My name is Bob Root. I am one of the Keys founders and the chief scientist. A customer contacted Keys Customer Service with three fundamental questions. The questions are mostly about being organic and safety as well as functionality. I have answers, and they might not be what you think.
First, What Does The USDA Say About Organic and Skin Care?
USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives. Organic producers rely on natural substances and physical, mechanical, or biologically based farming methods to the fullest extent possible. Skin care and cosmetics can have a USDA certification if the ingredients they use are the same as food that has been certified organic
● FDA does not define or regulate the term “organic,” as it applies to cosmetics, body care, or personal care products.
● USDA regulates the term “organic” as it applies to agricultural products through its National Organic Program (NOP) regulation, 7 CFR Part 205.
● If a cosmetic, body care product, or personal care product contains or is made up of agricultural ingredients, and can meet the USDA/NOP organic production, handling, processing and labeling standards, it may
be eligible to be certified under the NOP regulations.
● The operations which produce the organic agricultural ingredients, the handlers of these agricultural ingredients, and the manufacturer of the final product must all be certified by a USDA-accredited organic certifying agent.
“I am delighted with the questions and order of the questions asked because I have waited a long time for the market to mature to understand my answers.” This will be one of the main subjects on my Joe Rogan Podcast.
Questions & Answers!
The Customer asked:“I am thinking of getting Keys MetaClean Healing Soap & Shampoo, it says there is >85% organic content, what is the rest that is not organic in this shampoo?”
Bob Response: “There is a reasonably simple answer here, but has more far-reaching implications because consumers have a perception that the meaning of organic equates to safety. Later for that.
One of the biggest consumer misunderstandings in skincare is that organic is not a synonym for safe. Safety comes in many forms including trusting the people who use the products you buy.
At core levels, an ingredient, like Avocado oil, can be purchased from a producer that has followed and been monitored by the USDA(United States Department of Agriculture). Wild-crafted ingredients like Shea Butter and high-quality beeswax cannot be certified as Organic because they cannot be traced through the process of where a plant comes from or how they are pollinated. It is pretty hard to trace the pollination path of bees through the jungle.
Technically, MetaClean is considered to be organic because it exceeds the 70% rule put forth by the USDA for skin care and cosmetics. Yes, a product can be USDA certified organic and still have 30% non-organic ingredients including water. We choose to list the true organic content as opposed to using a blanket statement that may or may not be true. So MetaClean has 85% organic ingredients and 15% wild-crafted. In this case, it is Shea Butter made by hand in Ghana by a women’s tribe that we have been buying from for nearly 15 years.
As to safety, there seems to be an impression that organic farms are safe, run by Hippies and use state-of-the-art equipment. People often opt to buy at a farmers market versus trust a new age supplier. That may be a bad decision.
To gain a USDA Certificate, it takes modern machinery and techniques to get certified. We love “wild-crafted” ingredients because they are hand-made and usually of the highest quality. Most often, they come from places that do not even know what a pesticide is and their religions or culture do not permit them to use pesticides. So, that farm on the California coast near the diesel truck stop and using 100-year-old rusted machinery lubricated with motor oil is organic and not safe. Most often they have spent more on their Organic Farm sign or Facebook page than they have testing their food for pollutants and pesticides.”
Whole versus Fractionated Ingredients
Customer Asked,“When you list on the right the vitamins/actions, are you indicating that the actual ingredient is providing those vitamins, for example, Avocado Oil gives Retinol vitamin or is Retinol separate from the Avocado Oil?”
Bob Response, “Great question and a good pick for an ingredient to use as an example! We opt to use only whole ingredients because of how pure forms interact. We use the term “Chemical-Free Skin Health” as a marketing term because fractionated and estered whole ingredients used in most skin care products are used to amplify the effects of the base ingredient. The product branded as Retinol is a powerful and violent product using massive levels of a particular type of vitamin A extracted and condensed into something that has immediate effects on the skin. The adage that if it burns and makes something red it must be working. Retinol, the brand, works in minutes and overnight. Is it better? To me, the answer is no because it harms.
Whole retinol in avocado oil has gradual effects improving the skin elasticity and tone over a much more extended period. Use it every day, and you will see a difference in a couple of weeks, and it is life-long if you keep using it. More important, the “Keys Challenge” has always been to see how long it takes before your friends notice a change.
So, quick results are quick but are they harming. That is the biggest question.
To answer directly, we do not separate ingredients into their constituent components; we appreciate what they do for you in their native form.
Product Safety Rankings
Customer Asked,“What is it in here that can be unsafe for some individuals since it is not complete 0 on safe scale.”
Bob Response: “I would never design, produce or sell a product that is knowingly not safe. I am an engineer who developed products for my wife suffering from the chemical after effects of Melanoma caused by prescription sunscreens, creams, and lotions. We make and design products that solve skin problems and make people feel good. Part of feeling good is knowing that I am here to ensure that my products are safe.
So, I suspect you are talking about the ranking on the EWG Skin Deep database. You should probably direct the question to them, and you might start by asking why Aloe Vera has a 3 ranking (if 100% natural).
The database is an excellent tool and has been abused by companies in the past selling just plain water to get a 0 ranking. Also, the database is an accumulation of many databases. The EWG does not have its own broad spectrum testing program. I have long questioned the numeric ranking system versus a pass/fail system or a category ranking similar to the way California ranks restaurants. Where you have a choice of eating at an A establishment or not at a B
Thank you for your questions and taking the time to contact us. I hope I have answered them to your satisfaction. Bob
Galleyon Natural Antibacterial Foaming Soap has been a cornerstone of Keys for near 15 years. Galleyon is an alternative to soaps that contained Triclosan. Unlike antibacterial soaps, it is not a biocide, so it does not kill our skin’s natural Probiome. It reduces the levels of harmful bacteria without harming the natural colonies of bacteria on our skin.
Antibacterial Foaming Soap & More
Over the years, Galleyon has become much more. Surgeons and medical workers have been known to wash with a clinical bacteriacide and then wash with Galleyon to protect their skin from the bactericidal soaps and gloves they have to wear. A car mechanic reports how great Galleyon was at removing automotive grease and grime. Teens like to shower with Galleyon because it tingles, smells good and makes them feel good. Runners and athletes love it as a whole body soap, and even surfers use it to get rid of the crud they surf through. All the interesting stuff.
The secret to Galleyon is the Lakota Sioux Spearmint Essential oil and the blood orange essential oils we use. The spearmint is off the scale for quality and bacteria reducing properties. The blood orange essential oil is cleansing, deep cleaning and very friendly to the skin. Our base Castile soap was designed to be low alkalinity and brags to be the mildest Castile available. Put them together with avocado oil, and you have Galleyon.
So What Is New?
To the naturally cleansing Castile base soap, we add the spearmint blood orange and avocado oil. What is different is that we have figured out how to get more of the spearmint and blood orange into the soap base without separating. More is better, right? The main benefit is that all the benefits of the essential oils are now in higher concentration without affecting the gentleness of the product. Galleyon’s pH is the same as it was, but the intensity and cleansing properties are better now.
What you will notice is a stronger scent of spearmint and a bit of a raspberry scent coming from the California Blood Orange essential oil.
For our cult full body users, you will notice more tingle and a softer feel. All without a price increase!
In the 1950’s virtually every woman owned a jar of Pond’s Cold Cream. They removed makeup, washed their face, moisturized and exfoliated with it. The problem was that it was full of chemicals and today’s natural woman wants something safer and healthier. Keys Tortuga to the rescue!
The petrochemicals in cold creams simply dissolved dead skin. Many women today use salt and sugar scrubs to exfoliate. Yes, they make the skin feel smoother, but like sandpaper, they can damage the alive part of the skin. With Keys Tortuga, the avocado oil we use contains natural retinol’s that will nicely exfoliate the skin, moisturize it and leave it clean and fresh without a sub or harsh soap.
The process is simple. Just wet your face with warm clear water. Take a pea size dollop of Tortuga and begin to massage it into the skin. You can start with the forehead and work down adding more Tortuga creating a light coat. Then start where you began and massage with your fingers. You will notice that the skin begins to slough off. If needed, add more Tortuga. When you have completed the process, since your face with cool clear water and pat dry. You’re done!
Tortuga Removes Makeup
Even stage makeup is no match to Keys Tortuga. For years stage and screen actors have used Tortuga to remove stubborn and waterproof makeup. They spread Tortuga thinly all over their face and use a tissue or washcloth to remove makeup. Using more Tortuga for a hard area, they remove all the makeup and then rinse with cool clear water and pat dry.
Tortuga As A Moisturizer
Like exfoliation, you can wet the face and lightly massage Tortuga into the skin. Keep the face wet and lightly massage Tortuga on the face, neck and décolletage. Let the thin and water air dry. You want a very thin layer and let it dry. Why it is a preferred moisturizing method is because you are trapping moisture from the water in the skin. Also, the natural retinol in avocado oil helps smooth and fade spots and dark patches. Carrot seed oil and black seed oils deep moisturize and have an effect on skin elasticity. The idea is to really dilute the Keys Tortuga using the water.
