I’m not usually one for the Organic hype. Yes, I know organic is supposed to be better for the skin and all, but there aren’t many organic skincare products around in Malaysia that I know of (I don’t count the Origins line) and they usually tends towards the expensive.
However, I read Vivawoman’s review on the Australian Sukin Organic skincare range found in Singapore and I was intrigued. Not because it was organic but because it was organic AND affordably priced. So, the next time my sister made a trip down to Singapore, I burdened her with my hefty Sukin Organics order. (Aside: Reading Sesame’s reviews of various affordable natural and organic skincare products found in pharmacies in Singapore, I’m wondering why I’m not seeing any in our Malaysian pharmacies?)
When I was last down in Singapore, I also took the opportunity to check out the range of Sukin Organics skincare products for myself at Watsons in Ngee Ann City, Singapore.
Sukin Organics is an Australian based skincare line that prides itself on its 100% Natural ingredients policy, and most importantly, that their products contain:-
- No Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
- No Parabens
- No Artificial Fragrances
- No Petro-Chemicals
- No Animal Derivitives
- No Mineral Oil
So these products are supposed to be good even for the most sensitive skin. I scanned through quickly the ingredients and found that most of their products contain a lot of plant based oils and minimal chemicals.
I was curious about why the fact that Sukin Organics has No Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) was so important to them so I did some quick research online. SLS is present in mostly anything that foams or lathers. Just look in the ingredient list of your shampoo, shower gel, facial wash, toothpaste and you are likely to see Sodium Lauryl Sulfate listed as one of the ingredients.
There is some research which shows that high levels of SLS may be harmful to the body and may cause cancer. However, other research tells us that this may be true in instances of high concentrations of SLS in the body but most skincare and detergent products do not contain such high levels of SLS that would harm the body and in fact this scare about SLS is but an urban myth.
Depending on which view or research you subscribe to, it might be worth noting that SLS can cause allergic reactions and can irritate the skin as well as dry it out. So, those with sensitive skins may well want to be aware of this ingredient in your cleansing products and try to steer clear of it or if you cannot avoid it altogether, to use products which are more gentle on the skin. Products which cater for sensitive skin or are touted as being gentle usually have lower concentrations of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and you will notice that such products produce less foam too.
Sukin Organics uses Cocamidopropyl Betaine (vegetable) which is derived from Coconuts as their foaming agent. I do not know if its better than Sodium Lauryl Sulfate but studies have also shown that this ingredient might cause allergic reactions to some people. I guess when chemicals are involved and considering that everyone’s skin is different and has different tolerances, its not that easy to say if one chemical is any better than another. The only thing is to be informed and aware.
Parabens are another matter altogether from SLS. I’ve read about the SLS-cancer debate for many years now but Parabens are new to me. Parabens are widely used as preservatives in cosmetic products with the most common being methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. The intention of such preservatives is to prevent against microbial growth and to keep the products fresh.
Parabens are approved for use in cosmetics and even food by the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA)and is in wide use worldwide. The issue about Parabens arise from research that shows that parabens can be absorbed through the skin and can be potentially carcinogenic (cancer causing) and estrogen mimickers and have been found in people with breast cancer. Parabens are also one of the causes of allergy or irritation so people who report reactions to certain products may be sensitive to the parabens.
If you look at the ingredient list of most of your cosmetics products, it is scary to see that most products do contain at least one of the parabens in question. For now though, unless one is familiar with the many permutations of the parabens available and how they react with the skin, I don’t see how they are totally avoidable as they are almost everywhere we turn.
Sukin Organics uses grapefruit seed extract which they say is a natural preservative. They also use Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate (suttocide) to prolong shelflife. Yet there are others who disagree with the use of these products and their label of “natural” (Link: Adobe Reader required)
So, having read both sides of the story, I’d go so far as to say that so long as chemicals are being used in cosmetics, there will be pros and cons and different effects on different skins and people. We can be more informed and more aware of the ingredients that go into the products and the products that we put on our skin, but unless you can make your skincare fresh everyday with fresh natural ingredients, plucked from your pesticide free garden, I cannot quite see how we can escape the reality of chemicals and their (possible) side effects.
Make no mistake, I’m not a proponent of such chemicals but neither do I want to scare myself unduly especially when there are so many chemicals found in all our food, cosmetics, water and even in the air we breathe. All we can do is to be informed and to make our choices as best we can.
Preaching aside, I ended up getting a whole bunch of Sukin Organics products simply because I was curious and because I love playing around with new face and body products. Cleansers and body shower gels will finish eventually, unlike colour cosmetics which could probably last me forever!
Having now tried each product for over a month, I will be doing a series of reviews on my Sukin Organics purchases with my thoughts on each product in the forthcoming weeks. So, if you are interested to see how each product performs, don’t forget to come by soon!
Note: The contents of this post are only my thoughts about the SLS-Parabens debate and as I’m no chemistry expert, are not meant to be taken as gospel. Please check other sources for more comprehensive information about these chemicals and their effects (or not as the case may be).