin complaints (such as eczema) and even some cancers. Just as people are now attempting to minimize their risks by eating more organic produce, so is there also a growing (albeit slowly) demand for skin and hair products that use only natural and organic ingredients. Organic skin care companies believe it is possible (and desirable) to make cosmetic products using only natural ingredients, thereby significantly reducing the amount of chemicals your skin absorbs.

Aside from using natural products, an organic skin care company will also aim to only use ingredients that have been farmed organically, thereby cutting out the chances of their products containing trace elements of pesticides and chemical fertilisers. This has the double benefit of not only being good for the health of their customers but also helping the environment; the more consumers buy products from organic farmers who use old-fashioned methods of farming and encourage diverse habitats (and who don't use pesticides), the better.

Organic crops will be sustainably farmed and in all likelihood they will be farmed by small businesses that support their local community. And most organic skin care businesses are themselves quite small (in comparison with the large cosmetic multinationals) and tend to be local-minded too. However, most of them will have a website where you can order products and with a bit of research you can find good organic skin care companies in your area. Here are a few of the most respected and popular companies:

I Am Natural - Run by Esther Cohen from a small workshop in Kent in the UK, I Am Natural sell organic skin and hair care for men, women and children. Selling everything from shampoo to lip balm, soaps to shower gels, I Am Natural have built a reputation as one of the UK's most ethical brands. Vegan friendly and refusing to use chemical preservatives (such as parabens), synthetic fragrances, petrochemicals and lanolin, I Am Natural make products that are good for your skin, and the environment. Head to www.iamnatural.co.uk for details.

Burt's Bees - Burt's Bees started out selling honey in Dexter in the US and gradually realised they could make great lip balms and hand salves from the beeswax. All of their products are made from just beeswax, essential and botanical oils, minerals and flowers and only natural colours are used. Packaging is all from recycled materials and looks amazing. None of their stuff is tested on animals. You can find more information at www.burtsbees.com.

Badger Balm - Badger Balm are a family owned business from New Hampshire that sell natural healing balms, lip balms, sunscreens and other products, using only natural ingredients including exotic butters and oils, organic plant extracts and beeswax. The company was started by Bill Whyte back in 1994 when he began to develop a beeswax balm for carpenter friends who had problems with cracked hands. The resulting product was called Bear Paw and proved hugely popular and led to the business that is so successful today. Badger Balm aim to make effective natural products with simple and natural ingredients and which support organic and sustainable agriculture. Visit their website at www.badgerbalm.com.

The Green People - Another UK company specialising in organic body care products, Green People have been around since 1997. They sell everything from body washes to face creams, all certified organic, and they have more than 100 different products across their range. The company was started by Charlotte Vohtz when her two year old daughter began suffering from skin allergies and she traced the problems to chemicals in the products they were using at the time. She quickly discovered that even those products marketing themselves as 'natural' were made up almost entirely from synthetic chemicals. Her own background in nursing and a strong interest in herbal medicine meant she was able to make products that were both effective and entirely natural. She concentrated on natural products that are alcohol free, paraben free and contained none of the harsh chemicals such as phthalates, petrochemicals, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate or any other synthetic fragrances. Head to www.greenpeople.co.uk for details.

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