Natural, Organic, and Beyond: The Wise Choice in Skincare

June 15, 2017

Taking Care of Your Skin

When it comes to skincare, we live in a realm of expectation that is totally justified. After all, skincare should not be perceived as vanity; it has to do with our health, one way or another. Skin that looks flawed, old or tired can make some individuals feel emotionally distressed, sad, and contribute to low self-esteem. On the other end, certain skin conditions and diseases can have a direct impact on the ability to lead a normal and healthy life. Keeping our skin in top shape and protected from the effects of time and the environment is a sure way to guarantee our peace of mind. Since the skin is the largest organ of the body, it makes perfect sense to take care of it properly which includes carefully selecting safe products to cleanse, nourish, beautify and protect it.

Although skincare goals may differ for each individual, (acne lesions, aging signs, hyperpigmentation, skin type woes, etc.), there is a triad of concerns common to all of those using skincare products: quality, effectivity, and safety.

In the beauty industry, the gamut goes from affordable products that are formulated to offer instant results at the expense of true quality and/or safety, to those providing great results with no compromises on quality nor safety, but usually at a higher cost. Although “cost” does not necessarily determine the performance of the product, for this reason alone, deciding “what to use” depends largely on product formulation. This is especially true in an ever growing world concerned about the effects of toxins in products for personal care.

Natural vs. Organic

For quite a few years, there has been a debate on “natural” vs. “organic” products in the skincare industry. However, lurking in the shadows, the questionable topic of “synthetic” ingredients remains a constant threat. Consequently, it becomes essential to clear up some confusions and misunderstandings as applicable. A good place to start is by discussing what “natural”, “synthetic”, and “organic” terms mean in the particular sense of skincare products. It is usually stated that “natural” refers to products containing ingredients that come from Mother Nature, one way or another. “Natural,” however, does not always mean “organic”; this is an important point to mention.

Many skincare lines in the beauty market offer natural ingredients, but these are usually mixed with “synthetic” ingredients. “Synthetic” could easily be defined as a man-made ingredient or the formation of complex compounds by uniting more simple ones. This is a concept which could typically involve certain actions such as manipulation and artificial conversion of natural components to create newer versions. As an example, nylon, a synthetic polymer, comes from petroleum refining and transformation, yet petroleum is classified as an organic substance. Still, the main concern with “synthetic” ingredients by the general public is the negative omen on health-related safety issues over prolonged use and possible toxicity and danger to the environment. “Synthetic” ingredients are commonly and sometimes mistakenly associated with being “cheap”, called “chemicals”, or referred to as “formula fillers”.

“Organic”, nonetheless, is tied to the general understanding of products containing ingredients from a natural origin that are specifically unadulterated or non-manipulated to be as pure as nature intended. For some, this concept ranges from the utilization of bare or raw ingredients, free of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, growth stimulants, antibiotics, and without additional technological processing. It also encompasses the methods of how ingredient sources are obtained or harvested and the “green” practices of the company behind the products. Certified “organic” products are deemed the safest around when it comes to the public’s take on health concerns.

Organic Standards

Unfortunately, in order to call a product “organic”, no universal and comprehensive standards exist yet, aside from some limited regulations. As such, there are different points of view from a worldwide perspective on what truly defines “organic”, and how currently established and renowned organizations regulate the use of the term in products for personal care. For instance, in Chemistry as a science, the term organic refers to chemical compounds that contain carbon and are usually linked to the biological origin. Going by this definition alone, it would present a challenge to formulate and label a product as organic if said product contained any added water (as a water molecule does not contain carbon in its structure).

Skincare manufacturers around the world have found ways to formulate and label products to denote the inclusion of natural and organic ingredients for each case. ECOCERT, a widely renowned organic certification organization is based in Europe and addresses the labeling of organic products by conducting rigorous processes of approval and accreditation through inspections in many countries, before granting the “organic” certification seal. Only then, a certified company can display the ECOCERT logo on its products to let consumers know they can “trust” the legitimacy of the organic statement behind those formulas. In the USA, since the FDA does not define or regulate the term “organic” as it applies to cosmetics, body care, or personal care products, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has created the National Organic Program (NOP). This program regulates the term “organic”, but only if those personal care products contain or are made up of agricultural ingredients.

The NOP clearly states: “If a cosmetic, body care product or personal care product contains or is made up of agricultural ingredients, and can meet the USDA/NOP organic production, handling, processing and labeling standards, it may be eligible to be certified under the NOP regulations. The operations which produce the organic agricultural ingredients, the handlers of these agricultural ingredients, and the manufacturer of the final product must all be certified by a USDA-accredited organic certifying agent. Once they have been certified, cosmetics, personal care products, and body care products are eligible for the same 4 organic labeling categories as all other agricultural products, based on their organic content and other factors.”*

These 4 organic labeling categories include ‘100 percent organic,’ ‘Organic,’ ‘Made with organic ingredients,’ and ‘with less than 70 percent organic ingredients.’ Each of these categories has specific guidelines to follow when considering eligibility and any product that does not meet the criteria, may not state, imply or even convey in any way that the product is USDA-certifies organic or meets the USDA organic standards.

There are also companies that search for the ultimate definition of “organic” by skipping the inclusion of added water in their products by utilizing the natural juices or intrinsic liquid components of the ingredients, like fruits and vegetables. In general, though, most cosmetics, except for solid, dry or 100 percent oil-based formulas, contain water to a certain extent with the total percentage varying depending on the type and purpose of the product.

The Wise Choice

Now, based on all the information provided above, the million-dollar question is, what should a person do to opt for the best, most effective and safest skin care products? In a nutshell, certified “organic” products seem to be the straightforward and comprehensive answer, right? But it is not.  “Organic” products are certainly the best at safety, and in most cases, quality, but usually not the best at providing results. The truth is that except for a very few range of capable “organic” ingredients, they tend to be limited regarding penetration into the skin, oxidation, degeneration, etc. Most ingredients, but not all, have particles that are too big (heavy) to enter the skin. On the other end, “organic” formulas tend to have a much shorter shelf-life despite the efforts to preserve them. Due to the fact that additional processing and technology aids cannot be used (to stay within regulations), the available options to obtain long lasting results from products and treatments of this kind are scarce.

It is not uncommon for an “organic” product to offer benefits that are only superficial to the skin, but of course, there are some exceptions. Some “organic”-only companies have even looked for ways around those limitations by using enzymes to break down ingredients and applying pasty formulas that seal in actives. Yet all these efforts can never be compared to proper micronization, micro-emulsification, and dedicated encapsulation and delivery systems that you will find in Pevonia Botanica Skincare.

Pevonia products contain natural ingredients and organic extracts that are also supported by some (minimal) degree of processing through green technology. Pevonia’s advanced manufacturing technologies boost the actions and benefits of the “organic” ingredient to take it beyond its limitation while keeping high-quality effectiveness and safety. Thereby, an “organic” ingredient can be naturally micronized and put into an also natural vehicle that will protect it from degradation and then deliver it deeply at maximum potency where it can be of real use to the skin. There is nothing artificial about this since all the ingredients are pure, natural, and “organic”.

So, the wise choice comes from educating yourself first and then basing your decision on research performed by the manufacturing company. Always trust “organic”, but aim beyond “organic”!



Dr. Christian Jurist, MD,
AMS (Aesthetic Medicine Specialist), FS (Facial Specialist)

Pevonia Medical Director of Global Education

Dr. Christian Jurist’s passion for Aesthetic Medicine led him to focus on the esthetics and medical esthetics industries. As a published author in many of the industry’s most recognized publications, he delivers clinical level expertise specifically tailored to each audience for optimum comprehension and implementation. His training programs offer an enhanced level of education. By uniquely combining years of teaching experience, educational seminar circuits, CEU and master classes at trade shows/forums, as well as advanced curriculums at top notch aesthetic facilities worldwide, he delivers an unparalleled learning experience.

After leading a comprehensive 14-month medical esthetics curriculum at Florida College of Natural Health (US) as a faculty member in the U.S., Dr. Jurist joined Pevonia International as Medical Director of Global Education. As part of the company’s leadership team, he collaborates with Pevonia’s Owners/Co-Founders Philippe and Sylvie Hennessy in the research and development process as well as the development of superior global educational programs to empower professionals worldwide with an easy-yet-scientific approach to the aesthetic and medical esthetics practices. Dr. Jurist is globally positioned as one of the most in-demand educators in the professional beauty sector.

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