1/20/16

All Natural

Every time we browse the personal care items in the store we see labels touting that a specific product is "Natural". How can you tell if it is truly made of natural ingredients.  First, scan the Active Ingredients and if there is something there that I am familiar with then I read more. This can take a long time standing in the aisle and most times we have to take out the prescription eyewear to boot. The trouble with all of this mumbojumbo is that most of these items have been manufactured under limited regulations. So, how do we know for sure??

There is no official, U.S. government regulated definition for the term natural pertaining to the natural products industry, the FDA refers to natural ingredients as "ingredients extracted directly from plants or animal products as opposed to being produced synthetically." The agency has not objected to the use of the term if the food does not contain added color, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.
So, what are natural ingredients? The word "natural" suggests that it comes directly from a plant, fruit, root, mineral or some kind of botanical base. Of which we do not know how much it is processed before it reaches the product which makes it not so pure. The Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients says a natural product is defined as:. . ."a product that is derived from plant, animal or microbial sources, primarily through physical processing, sometimes facilitated by simple chemical reactions such as acidification, basification, ion exchange, hydrolysis, and salt formation as well as microbial fermentation. These chemical reactions do not drastically alter the chemical structure of the natural product to be isolated."
Then there is the Green/Organic component. This term refers to a product's effect on the environment. Green ingredients are meant to be sustainable or processed in a way that lowers their carbon footprint. Organic products
have strict production and labeling requirements. Products that contain at least 95–99% organic ingredients (by weight). The remaining ingredients are not available organically but have been approved by the NOP. These products may display the USDA Organic seal. 
Made With Organic Ingredients - Food packaging that reads “Made With Organic Ingredients” must contain 70–94% organic ingredients. These products will not bear the USDA Organic seal; instead, they may list up to three ingredients on the front of the packaging. Other - Products with less than 70% organic ingredients may only list organic ingredients on the information panel of the packaging. These products will not bear the USDA Organic seal.

According to some experts at Redbook - "When you see. Made with naturally sourced ingredients on a label, it means either that some of the ingredients may be available in synthetic forms but only the naturally sourced kind were used. Or, that some ingredients came from natural substances but may have been processed with chemicals."  Formulas that include a high percentage of natural ingredients are good for 6 months to one year, so check the expiration date. Also, we must comply with the storage instructions because those made without preservatives are likely to have some bacteria growth if not stored properly. 

Sometimes "Natural" may or may not be gentle or kind to our bodies. Therefore we must be careful in our selection. Products like natural anti-agers such as lactic acid, glycolic acid and botanicals like essential oils can danger sensitive skin so, use with caution and consult a dermatologist before use.

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 Disclaimer: It is not my intention to offer Legal/Medical/Technical advice & urge you to consult the professionals.

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