Chemistry of Organic Skin Cleansing Products
The standards for creating an organic product are pretty rigid. An authentically organic skin cleanser must be made from agricultural ingredients (grown through farming) that must remain intact throughout the production process, even as chemicals are added to them. Most plant ingredients have to receive some chemical additions during mixing and manufacturing, because they aren't safe to add in as their natural version [source: American Academy of Dermatology].
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates many types of personal care products, currently does not have standards for labeling items as natural or organic. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has created such standards for agricultural products, but they may be used on personal care products also. For the USDA to recognize a product as "100 percent organic," it obviously must contain only organic ingredients. Products that have the USDA seal of simply "organic" must consist of at least 95 percent organic ingredients. That means 5 percent can be chemicals or other ingredients that aren't available organically. And products with the seal that claim to be "made with organic ingredients" must be at least 70 percent organic.
If your skin cleanser meets these requirements and has gone through the certification process, its label will contain a USDA certification seal. This is the only sure-fire way to tell whether your product is truly organic. If it does contain that seal, that means its ingredients, mixing, manufacturing and labeling meet the standards of the United States Department of Agriculture [source: USDA.].
The USDA only began certifying personal care products, such as skin cleansers, in 2005 [source: USDA]. So far, not very many skin cleansers exist that meet USDA certification requirements. However, any company can still market its product as organic without using the USDA seal or applying for certification [source: Singer]. That's why you want to be sure to look for the USDA seal if you want to buy products that are made from organic ingredients.
If you'd rather bathe your face in lemongrass and eucalyptus than in chemicals, there might just be an organic skin cleanser for you. Take a look at the next page to find out about different types of organic cleansers.