Nature Fresh Products Are Earth People And Animal Friendly
For over ten years, we have been making unique herbal body care products, tinctures and supplements. Our toothpaste is non-toxic and safe to swallow. The products are earth, people and animal friendly and are free of harmful, irritating or toxic chemicals. The alcohol used to preserve the herbal tinctures need not be ingested, as it evaporates in a glass of warm water. The vegan-friendly tablets, powders and capsules are free of: sugar, lactose, wheat, gluten, preservatives, flavours, colours and gelatine.
The safest and most stable herbal formulations: for our toothpaste, body washes and skin care products. We are obliged to ensure a shelf life of many years for our products. It is our responsibility to prevent disintegration or contamination of each item. This is achieved by using ingredients that have a good safety profile and are not toxic or irritating. Herbal ingredients have many benefits and we include a lot of them in the form of: tinctures, freshly harvested plant material, decoctions and essential oils. Natural is best, but we have to preserve it!
Nature Fresh products are made in consultation with a top team of Pharmacists and Researchers. We work under strict laboratory conditions according to the MCC. (Medicines Control Council.) As such, we have been advised on the safest and most effective product ingredients to use in conjunction with the often higher than average content of fresh herbal components that we include. We do not use chemicals that have an irritating, harmful or toxic effect.
Nature Fresh Customer services and advertising policy.
We keep our prices realistic by not advertising in expensive glossies, radio or TV. We do no pay-outs on elitist logo endorsements such as: proudly South African, Osteoporosis, Heart or Organic propaganda. The NATURE FRESH banner is proudly green and speaks for itself. The customer only pays for the product. We supply normal retail outlets as well as health shops and pharmacies. Our advisory and educational customer service is free to all who are concerned about Natural Health. So are contributions to radio programs, magazines, newspapers, health talks, workshops and slide shows. We help you to help yourself to health. Be Healthy and Happy – it’s a free choice!
Parabens: these much aligned preservatives are still the best and the safest to use for the time being.
We need to prevent: mould, yeast, bacterial and fungal contamination. Although many essential oils like tea tree and eucalyptus act as antimicrobial agents, they are too irritating to the skin to be used in large enough quantities to act as preservatives for an entire formulation. Grapefruit seed extract has a high impact on estrogens in the body. Its efficacy and safety profile is questionable. (See references below.) This is why you see the words: methyl paraben and propyl paraben on some of our labels. Don’t panic; parabens are not deadly toxic chemicals.
They are there to ensure the safety of your product. They are nature identical in structure. No “natural” alternative has yet been accepted by any major pharmaceutical company as an acceptable and well-tested alternative to the use of parabens. In terms of an estrogenic effect: parabens in wash-off and rinse – out products are exempt. In topically applied gels and lotions, the minute presence of a paraben preservative has 250 000 000 times less effect than xenoestrogens fro m a plastic water bottle.
We use a minimal quantity – just enough to keep nasty microbes from contaminating the products. Accusations aimed at our products containing parabens are therefore unfounded. We are considering the use of Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate that promises to be as effective, yet as mild as parabens. Please be patient, as we still need to complete the testing process.
SLES sodium laurel ethyl sulphate is the purest of the surfactants and is not an allergen.
SLES comes from coconuts (cocos nucifera) and laurel means coconut! This oil is processed with chemicals to produce most vegetable based soaps and surfactants. They all begin from a vegetable source but the cruder saponified cocos nucifera extracts are not as gentle as SLES. After a lot of research into surfactants, we could not find a more suitable “natural” alternative to SLES. Products claiming to be free of SLES often use cruder saponified coconut extracts or Cocamidopropyl betaine where allergens or cancer forming compounds may still be present .
Cocamidopropyl betaine is an allergen. It is being flaunted in many products as an “organically” acceptable surfactant to use but it is classed as an allergen: one of the most frequent causes of dermatitis of the head, neck and face in humans. On the eyelids and lips of infants, its use can lead to intractable inflammation and scaling. SLES is thus a gentler alternative in the long run and has a long term safety record. SLES is not an allergen. Within a formulation that is pH balanced to suit the skin, SLES is safer to use than a cake of common soap or a regular shower gel as it is not corrosively alkaline.
