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Myth of natural cosmetics
with a little pest-inside.
On many labels of present-day cosmetic products one can see the words “natural”
or “organic”. According to the information from American medical magazines three quarters of customers consider
that “natural” cosmetic products consist at least of 90% natural substances and about 80% are convinced that organic
and natural ingredients are more effective and safe as compared with synthetic ones.
Though the words “natural”
and “organic” have almost the same meaning, actually this is not the case. There are definite standards for organic
products that alow to certify a whole cosmetric product or separate ingredients as organic. In particular, plant organic raw
materials should be grown without pesticides and herbicides, it should be obtained from renewable sources (for example, plantations),
only definite chemicals, not harmful to health and nature are allowed to be used while processing. The presence of genetically
modified products is also forbidden. It is not so simple to produce cosmetic products that consist of 100% organic ingredients,
their production is much more expensive as compared with non-organic products. Therefore, most often the words “certified
organic” are not related to a product as a whole but only to single ingredients. There is no any trickery here, as a
rule, the producer frankly informs about it on packages, but there is just one snag to it: the word “organic”
is written large and easily readable and the list of ingredients the word “organic” is related to, can be hardly
seen. The things look even worse with the word “natural”. Cosmetic companies may interpret it how they think fit.
But for all that they are not obliged to prove naturality of their products.
It is not an easy task to make the
product natural, attractive and safe at the same time. For example, vegetable oils are natural and health-giving for the skin,
but, at the same time, many of them are not stable and easily oxidize (get rancid). Besides, it is very difficult to make
a product nice-looking and handy in case its formula contains only natural oils.
Cosmetic products are in need
of emulsifiers. They are necessary not only for making cosmetic products nice-looking, but also for even distribution of active
components and preservatives. But it is not possible to obtain an emulsifier without chemical transformation of natural ingredients.
There are definite rules in organic cosmetics concerning permissibility of chemical modifications. But the fact remains: none
of the emulsifiers is for sure natural.
The worst is with natural preservatives. To present day there have been
no a natural preservative which ensures an effective protection of cosmetic products. Usually cosmetic products that contain
plant extracts, alcohol or essential oils as preservatives, have limited shelf life even if storage conditions are strictly
observed (no more than 6 months in a fridge).
It is necessary to take into account that not all natural ingredients
are harmless as well as not all synthetic substances are harmful. Those who think that natural cosmetic products rarely cause
allergy, may recollect how many people suffer from natural pollen allergy in spring. Therefore to buy cosmetic products only
because of their “naturality” is the same as to fall in love with a man only because he is a blond. From time
immemorial people used plants for treatment and skin and hair care, but one must keep in mind that natural ingredients have
no any labels, annotations or recommendations how to use them. Among substances, synthesized by plants, there are ingredients
that are toxic in itself or become toxic interacting with other substances or because of UV-radiation or long-term storage.
Therefore we are not able to consider natural cosmetic products to be “good” or “innocuous” a priori.
And what is more, in case the ingredients are selected incorrectly, “natural” cosmetic products may turn out to
be unstable, prone to oxidation and microbe contamination, they may contain irritative and toxic substances, allergens.
There is no opposition to the fact that natural ingredients ought to be present in cosmetic products. But the mere
fact of “naturality” and “organicity” does not guarantee the product quality. It is of more importance
in case a cosmetic company takes care of consumers health, does not use potentially dangerous and irritating substances and
takes into account the skin real needs.