When choosing an organic lotion, be sure to pay close attention to the label. There are three levels of organic labeling, according to the USDA's National Organic Program regulations, and these levels refer to the percentage of organically grown ingredients in the product.
The first level is "100 percent organic." If a lotion says it's 100 percent organic and has the USDA's seal on the label, you can be certain the lotion is composed entirely of organically grown ingredients. This means the ingredients were grown without chemical pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers or ionizing radiation. It also means the lotion doesn't contain artificial preservatives, which are commonly used in cosmetic and skin care products [source: USDA].
The second level is "organic." For a lotion to be labeled organic, at least 95 percent of its ingredients must have been grown organically. However, because the word "organic" can't be applied to nonagricultural substances, such as mineral oil or petroleum jelly, the other 5 percent of the lotion may simply be one of these ingredients [source: USDA].
The third level is a product that's made with organic ingredients. Lotions from this category must contain at least 70 percent organically produced components, and manufacturers can list up to three of the organic items on the front of the label. For example, if a lotion label reads "made with organic lavender oil, calendula and peppermint," the product probably falls into this category [sources: USDA, Beyond Pesticides].
Organic products often carry a heftier price tag than nonorganic products, but are you really getting what you pay for? Keep reading to learn about the benefits of using organic lotion.