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Spotlight on Organic: The Truth About 'Organic' Skincare

At Silk Therapeutics, we feel what goes onto your skin is as important as what goes into your body. So we would like to clarify some misconceptions about “organic” skincare.

In the food industry, “100 percent organic” has an unambiguously healthy implication. Foods that carry this label are grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers and genetically modified organisms. The elimination of conventional agricultural chemicals and GMOs is better for your health and the environment and as a result, preserves the health of future generations.

In skincare, the organic label is fraught with ambiguity, contradiction and is in fact a term not recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In the United States, the FDA requires skincare products to pass what is called ‘challenge testing,’ which demonstrates that the product will not spoil when exposed to bacteria and fungi; further, the product in question must actually ‘preserve’ itself, i.e., kill both bacteria and fungi. To accomplish this, preservatives are added to the product.

Here’s the rub: When organic ingredients are added to skincare, they might be more likely to spoil—so the amount of preservative required could actually increase.

Consumers who buy organic often do so to avoid harmful chemicals, but unlike the more straightforward assumption of reduced risk associated with buying organic produce or meat, “organic skincare” may actually expose them to more of these chemicals designed to interrupt the biological function of living cells. Unfortunately, preservatives such as phthalates and parabens carry health risks and it’s clear that less is better.

In order to understand why we feel it’s so imperative to reduce your exposure to chemicals, take a look at the following facts:

1) It is estimated that the average woman comes into contact with up to 250 different chemicals every day—many of which are applied to their face and body in the form of personal care products.

2) Researchers are making verifiable connections between exposure to chemicals, such as the ones found in conventional beauty products, and the rising rates of illness and disease that are becoming an epidemic in today’s society.

3) Synthetic ingredients are known to be highly invasive when entering the bloodstream. Often, the body has no way to rid itself of their toxic effects, and this may result in a host of biology-interfering conditions.

The truth is that when it comes to skincare, the organic label is an unreliable guide to the most healthful—and least harmful—products.

To choose healthy products, we recommend following the advice of the Environmental Working Group ( and using their Skin Deep app, which rates personal care products according to their health risk. Skin Deep is available free via the App Store on your phone and is a great way to check up on products while you shop. Another great source of information is the Safe Cosmetics Campaign (

Be a healthy beauty, and be assured that we will always have your health in mind at Silk Therapeutics.


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