When you see: SLES (sodium laurel ethyl sulphate) on our body wash, vaginal cleansers and toothpaste labels you can be reassured that we have your health and safety at heart. By all means, run the bath or shower water onto your plants. As it is not so alkaline, it helps to condition the soil. We are people, earth and animal friendly. Although pets also love our toothpaste and body wash, we do not test products on animals.
All ingredients are now listed on product labels:
HERBAL INGREDIENTS: These are what the product is all about. They are included as tinctures, freshly harvested or dried plant material, decoctions (boiled) and essential oils. The oils give the products characteristic fragrances so no perfumes are needed. Natrosol is a vegetable cellulose used to thicken the mixture.
Sodium Laurel Ethyl Sulphate and vegetable derived Glycerine. Preservatives: Propyl paraben & Methyl paraben.
Please review the internet references in order to fully understand. Then you can choose and use more freely.
Research and references on product ingredients: SLES and PARABENS
“I get worried when products claim to be free of preservatives. When I see PARABENS, at least I know they are free of bacteria, mould, yeast and fungus. They don’t go rancid and cause infections. They don’t go black and furry!“
Internet references and quotations on PARABENS versus “natural” preservatives.
Our special thanks to the 5 sources of information for providing some truth about product ingredients. Although not perfect in every aspect, one has to settle for using the best and safest options to maintain the integrity of cosmetic products. The well-informed public finds this acceptable. Nobody likes rancid hand cream or shampoo infected with mould and fungus just because they are “organic” or free of “preservatives.” People disturbed by internet and organically inspired sensations need to appreciate the myths behind so-called “natural” product additives and stop condemning preservatives that play a crucial role in preventing rancidity or infections from occurring in cosmetics.
Parabens are a group of chemicals widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. Parabens are effective preservatives in many types of formulas. These compounds, and their salts, are used primarily for their bacteriocidal and fungicidal properties. They can be found in shampoos, commercial moisturizers, shaving gels, personal lubricants, topical/parenteral pharmaceuticals, spray tanning solution and toothpaste. They are also used as food additives.
Their efficacy as preservatives, in combination with their low cost, their long history of safe use—at least to the extent that scientific studies have not proven they are harmful—and the unproven efficacy of natural ingredients like grapefruit seed extract (GSE),  probably explains why parabens are so commonplace. They are becoming increasingly controversial, however, and some organizations which adhere to the precautionary principle object to their everyday use. 
However, parabens have a very, very good safety profile. We have an enormous amount of information which supports the safety of these chemicals and their use in cosmetics.”
Parabens. Parabens are a class of substances widely used as preservatives in cosmetics, foods, pharmaceuticals and other household products. In cosmetics they are used to stop products from deteriorating by protecting products against contamination by micro-organisms during storage and continued use by consumers. Preservatives are essential in safeguarding the quality and safety of many of the products we use and enjoy every day. Without them, bacteria, “germs” and other harmful organisms could develop in products leading to product deterioration and safety issues.
The family of parabens, which are found naturally in plants and animals as well as being man-made, are approved for use as preservatives in the European Cosmetics Directive, and have been endorsed by the competent authorities of all member states. Parabens are among the most widely used of preservatives, having been in use for more than fifty years with an excellent safety record.
Recently there have been many reports questioning the safety of parabens. These articles repeat a discredited theory concerning parabens and links to breast cancer. There has been no causal link found between the use of parabens and breast cancer – a view shared by several cancer charities. Scientific safety studies have demonstrated that parabens are safe both for human health and in the environment. None of the extensive research carried out on the parabens has indicated a potential risk of harm to human health and parabens remain among the safest of preservatives in today’s cosmetic products.
Why Use Preservatives in Natural Products?
People sometimes ask us why we use preservatives in our natural products. As a manufacturer and distributor of natural products, we strive to make our products as natural as possible. However, one reality of modern life is that we need preservatives in certain products. To get many (especially natural) products from the manufacturer to you requires some sort of preservative.
Products are often shipped from manufacturer through distributors, shipping warehouses and other places that add time (and often heat) before the product ever reaches you. To get that product to you and to have a reasonable shelf life requires that certain products be preserved, in some fashion. Otherwise, you’d shortly end up with some pretty funky stuff instead of the product you paid for. Is it inconvenient to have a rotting product? Yes. But, even worse, some of those nasties that can grow in your products are harmful to your health. Preservatives of some kind will almost always be needed in products where water is present.
