Certainly organic skin cleansers may sound as though they're healthy. But will they really work? If your organic skin cleanser comes with the USDA certification seal, you can rest assured that most of its ingredients came from organically-produced agricultural resources. If you're looking for products that don't include chemical ingredients, organic products may be a good alternative. Since organic cleansers are made from agricultural products such as plants, they may also include vitamins and nutrients that will benefit your skin.
On the flip side, some organic products may not work as well as chemical-based products, and there's no published evidence that products made from plants are healthier or safer for your body [source: Singer]. Also, products with agricultural ingredients that aren't made with preservatives might not last as long, because they can have a higher risk of growing bacteria once opened. And, as with cleansers that contain chemicals, organic cleansers can also cause allergic reactions.
If you decide the cons outweigh the pros and you're no longer thinking organic, you may still be thinking about finding a chemical-free cleanser. If that's the case, look for the skin cleanser with the fewest ingredients, and avoid potentially harmful chemicals, fragrances and preservatives [source: American Academy of Dermatology].
But if you do decide that going green is right for you, make sure to look for a USDA certification seal. Other certifications exist, but not all certifying bodies use the same list of criteria; stick to the USDA seal to ensure your skin cleanser is truly organic [source: Rastogi]. If you can't find a skin cleanser with the USDA seal, but you still want to buy a product with plant-based ingredients, look for such ingredients on the product label along with waxes, herbs and other extracts.
Now that you're no longer green behind the ears when it comes to organic skin care products, the choice is yours whether to give them a try. Fortunately, there's a lot of information out there about organic choices. Use the links below to learn even more.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Dermatologists Dispel Common Myths About Age-Fighting Topicals." June 17, 2009. (Accessed 8/24/09)http://www.skincarephysicians.com/agingskinnet/age_fighting_myths.html
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Sensitive Skin Fact Sheet." 2009. (Accessed 8/24/09)http://www.aad.org/media/press/_doc/SensitiveSkinFactSheet.html
- American Academy of Dermatology. "The Good and Bad of 'All Natural' Therapy for Rosacea." 2009. (Accessed 8/24/09)http://www.skincarephysicians.com/rosaceanet/all_natural_therapy.html
- American Chemical Society. "Organic Chemistry Is All Around Us." 2009. (Accessed 8/24/09)http://portal.acs.org/portal/acs/corg/content?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=PP_ARTICLEMAIN&node_id=1188&content_id=CTP_003397&use_sec=true&sec_url_var=region1&__uuid=08e77888-cc37-4c11-a78a-aaa892957081
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- Eng, Monica. "Organic vs. Natural a Source of Confusion in Food Labeling." Chicago Tribune. July 10, 2009. (Accessed 8/24/09)http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/chi-natural-foods-10-jul10,0,7992216,print.story
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- Hompes, David. "7 Certified Organic Skin Care Tips." Pioneer Thinking. 3/26/07. (Accessed 8/24/09)http://www.pioneerthinking.com/cgi-bin/print.cgi?file=dh_organicskincare.html
- Organic Agriculture and Products Education Institute. "Excerpts from Beauty, Health and Happiness." (Accessed 9/3/09)http://www.theorganicinstitute.org/programs/worthit/excerpts
- Rastogi, Nina Shen. "Green Lipstick?" Slate. Feb. 24, 2009. (Accessed 8/24/09)http://www.slate.com/toolbar.aspx?action=print&id=2211934
- Scirrotto, Julia. "Soothing Solutions for Sensitive Skin." WebMD from Marie Claire. Sept. 16, 2008. (Accessed 8/24/09)http://www.webmd.com/skin-beauty/features/soothing-solutions-sensitive-skin?page=2
- Singer, Natasha. "Natural, Organic Beauty." The New York Times. Nov. 1, 2007 (Accessed 8/24/09)http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/01/fashion/01skin.html
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Organic Labeling and Marketing Information." 4/08. (Accessed 8/24/09)http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELDEV3004446&acct=nopgeninfo
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Memo: Certification of agricultural products that meet NOP standards." Aug. 23, 2005. (Accessed 9/17/09)http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5052491
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. "Labeling Packaged Products Under the National Organic Standards." July 27, 2009. (Accessed 9/17/2009)http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5078591&acct=nopgeninfo