Last point. In all cases, you can use Keys Tortuga around the eyes and it will not burn or cause tearing. It does everything that cold cream does and better because it has no harsh chemicals and the ingredients are probiomme…meaning good for the skin health.
We get lots of questions on our customer service system. This week the dominant question has to do with thinning Keys lotions in cold weather. We generally get very unique questions which is why we don’t have a FAQ page. We answer each question individually. Sometime we do get a burst of questions that are similar. In the future, as we receive similar questions we will post them here as well.
Over the last couple of weeks we have had a number of questions regarding the viscosity (thinning) of some of our lotions.
We think the question is coming up because of cold weather around the country. So, first thing, Keys does not use glycols in our products. Glycols keep a product viscosity consistent over a wide range of temperatures. Thinning can be done by raising the temperature or adding water.
Most of the question circle around how to go about thinning our lotions. Some request us to make a thinner lotion. Thinning our products in the manufacturing process lessen the quality, so we won’t do that.
There are some tricks that include heating the bottle to around 90 degrees F. Some people place the bottle near a window to catch some sunlight. Add water as you apply to thin the lotion. As the water evaporates on the skin, the lotion will be more even on the skin and deeper in the pores.
The reality is that if we made our lotions by thinning, we would lose some of the emollience.
So here are the tricks:
Heat the lotion to nearly skin temperature which is typically 90 degrees F
Put a drop of a lotion in the palm of your hand and add a few drops of water. Be your own judge of how much water to add.
Apply lotions to a wet face after washing. Again, the lotion will thin and go into the pores. Allow your face to air dry.
Do not use these tricks with Solar Rx Sunscreen/Moisturizer as thinning it will reduce the efficacy on the SPF.
Keys does not use preservatives and all of our lotions are water soluble. Do not dilute the lotion in the bottle as you may expose the contents to airborne bacteria.
Hope this helps!
If you would like to purchase our lotions you can go to our store by clicking here.
Keys Natural Skincare & Beauty (Probiome) was born after co-founder Wendy Steele was diagnosed with and beat melanoma. The cancer was gone, but she was still dealing with some nasty side effects on her skin – itchy, irritated patches that were just made worse by sticky sunscreens. Her then-boyfriend (now husband) Bob Root decided to take matters into his own hands and researched the work of everyone from Harvard MDs to aboriginal healers.
The products that Bob developed for Wendy worked great for her, so together they decided to start manufacturing for the public. We sat down with Bob to discuss their products, how the company got started, and his best advice for people looking to switch to natural skincare.
Smallflower: The Keys story starts with Wendy’s bout with Melanoma and her struggles with ineffective treatments for the subsequent skin troubles. As you were first working on products with Wendy, when did you realize that you were on to something bigger than a one-off personal solution?
Bob Root: Wendy’s Melanoma came at a time where our core business was brand marketing consulting for major tech and pharmaceutical companies. I shared prototype products with the pharma people and they encouraged us to develop the first four products. We sold online only, and the big break came in 2007 when Consumer Reports Magazine ranked Solar Rx number one in its category.
At the same time, the Environmental Working Group ranked Keys’ four products number one in each of their respective categories. Now at 43 products, we continue to have the safest ratings on the EWG. This series of events caught the attention of over 500 retailers which increased the brand awareness. Over the years, we’ve continued to work with integrity, avoiding high-volume big-box store lures.
“Probiome is a Keys-registered trademark for products that restore the balance on the skin by creating formulations that promote good bacteria growth on the skin”
S: Can you briefly describe the Probiome line and name, where the idea came from, and where you think probiotic and microbiome-friendly products are going to go over the next few years?
BR: Ten years ago, I became a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Microbiome Project. The project discovered that our skin has 10 times more bacteria than human skin cells. Creating a balance is what Probiome means.
Parabens and Triclosan destroy good and bad bacteria collaterally. This imbalance allows bad bacteria to attack the skin. I firmly believe that greater than 50 percent of diagnosed skin disorders are caused by products containing parabens and triclosan.Probiome is our registered trademark for products that restore the balance on the skin. We do this with formulations that promote good bacteria growth on the skin, similarly to how probiotics restore the flora in the gut. The difference is that gut flora can be promoted by adding breeder bacteria. Skin needs an environment that attracts natural growth of the skin flora.
Natural instead of conventional is a good first step. Natural oils that promote growth is the real answer. Our products are the real deal, because they use the right ingredients of the highest quality and in therapeutic proportions.
S: For someone who is new to natural skincare products, what’s the single best piece of advice you can give them?
BR: Read the label – if you can’t recognize the names of the ingredients, don’t buy it. Find a manufacturer that you trust implicitly.
Also, vote with your wallet. It will change the world faster than donating to Non-Governmental Organizations. Manufacturers follow the money.
S: If there was one currently popular skincare ingredient you could get banned, what would it be and why?
BR: Parabens! FDA recently banned Triclosan. To brag a little bit, my book helped a lot to polarize the FDA.
S: Are there any upcoming projects you’re excited about, that you can give us some hints about?
BR: Our Alternative Naturals line has very deep potential. Basically, the initial challenge was to replace petroleum jelly with a jelled avocado oil for the astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS).
It blossomed into a series of products that offer a non-petroleum jelly carrier for solution-oriented products. So we will continue to replace the top ten used solution-oriented products that have petrolatum as its carrier with AvoJel.
Another hot project is bio-based 3D printing of skin cells as a catalyst for age-reversing skin repair. It’s really out there, but it’s where I’m headed. It’s more than anti-aging, it’s un-aging.
S: What’s one Keys product that nobody should be without?
BR: For anti-aging, Solar Rx. We use no chemical sunscreens, only pure uncoated zinc oxide in a natural lotion base. Solar Rx is for those who want to avoid the extreme aging effects of UVA and UVB on a daily basis.
This is a reprint of the Small Flower article. You can Click Here to go to their site.
You Voted With Your Wallets! Natural Products Are Mainstream in Grocery Stores.
In my book, “Chemical-Free Skin Health®” I suggested that the fastest and best way to bring about change in Natural Products was to buy products that were pure and clean. Voting with your wallets. Boycotting the junk also sent a huge message. Well, you did it. The result is that not only have you put natural products front and center on store shelves, but you have convinced major brands to return to their roots by offering natural wholesome and clean products.
I recently read a draft report by a research firm that specializes in retail store trends. They noted in a recent study that many mainline brands like Campbell soup have initiated and brought out new natural brands that are simple and wholesome alternatives. Campbell’s “Well YES” brand was singled out as an example of how many brands have shifted back to simple foods. Same was noted for personal care.
I decided to do something totally out of character. I went to a Kroger Fred Meyers store in Newport Oregon and just walked the aisles. This store has a natural products section, but it was very apparent that all the food aisles were focused on natural products. As a point of reference, when a retailer puts products at eye level and easy to grab, that is what is called “First Position” meaning that it is priority. Walking the soup aisle, Amy’s and Campbell Well Yes were front and center. The jam and peanut butter section was even more noticeable. Traditional brands like Skippy were bottom shelf with Jason’s, Smucker’s Natural and other pure brands were front and center. The rest of the store was the same as was the conventional health and beauty aisles.
So, you did it. You voted with your wallets and sent a message to the manufacturers that you wanted a change and they responded. Good on you and good on them for listening.
I must also say that I hope you have learned a lesson that your voice works, but a voice that speaks directly to those that can make a change. The manufacturers! Stop wasting your money by donating to those that claim to be trying to change the government to protect us all from the evils of bad manufacturers. Keep your dollars in your wallets and spend them on products that are good for you. Trust me, funky questionable products that sit on the shelf get discontinued quickly by retailers that see them gathering dust. Those manufacturers that get their products returned because no one is buying them speaks volumes. Always, always, Vote With Your Wallets. It works every time.
When we started 15 years ago, Keys promoted natural functional products that solved problems and make people feel good. We said, “and by the way, they are natural.” Today we still market the features, benefits and advantages of our natural products. Because of the natural products food movement, we now have a huge following by people wanting to solve their skin disorders with natural products. We are celebrating the turnaround…or really the return to natural.
I guess a simple message is that the P&G’s of the world are really not so bad. They just follow the money. If you ask for junk, that’s what you get. If you ask for good, that’s what you get.
So leave your money in your wallets. Spend it wisely on products that you know what is in the container.
Congrats! You just learned how powerful you and your wallets can be.
Wendy’s Regimen – Easy Steps for Simplifying Your Daily Skin Care Routine
You don’t have to be expert with an overflowing cabinet of miracle products to take good daily care of your skin. More specifically, when caring for your face it is much more desirable to keep it simple. Besides that you are more likely to be consistent with your facial care if you follow a few easy steps.
