Most frequent questions and answers answered by JooMo co-founder Nick Wallen
ALL JooMo products have of course passed all the rigorous stability tests, challenge tests and safety assessment regulations set out by the EU: if they hadn’t passed these tests then we couldn’t sell our products! JooMo products have an official shelf life of a year, only reduced because the safety assessor couldn’t bring themselves to give a preservative free product the longer shelf life that the stability and challenge test results really warranted!
Our preservative system is ‘preservative free’ because it does not contain a preservative mentioned under the EU’s list of official preservatives, including MI, parabens etc. I refer you back to 1905 when Henry J. Heinz invented the first preservative-free ketchup with the slogan “It is always safe to buy the products”.
Consumers, appalled by the amount of preservatives and other additives in competitor products quickly jumped to buying Heinz ketchup, and by 1906 Heinz was producing five million bottles every year.
And that’s the key point here: consumers have for over 100 years understood what is meant by ‘Preservative Free’.
As discussed elsewhere, our immune system is not familiar with synthetically created molecules, and so is more likely to trigger an immune response.
As also discussed elsewhere, there is also the issue of the disruptive effect these chemicals have on our skin’s microbial diversity.
To add one more example of a commonly used emulsifier (Polysorbate-8), it has been shown to disrupt gut microbiota and lead to obesity and gut disease. (ref. https://www.nature.com/news/food-preservatives-linked-to-obesity-and-gut-disease-1.16984 ).
And the question for the Cosmetics industry has to be why food consumers demand additive free products, but cosmetic customers shouldn’t?
Part of the problem is that many consumers think that they are already using chemical free products due to the failure of the authorities to make demand honest labelling of so-called ‘natural’ products.All the various government departments need to do is bring in the same standards as the food industry for usage of the terms ‘Pure’ and ‘Natural’, and all consumers would stop being misled.
The specially balanced natural and preservative free ingredients enables the body/skin to revert to its natural state through pH balancing, oil & moisture regulation, electrolyte (salt) balancing, immune system regulation and skin cell regeneration.
Synergistically, our ingredients work together as natural pH modifiers, antioxidants, softeners & emollients to create the perfect conditions for a healthy, biodiverse ecosystem to flourish.
This produces the correct environment for natural healing mechanisms: the skin curing problems gradually by itself.
I suspect from the question that there is some confusion about the difference between the terms ‘soap’ and ‘surfactant’?
Chemically, soaps (and detergent) are ‘a salt of a fatty acid’, commonly being obtained by treating vegetable or animal oils and fats with a strong base, such as sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide: this process induces ‘saponification’.
‘Surfactants’ are compounds that lower the surface tension between two liquids or between a liquid and a solid, and can of course include not only synthetic chemicals such as soap, detergents, SLS, SLES etc, but also naturally occurring molecules such as saponins.
One of the more accesible discussions that reviews only high-quality peer-reviewed studies can be found here: http://www.allergyclinic.co.nz/allergy_epidemic.aspx
It initially takes a sceptical line on claims of an ‘Allergy Epidemic’, but concludes that:
“…allergies, including, asthma, eczema, hay fever, food allergy, and anaphylaxis have increased in New Zealand and other developed countries by epidemic proportions over the last 25 years.”
It discusses a definitive UK study (from BUPA routine examinations) that looked at patients from the same socio-economic group over 30 years describing the change in ‘sensitization’ (ie. immune system allergic response), and concludes:
“The average rate of increase was equivalent to an additional 4.5% of men becoming positive (IgE sensitized) each decade.”
A bit like the years of industry denials about the link between the tobacco and lung disease, the evidence for an allergy epidemic is now so strong as to be virtually unequivocal – the challenge for the cosmetics industry is perhaps summed up by one of the most significant concluding comments:
“We also need to reverse the increasing allergic sensitization in developed countries. However, we can only do this when we have figured out the cause(s) for this increase”
The ‘perfect/caveman’ skin data was taken from two leading research papers that analysed the skin microbiome (specifically the biodiversity of microbes) of tribal people with little or no contact with the western world. The most striking data came from the previously uncontacted Yanomami Amerindian people from the Amazon rain forest.