Water is the basis of all life, including bacteria, fungi and moulds. Products without preservatives may have a short shelf life, even if refrigerated. Products that are not properly preserved, even if made in a pristine environment and free of microbes when shipped, can become a health risk when exposed to the yeast, mould, fungi and bacteria present in all of our homes.
What are Parabens?
Parabens are a group of broad-spectrum preservatives (meaning they kill a variety of germs) used to prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms, especially molds and yeast. Parabens are derived from benzoic acid. Benzoic acid is a chemical commonly found in plants. So, to some extent, parabens are “natural”. They are as natural as some alternative preservatives being proposed, such as grapefruit seed extract (more on that later). Parabens have been used extensively for over 50 years and have been researched thoroughly. Parabens are used in very small concentrations causing absolutely no reason for concern for most people. So, we’ll just say right up front, we don’t have a real problem with parabens.
Why Use Parabens? Why Not Use Parabens?
When we started out in this business, we heard the horror stories concerning parabens and decided to try to avoid them in the products we offer for sale. We did our research. However, the reality is there are no great alternatives. Many of the manufacturers that offer paraben free products (or products free from other chemical preservatives) make disclaimers about the shelf lives of their products (in other words, they don’t last as long on your shelf) or even the safety of the products they sell without chemical preservatives. They pass the risk of not using effective preservatives on to you, the consumer.
Parabens are well tolerated by just about everyone. Extremely sensitive people may develop a mild skin reaction, in products that are not rinsed off such as lotions. This reaction is rare. The reaction is even more rare in products that are rinsed off, such as shampoos, soaps, body washes, etc. We have to weigh the very small risk of a mild skin rash against the serious health threat posed by spoiled products.
You may have found websites that suggest that you should avoid parabens at all costs because of increased risk of cancer. However, you should be aware of the real “threat” of parabens may the risk you take by using improperly preserved products trying to avoid them. The controversy over parabens, like the controversy over Sodium Laurel Sulfate is a difficult one to sift through. It’s not that there is any lack of opinion on the subject. It’s just that you have to consider the source when you do find information. It seems almost everyone has an ax to grind when it comes to this issue. It’s very difficult to find objective facts.
An Ax To Grind Concerning Preservatives.
Manufacturers that use parabens want to defend their use. That’s understandable. Parabens are extremely effective in preventing the growth of some real nasties. They are easy to use and relatively inexpensive. So, manufacturers like parabens. They keep their products affordable and free from germs that shorten shelf life and can threaten health. Alternative “Natural” manufacturers want to sell you their paraben free products. Those products often come at a premium price. And, some manufacturers are not above “distorting” the facts to sell their products. So, some go to irrational extremes to vilify parabens.
Are Parabens Safe?
You should know there is no current credible evidence linking parabens and illness. Parabens are less sensitizing to the skin than most other preservatives used in beauty products around the world. They are low in toxicity (they’re food grade preservatives) and have low potential for irritation. As pointed out earlier, parabens are derived by modifying chemicals that occur naturally in plants. BTW, so is Grapefruit Seed Extract. If that stuff is natural, so are parabens.
Parabens have been proven time and time again to be safe ingredients. The CTFA (now called the Personal Care Products Council) continues to look at this issue (probably because of the persistent rumors). For the most recent update, visit the Personal Care Products Council and search parabens. What about alternatives to Parabens? Because of the persistence of rumors about parabens (from questionable, at best, sources), there has been pressure to find safe and effective alternatives. Frankly, we’d rather use no preservatives or use the most “natural” thing possible. It’d be great marketing for us and save us money. Any preservative costs a manufacturer money- we don’t want to use them. But, let’s face facts. Skin care products need preservatives. Most are kept in our bathrooms; where there are hordes of unknown germs, lots of humidity and warm temperatures. This is the perfect environment for growing… well just about anything.
Anything that contains water (i.e.. creams, gels, lotions) is a paradise for bacteria and molds, and the natural sugars in plant extracts are their favorite snack food. So, ironically, the more “natural” we make our products by including all those great plant extracts, the more they are susceptible to spoilage. However, many natural substances do offer some limited antibacterial benefits.