Consistency is the key to looking and feeling healthy and refreshed! For the past 5 years I continue to use this basic routine on my sensitive face with great results.
Here is what you will need for this step-by-step daily morning routine: Wendy’s Regimen
Island Rx Foaming Facial Cleanser
OMNI Skin Elixir Spray
Reflex ProBiome Anti-Aging Serum
Solar Rx Moisturizer SPF30+
Start with a clean face. Wet your face and use 1-2 pumps of Island Rx Foaming Facial Cleanser. Apply foam to wet skin. Using fingers, massage foam over face. Rinse thoroughly and lightly pat dry. Island Rx Foaming Facial Cleanser provides a deep and very gentle cleansing.
Follow with a light spritz (2-3 sprays) of OMNI Skin Elixir Spray. The multi-faceted botanical skin elixir is an herbal remedy. It is designed to refresh and soothe the skin.
While skin is still damp from spray, apply 3-5 drops of Reflex ProBiome Anti-Aging Serum. My sensitive facial skin sometimes requires more or less Reflex. Your skin type may vary. It also depends on the amount of dryness or humidity in your environment. Allow Reflex Serum to settle on your face and neck until absorbed. The combination of OMNI and Reflex Serum do a great job of soothing my skin while giving it a refreshed dewy look.
Finally, apply 1-3 pumps of Solar Rx Moisturizer SPF 30+ all over face and neck. I like that Reflex Serum provides a very smooth base for Solar Rx as my pre-makeup primer.
Besides the simplicity of these steps, using these products together reduces the redness in my skin. All provide a smooth clear foundation to start the day.
If you are going to apply make-up, it should be applied after Solar Rx Moisturizer SPF 30+
Wendy’s Regimen Recipe (Print or Save)
Wendy’s Daily Keys Anti-Aging Regimen
Recipe Type: Daytime Daily Anti-Aging Regimen
Author: Wendy Steele, Keys CEO
This has been my daily recipe for youthful skin for the last five years.
Keys Island Rx Foaming Face Wash
Keys Omni Skin Elixir Spray
Keys Reflex ProBiome
Keys Solar Rx Moisturizer SPF30+
Wet your face
Apply 1 or 2 pumps of Island Rx Foaming Wash
Lather in hands
Wash face using fingers in a circular motion
Rinse with cool water
Spray Omni evenly over the face and neck with eyes closed. Air dry
Apply 3 or 5 drops of Reflex and spread evenly over the skin. More in dry areas. Let set to absorb
Apply 2 or 3 pumps of Solar Rx over the entire face and neck (more as needed) evenly. Let stand.
Apply makeup on top noting that many people do not use foundation because Solar Rx provides a luminescent finish
Buy all four products and get 10% off your entire order by using the code WENDY (case sensitive) at checkout! Offer expires June 30, 2017
Triclosan and 18 Other Chemicals Banned In Antibacterial Soaps and Hand Sanitizers
By Bob Root
Keys CTO and Author of Chemical-Free Skin Health®
I must first admit that I have little use for Non Governmental Organizations (NGO’s), industry consultants and individuals who gain income, notoriety or donations based on creating fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in the minds of consumers. I believe that the best path to information is data. A point-of-view or opinion that is not based in facts wastes everyone’s time.
What is Triclosan?
Triclosan is a chemical developed by a Swiss group called Ciba. They were acquired by BASF in April 2009. Triclosan is a broad spectrum bactericide that kills all forms of bacteria. This includes the good and the bad. For more background on why our good bacteria being killed off affects our skin’s eco system, please read an article I wrote in February of 2011 titled, “ARE WE KILLING OUR SKIN’S ECOSYSTEM? ”
The FDA Ban of Triclosan!
So, the facts! The US FDA has banned Triclosan and 18 other chemicals being used in soaps and hand sanitizers. They have not stated just their lack of efficacy, they have been banned because of concerns to humans! Banned! Do not take my word for it, read here what the FDA said in the public filing. Evidence shows that not only are they non-affective, they can cause damage to human and animals who have been and continue to be exposed to Triclosan. These include concerns over propagating Staph, hormone disruption, cancer and destruction of the human microbiome.
The good news is that the FDA has stepped in and banned Triclosan’s use. Many leading consumer products companies have already announce removal of the chemicals including Triclosan.
Triclosan – I Told You So in 2010
In my book, Chemical-Free Skin Health®, I dedicated a chapter to Triclosan and other biocides. My original thoughts was to right a few word in a much more all encompassing chapter. As I studied the chemical Triclosan more, it ultimately became an entire chapter because even in 2010, evidence was already huge that Triclosan was detrimental to human life. Below is the chapter from my book for you to read. I ask you to read it because the FDA ruling is just the tip of the iceberg.
Triclosan – EPA, It is Your Turn to Weigh-In
I write this article, not to reinforce what I wrote 6 years ago, it is to make you aware that Triclosan is used in much more than soaps and hand sanitizers. It is in our food, other personal care products, clothing and food preparation products. Again, read the chapter from my book below. As I said, it became a chapter because the threat is broader and it is the EPA’s turn to also ban the use of Triclosan and some parabens being used in food wrap, antibacterial clothing, sporting goods, toys, children’s car seats and many animal products. The same cause and effect the FDA details in their announcement also applies to products that are under the control of the EPA.
Do Better When You Know Better
There is even a bigger message in the Triclosan ban. Become aware so that you do better for yourself and your family by knowing better. The reality is that it has taken some advocates of reform nearly ten years to get the FDA to act. The good news is that they did. The bad news is that their are hundreds of other chemicals in use today that advocates have presented data showing their detrimental effects on humans and animals. Yet their is a very simple solution and it is back to the future.
You have two choices. Burden yourself with self-study to find out what all the chemicals are that could cause potential harm or merely switch to natural products that have simple whole natural ingredients. Whether it is Haagen Daz Five ice cream with only five ingredients, my products and those of others who offer simple man-made chemical-free ingredients, you can simplify your life by embracing trusted brands. Then you will also send a pocketbook message to the big brands that people want to return to the simpler past where everything is natural that we put into and on our bodies. Back to the future? Simply, 60 years ago nearly everything we ate and put in or on our bodies was naturally derived. My hallucination is that in the not too distant future, we will return to natural products that are chemical-free.
Congrats FDA! EPA, your turn! People, it is time to get wise and go natural!
You can also read more by purchasing my book on Amazon It is available in paperback or Kindle. Chemical-Free Skin Health is also available from the Keys Online store by Clicking Here
Excerpt from Chemical-Free Skin Health® by Bob Root
Copyright 2010-2016 by Orion Learning International Inc. M42 Publishing
Just as a note, I have also attached the chapter as a PDF document if you want to send it to your friends. Click the image to download
[bsk-pdf-manager-pdf id=”4″ featuredimage=”yes”]
Chapter 12: My Two Worst Public Enemies! Triclosan and Parabens
Early on I told you about how the skin works. Overly simplifying a particular facet of the skin, the bacteria that exist on it keep our skin in balance. Washing our skin and particularly the face removes the remnants of the bacteria, dirt, pollutants and dead skin. No matter how hard we try to remove the bacteria, it is nearly impossible unless we use germicides or bactericides like parabens and triclosan.
Here is my simple concern. If I can put a paraben in a product to kill off bacteria and germs in the container, what does it do to the good bacteria on my skin? If I wash my hands with a hand sanitizer that contains the broad spectrum bactericide, triclosan, what does it do to my good bacteria?
Search as I might, I have not found any evidence that parabens and triclosan are tuned killers. Meaning that they waste the bad guys and protect the good. Everything that I have read supports the contrary.
I have talked to dermatologists, doctors and scientists asking their concerns about what is going on in personal care and cosmetics that concern them. Over 90% express concern over parabens and triclosan because of the long term health effects. Not from the chemicals, but from the effect it has on killing the probiotics of our skin. All express an even greater concern about these chemicals being used in our food, toothpaste and mouth washes.
You can choose to read this chapter or not. It is somewhat geeky, but necessary to explain my perceptions.
What I believe is that the only thing known to man that kills the good bacteria on our skin are parabens and triclosan. Remove the good bacteria and our balance is disrupted. Disrupt the balance and those bacteria that come at us first are the worst kind and literally attack unprotected skin.
I personally believe that these two chemical types are responsible for many of the skin disorders that doctors see.
Also, it took western medicine a long time to buy into the fact that we need probiotics to help our gut perform. I believe it is also time that we start to explore probiotics for our skin.
Finally, I do believe that the people that have link MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) outbreaks to parabens and triclosan are probably correct. Only time and research will prove them right or wrong. Indications are they are correct and it is probably time to eliminate parabens and triclosan from your life.
So read on if you want!
