In the last few years, the natural & organic marketplace has exploded in popularity. However, while sales of natural products continue their aggressive growth, many families struggle with whether or not “living naturally” is really worth it.
Deciding where you should go natural is a constant challenge for many of us – so when you’re making a decision, it’s helpful to know what benefits you’re receiving and how the alternative choice could impact your lifestyle.
Read on to see our picks for the top 4 benefits of natural living.
FEWER DISRUPTIONS TO YOUR SYSTEM
Going organic or “natural” with your beauty care routines can be advantageous if you’re concerned about the effect of certain formulas on your body’s system. For example, ingredients like petrolatum, triclosan, or synthetic fragrances can interfere with your body’s natural moisturizing mechanism, your hormonal development, and can cause dizziness, headaches and hyperpigmentation in your skin. Ingredients like SLS and propylene glycol can be particularly irritating to skin and can even cause liver and heart damage.
Choosing to buy organic or natural formulas can be one way to avoid these potentially irritating and disruptive ingredients. However, these products do not always contain the types of ingredients you’d think they would. If you want to avoid potentially harmful ingredients, it’s important to examine every formula and have an understanding of each ingredient.
Note: Many argue that if “you can’t pronounce the ingredient, you shouldn’t use it.” We don’t necessarily agree with this sentiment. For some, an organic essential oil can cause a severe allergic reaction, while a lab-derived preservative avoids irritating skin and maintains the quality of the formula. While some ingredients will universally have a negative impact on healthy, buying only products with organic ingredients isn’t necessarily the solution your skin needs.
If you ever aren’t sure about an ingredient, we recommend this Skin Deep search page at EWG.org to learn more about its development and origin.
Because so many products in the natural & organic marketplace use essential oils for scent, rather than artificial fragrance, many of them have natural aromatherapy qualities that can positively impact your mood and the way your body feels. For example, essential oils like bergamot, basil, ylang ylang and lavender have been shown to decrease anxiety, while chamomile, patchouli, rose and sandalwood are excellent for relaxation.
For recommendations on stress-reducing essential oils, we like this blog at mindbodygreen.com.
If you suffer from acne, easily irritated skin, or other skin-related sensitivities, going natural might be the right solution for you. Parabens in particular (a class of widely used preservatives, or esters of parahydroxybenzoic acid, often used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products) can cause skin irritation, contact dermatitis and rosacea in individuals with paraben allergies, a small percentage of the general population.
For more information, we recommend this Wikipedia page.
POSITIVE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Because many organic and/or natural formulas use naturally-derived ingredients, they often have a smaller environmental impact and create a better work environment for their employees. For example, large-scale manufacture of synthetic products also poses undue risks to workers’ health, meaning that non-organic farmers and factory workers have higher risks of cancer due to exposure to high levels of chemicals. Animals on non-organic farms are also fed steady diets of antibiotics that affect the meat they produce, and manufacturing plants that make synthetic based skin care items also expose workers to higher levels of chemicals.
All types of organic products benefit the environment because their manufacture keeps harmful chemicals out of the groundwater and the landfills in addition to keeping them out of our bodies. High levels of toxins in the soil can render it useless for farming after a certain number of years, and chemicals in the foods we eat can disrupt hormone balances and leave us more vulnerable to various kinds of health problems.