Certain essential oils, like Tea Tree, and some vitamins can help reduce some forms of bacteria, when used in high concentrations. But, the concentrations required for long-term preservation under less than ideal conditions put you at serious risk for skin irritation. In other words, if someone put enough tea tree oil in a product to actually inhibit the growth of germs, it would be so much as to greatly increase the risk for skin irritation. Other natural substances are useful only against certain types of bad-guys and for limited amounts of time.
Some natural care products are switching to Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate as an alternative to parabens. Some are even going so far as to call it a “natural” preservative. While it has been proven to be extremely effective in low concentrations and to be non-harmful (making it an excellent alternative), we feel it is going a little far to call it natural just because it is derived from natural a naturally occurring amino acid. If you are consistent, the same logic that allows you to call this product natural would make Sodium Laurel Sulfate (derived from coconuts) natural.
For that matter, you could call parabens natural since they are derived from benzoic acid, which is found in nature. More about Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate is a broad-spectrum preservative effective against bacteria, yeast and mould. It is used at extremely low concentrations between .1% to 1% at the most. It is active at all alkaline pH levels as well as acidic conditions. Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate is derived from glycine, which is a naturally occurring amino acid. Glycine is made up of sweet-tasting crystals; it is used as a dietary supplement and as a gastric antacid. Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate has been tested and found to be non-irritating, nonsensitizing, non-toxic by skin absorption and non-mutagenic (does not damage the DNA or possess the potential to damage chromosomes).
Manufacturers are still working with Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate to determine whether it is effective enough for general use. Again, while it may prove to be as effective as parabens and may prove to be as mild or milder than parabens, that’s great. But, it doesn’t make it a natural alternative (or suggest that natural alternatives are necessarily better). We will continue to monitor the use of Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate and use it as appropriate.
Alternative Natural Preservative #1- The Truth About Grapefruit Seed Extract
“Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) is an all natural preservative”
There are rumours all over the web that Grapefruit Seed Extract works as a natural preservative. GSE is no more natural than parabens. Grapefruit seed extract is not grapefruit juice. It is not simply ground up grapefruit seeds. It is not grapefruit essential oil. Chemical manufacturers take the leftover grapefruit pulp, a waste by-product from grapefruit juice production, and in an intensive, multi-step industrial chemical process, change the natural phenolic compounds into synthetic quaternary ammonium compounds (does this sound natural to you?).
Typically, in chemical synthesis of this type, chemical reagents and catalysts are used under extreme high heat and pressure or vacuum. Synthetic ammonium chloride is one of the chemical catalysts used in this process. So, first all, Grapefruit Seed Extract is not “natural”. It’s a chemically altered form of grapefruit seed. If you’re going to call it Grapefruit Seed Extract, you could by the same reasoning call Sodium Laurel Sulfate Coconut Oil Extract. Secondly, studies done on GSE have found that while it may be mildly preserving, it appears to be due to trace contaminants, rather than the GSE itself. A handmade Grapefruit Seed Extract that was not tainted with other chemicals showed zero preservative qualities. Here is one report from the Institute of Pharmacy, Ernst Moritz Arndt University, Greifswald, Germany:
“The antimicrobial efficacy as well as the content of preservative agents of six commercially grapefruit seed extracts were examined. Five of the six extracts showed a high growth-inhibiting activity against the test germs. In all of the antimicrobial active grapefruit seed extracts, the preservative benzethonium chloride was detected by thin layer chromatography. Additionally, three extracts contained the preserving substances triclosan and methyl paraben. In only one of the grapefruit seed extracts tested no preservative agent was found. However, with this extract as well as with several self-made extracts from seed and juiceless pulp of grapefruits (Citrus paradisi), no antimicrobial activity could be detected. Thus, it is concluded that the potent as well as nearly universal antimicrobial activity being attributed to grapefruit seed extract is merely due to the synthetic preservative agents contained within. Natural GSE products with antimicrobial activity do not appear to be present.”
Alternative Natural Preservative #2- Essential Oils“Essential Oils will work as preservatives”: While it is true that some essential oils have antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, the quantity needed to effectively preserve a water containing product would be at unsafe levels. Care needs to be taken when using essential oils. They can help keep oil based products from going rancid. But, in water containing products, they’re mildly effective, at best.