Triclosan: The Biocide that Creates Super Bugs?
FACT vs FUD is a chapter in this book as well as an article on our blog. In this overly inflammatory news based society of ours, my resistance is to publish anything that is not based in research that is a bit beyond a theory.
One of the inspirations for this book and this article was an experience I had while in a store outside of Dayton Ohio. I was not too far from the headquarters of Proctor & Gamble (Cincinnati) delivering a speech about the Dirty Dozen at an annual event the store promotes. Probably 200 in attendance, I went through the Dirty Dozen chemicals created by the Marin County Cancer Project. At the end, I provided some chemicals of concern, so I went back through my “most feared” list. In the book, I describe that some of the Dirty Dozen are much more damaging than others, but tend to be used in only discrete segments and in only some products. Some ingredients like parabens are much more widely used often in multiple doses during the manufacturing process elevating their concentrations in products to well beyond the called for percentages by the chemical maker. During my speech, I invited questions as we went along and there were plenty.
At the end, I voiced my concern that triclosan was perhaps my greatest fear because it is so powerful a biocide. I had explained earlier that triclosan is the main ingredient in hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps. A biocide, by design, kills gram positive and gram negative bacteria as well as most all bacteria. My concern all along has been two very important concerns:
If it indiscriminately kills all bacteria, then what does it do to the flora-probiotic on our skin?
Will the destruction of all bacteria on the skin create super-bugs that morph and become resistant to both the biocide and antibiotics?
As I always do when speaking to a group, I try to connect with the eyes of people in my audience. It is my way of trying to figure out if I am connecting with them. In my corporate life, I received training on how to read an audience as well. As I call it, ‘Squirming Around’ is a big flag that I have touched a nerve. As a CEO of a publicly traded company, you better believe that I experienced this at every shareholder meeting. So, this day, I was thrust back to my corporate life by a gentleman that had asked no questions, been very polite and had friendly eyes. When I lumped triclosan in with parabens as my major concern, his hand shot skyward as to immediately interrupt me. I obliged by stopping to acknowledge his question.
He asked, “Why would you add the main ingredient in hand sanitizers with that of preservatives used in almost every product made from personal care, to toothpaste, to food?”
First things first, I knew immediately that this person was from the industry because the question was one I would have expected in a meeting inside a research and development process. Not being ever deterred by confrontation, I answered both technically and emotionally. Here is my initial response.
“I am more concerned with Triclosan than a Methyl Paraben for four primary reasons:
Triclosan has been used in hospital and scientific environments for many years because it is the most effect biocide.
The concentration of Triclosan in a function specific product like antibacterial soaps is much higher and therefore of greater concern to me because it does a much more wide reaching job of killing all bacteria on the skin including the good bugs!
The destruction from Triclosan is so powerful and long lived compare to parabens that I have more than a subtle concern that what bacteria arrive back on the scene will be the worst kind like staph, e. Coli etc.
I also worry that these strains of bacteria will grow back with a vengeance and become resistant to both Triclosan and known antibiotics.”
The man stood straight up as if to confront me. I could also tell that I had just scared the hell out of the rest of the audience. Before I could temper my comments with the fact that this was my personal concern and that I had not gathered all the facts, he spoke.
He said, “I am a scientist that works down the road. First, I am a parent and father. I do not care that we have the best health insurance; I worry about what we expose our kids to. We have had an outbreak of Staph in the middle schools in this area and what you are saying is that because we require our kids to wash with antibacterial soap containing Triclosan that we are exposing them to the potential of transmitted staph infections like the ones we are experiencing now?”
My only answer had to be from the heart and not my corporate training to dodge the question. I said, Yes!”
He shook his head and sat down. Honestly, you could have heard a mouse burp in that room! I tried to interject some humor and my time was up. The people filed out of the room as the other speaker got set up. The man approached as did the sponsors from the store.
The sponsor thanked me for the informative talk and quickly said, can you send me something about this. She offered that she was a Cancer survivor and had a more than passing concern.
The man also echoed by adding that he was privileged to be able to read many documents about uses of chemicals. He said that what he always noticed is that most have warnings of irritation when used in high percentages and that antibacterial soap using Triclosan actually exceeded the minimum percentages. I asked if he could provide me with percentage data and he said; “No! I am not allowed to do that!” I got the message. I walked back to my team that was exhibiting at the health fare and told them of the experience. I shared, that I only wish I had a study to hand to everyone that at least echoed my fears.
Over the last two years, I have shared the story with colleagues. This morning in July of 2010, I received an email with a copy of the Opinion from the EU Scientific Directorate! Being a geek, I read all 56 pages and decided to sit down to finish this chapter of the book.
Remember this is an opinion and I would encourage you to read the entire document. There must be additional testing. We do know that bacteria exposed to destructive agents does morph into “super bugs” in many cases. This opinion echoes much of that concern. In one sense, I am pleased that this concern of mine and others has now taken another step up in the process of science.
My opinion! For what it is worth, science generally follows an orderly path. The Mandelbrot theory says that, if that what we see occurs in a large scale, it will occur in a small scale. If we can kill bacteria…good and bad… with a large dose of a chemical, then small doses delivered more frequently and repeatedly will have the same effect. The other scientific principle that comes to mind here is Occam’s Razor which is the principle that “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity” or that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. So, to me it makes sense from a logical perspective that using a chemical like Triclosan everyday in large does will have a long term adverse effect on the flora of the skin. Only the test of time and scientific studies will bring the concern to even higher levels.
What I can share is that I personally avoid anything on or in my body designed to kill something like germs, bacteria and microbes. Like all of us, I have had to take antibiotics and we know from the warnings that sustained use can make them ineffective. Following Occam’s Razor, I also believe that is true of these chemicals under various names that are designed to make my life more pure…Purity at the sake of what?
So, my mother may not have been right that eating dirt was all that bad for me ☺
Triclosan: The Biocide that keeps on giving!
Most of the free world including the US requires that Triclosan be listed somewhere on the label if it is used in a product. But how about if it is used in product packaging or molded into materials. Unregulated therefore no requirement for listing. Herein is the fallacy of confusing consequence with sequence.
Have you ever wondered why cheese seems to last longer than it used to? Have you wondered how companies can claim that if you buy their storage products that food will last longer? Have you wondered how a manufacturer could claim that their running socks are antibacterial?
We know that Triclosan is used in sanitizers and toothpaste as well as antibacterial soaps. Did you ever wonder what chemical they use in making utensils, cooking equipment, cutting boards and even sport clothing to make them antibacterial. You guessed it, Triclosan. The white powdery substance can be molded into products to make virtually antibacterial. Many food packages are molded with Triclosan to make them antibacterial to preserve the food longer.
If there was any reason to buy organic and local at the farmers market, this is a darned good one for me.
So, like phthalates, Triclosan is not just in personal care. They found phthalates in children’s toys and car dashboards. Triclosan is in much more than antibacterial soap. So here is a partial list of products that use Triclosan:
Antibacterial soap (really a detergent)
Bedding (People and Pets)
Child Car Seats
Someone asked me if I could link a direct connection to MRSA (Methicillin Resistent Staphylococcus Aureus) and Triclosan. I said, “Honestly, I do not know!” Do I believe that it is connected? Yes! So you can imagine my surprise when I read an article in a medical journal prescribe sits baths for MRSA suffers in a solution of 2% Tricolsan!
Triclosan is used in many common household products that you would not expect.
OK, I am starting to sound like a radical working at an NGO! Environmental issues are big as well.
Parabens…Good Guys or Bad Guys?
As a part of my ongoing series of looking at the Dirty Dozen Chemicals shown to provide elevated Cancer rates in people and animals, in this article, I outline why we do not use parabens leaving the judgmental diagnosis to the NGO’s attacking them. The Dirty Dozen Chemicals are a list of 12 developed originally by the Marin County Cancer Project which at the time, had the highest Cancer Rates in the US. Followed by Search For The Cause and Teens Turning Green the list is now designated the Dirty Thirty.
So, are parabens good guys or bad guys? Both it seems and there is a reason why we do not use them as well.
Below is a scavenged description of parabens from Wikipedia. On the surface and from a chemical perspective they do their job. Many chemists and companies support their use based on a belief of safety. I believe that they are looking at the wrong reasons for safety.
Our society seems to primarily look at safety as, “will what we put on our skin hurt us directly?” I believe that we should be looking at whether it hurts us based on contact and will it cause something else to hurt us because of it.
So first let’s try to understand what parabens are and why some manufacturers use them. Here is that Wikipedia description:
Parabens are a class 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 bactericidal 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 and the inefficacy of natural alternatives 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.
Parabens are esters of para-hydroxybenzoic acid, from which the name is derived. Common parabens include methylparaben (E number E218), ethylparaben (E214), propylparaben (E216) and butylparaben. Less common parabens include isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, benzylparaben and their sodium salts.
