Synthetic ingredients in Organic Skincare products?
Most of the skincare products available in the market are made with synthetic ingredients.
These are -according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) - substances “formulated or manufactured by a chemical process”. They could be derived from a naturally occurring ingredient that is chemically changed during the process. Overall, they are not a natural ingredient.
There are also synthetic versions of natural ingredients. However, they do not act as the natural ones, and do not have the same properties. For example, Vitamin E is a well-known ingredient due to its antioxidant properties. The natural/vegetable vitamin E can be listed in the ingredients as Tocopherol, the synthetic one as “Tocopheryl acetate”.
A study by Cheng et al (2016) comparing natural and synthetic vitamins E used in broilers found that synthetic vitamin E did not perform as well as vegetable vitamin E in terms of retention and antioxidant capacities. In addition, the synthetic version is quite hazardous for the health. Meanwhile excess use of vegetable vitamin E can cause skin irritations, the use of the synthetic vitamin E is linked to endocrine (hormone system) disruptions, damage to vision and to DNA, and is toxic to sea life.
Synthetic ingredients are quite dangerous for your health. They can cause from a skin irritation to changes in your hormone system and even cancer. They are used because they enhance the texture of the products and they extend the shelf-life. Unfortunately, organizations regulating ingredients on skincare products do allow for the use of these type of ingredients. Indeed, the cosmetic industry is quite powerful.
The most dangerous part for me is that these ingredients are even allowed on certified-organic skincare products. As per the USDA regulations, if at least 95% of the ingredients used to manufacture a product are certified-organic, or included in a list of non-organic but allowed ingredients (e.g. water, sea salt, clays), then the skincare product can be certified-organic. This means that certified- organic skincare products can use up to 5% synthetic ingredients. The use of synthetic ingredients does depend on the company values and objectives.
Let’s look at one example. We have classified the ingredients listed in a certified-organic moisturizing cream produced by a European company. As you can see, they are not only using synthetic ingredients but some of them are quite harmful to the health and environment.
Table 1: List of ingredients on a certified-organic moisturizing cream (produced by a European Company)
Olea|Cocos products are made only using natural and organic ingredients. We do NOT use synthetic ingredients to handcraft our products.
Choose wisely and enjoy your skincare!