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Natural cosmetics really is better for the skin?

Red lipstick in a green packaging, tubes and crucibles, which are entwined with flowers and leaves – the range of products, the “promise of a natural” beauty, is rising steadily.

But how much nature is actually in natural cosmetics? And it really is healthier for the skin?

These questions can not answer. Because terms such as “of natural origin”, “natural” or “pure” are not protected by law. “Bio” is in the field of cosmetics, unlike food – not regulated by the state. Consequently, once any manufacturer can advertise with these names, is to benefit from the growing demand for eco-products.

However, Not only for natural cosmetics, but cosmetics in General, consumers should not be deceived. So already in 2012, was a major German manufacturer of court, for a care series with “pure & to advertise natural”, although the use of chemical additives were included in the product. To Judge it like this, noticed the deception, however, in the case of the relevant product monitoring. “The Supervisors, but only samples,” Silke Schwartau of the consumer Hamburg.

Water is considered a natural ingredient

Since September of 2017, the ISO is in addition standard for natural and organic cosmetics, which defines among other things criteria for natural and organic cosmetic ingredients and products and allows to calculate the share of natural substances. Mandatory however, it is not. Consumer activist Schwartau considers the Standards too low, misdirection and deception would even support it.

“In accordance with ISO standard water is among the natural ingredients,” she criticizes. “On the market, more and more products, which may contain up to 95 per cent water and, as natural cosmetics awarded.” The established natural cosmetics manufacturers put the in an uproar. “You feared that the market will be diluted in the truest sense of the word.”

Another Problem is that The individual ingredients do not need to be listed in cosmetics as a percentage. “If you eat raspberry yogurt, it must be on it, how much per cent, raspberries, raspberry preparation, or powder in the yogurt are included,” the consumer activist. “In the case of cosmetics this is not the case.” Although the ingredients are lined up based on weight after decreasing in quantity. In the front of the stands, which is a lot. But whether Aloe Vera creams now a measly percent of the Plant’s in there or more, is not apparent.

It is often so difficult to understand, how much the naturalness of a product. In the following, we answer the most important questions in order to find in the thicket of green cosmetics orientation.

What legal rules apply to natural cosmetics?

For natural cosmetics in the European cosmetics regulation – how for cosmetic General. You are guaranteed the safety of cosmetic products. A special natural cosmetics law, there are several private seal. Many of them restrict the use of some substances, which are allowed in conventional cosmetics. “As soon as there are indications of possible risks for the environment or health, can not be used with certain ingredients or techniques from caution,” says industry expert Elfriede Dambacher, the district annually publishes the “natural cosmetics industry monitor” and for 15 years the natural cosmetic company advises. However, the Standards are certified as natural cosmetics are different.

Consumer activist Schwartau criticized that there is no single government-funded seal of approval. “In the current Label confusion, the certifying agent earn especially,” she says, and would have no interest in more transparency and uniformity. She therefore calls for “a unified Logo for all with transparent criteria”. Also Dambacher would be in favour of such a state seal, but only “on the level of current certified natural cosmetics”.

What are the natural cosmetics label are there and what do they say?

Among the most famous labels Natrue, BDIH or Ecocert. Since 2017, there is also the Cosmos-Standard. Five European natural cosmetics label organisations-the BDIH, Ecocert, Cosmebio, ICEA and Soil Association – have joined together to agree on minimum standards.

All natural cosmetics certifications have in common that their raw materials are mostly of natural origin. This means that the ingredients are oil-based, silicones, genetically modified organisms, and synthetic fats, Oils and fragrance substances are taboo. “In the case of organic cosmetics in addition, a certain – and, depending on the Label a slightly different high – proportion of ingredients from organic farming,” says Schwartau.

An Overview of some of the common seal and the importance of which can be found on this side of the consumer.

  • An Overview of critical substances and their designation can be found in a retrievable listing of the consumer.
  • Ingredients are listed according to the international nomenclature of cosmetic ingredients, in short, INCI, on the product. Micro-plastic is for the consumer, it is often difficult to detect. It hides itself behind the following words: Polyethylene, Nylon, Polypropylene, Polystyrene or polyurethanes.
  • The FEDERAL government has released a shopping guide, in which he lists the products that the micro-plastic. However, a number of products with liquid art materials, which are also good for the environment, strictly speaking but are regarded as micro-plastic.
  • Are hormonally active substances in the product? With an App, “Toxfox” of the FEDERAL check.
  • When you Decode the ingredients on the App code check helps.
  • More information can be found in 2018 by Ökotest published book on the topic of “natural cosmetics”.

