You’re partial to natural fibers and you buy your pesticide-free produce exclusively from local farmer’s markets—but have you ever considered applying your organic lifestyle to your skincare? Considering skin is the body’s largest organ, it’s time to start, says Margo Marrone.
Former pharmacist Marrone, a disciple of homeopathy, started The Organic Pharmacy in 2002 with her husband, Franco. Combining organic medicinal grade herbs, high quality organic extracts, and clinically proven natural high tech ingredients, the brand promised to use no artificial preservatives, no artificial colorants, no artificial fragrances, and no petrochemicals. Everything is organic and fair trade, and it is never tested on animals.
Clearly, living the organic lifestyle is as much a passion for Marrone as it is a business. We caught up with the beauty entrepreneur to find out what ingredients to seek out, what ingredients to avoid, and how to get gorgeous—from the inside out.
What inspired the launch of The Organic Pharmacy?
As a pharmacist I had specialized in medicinal herbs and always looked for more natural ways to treat patients for over the counter ailments. I had also trained in aromatherapy and Bach flowers, so natural was always my preferred choice, particularly when I saw all the side effects from medication. Twenty years ago finally I found the system of medicine that would change my life: homeopathy. It was as a homeopathic student that I first understood what organic meant, and I realized that the food I was eating was not as healthy as I thought. Toxic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides sprayed on my fruits and vegetables, preservatives, colorants and artificial flavors were common in everyday food. I was shocked and went organic as much as I could. My health transformed through the combination of homeopathy and organic food. From being exhausted and tired, all the time I felt energetic and full of life—and above all, I found that homeopathy was powerful but gentle and could help with all types of ailments from emotional to physical with no side effects. I was hooked.
A few years later I came across research that showed some ingredients in our everyday cosmetics were absorbed through the skin and were linked to cancer and hormone disruption. Again, I was horrified that I didn’t know about this. I was particularly sensitive as I was also pregnant at the time and didn’t want to use anything harmful on myself or my baby. That’s when I came to a crossroads in my life. I have never been able to sell products that I didn’t believe in, so I thought of the idea: a pharmacy that would only sell organic herbal and homeopathic medicine, where all the beauty products were checked by me to be free from toxins and where qualified homeopaths, and where aestheticians and pharmacists were on hand to give fantastic advice over the counter and to do amazing treatments in a clinic and beauty centre. Four years later, The Organic Pharmacy was born.
What are some of the dangers of non-organic products?
The skin is our largest organ, and 60% of what we apply to it can be absorbed. Molecules such as some SPFs, artificial fragrances, colorants and preservatives can cross the skin and enter into the blood stream. Some of these ingredients are carcinogenic and hormone disrupting. Despite the millions poured into cancer research, the incidence of cancer is rising—not falling—and many attribute this to our toxic environment. So we really have to think of our entire environment, from the food we eat to the candles we burn to the fragrances and cosmetics we use to the products we clean our home with. It’s all about living a healthier, happier life.
What are some of your tips for a healthy lifestyle–both in the products we use and the foods that we eat?
There are four essential tips I can recommend for everyone:
- Keep your body alkaline. An acidic body encourages cancer, allergies, cardiovascular disease, and may other degenerative diseases. Foods such as carrot and beet clean our tissues of acid-forming waste. Lemon Juice in water also helps clean out the system and keep it alkaline. Lettuce, dandelion, and other green leaves keep the system alkaline.
- Eliminate sugar. Sugar causes inflammation and depresses the immune system. Eliminating it along with refined carbohydrates hugely helps keep the body fit and healthy.
- Green green green super foods—and lots of it. Load your system with Chlorella-rich foods to clean out all the heavy metals from water, fish, and the environment that enter our bodies.
- Detox. Combining detox with healthy eating keeps the entire system healthy. I am not a huge fan of juicing and juice detoxes. Juices flood the system with more sugar than a can of Cola, so I prefer smoothies where the whole fibre is included, along with fresh organic meals based on lean meat, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit.
How are our diets tied to our skin health?
Our skin is the window to our body. As soon as we get stressed or our bodies become too toxic, our skin is the first place to show it. Eczema, psoriasis and acne all get worse during stressful times or when the body is overloaded. Dull, grey skin also shows a lack of nutrients and a toxic overload, and too much sugar can lead to puffiness. What we eat is fundamental to how we look. A diet low in essential fatty acids will lead to dehydrated skin, or one low in zinc will give one the tendency to scar more easily.
What kind of widely available ingredients can an average woman use instead of conventional beauty products?
The plant world is full of ingredients that are truly miraculous. The effect they have on the skin is remarkable. The key is to use the right amount of each ingredient to make a difference to the skin. A cream with only 0.5% of aloe can claim to be an aloe cream, but at 0.5% it will do nothing for the skin, so dosage, quality and formulation are as paramount in skin care as they are in meals.
What is the mission of The Organic Pharmacy?
The mission of The Organic Pharmacy is to provide really effective scientific-based formulations both for inner and outer health and beauty using the best quality organic ingredients, free from artificial colorants, fragrances, petrochemicals and anything harmful to the body. By treating the mind and body, an individual can find the perfect balance for a long, productive, healthy future. With health and vitality we can all have the energy to pursue our dreams.