Some parabens are found naturally in plant sources. For example, methylparaben is found in blueberries, where it acts as an antimicrobial agent. However, when parabens are eaten, they are metabolized and lose the ester group, making them less strongly estrogen-mimicking.
( Bob Comment) Part of the rub here is a number of studies that link parabens to breast Cancer because of these properties, but let’s not get too off track!
All commercially used parabens are synthetically produced, although some are identical to those found in nature. They are produced by the esterification of para-hydroxybenzoic acid with the appropriate alcohol. para-Hydroxybenzoic acid is in turn produced industrially from a modification of the Kolbe-Schmitt reaction, using potassium phenoxide and carbon dioxide.
Now that you are an expert on parabens, I think it is fair to talk about the pros and cons of them.
Remember that I believe that it is an indirect result of the parabens that is as important to look at as well as the direct result of their actions.
The pros of parabens or grapefruit seed extract are that they kill bacteria and fungus inside products. It is very difficult to sterilize containers and apparatus without using chemicals. The technique we use is super-heated steam on our equipment, but those parabens do a really good job of killing microbes, gram positive and gram negative rods. The con is that they do a good job of killing bacteria on our skin as well.
You might say that is good, but much research shows that what we want to do is inhibit bacteria growth on our skin while permitting flora bacteria to exist as it does in nature. To me, it is sort of like drinking parabens in hope they will kill diseased bacteria in our gut in hopes that they will leave all that good bacteria we want alone. If science could figure that out, it would be major… just has not happened yet.
Frankly, when I developed our first products, I did not know what parabens were. So it was simple…ignorance was bliss. I did know that I needed a preservative and my aboriginal friends suggested rosemary. Turns out it is also a natural high grade antioxidant, but for me, it minimized bacteria growth in our natural products.
When a contract manufacturer approached me to make our products, I politely listened as the salesperson told me why I had to use parabens. My silence forced him to exasperation and he blurted out, “What would you do if the FDA said you have to use parabens?” My answer? I would mark the products refrigerate after opening! He was not amused and yet that is exactly what I would do.
It turns out that we have traced part of Wendy’s reaction to prescription products after her Melanoma to a paraben reaction. Admittedly rare, I personally believe that it is more common than we think.
I will let our friends at the Breast Cancer Fund fight the paraben battle on their own front. I would encourage you to research that more for yourself.
Why We Do Not Use Parabens
Simply, I have done enough research and read enough that parabens in our personal care, household products and mouth care kill all forms of bacteria on our skin and in our gut. Like studies have shown with triclosan and germicides used in household products, my own studies have shown these same agents kill the natural flora on the skin and in the gut. What I believe happens next is that the really bad bacteria including gram positive rods like e. Coli and Staph (MRSA) have an opportunity to come back with a vengeance and attack our systems freely.
For example, it is common in our microbiology lab to take an agar petri dish and smear a natural ingredient on it to see if colony, gram positive or gram negative rods (bacteria) show up in an accelerated 72 hour test. What is not common, but we have done it, are to take a sample of “bugs” and kill them and then watch what grows back first in an open air environment. More than not, we see some harmless colony bacteria show up first, but then some really nasty bacteria take over and on most occasions we see fungus appear to feed on the bacteria. Can’t prove it, but I have to wonder if all this MRSA staph that has shown up in our middle schools is not a direct link to the triclosan in antibacterial soaps and the parabens in all of our products.
Okay, now that I have you flipped out a bit, I did a test of ten products at one of my labs and measured the cumulative amount of parabens in them. What I mean is that I know that the providers of parabens suggest a range or percentage to use. Let’s say it is 0.5% of the total solution. When I tested the products all showed excessive amounts of parabens well beyond the recommended dose. Knowing that chemists strive for economy, I began to wonder why the levels were so high…high enough to kill anything. I could not figure out why until I was giving a speech on the Dirty Dozen near Dayton Ohio and one chemist from P&G asked how many ingredients were typically in natural products. I answered, “probably 10 to 15.” He laughed and said our average is 45. It suddenly dawned on me how the paraben levels could be so high in the products I tested. The answer, the ingredient/chemical suppliers were also using parabens to preserve their raw material. Think it through! The manufacturer puts 0.5% into the product and each of the suppliers of those 40+ chemicals put 0.5% into the raw materials. Simply, we are being overdosed with parabens and every product we use adds to the equation. Ten products times the 1.6% average we tested is a daily dose of 16% on our skin. I think the most recent statistics I heard from the EWG is that the average woman uses 12 products a day containing parabens and men average 6 products. That means that if I am correct with my average that women are getting ~19.2% paraben contact. We have always joked that “chemists add and engineers subtract, but maybe it is not a joke.
Our Simple View
To overly simplify the reason we do not use parabens is that we believe that what comes out of the bottle designed to kill bacteria in the packaging also kills the flora on our skin and our gut facilitating bad super-bug bacteria to grow in its place that also facilitates fungal growth and imbalance.
Right now, this is a tested theory long from scientific fact. What if I am right!
See, I told my mother eating dirt was good!
BTW, The Mayo Clinic states, “Most MRSA infections occur in hospitals or other health care settings, such as nursing homes and dialysis centers. It’s known as health care-associated MRSA, or HA-MRSA. Older adults and people with weakened immune systems are at most risk of HA-MRSA. More recently, another type of MRSA has occurred among otherwise healthy people in the wider community. This form, community-associated MRSA, or CA-MRSA, is responsible for serious skin and soft tissue infections and for a serious form of pneumonia.”
I personally believe that people are walking in with the MRSA and when surgery is performed that is when it invades. Maybe hospitals should pretest for MRSA and an incoming inspection….Do you think?
Chapter Quick Notes:
Parabens and Triclosan are bactericides and germicides. That means they kill all bacteria indiscriminately. Good or bad bacteria alike, it they just kill.
Parabens and Triclosan indiscriminately kill the good probiotic bacteria on the skin. My belief is that this permits bad bacteria attacking the undefended skin.
Washing the skin does not remove our probiotic good bacteria from the skin.
Bactericides cause an imbalance on the skin possibly leading to many skin disorders.
It is Time To Get Wise! by Wendy Steele, Keys CEO and Melanoma Survivor
Those of you that know me, know that it is my fault for the creation of Keys. Well the truth is, it was a diagnosis of my Melanoma and a reaction of prescription products and over the counter chemical laden products that created the need and our inspiration. That is not why I write today. It is the fact that May is Melanoma awareness month here at Keys and throughout the world. It is the beginning of sun season and that is why May is the month to celebrate and to inspire. It is a time to celebrate all the lives that have been save and time to become aware through education so that we can save many more lives.
It is now over 20 years since Bob discovered the Melanoma on my left ankle. My legs are long and it was impossible to see it myself. He asked what the waxy stuff was on my ankle. Holding a mirror up for me to see, it looked like a drop of hot wax was dropped on my ankle. A few weeks later, it turned bright red and through a friend, we got an appointment with the top Mohs surgeon at Scripps Clinic in San Diego. Hugh Greenway took a look and said, “This is not good.” After a biopsy, he had me clear my schedule for Mohs surgery. It was Melanoma. This was the beginning of my advocacy for 365 days a year Melanoma awareness, skin cancer education and ways to prevent skin Cancer.
I wrote an article in 2007 called Solar Flare Please read it. In 2011, some suspect “ugly duckling” moles sent me to the Mayo Clinic where I realized how out of touch even the top clinics are when it comes to the dignity of people and skin cancer. Read “Hold The Mayo” as well. Please!
Now that you have done that, start to realize how delicate your body is and that the skin being our largest organ is bombarded daily by UV, pollutants and all sorts of allergens. Our skin takes care of us, if we take care of it.
So lets start here with this image of a card we produce that will help you identify strange and unusual moles. Remember mine was clear and about the size of a pencil eraser. So please look at this image and check out any unusual moles you have on your body. Click on the image and save it to your smartphone to use as a comparative tool. Better yet, have a friend check you over. It can be fun if you let it be, but it is serious business.
I have literally hundreds of moles on my body. I am fair, Germanic/Hungarian and very prone to skin cancer. If you can count more than 50 moles on your body, you are a candidate for very close examination. Don’t wait for the dermatologist visit. Become your own sleuth and be aware. It just might save your life.
20 years later, I have had numerous basil cell cancers removed and I have found them all myself and Bob’s vigilant eyes. Know yourself and know your skin.
An interesting thing to really let sink in is that your body talks to you. In my case, five years before discovering my Melanoma, I was on a vacation with Bob in Eleuthera. I became sort of ill without a good description of what was wrong. We got back to the mainland and I went to an internist who discovered a small red dot on my ankle. For a while, he thought it was a tick bite and I had symptoms of inflammation in my blood test. They suspect rheumatoid arthritis. I knew it could not be a tick bite, but I always wondered what it was. Five years later, it was exactly the same are that we discovered my Melanoma. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Finally, lets say you find something. Don’t play around. Get to either a dermatologist or Mohs surgeon. Insist on a biopsy. Do not take no for an answer. If you can, find the youngest most technically savvy doctor you can. Tell them what it is you discovered and that Wendy Steele said to not fool around scraping, burning or freezing. If they refuse, find another doctor!
