Q: What is the definition of natural?
A: Our definition of “natural,” as it relates to body care and cosmetic products, is that the ingredients are:
• Not chemically refined or bleached
• Fragranced only with essential oils or Co2 extracts
• The products themselves are produced with the lowest possible heat, if
any, to preserve the botanical properties of each component
Q: Why is there a move towards natural and organic products?
A: The market for natural/alternative products continues to be buoyant and consistently showing growth.
The main drivers for this are:
• Many consumers are seeking to “self prescribe”, as opposed to visiting their GP’s for prescriptive
medicines. Many consumers are sceptical of long-term prescriptions. This is combined with
adverse press articles highlighting the fact that over 20,000 people per year die from the side
effects of pharmaceutical products.
• The population is dramatically ageing. This has the consequence of the “grey market” having
more and more purchasing power and traditionally this demographic profile are more willing to
experiment with natural/alternative remedies and organic products.
• People are more aware of their health, the quality of the products they use and choosing natural
products not only to ensure compatibility with sensitive skin but also to help reduce the toxic load
on the body. As a result, more and more natural products are now becoming available through
• Over 90% of all ingredients in commercially available cosmetics are of synthetic origin and
allegedly directly linked to serious health risks like cancer, infertility, kidney and liver disease and severe
skin issues and people are beginning to understand the long-term effects of these ingredients.
• People are becoming increasingly aware that it is very easy to absorb potentially dangerous
ingredients through the skin – the body’s largest organ.
Q: What ingredients in cosmetics, hair and skin care products are harmful?
A: The following products are only some of the potentially harmful ingredients found in many cosmetics, hair and skin care products. We have only begun to understand the long-term effects of these ingredients.
- Mineral Oil: A petroleum derivative that seals in moisture and breaks down skin oils and makeup. Oftenfound in lipstick, lotions and makeup removers. Some forms of mineral oil have been linked to cancer, skin and eye irritation. Mineral oil also clogs pores because it does not allow the skin to breathe or release toxins. By inhibiting the skin from breathing and releasing toxins, mineral oil slows down the skin function and normal cell development causing the skin to prematurely age.
- Petrolatum (mineral oil jelly): A petroleum derivative common in lip balms. Petrolatum clogs skin from taking in oxygen and releasing toxins. Highly acne producing, it can cause both sun sensitivity and chapping. Incredibly cheap for manufactures.
- Methyl, Propyl, Butyl And Ethyl Parabens: Used as preservatives to inhibit microbial growth to extend products' shelf life. May cause allergic reactions and rashes. Contain highly toxic formaldehyde-releasing ingredients which are carcinogenic, increasing the risk of cancer in both men and women.
- Synthetic Fragrances: Used in most cosmetics and cleaning products. Synthetic fragrances can
contain hundreds of chemicals. Unfortunately, due to the lack of regulation almost all labels usually only identify chemicals as “fragrance”. Many cosmetics don't even bother to say “fragrance” at all. Synthetic fragrances cause headaches, dizziness, rashes, coughing, vomiting, skin irritations, etc. Hydrocarbons such as formaldehyde, styrene, toluene and phenol can cause depression, exhaustion, anxiety, dizziness, diminished blood flow and brain damage.
- Propylene Glycol: Derived from petroleum and used as a humectant to keep products moist. Propyleneglycol is also used as a key active ingredient in antifreeze. Propylene glycol breaks down protein and cellular structure. It is so dangerous that the EPA requires workers to wear protective gloves, clothing and goggles when working with it. Frequently used in antiperspirants, suntan lotions, lipsticks and hair care products. The National Toxicology Program classifies Propylene Glycol as a skin and eye irritant, possible carcinogen and known to cause liver and kidney damage. These chemicals were removed from cat food because cats were dying of liver failure.
- Lanolin: either synthetic or derived from sheep wool, Lanolin is used for its emollient properties. It isknown to be comedogenic and cause allergies and may contain carcinogens.
- Retinyl Palmitate: A topical form of Vitamin A derivative. It is listed on the Health Canada Product
Safety Bureau's Hit List as TOXIC.
