I am proud to say that our founder, and my mom, Jane Saunders pioneered the use of healthy ingredients in body care. In 1970, health foods were just a blip on the radar screen and they were on hers…. In fact, when we first started using jojoba oil, we purchased it from the Chief of the Indian reservation in Arizona that grew the plant and processed the oil. Now Jojoba is grown around the world and is a huge commodity!
Parabens have become a hot issue in body care products and consumers are concerned. We respect our customers and their desire to have non-paraben preservatives in their bath and body products, and we have reformulated many of our TerraNova formulations to be paraben free!!!
TRUTH and BEAUTY is our core principle, and there are a lot of misconceptions about the safety of parabens as preservatives. Though we removed parabens where possible, we also do believe that parabens are safe and highly effective in guarding against microorganisms in body care products. In some formulas they are the only preservatives that are truly effective in guarding against dangerous contamination!
Parabens do occur naturally in plant sources such as barley, strawberries, black currants, peaches, carrots, onions, cocoa-beans, vanilla; in foods prepared from fruit such as grapes and fruit juices, yeast extract, wine vinegar and also in cheeses. The have an anti-microbial effect in these foods too!
The paraben controversy began with a very small study done in England in 2004. The study looked at the paraben level in 20 cancerous tumors. The study did NOT prove that parabens cause cancer or that they are harmful in any way, and the study did NOT look at possible paraben levels in normal tissue. In addition, although parabens can act similarly to estrogen, they have been shown to have much less estrogenic activity than the body’s naturally occurring estrogen; one of the benefits of parabens is that they are effective at very low levels in cosmetics.
So “buyers beware”! With the internet’s ability to spread information, marketing and lobbying groups are able to spread false rumors very quickly. In addition, many companies (including some of the natural brands that we want to trust) use false information to differentiate their products and create consumer demand.
Our primary concern is public safety. Consumers are well aware of problems in their food supply with dangerous outbreaks of e coli and salmonella. These problems are found in the mass food supply, as well as specialty and organic foods. Body care products can get contaminated too.
Our products are made in California, USA and in our sanitary environment, but when products are used at home they can easily be contaminated and the preservative system must be able to prevent microorganism growth. For example, think about the amount of times a hand is introduced into a jar of cream! Natural bacteria are even on clean hands. Water contains many microorganisms and it is easy for products that are used in the shower or sink to have water enter a bottle. Body care products that contain many food type ingredients i.e. honey, oatmeal, and milk are not only food for the body but also food for bacteria. They can spoil, just as your food does. Remember, even food kept in the refrigerator can grow mold or go sour!
Preservatives allow a body care product to be have a reasonable shelf life and remain safe, therefore they are a critical part of the formula. Preservatives such as grapefruit seed extract when used alone are not effective. Enzyme preservatives can break down over time. Most preservatives must be used in combination i.e. a preservative cocktail, so that we can effectively guard against different contaminants such as bacteria and mold.
Thanks for reading…