Your favourite organic skincare may be kind to your skin, but can it perform?
Abi Weeds - 07 September 2013
It certainly can - and depending on the plant ingredients used, even better than the rest!
‘Cleaner and greener’ are probably the main reasons why people switch to organic skin care. Certified organic beauty products are free from ingredients that many consumers want to avoid like artificial fragrance, parabens, petroleum and mineral oil. But what I’d really like to underline is that organic beauty products bring even greater benefits from what they include rather than what’s left out.
Let’s look at one major skincare concern – ageing – and how organic ingredients can help: The key to protecting the skin from ageing (I hate the term ‘anti-ageing’ so I’ll try to avoid it!) is anti-oxidants – which plants just happen to contain in spades.
Antioxidants neutralise the damaging effects of 'free radicals' that are caused by exposing our skin to air pollutants and sunlight. Unchecked, free radicals cause a chain reaction of injury to the skin, resulting in premature ageing.
Enter vitamin-rich base oils such as extra virgin olive, coconut, sunflower and avocado oils (first pressing is very important) as well as unrefined shea butter, which contain high levels of antioxidant vitamins and nutrients. Exit refined oils which contain low levels of anti-oxidants and banish petroleum, paraffin and mineral oils which contain no protective nutrients at all.
Add in other potent anti-oxidants found in plants such as beta-carotene in sea buckthorn and calendula, polyphenols in pomegranate, rose, rosehip and rosemary (etc.) and you have yourself a natural powerpack against premature ageing.
Going organic makes a big difference: Studies are increasingly showing that organically grown plants have more antioxidants than those grown with pesticides and artificial fertilisers. This is because organically grown plants have to fight for their own survival rather than rely on artificial fertilisers, so they produce more protective antioxidants.
That’s just touching briefly on the benefits of organic for ageing skin. Plant extracts have also demonstrated the ability to help calm, heal and regenerate skin suffering from chronic problems like eczema – chickweed, chamomile, coconut oil to name but a few plants that really deliver when used in appropriate quality and concentrations. We’ve heard amazing testimonials from people who have seen excellent results after switching from ‘conventional’ to natural ways of managing sensitive skin.
Rose is a good example – it promotes hydration, elasticity and cell regeneration, as well as helping calm inflammation. A wonder ingredient which illustrates that good organic skin care can perform as well as the latest high-tech launch from a conventional laboratory.
But rather than take my word for it, check out beautybible.com by Jo Fairley and Sarah Stacey. Jo and Sarah have conducted some of the world’s largest beauty product tests and their panel regularly give organic products top marks over conventional skin care.
Abi Weeds is Director of Essential Care. Find out more about Organic Beauty Weekend, 7-8 September.
- Vallverdú-Queralt A, Jáuregui O, Medina-Remón A, Lamuela-Raventós R. Evaluation of a method to characterize the phenolic profile of organic and conventional tomatoes. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 03/2012; 60(13):3373-80.
- Brandt K, Leifert C, Sanderson R, Seal CJ. Agroecosystem management and nutritional quality of plant foods: The case of organic fruits and vegetables. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 2011, 30(1), 177-197.
- Amodio M and Kader A. (2007), University of California and Fauriel J, Bellon S, Pienet D, and Amiot MJ (2007), ‘On-farm influence of production patterns on total polyphenol content in peach
- Fairley J., and Stacey S., www.Beautybible.com; The Green Beauty Bible 2008; Natural Beauty Bible (forthcoming)