- Soduim Lauryl (Laureth) Sulfate (SLS Or SLES): Holds oil and water together and acts as a detergentcausing your products to foam. One of SLS's original uses was as an industrial garage floor cleaner. Now used in cosmetics and personal-care products as a wetting agent which makes suds extremely well. Incredibly inexpensive and added to everything from shampoos, toothpastes, bubble baths and lotions. Extremely irritating, SLS causes skin irritations, itchiness, cracking (from dishwashing soap), dandruff and infections in children (from bubble bath). SLS has also caused corneal damage to animals. It creates nitrates in the body when mixed with other common chemicals in cosmetics, ultimately producing known or suspected carcinogens. SLS penetrates incredibly easily especially in shampoos, entering the body through the large hair follicles on the head. The national Toxicology Program classifies
it as a skin and eye irritant.
- PEG (Polyethylene Glycol): PEG's are used to dissolve oil and grease, and to thicken products. They strip the skin of its natural moisture factor, leaving the skin and hence the immune system vulnerable. They are also potentially cancer causing. They are used in spray-on oven cleaners and, not surprisingly, in many hair care and skin care products.
- Talc (Magnesium Silicate): a natural mineral found and lung irritant, Talc is a slippery, finely powdered mineral that absorbs moisture. It is widely used in makeup and body powders. Talc has been linked to ovarian and lung cancer. It is NOT biodegradable. Talc has caused babies to severely cough, induced vomiting and pneumonia.
- DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Monoethanolamine), TEA (Triethanolamine): these are hormonedisrupting chemicals and form cancer-causing agents. They are commonly found in bubble baths (in which we relax and soak for long periods), shampoos, soaps and facial cleansers. They are easily absorbed by the skin, and research indicates a strong link to liver and kidney cancer. There is also evidence that carcinogens form when Cocamide DEA (a cleanser, thickener and foam booster) is applied to the skin.
- Formaldehyde: Widely used in cosmetics as a germicide, preservative and fungicide. Formaldehyde isvery often in cosmetics and not listed as an ingredient. It is also found in soaps, nail hardeners, lipsticks, body lotions and shampoos. Formaldehyde is suspected as a powerful carcinogenic and mutagenic, damaging and inhibiting the repair of DNA. Despite all evidence of negative implications of use, Formaldehyde is still widely in use in the US. Banned in Sweden and Japan.
- Quaternium-15: used as a preservative in cosmetics and toiletry items, as well as skin moisturizers and hair care products. It commonly causes allergic reactions and dermatitis, and breaks down into formaldehyde (see above).
- Imidazolidinyl Urea And Diazolidinyl Urea: both are very common in cosmetic preservatives after the parabens. IU and DU are often found in baby shampoos, lotions and creams. IU and DU are also known to cause dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Also may cause joint pain, allergies, depression, headaches, chest pain, ear infections, chronic fatigue, dizziness, loss of sleep, or even function as asthma triggers. Serious side effects include the weakening of the immune system, and, as usual, cancer.
- Isopropyl Alcohol: petroleum derived, and is used in antifreeze and shellac. Side effects are headache,dizziness, mental depression, nausea, vomiting, and coma. It is commonly found in hair color rinses, body rubs, hand lotion and aftershave lotions. It penetrates the skin easily and is thought to destroy intestinal flora, leaving your body's major organs open to parasites, and thus to cancers. Considered by the petroleum industry as an “industrial byproduct” (read: industrial waste).
- Artificial Colours: Generally referred to on labels as “FD and C” followed by the colour. These colours are coal-tar derivatives and NOT plant-based. FD and C Red No. 6 and Green No. 6 are suspected of causing cancer. The typical adult uses nine cosmetics/ personal-care products a day with an average daily load of around 126 chemicals. Most of these chemicals (including the one's mentioned above) are absorbed into your body through your skin. Others, found in lipstick and lip balm, you actually eat as they come off your lips when eating, drinking or wetting your lips.
- Octyl Palmitate: used as a thickening agent and an emollient. Common in shaving creams, it clogs pores, cause blackheads and can be a respiratory irritant.
- Hydroquinone: is a bleaching and de-pigmenting agent which is highly toxic and carcinogenic and is banned in Europe.
- Urocanic Acid: is often used in sunscreens and causes skin irritations and may be carcinogenic whenexposed to the sun.
A: Any product manufactured without an ingredient to prevent and control microbial growth, will start to
go off and may start growing potentially pathogenic organisms. To control microbial growth and to
stabilise any cosmetic product, some form of preservative needs to be used. The downside of
preservatives also has some compelling arguments. Some ingredients can cause allergies in susceptible people, including dermatitis and other side effects.
