MooGoo… Learning about a Natural Skin Care brand (Part 2 of 2)

Interview with MooGoo Skincare (picture credit moogoo.com.au)

This is the second segment of the interview with Craig Jones, founder of MooGoo. MooGoo is an Australian company that makes a range of skincare products, founded by adapting the ‘diary’ version of udder cream for a family member. Refer to the first segment of interview here.

Marcie Mom: I noted also on your website that ‘MooGoo creams have been independently tested to ensure they remain pure and uncontaminated for at least two years, when stored below 30 Degrees Celsius. This is a called a “Challenge Test. It is not a compulsory test in Australia.’ Could you give further details as to who conducted this test, how the test is conducted and what is your definition of ‘pure’ and ‘uncontaminated’?

Preservatives is one area of our formulation that we are very proud. A product that is often used on broken skin, or babies, needs to be properly preserved so it is sterile. Everyone would be aware of ingredients like Parabens, Benzoates, Formaldehyde Donors and other ingredients often used to keep skin care products sterile. It doesn’t take too much research to see that if we had the choice, we probably wouldn’t put these chemicals on our skin. (It is also interesting to see how often they aren’t on the list of ingredients published on websites, but are on the label of products). These ingredients are used as they are inexpensive ways of preserving a cream.

Obviously most natural companies want to avoid being seen in the company of these type of ingredients. The temptation can be to try and cut corners in preserving a cream and use fairly ineffective preservatives like Grapefruit Seed Extract. Not all companies do this at all, but it can be a temptation, especially as nobody checks for preservative efficacy in Australia.

We accidentally discovered a new way of preserving our creams based on Hops. I stumbled across i when talking to a food ingredient supplier who used it for Apple Juice. We tried it in the creams and after a bit of tinkering (at first some people found it changed the smell of the cream so we had to cut the percentage down) we now use that as a total edible preservative.

We have our creams tested by Conmac labs. The BP Preservative Efficacy Test is a program of deliberately contaminating the cream sample with a range of bacteria and mould, and then tracking the growth of the bacteria and mould over a 30 day period. To pass, the preservation system must kill all the bacteria and mould. I have included a sample report so you can see.

Because we have so many infants using our products, and because we are using a novel edible preservation system, we make sure our products pass this test.

Marcie Mom: You have some products suited for eczema and one of them is the ‘Eczema and Psoriasis Balm’. It is AUD18.50 for 120g which translates to about SGD24. I would say the price is about mid-range. Aloe vera, matricaria chamomilla extract, centella asiatica and sage oil are listed as active ingredients (and very good that you list amount of mg of ingredient per gram, which in aggregate is 30.5mg/g). Why did you choose these ingredients and what research can you point us to that concludes these ingredients applied on skin are beneficial for eczema? Also, are these ingredients listed as allergens by any national dermatitis group, e.g. NACDG?

Craig Jones: This is a complicated question. Before we created the Eczema Balm, a lot of people were already using our Udder Cream for skin problems. In fact, the Udder Cream was first made for my mother who had psoriasis. At that time I had no intention of starting a skin care company, and if that cream hadn’t worked as well as it did, I am sure I would still be enjoying my previous profession of being a pilot and MooGoo would have gone no further than our kitchen and my mother’s skin.

The original Udder Cream we made  probably worked quite well due to the oils such as Sweet Almond Oil that we used, combined with the Aloe and Allantoin. I am the first to admit it is not a “miracle” formula. I think the reason it helped so many people is that they had been using poorer quality creams (often sorbolene type creams) for years and so when they switched to a repair moisturiser of better quality, some found a huge improvement. But it was probably the choice of oils, the fact it didn’t contain some certain preservatives that helped the most.

However, to register a product for Eczema with the Therapeutic Goods Administration, we needed to add some approved “Actives”. So we looked for those with the best evidence we could find as natural anti-inflammatories and wound healing, and added those. But I don’t think it is just the actives that help. I personally think the natural oils and Allantoin also assist.

Incidentally, over the last 4 years i have kept researching lots of different natural actives. In a few months we are releasing a second Eczema Balm. On paper it should work even better. We are keeping the original as it is so popular and still a very good product. However it doesn’t work for everybody, and so this is another option. It was also the result of my personal belief that the combination of ingredients should result in the best possible natural anti-inflammatory cream it is possible to make. So we will see how it goes.

As for allergies, even the best ingredients can have people that are allergic to them. As you know, we compare it to food. People can be allergic to nuts or dairy or shellfish. However, for the vast majority of the population, these foods are very healthy. Nobody is allergic to Cola. This doesn’t make Cola a superior food to shellfish.

It is the same in skin care. Typical examples of allergies can be to Aloe Vera and Vitamin E. For most people however, these are excellent ingredients for the skin. It would be detrimental to most people if they were taken out because a very small number of people have allergies.

We do however avoid Essential Oils as much as possible due to allergies. We used to use them in a lot of our products, including the Milk Shampoo, Wash and Conditioner. People would sometimes react to these. So we instead worked with a company that specialized in phthalate free fragrant oils that didn’t cause allergic reactions and now use these. The number of people with reactions in the products without essential oils is almost nil.

Anti-ageing products though do have more potential for allergies with some people if they are genuinely effective. This is because genuine anti-ageing actives need to penetrate and work with the skin metabolism, so they need to be reasonably concentrated and fairly bio-active. So they are more powerful. An inert ingredient or an ingredient that was in the product at a tiny concentration would not be an allergy risk for anyone, but nor would it do what people hoped.

So what we do it put the best ingredients in the product we can at the concentration we think we need, and then encourage everyone to patch test all natural products before use.  This is much better for most people we think than not using any ingredient that may end up causing an allergy. Paraffin and Water (Sorbolene) may not cause many allergies, but it won’t do a lot of good either.

Marcie Mom: Thanks Craig for being open and sharing insights to your products and the decisions behind them. p.s. to readers of eczemablues.com, I didn’t receive any money from MooGoo for this interview.

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