Thursday, June 10, 2010

Green Products: Innocent Oils

I am so pleased to introduce Helen James, the lovely, wonder-woman behind Innocent Oils. In addition to their fabulous O'Dough (see my review here) they produce a variety of vegan and toxin-free skin care products. Helen kindly answered some questions for us about the use of botanical oils and why she felt compelled to set up Innocent Oils.

What do you recommend using on a child skin with eczema?

Childhood eczema is increasingly common these days, yet GP’s have little to offer other than steroid creams and petroleum based emollients. Intended to reduce the itch and inflammation and help prevent moisture evaporating from the skin.

This sounds all well and good until the product labels reveal the shocking chemical contents of these same creams and lotions.

As parents we do our best to ensure our kids are protected from environmental toxins for as long as possible, and most would not want to cover their children in creams containing a vast number of toxic chemicals such as steroids, alcohols, propylene glycol, paraben preservatives, pore blocking mineral oil etc contained within these same creams.

So what is a parent to do when their child suffers time and time again throughout the child hood years and sometimes way beyond?

There is no cure for eczema, but for millennia nature has provided natural alternatives which have been safely used for centuries by parents around the world to soothe eczema and manage it long term, without any toxic accumulation in the body, or long term side effects.

Hemp Seed Oil tops the list of highly beneficial alternatives for good reason. This oil contains the most ideally balanced ratio of Essential Fatty Acids required by the human body, to maintain all round good health. Essential Fatty Acids known commonly as Omega 3,6,9 are vitally important to the body because we cannot manufacture E.F.A’s ourselves. Instead we obtain them from the foods we eat.

Studies have shown that patients with chronic eczema are often lacking in Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acid, possibly due to a body unable process it from the foods eaten. Omega 6 or GLA is vital for helping the body to form healthy strong supple normal skin tissue.

Without GLA the bonds between newly formed skin cells become weak and likely loosely formed when the skin appears on the surface layer, the result is broken, flaky, dry skin. Applying mineral oil based products said to ‘keep the moisture in’ can create a catch 22 situation where the skin is prevented from respiring as it should, thus allowing for the removal of toxins via sweating. If this function is disrupted it can quickly lead to further dryness and sensitivities as the skin struggles to cope.

The great thing about Hemp Seed Oil is that not only can both the seeds and oil be taken internally. It can be applied externally with remarkable effectiveness, absorbing deep into the skin tissues via pores and hair follicles to where it is needed most. Hemp seed oil products contain a beneficial amount of amino acids, and vitamin E as well. It is a natural antioxidant, and the oil doesn't stick to your skin as many oils have a tendency to do. Hemp seed oil contains ingredients that give it unique anti-inflammatory properties not often found in other oils. This, added to its antioxidant properties, allows hemp oil to detoxify and clean your skin, as well as evening out tone. Since it won't clog your pores like many other oils, you can safely use hemp seed oil to moisturize your skin, and do so without any greasy build-up.

How do botanical oils help the skin?

Our skin is the largest organ of the human body and often the most abused. Botanical Oils such as Hemp Seed Oil have tiny molecules, which are able to travel down through to the skin to the deepest layers. It is here that Hemp Seed Oil goes to work assisting the new skin cells to form strong new skin tissue that will appear on the surface layer as healthy, soft and supple, normal skin.

Petrochemical based emollients are not able to perform this function due to its large sized molecules which are unable to penetrate the skin, therefore remaining on the surface much like cling film wrap. It’s for this reason that toxic cosmetic ingredients such as propylene glycol are added. Propylene glycol readily absorbs, unfortunately it is also damaging to skin cells.

Knowing this, it seems pointless to use petrochemical based creams when a single all natural and organic botanic oil can be used long term without harm to the user, no matter how much or how often it is applied. Innocent Oils 100% Hemp Seed Oil is made from certified organic Hemp which has been refined at a low temperature for purity from

Any recommendations, for products for pregnant women and stretch marks?

A woman’s tummy stretches to its limits during pregnancy. Stretch marks appear when the skin expands beyond those limits, causing the connective tissues to break. The resulting tell tale pink or purple lines which appear, later turn silvery after the birth. The truth is that once these silvery lines appear there is no miracle repair cream to make them vanish altogether as the stretch marks are largely hereditary, however, using rich botanical oils and butters will help the skin to stretch to its full potential before damage occurs. This can greatly reduce the marks that do appear and ensure that the skin is in the condition possible. This will be a great help after the birth, to assist a speedy recovery back to its pre pregnancy state.
Innocent Oils Angel Butter contains a highly concentrated blend of rich cocoa butter and organic botanical oils, highly reputed for their soothing and softening properties for the skin.

Why did you set up Innocent Oils?

Avoiding petrochemical-based products is not an easy task these days. Having had overly sensitive skin for many years, even the most seemingly pure products would trigger a reaction, and the cost of trying and failing to find something that really worked was becoming very expensive to say the least. Worse was the sinking feeling of not being able to find a product I enjoyed on my skin and didn’t trigger a reaction.

So, I decided to take the plunge, and began learning about the raw chemical ingredients used to make our commercial toiletries while researching the raw ingredients Mother Nature already provides plentifully around the world to heal all manner of ailments.

Innocent Oils was the result, and Hemp Seed Oil was the basis of our initial toxin free skin and body care range, due to its unrivalled superb properties both internally and externally for human health and the environment.

What I learned about commercial skin care products was frankly shocking, and revealed an industry built around ingredients which are astonishingly cheap, and for want of a better word ‘thoroughly nasty,’ and with little benefit provided to the skin of the user regardless of the cost of the jar.

Sharing the knowledge I have gained is a pleasure, but to be honest without suitable alternative products that I was happy to recommend, I knew this information would be wasted. The priority is always the skin and the environment, focusing on the finest long term tried and tested ingredients known to be highly beneficial for healthy skin. Making products that are multi use and highly concentrated, and the benefits that our products can offer the skin and body. After all there is little point in paying for a fancy jar and box, if the product itself contains ingredients which do little good for the health of your skin.

Helen James

Innocent Oils

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