If you’ve reached the point where you have tried what feels like every possible skin care product under the sun and still aren’t seeing results – trust me I’ve been there! I know how frustrating it can be to be doing all the things you are told you should be doing for your skin – exercising, cleansing, toning, moisturising and eating healthily and still wanting to wear a balaclava every time you step out of the house... A few months ago, feeling absolutely helpless after experimenting with every trick in the book and still looking like I had a mild case of facial chickenpox, I decided to give organic skin care products a try. Goodness knows why I hadn’t given this a proper shot before, but I just thought that these products couldn’t possibly deliver all the blemish, blackhead and wrinkle-free promises that the conventional, big skin care brands rant and rave about. Oh, how wrong I was. My skin has noticeably cleared up and feels far softer and smoother than before. Some mass market beauty and skin care products can contain ingredients that are harvested with pesticides and other harmful chemicals, they can also contain ingredients that can irritate the skin. So, whilst we think we are doing our skin a world of good and caring for ourselves, we are in fact doing the opposite. Our skin is like a giant sponge, so anything put on it gets absorbed. The hundreds of chemicals (yes, hundreds) that are in the conventional products we use on a daily basis soak into the skin and directly into the bloodstream. I have heard people say that putting chemicals on ourselves can in fact be even worse than consuming them, because not only is your skin the largest organ in the body, but it is also the thinnest. So whatever goes on gets distributed within, whereas when chemicals are consumed we are given the chance to fight them as the enzymes in our saliva and stomach break them down somewhat. I'm not a scientist and don't know if this is true, but the idea of it made me cringe. Now before you start rolling your eyes and thinking so what, there’s more. The damage that these concoctions we put on our skin can cause are not just skin deep (see what I did there?) - these chemicals are also hormone disrupting. Long term exposure to chemicals often found in skin care (but also cleaning, hair care and makeup products) can elevate estrogen levels, which is linked to a variety of conditions like endometriosis, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids and PCOS.– Without getting too technical on you, the endocrine system is a series of ductless glands that secrete hormones into the blood to regulate various body functions (adrenaline, insulin, etc). Endocrine disrupting chemicals are absorbed into the body and once in the blood stream they interfere with the natural production and action of naturally present hormones. So, whilst we are trying to do the best we can for our skin, the skin care we are using may actually be aggravating the situation by disrupting hormones. If all that is enough to make you want to rush to your nearest Whole Foods store and empty the shelves of the skin care aisle into your basket, there is one more thing to keep in mind – natural, organic and certified organic are not all the same thing. For a product to be considered organic, it needs to contain 70% organic ingredients. Although, that doesn't stop some brands from stating made using organic ingredients. Usually this means that potentially as little as one ingredient could be organic. And while a product could have 70% organic ingredients, the other 30% could be chemical laden. Certified organic on the other hand - now that’s what we want! Instead of stripping our skin of their natural oils and impacting our bodies’ natural hormonal functions, organic products have nutritional value – they nourish, repair, support and rejuvenate skin. Depending on the certifying body, this means that these products usually contain 95% organic ingredients with very strict regulations on the remaining 5% (unlike the previous 30%, which is completely unregulated.) It’s important to keep in mind, though, that the certification process can be very costly and often smaller skin care and beauty brands, which may in fact contain harmless, natural ingredients, do not have the budget for this. Seeing a certified organic logo on a product makes it an easy choice because you know all the ingredients are top notch, but you shouldn’t rule out other products that are natural or organic, that are not certified organic. What it comes down to is reading the label and understanding your ingredients while learning about the skin care brand that you are investing in. Because it is just that – an investment in not only your skin, but your health in general. So where do I start? The best thing to do of course would be a complete overhaul of your beauty cabinet, but this may be daunting, not to mention expensive. Why not decide to gradually replace your skin care range with certified organic products as and when you finish a product? Make sure that you are buying the real deal. Look out for the following logos on skin care products which are proof that the ingredients have been certified and meet all criteria to be truly certified organic (that is, at all stages of production ingredients have been grown without GMO's, synthetic pesticides or herbicides, antibiotics or hormones.) Remember that just because a product may not contain these logos, doesn’t mean it’s a no-go. Read the label and understand what you are putting on your skin. There are many natural brands out there that are completely safe. It all comes down to being equipped with the knowledge of understanding the label. Ingredients to stay away from: DEA (diethanolamine), MEA (monoethanolamine) and TEA (triethanolamine), parabens (although many people are still on the fence as to whether this is truly a bad thing or not), synthetic fragrances, to name a few. Try these certified organic skin care brands: Origins – these products pride themselves on being powered by nature and proven by science. Each year Origins tests 600 ingredients to make sure that only the most active ingredients are used. Antipodes – Certified organic and premium natural products featuring Vinanza antioxidants from New Zealand grown avocado oil, Manuka honey and superfruit. Neil’s Yard Remedies – These products are truly nourishing and visiting one of their stores is an experience in itself as shop assistants genuinely care about living a natural, organic life and are honest and transparent about what the products contain. Kora Organics by Miranda Kerr– Made with the purest premium Australian organic ingredients. I would love to hear about your favourite organic skincare products! Subscribe to A Girl’s Gotta Spa! beauty blog. Watch our reviews on YouTube, see our pins on Pinterest and check us out on Instagram. Got a Kindle? We’re on Kindle too!