I’ve written about the dangers of toxic chemicals in skin products and how I switched to natural products in the 1990’s (which was quite a challenge as there wasn’t much to choose from). Now there are so many of these products that it’s all quite confusing. However, the quality of these products varies enormously. Many of them have good ingredients but are too heavy, or don’t absorb properly or just smell weird. Also there are very few aimed specifically at mature skin. That’s why I was excited by the Green People’s new Age Defy+ range. Charlotte Vohtz is the founder of the brand so it’s no surprise she too strongly believes in the power and safety of organic products. Here’s what she has to say on the subject.
About Charlotte Vøhtz
Charlotte, founder of Green People, began her pursuit for an organic lifestyle nearly twenty years ago when her daughter Sandra, who was then aged two, developed eczema and skin allergies. Coming from a nursing background and with experience in both herbal medicine and the pharmaceutical industry, Charlotte set out to find the cause of Sandra’s health problems. Discovering that we are exposed to an abundance of harmful chemical compounds every day – most of which are synthetic and man-made – inspired her to create natural and organic products for the whole family… and so Green People was born. In 1999 Charlotte was invited to be a part of the Soil Association committee, playing a key role in setting the standards for natural and organic cosmetics.
Why should I choose organic cosmetics?
While these days we generally try to live a healthier lifestyle in terms of food, exercise and so on, we don’t always link the same thinking to the cosmetics we put onto our skin. Just think about the number of products you use during a day – cleanser, shower / bath wash, shampoo, conditioner – and especially those you leave on all day, such as deodorant, body moisturiser, foundation, lipstick and so on. These products are awash with a mixture of man-made chemicals. Your skin is the largest organ of the body and what you put on it can be absorbed into the blood stream in varying amounts… as much as up to 60 per cent can be absorbed and carried around the body. If you are using solely chemical-heavy, mainstream products, it’s possible you are absorbing up to 2kg of man-made chemicals through your skin every year – this is an alarming issue, leading to a cumulative build up and ultimately possible long-term skin and health problems. Over recent years, certain cosmetic ingredients have been flagged up in the media due to their link with health scares and this has been a factor in some people moving towards organic as a safer option. What, however, can be confusing for the consumer is that the cosmetic industry is in many areas self-regulating, particularly with regard to making claims about products being ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ – while actually many of these products contain 20 or more man-made chemicals. To compound this, while the toxicity of individual chemicals is assessed and known, the effect of the combination of these chemicals is still an unknown quantity. A trial in Scandinavia showed that the toxicity of two preservative ingredients increased up to 1000-fold when combined versus two of the same preservatives being used separately. So what makes an authentic organic cosmetic product and what are the benefits? There are two levels of certification. Products containing over 95% of their agricultural ingredients from certified organic sources can include the word ‘organic’ in their title. Products made with between 70% and 95% of their agricultural ingredients from certified organic sources must indicate which ingredients are organic and declare what percentage they comprise of the total ingredients. Organic ingredients must be extracted using natural methods, subjected to minimum processing. They must avoid harmful synthetic chemicals, artificial preservatives, irradiation, genetically modified organisms and animal testing. When purchasing your cosmetic products, look out for those with Organic Certification. This means that a product has been independently approved as meeting a specific standard. There are differences between each certification body (UK standards are recognised to be the highest in the world), but you are assured of a product that comes without harmful ingredients, promotes health and well-being and is good for the environment too. There are now some really good quality organic cosmetic products on the market, so there is real choice. If you have skin sensitivity or a skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, organic products are great – people who have switched to organic have found inexplicable allergies disappear. Finally, it’s worth remembering that organic doesn’t need to mean expensive… with a good quality, truly organic product, a little goes a long way!