My own experience is that universities like Stanford and Johns Hopkins are on top of their game. If you are in the EU, you are luckier than we are in the US because awareness and prevention are paramount. One of my tricks is that when I am traveling and want something checked, I ask the doctors office is they have a Dermascope® that they use. If yes, this tells me they are on their game and my trust level goes up significantly.
I cannot say it enough that if you have moles, you must become your own best expert. Follow your intuition based on a lifetime of study. Early prevention can and will save your life.
For ten years we have been collecting testimonials in a virtual cardboard box. These testimonials were fundamentally buried inside of our customer service system under the FAQs. New technology has permitted to bring these testimonials out of behind doors and where they can be seen much easier.
All along, the problem has been that we receive many duplicates based on common skin disorder and how our products have provided solutions and relief. Now, we have figured out how to semi-automate the process.
Now, to the right you will see a rotating box with testimonials we have received in an area titled, “What People Are Saying.”
Also, if you look at the speed bar above, there is a tab for testimonials and a form to submit your own.
We encourage you to submit anything that our products did to help you so that we all may be able to help others.
For convenience, you can use the form below to submit entries right from within this article.
One of the major search and questions we receive is what products should be used for what purpose. For years we have had these suggestions on our customer service FAQs. The problem has been that this form of information exchange is hard to get to and in our fast pasted world, we all seem to find it easier to re-ask the question rather than searching for it.
To this end, we have reset and reconfigured our website to now offer subcategories based on popular questions like acne, eczema, psoriasis and other disorders. As we pointed out, we have also configured a predictive search function to make it easier to find products based on functionality in our online store. We have also increased the search functionality on our blog herein where you can search based on keywords and phrases. Adding to this is a bubble chart that we have simplified based on our printed literature. Herein is the beginning of a chart that will become a page on the speed bar above that will expand to show functionality of our products. Continue reading Keys Product Functionality Chart
We are constantly making improvements to our website and online store. Often the changes are important and also transparent. Other times, we make big changes that improve the ease of use.
Recently we added some subcategories that show our products based on function. For example, when you click on the category “Skin Therapies” there are subcategories for things like Eczema, Psoriasis etc. When we made this change, you responded with a request for more functionality in the search function.
We have now added a technology called “Predictive Search” that monitors and chronicles search activity. It learns habits as people ask question in the search box on our store.
Natural Solutions for Beauty, Aging and Skin Problems
Keys Snapshot: What We Do
Keys designs, developed and manufactured whole natural skincare and skin therapies that solve problems and make people feel good. Born from Wendy Steele’s brush with Melanoma, Bob Root used first principle physics to develop functional natural medicines using ancient remedies merged with modern pure science and technology. The therapeutic proportions with world class grade ingredients created a line of products that work to solve problems and because they are natural, are simple, reassuring and make people feel good about the company and products.
The line consists of:
• Natural Skincare
• Natural Auyervedic Skin Therapies
• Alternative Natural Petroleum Jelly Replacements
• KPRO Hollywood Makeup Artist Inspired Foundation & Solutions
• PurPlay – Functional Personal Lubricants
• KODA – Topical and Functional Supplements for Dogs
Keys has some of the top products listed on the EWG Skin Deep database. For the last 10 years, Solar Rx has ranked as one of the top moisturizer sunscreens on the annual EWG Sunscreen Report.
Solar Rx was rated #1 by Consumer Reports Magazine for safety and efficacy.
The Keys products are handcrafted in Oregon by highly skilled artisans. All products are functional by design. They are aboriginal medicines by nature. University and research affiliations make the company as science-based as they are focused on the integral wellness of their followers.
Perhaps our most secret ingredient is our belief in our customers and what we have learned from them.
Keys Snapshot: Keys Story
What happens when a brainiac boyfriend discovers his smoking hot girlfriend has Melanoma. He fixes the problems! This begins the Keys Story, Keys Natural Skincare and the effort to naturally end skin disorders!
Wendy Steele, Keys CEO and Founder, fondly says that Keys is all her fault. The reality is that she survived deadly Melanoma but could not beat the chemicals in prescription and skincare products that left her skin a train-wreck. Wendy experienced just about every type of skin disorder imaginable and all we traced back to the Dirty Dozen chemicals in about 98% of the skin care and prescription products available OTC and from doctors.
Wendy’s boyfriend, Bob Root, a former Silicon Valley CEO/Engineer undertook the project to develop products to help Wendy. He gathered information from Harvard MD’s turned naturopaths to aboriginal healers. He realized that there was a pattern and scheme to skin health. It was to be Chemical-Free. Thus the Keys tagline of Chemical-Free Skin Health®.
Bob’s products worked and worked quickly for Wendy. Friends with similar disorders, their family members with something as simple as dry skin, through acne and skin cancer suffers found relief using Bob’s products that he gifted them. Creating the Keys line was not a decision, it was market demand that brought out the initial four products and stunned the burgeoning natural products industry. Why they all still had some chemicals and Bob’s did not!
Keys Snapshot: Keys Probiome® Products
Keys products solve skin problems and make people feel good. Skin care, skin therapies and anti-aging products come from whole natural ingredients known for their efficacy and safe performance. From the slightest itch or fine line to post-cancer skin disorders, each Keys product is a solution to a problem. Pure, clean, safe and effective, Keys facilitates skin health without chemicals. All of the products are Probiome® meaning they promote healthy skin by nurturing our skin’s natural microbiome. Our skin’s community.
Functionality is paramount at Keys. Coming from Silicon Valley to Bob, products have to do something. Great if they make people feel good, but in his mind, they have to solve problems. He fixed his girlfriend’s problems and the precursor for anything Keys makes is that it has to solve problems people are experiencing without using any chemicals.
So, in a snapshot, here is what you can expect from everything Keys makes:
All products solve problems and make people (and their pets) feel good
All products are free of human-made chemicals. Ergo Chemical-Free
All products use the highest quality whole natural ingredients
All products have the highest proportion of functional components with no scrimping or compromises
All products are priced reasonably well below chemical-laden pharmaceuticals because of the business systems Keys employs. They were the first 100% cloud-based company in the natural products industry.
All products are whole natural ingredients
All products are Vegan
All products are Gluten-Free
All products are Soy-Free
All products are Keto (carb-free, sugar-free_
All products are Paleo
All ingredients are non-GMO
All products use organic or wild-crafted ingredients
Bob in his top-selling book, Chemical-Free Skin Health®, points out that it was a lot of trial and error to develop those first four products for Wendy. My incentive was that Wendy was in trouble because of western medicine and I was determined to figure out how to solve her problems naturally. The other 45+ products in the Keys line were all inspired by skin disorders related to him by loyal customers that believe in him. He does not take that lightly!
You can read more of the story in detail below. Now Bob & Wendy are married and still developing products, giving speeches, writing books and listening to what customers have to say. Funny, Bob always refers to Wendy as his smoking hot girlfriend and her as her brainiac boyfriend. 20 years of solving problems and making people feel good together with chemical-free skin health products.
Read on for More of the History
Circa 1996 to Now!
Wendy Steele, Keys CEO. We are not just another natural products company. We feel and act as natural medicine and therapy products company that uses whole natural ingredients. I believe our Purpose and Direction statement says it all!”
“We believe that over 50% of all skin disorders in people and pets are misdiagnosed and are caused by chemicals in everyday products and the environment!
We offer you this backgrounder as insight into our reason for being, purpose, and direction.
Keys Care designs, develops and manufactures natural healing therapies for people and pets. The quality and quantity of our ingredients are what differentiate us. We use pharmaceutical grade whole ingredients in therapeutic proportions. We use ancient remedies, natural medicines, whole natural ingredients, aromatherapy and aboriginal homeopathy combined with modern technology to provide safe and effective products for people and pets with skin disorders, sensitive skin, post cancer recovery or those wanting to avoid chemicals in their lives. Our resellers are an extension of our core team and are experts and trusted advisors in their communities.
At our baseline, we believe that all of our products must solve problems and make people feel good. We also think that natural and organic are not features, they are the choice we make assuring purity of purpose.
How It Began
Wendy Steele and Bob Root are the founders and inventors of Keys Soap. They are both ex-corporate executives: Bob was a CEO of a Silicon Valley High Tech company and Wendy a VP at Coca-Cola.
The soap and skin care connection? Skin Cancer!