Alternative Natural Preservative #3- Potassium Sorbate
“Potassium Sorbate is an all-natural preservative”:
While potassium sorbate can effectively preserve against mold and yeast, it is not useful for protecting from bacteria. It is not at all effective in products with a pH over 6, which most lotions are. While potassium sorbate is found in nature, any available today would have been synthetically made so it is not all-natural. It is also believed to cause contact dermatitis (skin irritation).
Alternative Natural Preservative #4- Vitamins
“Vitamins A, C & E are great for preserving all kind of things and they’re good for you”
Vitamins A, C and E can extend the shelf life of products by preventing oxidation and by slowing the growth of certain bacteria. And, they are good for you. Vitamin E in particular is great for keeping oil from going rancid. We do use Vitamin E, as a preservative, in our oil based products. But, these vitamins are not effective as broad-spectrum preservatives and cannot replace other preservatives in all products. Think about this. Orange juice is loaded with Vitamin C. But, would you want to drink a glass that was left in your bathroom for a couple of months?
Conclusion Concerning Natural Preservatives
The pressure to continue to find alternatives to parabens seems to be continuing. Because of the concern of some of our clients, Treasured Locks continues to remove parabens from products where possible. However, we still believe parabens are safe and effective. Unfortunately, there are no highly effective all-natural preservatives. And, preservatives are necessary. Unless we want to accept very short shelf lives and/or start keeping all of our products, in a cool, dark place, we are going to have to use preservatives in some products.
While it would be great if a “natural” alternative existed, the truth is there isn’t one that is effective enough. To keep certain types of products free of bacteria, mold and yeast and to make it a product that is safe for your use, a chemical preservative is necessary. We will continue to follow the research in this area. This is a very important subject to us. But, in the meanwhile, parabens are highly effective and have been proven time and time to be safe for most people. Their benefits (including health benefits of preventing disease) far outweigh any risks associated with their use.
A “natural” and “safe” preservative or dietary supplement? Is it worth the risk to you?
Grapefruit seed extract. Sounds so friendly, doesn´t it? You´ve heard it touted as a “natural” preservative, and the health food store sells it in a capsule as an antifungal supplement. If everybody says that it´s natural they must be correct, right? Wrong. Grapefruit seed extract is not grapefruit juice. It is also not grapefruit essential oil and it is most certainly not an herbal tincture. Chemical manufacturers take the leftover grapefruit pulp, a waste by-product from grapefruit juice production, and in an intensive, multi-step industrial chemical process, change the natural phenolic compounds into synthetic quaternary ammonium compounds. Typically, in chemical synthesis of this type, chemical reagents and catalysts are used under extreme high heat and pressure or vacuum. Synthetic ammonium chloride is one of the chemical catalysts used in this process.
The US Department of Agriculture´s (USDA) National Organic Program defines synthetic as “A substance that is formulated or manufactured by a chemical process or by a process that chemically changes a substance extracted from naturally occurring plant, animal, or mineral sources.” Grapefruit seed extract is a synthetic chemical compound, cannot be called “organic,” and is not permitted in organic food products. Unfortunately, because there is no legal definition of the word “natural,” any company can put chemicals in body care products and tell you that they´re “natural.” Also, in the US, any company is free to sell any chemical compound as a “dietary supplement” without doing any pre-market or long-term safety studies of any kind.
Grapefruit seed extract has become an extremely controversial chemical compound recently. Studies conducted in the US and abroad report suspicious and abnormal chemical activity in numerous, randomly selected grapefruit seed extracts. The Swiss Toxicological Information Center of Basel, Switzerland, reports that “Grapefruit seed extracts containing benzethonium chloride in concentrations of 7-11% represent a major health risk if larger amounts of a concentrated solution are ingested (i.e. by mouth). Exposure of the skin or the eye may cause toxic symptoms. The Swiss Toxicological Information Center discourages consumers from administration of these extracts unless it is known which of them are containing benzethonium chloride and what the concentrations are.”
