Change…confessions of a skincare tragic
As a naturopath change sometimes seems like a mantra; I advise clients to change their diet, habits and sometimes lifestyle all to achieve a greater level of well-being. So when considering the topic of ‘change’ for this blog hop, any of the above could have formed the basis of my article. However when I think back to one of the biggest changes I made in my health it was to change from commercial, synthetically based skincare over to natural and organic products. I have to say at the time the decision was tough because organic skincare had none of the glamour or promise of instant youthfulness of big brands and I have always been a sucker for pretty packaging and instant results (this is a slightly embarrassing admission).
Despite the average packaging and lack of youthful promise, organic skincare changed not only my skin, but also my life. This is a slightly dramatic claim I know but I did end up quitting my job and opening an organic skincare store so my life literally did change. On a less dramatic note my skin also improved significantly. This was at a time when my skin was chemically sensitive, red and inflamed so as you can imagine, applying a soothing, organic and chemical free serum for the first time was like heaven. That was 10 years ago and my skin still looks better than it did back then.
For many however, when it comes to skincare, change often doesn’t occur so readily. Brand loyalty is a significant barrier but so are product price; perceptions of quality and advertising spend. As you can imagine for these reasons the organic skincare industry took a while to make an impact on consumers. Fortunately it did and now even the big brands are making attempts to capture the organic skincare consumer dollar.
I think there are many reasons to make the change to organic skincare and I have outlined a few below that are particularly important to me. These reasons are key drivers in my decision-making and so also expand the use of organic products in my life generally e.g. house cleaning products, organic food and even organic clothing when I can find it.
- Toxins – from heavy metals in lipstick to hormone disrupting preservatives in baby products, there are just too many unnecessary chemicals in everyday skincare. Women use on average 14 personal care items a day, which adds up to a dizzying array of synthetic ingredients, many of which have toxic potential. Theespecially problematic ingredients include formaldehyde, phthalates, artificial fragrances, parabens, Diethanolamine, 1,4-Dioxane, mercury & lead and triclosan but this list is by no means exhaustive.
- Animal Testing – according to the RSPCA “there is no testing of cosmetics involving animals conducted in Australia. However, the majority of cosmetic products sold here will contain ingredients that will have been tested on animals at some time.” The good news is that there is a worldwide interest in this area and the European Union has taken a significant step by banning the use of animals in all cosmetic testing. Go Europe! The rest of the world just needs to follow suit. Fortunately to achieve organic status, no animal testing on finished products or ingredients is allowed in any way, shape or form so you can be assured that all certified organic or natural products are humane.
- LOHAS or Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability which is essentially a socio-economic term that describes a segment of conscious shoppers i.e. people who not only consider their own personal benefit but the impact on the wider community and planet. Organic and natural products are part of this trend, achieving this by using eco-packaging materials, fair trade ingredients, stopping the use of palm oil, choosing sustainable ingredients and cruelty free products.
- Quality – it is especially important to me that the products I use on my skin work and I strongly believe that it isn’t just about active ingredients. For example, as a feature ingredient an anti-ageing peptide may make up 0.5% of a product but I want to know what the other 99.5% of the product is going to do for my skin. I think that organic skincare is more active. Excluding water, organic products often contain up to 95% active ingredients rather than 5% active ingredients in a 95% inert (non-active) base as in many of everyday personal care products and cosmetics.
Occasionally, even now a bright, shiny new product will catch my eye however it takes about a second to remember that I made the change to organic skincare for a reason and the allure quickly fades. And excitingly, there are new bright, shiny organic products being launched these days so really I need look no further