Wendy Steele, Keys Founder, was diagnosed with Melanoma and beat the deadly disease. She could not overcome the terrible reactions she had from prescription and expensive skincare products. Told she had eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea and dermatitis her condition deteriorated. Doctors kept prescribing more junk, steroids, and cortisones.
Wendy was struck with Skin Cancer multiple times. She has beaten Melanoma and other forms of the devastating skin disease. As an advocate of Skin Cancer prevention, and an Inner Circle Member of the Skin Cancer Foundation, Wendy has tried virtually every form of skin sun protection. From exotic 100 SPF swimwear to SPF 30 clothing, and every form of sunblock, she is an expert on taking skin protective measures to avoid sun damage. From her personal experience, the more products she put on her body, the more sensitive her skin became. Her use of lotions, sunscreens and exotic clothing cost thousands of dollars annually. The problem was that no matter what products she used, she did not feel free from itchy irritated skin that was exacerbated by that sticky feeling from lotions and sunscreens.
Wendy recalls: “Bob and I talked for years about creating a rejuvenating soap for my ultra-sensitive skin. Like many products, Keys Soap was born out of necessity. When we lived in Southern California, I was diagnosed with Melanoma Skin Cancer. After successful surgery to remove my cancer, I was using so much sunscreen that it started to block my pores and irritate my skin. My skin was becoming more fragile even though I used the very best lotions money could buy. I tried natural liquid soap, but it was not quite right. So, we decided to develop our own organic Castile body soap. The initial cleansing results and skin relief I experienced using Island Rx finally set me free from experimenting with the myriad of products that had previously smothered my skin.”
There are two facets to skin health and wellness for pets and people. It is a combination of what you use and what you avoid.
Skin disorders rank at the top of the list for veterinarian and dermatologist visits. We believe that over 50% of all skin disorders are misdiagnosed and are caused by chemicals in everyday products…many with the claim of natural, organic or botanical.
Longevity and Wellness are connected. The life expectancy in the United States for pets and people has been consistently dropping. Why? We believe the body burden from the dirty dozen chemicals in skin care and household products may be causing disorders, outbreaks and even contributing to elevated cancer rates.
This is why we use the term Chemical-Free. It means free of human-made chemicals. We are committed to leading the way for other manufacturers to disclose product ingredients fully. Keys created the Therapy Facts panel to help people to make healthier choices for their family and pets.
Ancient Remedies – Modern Technology – Green Science
Today, modern medicine treats symptoms and not the cause. Their products, therefore, focus on the symptom and not the cause. Aboriginal, eastern, holistic, herbal, naturopathy and ancient medicines treat the whole being and look for the cause. In many cases, it is an imbalance that causes disease and disorders.
We search the world for ancient remedies. We use modern technology, green science, and pharmaceutical grade ingredients. We create products that work in harmony to:
• Solve skin problems
• Soothe skin allergies
• Heal minor cuts, abrasions, and burns
• Act as natural insect repellents
Our affiliations include:
• University of Maryland School of Medicine
• Los Alamos National Labs
• National Institutes of Health
• Ohio State University
• Environmental Working Group
• Compact signer for The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
The Keys Difference –What We Use:
• Whole Natural ingredients to bring skin health back in balance
• Understanding of the causes and effect of various skin disorders,
allergies and problems
• Simple ingredients in use for over 1000 years in other parts of the world
• Safe ingredients for pets and people
Pharmaceutical Grade & Quality for Efficacy-Results
• Pharmaceutical Grade Ingredients is a term that defines the level of quality in the industry. It also establishes the efficacy of an ingredient
• Therapeutic Proportions – Keys Therapy Facts panel state the level of the number of ingredients that we use in our products
Why it Matters:
There is a direct relationship to the quality and grade ingredients in products and the results you get. Many products promote Aloe Vera and Shea Butter as ingredients. Pharma Grade ingredients are rated the best in quality, with the highest level of critical actions and values associated with them. When you read a label, you should ask: what grade ingredients and in what proportion? For example, our Aloe has a polysaccharide level of 10. Many Aloe’s we tested were not even Aloe. Our Shea Butter tests to a fatty acid level of >2.5. Many processed Shea’s are less than 0.8. There is a difference in even the same named ingredient.
The Keys Difference – What We Avoid:
• Fragrance – they are known skin irritants for pets and people, and many contain chemicals found on the Dirty Dozen list that you should avoid!
• Chemicals that are in 85%+ of skincare and household products
• The ‘Dirty Thirty’ list of chemicals – see the complete list on the back inside panel of this brochure
You Get What You Pay For!
• We develop chemical-free healing therapies that have a high degree of efficacy
• We don’t cut corners or use less expensive ingredients or market various scents or fragrances
• We use pharmaceutical grade ingredients in therapeutic proportions, so our products cost more. Ironically, in most cases, they are one-third to half the price of prescription products
Attaining healthy youthful skin is a lifetime journey. In this quest, people use soaps, scrubs, gels, toners, moisturizers, lotions, creams, lighteners and the list goes on! They also bathe their pets in shampoos for their armotharapy instead of the pet’s well being. Most of these products use chemicals that sensitize, irritate and weaken the skin. For example, 95% of all liquid soaps and shampoos contain SLS (sodium lauryl or laureth sulfates) that increase skin permeability and opens the door for other chemicals and irritants to penetrate deep into the skin. Parabens, petrolatum, propylene glycol, Cocamide DEA/lauramide DEA and triethanolamines are common ingredients in all kinds of soaps, shampoos, creams, and lotions. When on the skin or absorbed into the body, they can create susceptibility to allergic skin reactions, skin disorders and even worse are linked to diseases!
If you or your pets has irritated or affected skin, odds are good that it is caused by the shampoo, body and face soap you use, anti-bacterial hand products, or residue from your laundry detergent. The skin is our single biggest organ, and skin health is vitally important. Most of the soaps people use on their skin is a degreasing detergent; in fact, most of the liquid products using the term “soap” are not soaps at all. They are chemical detergents containing SLS that strip away oils and actually damage the skin. That is why there is very little difference between most bath gels, dishwashing liquid, shampoos and engine degreasers.
The Keys philosophy is to simplify skin care by carefully and naturally cleansing, restoring and protecting the most sensitive skin. We consciously act on that philosophy to improve skin health. We choose not to use chemicals in our products, on purpose!
Keys Soap, Island Rx, Show Promise in Helping with Common Skin Disorders
Keys Soap first announced the introduction of its new line of all-natural, chemical-free therapeutic liquid bath and hand soaps on March 29, 2005. Keys liquid soaps are holistic, soothing, therapeutic soaps for people with sensitive, allergic or affected skin. They contain only pure ingredients with no human-made chemicals or fragrances. Our soaps do not contain skin irritants like SLS, parabens, propylene glycol or DEA.
Since the release of our soap products, we have received considerable feedback from skin disorder sufferers offering qualitative results from their use of Island Rx on diagnosed common skin disorders like acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. We have many testimonials that would indicate the effectiveness of Island Rx. “Although these are testimonials in uncontrolled environments we believe they are early signs of the therapeutic properties of Island Rx,” said Bob Root, Keys Soap inventor. “In this period of time, medical estheticians have told us of results with their patients where prior medical methods did not help their conditions. We now believe that our products, including Island Rx, are tools in the growing movement of alternative chemical-free skin health”, continued Root.
What Keys Customers Value
People and pets with dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and acneic conditions value the therapeutic results from using our clean products that contain no irritating or sensitizing chemicals. Our customers enthusiastically tell us in their testimonials how our products make a difference in treating skin disorders, and irritation for themselves, their children and their pets–when nothing else has worked.
After using our chemical-free therapeutic products, our customers tell us that the results they see and feel are remarkable and even life-changing! We call this creating chemical-free skin health, on purpose, with our products and customers.
Dermatologists use our Island Rx therapeutic soap and recommend it for sensitive skin for people with skin disorders that have not responded to other treatment. We even have customers who enthusiastically recommended our soaps to their dermatologists!
In 2009, we were told by movie and TV makeup artists that Keys products taught them that natural is no longer a compromise and that Island Rx Foaming Wash, Luminos, Solar Rx and Eye Butter have become a staple in their makeup routine calling them, “Clear Cosmetics!”
Medical estheticians use and recommend Island Rx for sensitive, irritated and acneic skin conditions to avoid any further irritation or sensitization of the skin. They love how it makes their skin feel and the results they see.
Master certified groomers use and recommend MetaClean (formerly Muttineer) for how the therapeutic pet shampoo stops animals’ itchy skin and for how it conditions the animals’ coat and skin.
Our customers are people who are interested in keeping their skin young looking and aging beautifully; people who are skin health conscious; and people who take serious sun precautions to avoid skin damage from solar radiation. Our customers also care about the skin health of their pets and want to avoid applying pesticides and chemicals on their pets’ sensitive or allergic skin.
Keys sees a link between common skin disorders and the many personal care products containing SLS
While developing Keys soaps, Bob Root authored an opinion whitepaper that raises the suspicion that some diagnosed common skin disorders are a reaction for some people to sodium laureth sulfate and other chemicals found in personal care and skin care products. This whitepaper can also be downloaded from the Keys Soap website at http://www.keys-soap.com/skindisorders.pdf In this whitepaper; Root points out that in many cases where people had been diagnosed with skin disorders by physicians, their disorders went away when people stopped using SLS products and started using Keys Soap. Included is the story of a woman diagnosed with psoriasis whose involuntary scratching at night led to bloodied bed sheets and a seven-month-old diagnosed with eczema who had scales from head to toe except where his disposable diapers covered. All went away in a matter of days after discontinuing SLS based laundry detergent and bath gels. Wendy Steele, the cause of the Keys Soap invention offered, “When Bob first developed Island Rx for me, most of the prescription gels and cleansers that I was told to use contained SLS. An article I read suggested that SLS may be a culprit and I stopped using everything with SLS in it. I was utterly amazed at how many things in my life contained SLS or one of its family of products. My shampoo, my bath gel, facial cleanser, all my laundry products and even my toothpaste all contained SLS. During this time, the doctor told me I had minor acne, minor eczema, minor psoriasis. I got tired of hearing the word minor—it was pretty major to me. I now believe that it was all SLS related.” Root added; “I am not sure if SLS itself is the cause of the irritation or the fact that it purportedly increases the permeability of the skin along with absorption by the skin of chemicals by a factor of 10 times that is the cause of the skin mimicking common skin disorders. What I know for sure is that our small sample of Island Rx users has seen a resulting change in a matter of a few days.”
The Technology behind Keys Islandceutical™ personal care products is a form of Quantum Science
Keys Islandceutical products merge holistics with herbal therapy and science to provide clean, chemical-free skin health, aromatherapy and a lift to the spirit. Our products are designed with ingredients to gently clean, restore and protect using advanced technologies that are safe and effective. Working with national labs and universities, we look for state of the art and “skip generation” technologies as a continuous learning and development model.
Essential Oils – We use the highest pharmaceutical grade ingredients that are known for their healing effect on the skin for burns, dry skin and skin afflictions.
Herbal Therapy Naturopathy – Our ingredients target skin problems at the cellular level. They are natural healing ingredients used by holistic dermatologists and estheticians.
Chemical-Free – Our ingredients are truly natural. Clean, chemical-free and 100% vegan, with no artificial color or fragrances, our products are all handcrafted to contribute to therapeutic skin health.
We have sought out aboriginal healers, dermatologists, estheticians and homeopathic practitioners to find out what they use to rejuvenate and protect the skin. Besides moisture, they prescribe natural oils and herbs to deep clean and open the pores to receive healing oxygen. Our experience with physicians educated at Scripps Institute and Johns Hopkins in our 10-year design quest has given us a broad-reaching knowledge of skin conditions and the required treatments. These guides helped us to find those ingredients that offer the greatest benefits to the skin.
Our processes are as unique as our ingredients. The adage that oil and water do not mix is no longer true because of the science developed by keys. Manufacturing techniques that include ultrasonics and infrasonics help blend the minimal number of ingredients to smooth lotions and soaps. The industry average for a skincare product is 38 ingredients/chemicals. At Keys, we average 8 whole ingredients that are simple and safe. This is why Keys natural products continue to rate the safest and most effective based on the www.safecosmetics.org Skin Deep report that ranks product safety.
Keys Islandceutical™ introduced new products at the Natural Products Expo East Show –
the new line adds a therapeutic lotion, healing serum and therapeutic chemical-free sunblock
Keys announces the release of three new products to the only skincare line that is both chemical-free and therapeutic to clean, restore and protect for real skin health.
Like the Keys soaps released in April 2005, our products contain only pure natural ingredients, no human-made chemicals or fragrances, and no Sodium Laureth Sulfate! The complete Keys line enables total skin care including cleaning the skin, restoring damaged or affected skin, and protecting the skin from solar radiation effects.
Keys Soap exhibited at the Natural Product Expo East trade show September 16-18, 2005 at the Washington DC Convention Center. An international audience of trend spotters, retailers, industry leaders, and media will gather at the Washington D.C. Convention Center to interact with more than 1,100 exhibitors of natural and organic finished products and ingredients this Sept. 15-18, 2005 at the 20th anniversary of Natural Products Expo East/Organic Products Expo-BioFach America. The tradeshow will pinpoint industry trends and offer unmatched opportunities to sample and learn about the finest natural and organic products from around the world. More than 20,000 industry members attended Natural Products Expo East in 2004.
Keys® Introduces Therapy Facts™ Product Labeling
Therapy FactsTM Panel added to product label fully discloses all ingredients and percentages of active ingredients and our New Keys Logo Affirms Medicinal Differentiation of Products
Here is the press release that changed how the industry looks at ingredients and disclosure. This marked the beginning of a trend and perhaps even a law regarding full-disclosure of ingredients for all skin care products.
Annapolis, MD: – March 29, 2007 – Keys Care CEO, Wendy Steele, revealed today at a press conference Keys new logo and Therapy FactsTM product labeling.
The new Keys logo is a stylized white cross on a circular red field that resembles an Internet icon. This new logo symbolizes the merging of high tech manufacturing and the medicinal properties. It also clearly differentiates Keys products from chemical-based fragranced products.
Keys also add a Therapy FactsTM Panel to every label that identifies the ingredients, their purpose and the percentages of active healing ingredients. The panel also indicates Keys use of pharmaceutical grade ingredients in therapeutic proportions versus the industry standard operating procedure of listing ingredients that are in minuscule levels only for label content.
Wendy Steele, Keys CEO, elaborated, “I developed my first pet care product Muttineer because of a severe life-threatening reaction my Bichon had after being shampooed at a groomer. Analyzing the shampoo, we found a sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) levels exceeding 30%; the National Institutes of Health comment that SLS levels greater than 18% can kill a small animal. As we developed more products, our customers asked for more disclosure of ingredients in plain English to make quick buying decisions. As we thought it through, it was obvious that people are used to the Nutrition Facts (USDA) label required on all food products. So, we adopted the format and modified it to make sense for end users of our products, retailers and other manufacturers.”
The Keys Therapy FactsTM panel is on all their new products labels and will eventually be on their entire line of personal and pet care products. The panel identifies critical decision points for buyers. Here is a list of the core sections of the panel.
• Standardized design and look
• Organic content of the product
• Affirmation of “100% Natural, Vegan and Biodegradable” contents
• Affirmation of Pharmaceutical Grade Ingredients in Therapeutic Proportions
• List of ingredients, their English name, the vitamins contained in the ingredient or their actions
• The actual percentages of active ingredients
• The Environmental Working Group ranking of the safety of the products
• A product purpose statement
• Instructions for use
• No Animal Testing affirmation
• Manufacturing country (USA)
• Contact information
Wendy Steele, Keys Founder, continued, “This Therapy FactsTM panel just speaks for itself. It is a response to numerous customer inquiries. We encourage other manufacturers to follow suit and fully disclose their ingredients and levels. We are discussing licensing of our Therapy FactsTM panel to other manufacturers and to those that we will be private labeling all natural chemical-free skin care products for them. Our purpose is full disclosure of all ingredients and an assurance from licensees that they will provide an honest description to their customers through this panel on their products. In turn, consumers and dealers will have a clear understanding of the purpose and actions of a product.”
Keys Soap Technology Background
Keys Soaps solve skin problems, stimulate the senses, and create positive emotions. Islandceutical™ is our term that assures people of these three criteria.
Bob Root, a former Silicon Valley CEO, and Wendy Steele, a former Coca-Cola executive, founded Keys Soap. Bob invented the soaps to help Wendy, the love of his life, a melanoma survivor. Her suffering and a desire to maintain her active, outdoor lifestyle drove him to give back her quality of life. Wendy said, “The Keys Soap story isn’t about starting a business or being an entrepreneur. It is about enjoying life with healthy skin. I am determined to live an active, healthy outdoor lifestyle after experiencing melanoma.”
“It was not my technology background that inspired the formulation of my soaps, it was my study as a chef that guided me,” said Bob. “Like creating a great culinary masterpiece, the ingredients have to work together, be of the highest quality and must be skillfully added in the proper order. More importantly, the meal must have a positive intention for the person savoring it. This is the way of Keys!”
Aromatherapy Benefits of Keys Soaps
All Keys Soaps are a form of aromatherapy. We have mapped the essential oils (EO) we use to provide a lift to the spirit and senses. Aromatherapy has proven to affect the mind and the moods of people. This is why we have chosen the spirit-lifting citrus blends combined with natural EO herbal extracts as a side purpose for our soaps. Keys handcrafts our products to lift the spirit as well as provide therapeutic benefits to the skin.