SODIUM LAUREL ETHYL SULPHATE (SLES)
Nature Fresh toothpaste: Initially, in 1996 we had the wording on the labels of our toothpaste approved by the governing body then responsible for the toothpaste and cosmetic category: The Department of Food Control. We printed the labels and sold the product with the best intention: that of offering supermarkets, health shops and pharmacies a non-toxic fluoride free toothpaste as an alternative to regular brands on their shelves.
Until now, we have not been made aware of any stipulations that would prevent us from saying this or of any that would force us to list every single ingredient of the formulation on the label. We have now updated labels to include the full ingredient disclosure for people who may be interested. Non toxic and safe to swallow . The following references substantiate the wording of our labels: A question to Nature Fresh: why do you use sodium laurel sulphate in your toothpaste? Answer: A surfactant is required to keep our toothpaste in suspension. Without this, the toothpaste cannot be squeezed out of the tube. Our formulation contains very large amounts of calcium and the toothpaste became rock hard and could not come out of the tube.
We added a minute quantity of SLES to the formulation. The following quotations will provide the most truthful information we obtained to justify using SLES and calling our product non toxic. Although not a foodstuff and not generally ingested, we were reassured by our research that a small amount of our toothpaste is safe to swallow, owing to the neutralizing effects of the calcium carbonate that is present. Sodium laurel sulphate (SLES) has a good track record of safety, as opposed to Cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) that is considered to be a contact allergen. We could claim to be SLES free, and still be using a surfactant (CAPB) that would not sound offensive to people who object to SLES but feel this would be misleading. We refuse to make a SLES-free product that may have a dubious safety record. We remain honest in saying our product is non toxic, owing to the large amounts of calcium and magnesium it contains in proportion to a minimal percentage of SLES that is GRAS – generally regarded as safe.
Ref 1: http://www.tomsofmaine.com/toms/ifs/sls.asp
What is it? Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a foaming agent naturally derived from coconut and/or palm kernel oil. SLS has a long history of safe use in a variety of consumer personal care products.
What does it do?We (Toms of Maine) use SLS in our toothpaste to properly disperse the ingredients and ensure easy rinsing.
What are the alternatives?SLS is not the only foaming or dispersal agent available, but we believe it is the best choice due to its long history of safe use, its lack of odour or taste, and its low level of concentration in our products.
What are the risks?We are well aware of the widespread Internet rumours regarding SLS and its use in shampoos, toothpaste, and other products. At Tom’s we are concerned about the safety and efficacy of our products, so we take these rumours seriously. Specifically, we have heard claims that SLS is linked to cancer, cataracts, liver or kidney damage, and other maladies. These widespread rumours have been investigated by respected publications such as The Washington Post and The Berkeley Wellness Newsletter, both of which have called them a “sham” and a “hoax.” The American Cancer Society has also created an information page debunking the claims. So rampant are these rumours that they are even addressed on the Urban Legends website, which provides additional reputable sources of information about SLS research.
We, too, have researched these claims extensively and have found them to be completely unsubstantiated. As formulated for cosmetic use, SLS has not been found to cause cancer in any recognized scientific research studies. When used in our toothpaste, SLS has limited contact with the gums and is then rinsed out. In the body sprays, a very low level of SLS is used, just enough to disperse the fragrance oils. And to ensure consumer safety, a clinical study was run on the body spray to verify that this level of SLS in the product did not cause irritation when left on the skin. At the levels used in our products, SLS has no known toxicity—not even when ingested.
Because of its superior foaming properties, SLS is included in various formulations in other manufacturers’ products, including industrial ones. Use of SLS at varying levels and in different formulations is, of course, completely unrelated to its use in Tom’s of Maine products.
There is some research which shows that people with an existing gum condition called recurrent aphthous ulcers may experience more rapid healing if they temporarily use a toothpaste without SLS. Tom’s of Maine recognizes that no two people are alike, and even with pure and natural ingredients, some individuals may develop an allergic reaction that is unique to them. As with any product, be sure to discontinue use if you experience discomfort or other indications that the product may not be appropriate for your individual body chemistry.
Ref 2: http://www.gaiaresearch.co.za/cocamidosles.html
Many manufacturers and distributors of so-called natural and/or organic personal care products claim to have made an informed choice to use Cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) rather than Sodium lauryl ether sulphate (SLES) as a foaming agent in their products, are often disparaging of their competitors use of SLES and usually fraudulently miscontextualise or even fabricate misinformation regarding the safety of SLES.
