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Exclusive interview

‘Embrace microbes to go truly natural’ says skin care expert

By Lucy Whitehouse + , 04-Oct-2016
Last updated on 04-Oct-2016 at 12:05 GMT2016-10-04T12:05:06Z

Natural skin care formulation: embrace microbes

Currently, there is no naturals trend in the beauty and personal care industry, according to skin care formulator and director of JooMo, Nick Wallen, because very few brands offer truly natural products.

Speaking exclusively to Cosmetics Design, the head of the natural skin care brand was clear: he believes that the time has come for what he considers as ‘third wave’ formulators, like JooMo, to come forward with formulations that truly offer consumers a natural product by working in synergy with the skin’s own microbial balance.

No naturals trend: same dangerous synthetics

Let’s get one thing straight: there is no NATURAL trend,” Wallen asserts. “There is a trend of using the word natural as a cover for a few natural ingredients surrounded by the usual synthetic chemicals.

“Although the public - inspired by the food industry - have recently been demanding safer, ‘cleaner’ & healthier cosmetic products, the vast multinational-dominated cosmetics industry has responded by producing so-called ‘natural’ products that are in fact NOT ‘natural’ at all, but actually contain the same dangerous synthetic preservatives, soaps and foamers as before.”

Hyper-cleanliness and sanitised lifestyle causing damage

Wallen believes that this false-naturals trend has done nothing to help an over-emphasis on clean lifestyles he reckons has driven up instances of skin-related health issues.

Disorders like eczema and acne were incredibly rare 75 years ago, but are now commonplace,” the skin care expert explains. “For instance, there has been a 500% increase in childhood eczema since then.

“This has been caused by regular exposure to the highly dangerous chemicals used by the giant cosmetic multinationals, overuse of antibiotics, and an increasing adherence to a sanitised ‘dirt free’ lifestyle made worse by the use of antiseptic washes. The recent FDA ban on antiseptic soaps shows the authorities are at last waking up to the dangers.

“A recent explosion of scientific knowledge has undeniably linked hyper-cleanliness and health problems.”

Third wave: a response to health concerns

In contrast to this, Wallen believes that, like his own brand JooMo, there are now formulators keen to offer products that genuinely respond to the health and safety concerns being raised by consumers by working with the skin itself in an appropriate way.

The ‘3rd wave’ cosmetics revolution of ‘truly natural’ products focuses on enhancing the “good” bacteria​ attached to our skin to restore and maintain natural, healthy skin,” he explains.

This is based on research into the little studied, complex field of the skin microbiome, where preserving the bacteria balance on the skin is vital to skin health.”

What’s up ahead?

The days of the traditional synthetic, chemically based cosmetics made by the multinationals are nearing an end,” Wallen predicts.

“There will be new labelling standards that forbid both multinationals and the ‘kitchen cosmetic’ businesses from labelling their products as natural when they are not. As pioneers in this field, JooMo are setting up a new ‘truly natural’ standards body.

“‘3rd wave’ cosmetics must address crucial health issues and be science led. The industry needs to move away from its current low-tech status that causes global suffering, and instead become a technology driven powerhouse that improves skin health,” he concludes, noting that JooMo hopes to lead this shift, and plans to undertake further research with European universities to this end.

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