These papers – and all other data – are referenced in Kit Wallen Russell’s groundbreaking peer-reviewed research paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cosmetics4020014
Firstly, as we stated during our presentation, a key part of the multi-phase skin biodiversity project currently JooMo are undertaking in Austria is to prove the role of chemical ’additives’ (including preservatives) in cosmetics.
As far as current understanding of the role of preservatives and ill-health goes, the following is a very brief introduction to this many layered topic:
- The link between several chemical preservatives and ill-health are well studied: as a starting point, the extensively researched and media publicized effects of Methylisothiazolinone (MI). Parabens and formaldehyde releasers like Quaternium-15 have also had much media coverage.
- So what is the cause? As stated in our presentation, it is clear that microbial biodiversity is the key to a healthy systems everywhere, including in the gut and skin.
- The harmful effect of preservatives in food is well established, and their negative effect on the gut flora is increasingly becoming proven. An introduction to one of the more accessible research papers can be read here: http://maui.hawaii.edu/studentaffairs/uh-maui-college-research-finds-that-food-preservatives-kill-beneficial-bacteria-found-in-humans/
- Similar research on the skin is still in its infancy (hence JooMo’s research projects). However, research into the highly disruptive nature of preservatives on the skin’s microbial diversity is now starting to be published: one example can be read at: https://doi.org/10.15230/SCSK.2015.41.2.127
- As a final note: the food industry can claim to be over 100 years ahead of us! Please read the history of ‘Preservative Free’ Heinz ketchup and how it was a response to customers disgust at how “ketchup makers filled their batches with harmful preservatives” (ref. https://knect365.com/design-brand-strategy/article/a6370557-2012-422c-8da0-26123871d596/the-history-of-the-heinz-ketchup-bottle )
(nb. This is an overview only, and full list of citations can be supplied on request from www.joomo.coop/contact-us/ ).
The idea that bacteria are bad and need to be eliminated, (ie. what’s known as the ‘hyper cleanliness’ culture) has been perpetuated by the large multinational cosmetics companies. Their products often contain large amounts of synthetic ingredients, thus contributing to the sterile environment, which strip the skin of natural bacteria and oils which it needs to stay a healthy ecosystem.
So the important part here is WHY we are obsessed with living in such a sterile way. And the answer is because we have been fed this information by the companies who sell us cosmetic and hygiene products. This trend is declining rapidly for what we put INSIDE our bodies, with the release of bestseller books such as ‘Let Them Eat Dirt’, but the same now must be done for the skin.
Our published research paper describes how the majority of bacteria on the skin is good or harmless, and their preservation is crucial for the health and resilience of the skin’s ecosystem. Biodiversity is the single most important factor in keeping the skin healthy. By sterilising the skin, the biodiversity decreases, meaning bacteria that were once harmless can become pathogenic once this delicate balance is disturbed. It is this effect synthetic ingredients have on the skin.
Studies have also shown that non-biodiverse environments in which we live affect the human skin microbiome, decreasing its biodiversity too. So as we live less in nature, and spend more time in sterilised environments, the microbes which we harbour on our skin and in our bodies will become less diverse, leading to (skin) health problems. However, many people apply cosmetics directly onto their body multiple times a day, which is why many people have linked modern cosmetics to the skin allergy epidemic.
The scientific paper which Kit Wallen Russell was lead author was of course peer-reviewed and published in MDPI Journal, Cosmetics, on the 14th of May 2017.
Read all details (including peer comments) at: http://www.mdpi.com/2079-9284/4/2/14/htm
All research is funded by Pavane Consultants Ltd, the R&D and IP sister company of JooMo Ltd.