What controversial substances do not occur in natural cosmetics?

Mineral oils and mineral oil derivatives such as Paraffin are derived from petroleum, in several steps, cleaned and processed. So Oils, petrolatum or waxes, maintain in cosmetics, cleaning or water-repellent effect. They are vegetable oils a cheap Alternative, however, in the production of little eco-friendly. In addition, they can contain critical substances, such as aromatic hydrocarbons (MOAH). A part of these substances is suspected, cancer and genetic damage. According to Stiftung Warentest, you have to look in the body, but are absorbed through lipsticks and lip balms. Other Oil constituents can accumulate permanently in the body, they may lead to inflammation in the organs such as the liver.

Mineral oils are allowed in cosmetics. Certain Standards are adhered to in the processing and limits, the Federal Institute for risk assessment (BfR), according to the current state of knowledge, to expect no health effects. “Mineral oils are used for more than a hundred years in cosmetic products,” writes the Institute. “Health effects of cosmetic products are, so far, in spite of their widespread use, however, not occurred.” However, the BfR also notes that data gaps exist – for example for absorption through the skin. Who wants to go as a consumer, you can resort to natural cosmetics. Mineral oils are not used in certified products.

This is also true for other problematic substances, which are approved according to the European cosmetics regulation, the natural cosmetics manufacturer but without. “In the traditional Make-Up Foundation, silicones are often in there,” says industry expert Dambacher. You put in water-proof Mascara or ensure that the lipstick is smooth to apply. These liquid substances are harmless to health, they are in the waters, however, difficult to degrade, and therefore in natural cosmetics are not allowed.

Parabens are commonly used preservatives, in contrast to other preservatives have a low Allergy risk and are well tolerated by the skin. Some representatives, however, are in the criticism, as they proved in the animal experiment as a hormonally effective. For the EU-Commission, therefore, maximum limits. In natural cosmetics are as well included such as emulsifiers from the group of polyethylene glycols, the short PEG, the skin barrier to weaken and possibly also pollutants, make it more permeable. Other problematic substances, such as micro-plastic, aluminum (as a color pigment in lipsticks, eye shadow and Make-up included) or the antibacterial and controversial substance Triclosan does not come in the crucible and Tube.

Natural cosmetics is always better for the health?

It is not to say. “Even natural ingredients can cause allergies – essential Oils such as tea tree oil,” says Julia Welzel, chief physician at the clinic for dermatology and Allergology, Klinikum Augsburg Süd. “Marigold, wool waxes or natural fragrances can be, in this respect, is also problematic.”

“In natural cosmetics can also put the skin irritating and sensitizing substances,” stressed consumer activist Schwartau. “Some of the aggressive chemical substances, such as certain preservatives are not included. Ecologically sweet almond oil is in any case better than a mineral oil,” says Schwartau.

The skin is sensitive, do not need to be equal to that of a harmful substance is in the product. The skin type plays a role in the tolerance to the substance is good, the other. Dermatologist Welzel emphasizes: “Whether Nano-or micro-plastic: Hard facts, that controversial substances are for the health of the people is harmful, is still missing often.” Conceivable, however, it should be.

Can natural cosmetics compete with conventional cosmetics?

“The products are now very good,” says Dambacher. She admits, however, that it can be in the hair styling, the hair wash and decorative cosmetics to better. Because certain surfactants are absent, it is foamed, for example, the natural shampoo less. Powder without micro-waxes-mineral oil is not as smooth to spread and adheres less strongly. And a water-resistant Mascara is not found in natural cosmetics.

Summary: terms such as “natural” and “organic” are not defined in the cosmetics industry. Different private labels guarantee different Standards, such that no synthetic and hazardous substances contained in the product. But also natural ingredients such as tea tree oil can cause allergic reactions. If you can tolerate a product also depends on the skin type.