Cocamidopropyl betaine (CAPB) is an non-ionic, amphoteric surfactant, foaming agent and emulsifier used in the formulation of rinse-off shampoos, liquid soaps, gels and cosmetic and household cleansers due to its reputation as being a milder (less irritating) agent than most older and many contemporary alternatives, including Sodium lauryl ether sulphate (SLES), especially from the point of view of being less stinging to the eyes.
Made from coconut oil, with petrochemical ingredients, Cocamidopropyl betaine is a quasi-natural substance, as is SLES. Being notably milder to the eyes quickly led to its preferential use in baby shampoos and to manufacturers claiming their product to be milder and safer than that of their competitors who were using Sodium laureth sulphate/Sodium lauryl ether sulphate (SLES). This in turn led to consumer advocates, doctors, consumers and patients assuming that a less irritating product such as a baby shampoo would be safer for the skin, causing more to formulate with, recommend and to seek out CAPB based products over those containing SLES. Cocamidopropyl betaine is a tamed version of a harsher older surfactant, Cocamide DEA, as is Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulphate (SLES) a tamed version of the harsher older Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS).
Cocamidopropyl betaine does however have a dark side that surfaced along with increasing consumer usage, namely its identification and confirmation as a contact allergen, something that Sodium lauryl ether sulphate (SLES) is not. Furthermore, like SLES, which its detractors, based on its early manufacturing standards and also current industrial grades, but not necessarily in its modern cosmetic grade incarnation, point out, Cocamidopropyl betaine contains several allergenic impurities including carcinogenic nitrosamines, (Haz-Map, Natl Inst Health, USA, 20 July, 2004), making a double mockery of SLES-critical manufacturer’s claims of a better safety profile for CAPB. Since its introduction, Cocamidopropyl betaine been increasingly revealed, like SLES, to be a skin sensitizer, but moreover, unlike SLES, CAPB has increasingly been identified as a significant cause of allergic contact dermatitis, to the extent of being voted Contact Allergen of the year for 2004 by a committee of international experts (Mowad C, Adv Dermatol, 20:237, 2004).
With reports of confirmed allergenic dermatitis caused by Cocamidopropyl betaine having first been recorded more than a decade ago, CAPB is now unquestionably documented and acknowledged as one of the most frequent (SLES does not even feature) causes of dermatitis of the head, neck and face in humans and especially so of the eyelids and lips of infants, where its use can lead to intractable inflammation and scaling.
(Korting H et al, J Am Acad Dermatol, 27(6 Pt 1), 1992); (Peter C et al, Contact Dermatitis, 26(4), 1992); (Taniguchi S et al, Contact Dermatitis, 26(2), 1992); (Fowler J, Cutis, 52(5), 1993); (Angelino G et al, Contact Dermatitis, 32(2), 1995); (de Groot A, et al, Contact Dermatitis, 33(6), 1995); (de Groot A, Clin Dermatol, 15(4), 1997); (Angelini D et al, Contact Dermatitis, 39(4), 1998); (Brand R et al, Australas J Dermatol, 39(2), 1998); (Lin-Hui S et al, Contact Dermatitis, 38(3), 1998); (Armstrong D et al, Contact Dermatitis, 40(6), 1999); (Krasteva M et al, Europ J Dermatol, 9 (2), 1999); (Yasunaga C et al, Environ Dermatol, 7(1), 2000); (Hashimoto R et al, Environ Dermatol, 7(2), 2000); (Mowad C, Am J Contact Dermatitis, 12(4), 2001); (McFadden J et al, Contact Dermatitis, 45(2), 2001); (Foti C et al, Contact Dermatitis, 48: 194, 2003); (Moreau L et al, Dermatitis, 15(3), 2004); (Goosens A, Bull Soc Belge Ophtalmol, 292, 11, 2004); (Brey N et al, Dermatitis, 15(1), 2004); (Fowler J et al, Am J Dermatol (15(1), 2004); (Shaffer K, 15th Ann Meet Am Contact Dermatitis Soc, Wash, 5 Feb, 2004); (Agar N et al, Australas J Dermatol, 46(1), 2005); (Bloom M, Recognising contact dermatitis, Dermatol Times, June, 2005).