Labeling Organic Body Care Products
Currently, we are seeing the word “organic” in reference to many products in the body care industry. How can a consumer know the difference between what is truly organic and what is not, and how does this relate to personal care products?
A personal care product may contain ingredients that have been certified organic. Generally, a company will offer a notation on their label that a product contains a certain percentage of organic ingredients.
While it may be true that the product is indeed created from some organic ingredients, the consumer cannot be sure that it is truly organic unless it displays the USDA logo used for organically produced items. When an item displays this logo, the consumer can be assured that a third party certification has taken place to ensure that the product meets certain qualifications.
On the other hand, there are body care products that may tout that they are organic, but if there is no USDA logo, there is no guarantee that the product has been checked and certified. This is not to say that if a product is not certified as being organic or partially organic that it is not safe or of high quality.
WHAT IS NATURAL BODY CARE?
At the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, we strive to offer safe body care products to our shoppers. While there may be controversy surrounding various ingredients, we take consideration each time a new product is presented to us to be sure that it meets our guidelines. We have been known to turn down products that are favorites in our industry because of our guidelines. There are certain ingredients that you will never see in our products. Some of these ingredients are:
Since food coloring tends to be synthetic, we don’t allow it in our food or body care products. If an item has color other than that which is naturally occurring, we are sure to check that it comes from a natural substance (i.e. beet root powder for pink or algae for green).
Because this substance collects in the body’s tissues, there is concern that it may cause heavy metal poisoning. The National Institutes of Health states that "When researchers found traces of this metal in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease, some thought it might play a role in causing the disease. However, many studies since then have not shown aluminum to be associated with Alzheimer's disease."
Dibutyl Phthalates (DBP)
This is a chemical found in many brands of nail polish, perfumes and hair spray. This substance has been known to endanger reproductive health (low sperm count, testicular cancer, and infertility).
PERSONAL CARE ITEMS
In the absence of government regulation of the word “organic” or “natural” in the personal care products industry, the safest way to consider a body care product ingredient is to weigh it as you would if you were to put it in your mouth. Remember, the skin is the largest organ in the body. When products are rubbed into the skin, they have the potential to be absorbed into the blood stream.
The following is a reference list to help you make informed decisions about the ingredients that you use on your skin and body. Our staff is happy to help you find what you are looking for.
At the Co-op, you will find body care products that are completely synthetic-free. Others have minimal quantities of synthetic ingredients. Below are some of our favorite synthetic-free product lines:
Emollients are liquid substances that help prevent drying of the skin or help maintain the smooth, soft pliable appearance of the skin.
Natural Oils & Waxes:
Natural Oils to Use with Caution:
Cottonseed oil (often grown with pesticides)
Petroleum Based Emollients:
Cosmetics are susceptible to contamination and degradation. Preservatives are substances to help prevent bacterial growth and oxidation and help maintain the stability of a product.
These can be derived from natural or synthetic sources. The highest quality of fragrances are from certified organic essential oils.
Seldomly Adulterated or Diluted Oils:
Synthetic Chemical Fragrances:
These are liquids capable of dissolving or diluting one or more substance.
Synthetic or Chemically Altered
The FDA approved coloring agents for both the food and personal care products that are from natural and synthetic origins. Most synthetic colors are derived from coal tar.
Useful reference books available in our Health & Body Aids Department: