Tuesday, August 3, 2010

What are natural health and beauty products?

At present, in most countries there is no general regulation regarding the way that the “natural” label is applied to personal care products. Pre-market testing for the safety of an ingredient before it may be included in a personal health and beauty product is not provided by any legal requirements.

A lot of products which are labelled as “natural” or "made with organic ingredients" use in fact only a little bit of natural elements. Instead lots of synthetic chemicals are used as preservatives or to obtain a better absorption.

The question is: how do we know the products we use are natural or organic?

One way could be a reliable certification done by a trusted organization, which can assure us that they are really natural or organic.

Another way would be, when we go shopping such products, to know and keep in mind some of the dangerous ingredients: benzyl enhancers, benzoates, formaldehyde, oxybenzone, petroleum byproducts, phthalates, sulfates, urea, ingredients ending in "paraben".

To be sure that the health and beauty products we use are natural, they must not be made with ingredients that may be considered potentially harmful or may have cancer-causing effects.

That means they need to comply with some criteria: to be made mainly with natural ingredients (at least 95% must come from natural sources, and they have to meet the same required standards for farming, production and handling as for the organic food); not to contain any ingredients that may affect our health, or which have been genetically modified or radioactively irradiated; to have been tested on animals; not to use packaging that can affect the environment.

In Europe, the natural health and beauty products are those made of high-quality, plant-based ingredients, without using any kind of chemical substances like: synthetic colors or fragrances, paraffin, silicones, or petroleum-based products.

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