Supersalve contains the safest preservatives available at the lowest possible concentrations. Supersalve products have all been `Challenge' tested and each batch has microbial tests done. At the same time the debate and the search continues.
Q: Are there any side effects when using Supersalve products?
A: The only side effects reported have been a momentary stinging on very tender body parts. If you think
you may be allergic to one or more ingredients, it is advised that you do a patch test before use and to
discontinue use if irritation occurs. The products also carry a caution to use externally only, to avoid
contact with eyes and mucous membranes, to avoid use when pregnant or breastfeeding and to avoid
use in strong sunlight.
Q: Why are breastfeeding mothers cautioned from using Supersalve products?
A: Although side effects and toxic reactions to herbs are considered rare, allergic reactions to herbs can
occur, as with any other plant material. There have been occasional reports in the medical literature of
adverse effects in infants from maternal use of herbs. Even though these cases were exceptional,
involving non-medicinal plants or dangerous medicinal herbs, it should be kept in mind that some plant
species have been or could be responsible for adverse reactions in the nursing child. Herbs differ from
medications in that they frequently contain a large number of physiologically active constituents in very
small amounts. It is logical to assume that each of these chemical constituents enter human milk
following the same chemical principles that govern medications and that extremely small amounts of any one plant constituent will be present in breast milk. This is not to say that adverse effects could not occur and we prefer to err on the side of caution.
Q: Why are expectant mothers cautioned from using Supersalve products?
A: In recent years, health caregivers have become more cautious about the use of oils during pregnancy as their potent effects have been more recognised. Essential oil chemicals in the bloodstream are able to affect a pregnant woman's body, as well as crossing the placenta and they can be passed onto a baby through breastfeeding. There is little research on their side effects and much of the information available is conflicting. Furthermore, the recommended use of certain oils changes frequently. There are many essential oils not recommended during pregnancy (even if you are more than 12 weeks pregnant) because they can be toxic over a period of time and/or affect the baby or possibly cause miscarriage or premature labour. Precautions or avoidance of some oils are also recommended for certain medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, asthma or epilepsy). In short, the potential for side effects is too unknown to risk any health effects for you and your baby.
Q: Why are users cautioned from using Supersalve in strong sunlight?
A: The products contain Hypericum Perforatum (St John’s Wort) which may cause photosensitivity. This
a rare reaction which occurs when people take very high doses of St John’s Wort over an extended
period of time and are exposed to strong sunlight and other sources of ultraviolet light. Fair skinned
people are more prone and should be alert for any rashes or burns following exposure to the sun.
Although St. John’s wort has photosensitizing properties, the severity of this reaction is not typical for
people taking the herb.
Q: What are the side effects of commonly used synthetic products on the market?
A: Hydrocortisone side effects may include acne-like skin eruptions, burning, dryness, growth of
excessive hair, inflammation of the hair follicles, inflammation around the mouth, irritation, itching,
peeling skin, prickly heat, secondary infection, skin inflammation, skin softening, stretch marks, unusual lack of skin color. If used over large areas of skin for prolonged periods of time, the amount of the hormone absorbed into your bloodstream may eventually lead to Cushing's syndrome: a moon-faced appearance, fattened neck and trunk, and purplish streaks on the skin. Glandular problems, high blood sugar and sugar in the urine can also develop. Children, because of their relatively larger ratio of skin surface area to body weight, are particularly susceptible to overabsorption of hydrocortisone. Long-term treatment of children with steroids such as hydrocortisone is thought to interfere with growth and
Q: Why does Supersalve contain alcohol?
A: It doesn’t! Cetearyl Alcohol is not really an "alcohol" such as ethyl or rubbing alcohol, which would dry
the skin, but is an emulsifying wax made by combining fatty alcohols derived from vegetable sources
such as coconut fatty alcohol.
It is not an irritant and is not related to SD alcohol or ethyl alcohol which are drying alcohols. It is
permissable for use by Muslims.
Q; Why does the smell of Supersalve products different sometimes?
A: Supersalve’s fragrance comes from the Clove, Camphor and Eucalyptus ingredients. The potency is
unique to each batch and varies according to the season and the location and plantation the ingredients have been picked from. The important thing to remember is that Supersalve is designed for its therapeutic properties and is not designed to be perfume and therefore contains no artificial fragrances.
Q: Have clinical trials been done on Supersalve products?
A: No, although there is significant anecdotal evidence, including that from professional therapists, on
the efficacy of the products.