Q+A with Dr.Mah

February 13th, 2012 by Sophy

Q: Why did you create Saaf?

A: There are a lot of skincare products out there making extraordinary claims but few are evidence-based. As a scientist I wanted to create products that were authentic in every way. I began to develop an e-commerce business selling hair and skin treatments that have a really positive effect because of the scientific selection and combination of ingredients.

Saaf products are Halal certified but they are also organic, alcohol-free, vegetarian, vegan and cruelty-free certified, all of which gives the products a universal appeal that goes well beyond any religious boundaries.

Q: Can you tell us about the brand history and philosophies?

A: Saaf Pure Skincare is a UK based Luxury, Organic and Halal certified brand, created in 2004 by me, Dr Mah Hussain-Gambles. My personal journey to find gentler ways of restoring the natural balance of the body, my belief in the healing power of natural remedies, combined with an orthodox training in pharmacology and evidence-based medicine are at the very heart of Saaf Pure Skincare. Saaf is Persian for Pure.

With many years of treating clients, friends and family homeopathically, I have personally witnessed the benefits of combining ancient knowledge with modern science to create highly effective skincare solutions that work synergistically with the skin.

As a natural skincare specialist, with over 15 years experience of researching skincare in depth and creating innovative skincare solutions, my formulations are based on sound science. Well published, with a PhD in Clinical Trials, I have an intimate knowledge and understanding of what we want effective skincare to do for us. Good, youthful-looking skin is an important part of a woman’s sense of self. Saaf products reflect my innate understanding of the emotional as well as physical importance of maintaining good skin.

Q: Saaf is highly accredited, can you tell us more about that?

A: Saaf’s belief in setting the gold standard for pure and natural skincare has resulted in Saaf having more accreditations than any other skincare range. The accreditations are proof of the highest level of Ethics in Action. Only companies that can demonstrate this highest level of commitment and integrity are awarded these coveted accreditations, and Saaf is proud that its products have met the extremely exacting standards set by the following accrediting bodies:

Organic Soil Association
Cruelty Free - Naturewatch
Cruelty Free – BUAV

Nothing Saaf uses is tested on animals – our products are willingly ‘people-tested’. And because each product only contains the ingredients it needs to function beautifully, there is little chance of your skin reacting adversely – for instance, there is no perfume added just for the sake of it. All you smell is the natural and elusive fragrance of the botanics used in formulation. In addition, all Saaf skincare complies with the EU Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations. Very reassuring for sensitive skin.

Q: What is so special about Saaf products and their ingredients?

A: Many of Saaf’s active ingredients, such as Rosehip Seed Oil, Black Seed Oil, Safflower Oil, Neem Oil and steam distilled essential oils, have been used to good effect for centuries in different cultures across the world. This ancient knowledge, coupled with an advanced knowledge of modern-day pharmacology, results in Saaf being: A marriage between Safe Science & Nature.

The finest quality, organic raw materials scientifically shown to help boost the immune system, and with anti-inflammatory and natural anti-bacterial/fungal properties are used in Saaf products. These organic ingredients also provide the highest levels of natural anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and Omega 3, 6 and 9 found in nature. Resulting in highly concentrated, restorative products that provide skin with immediate relief short-term, and have a long-term, beautifying effect.

Dr Mah’s scientific and homeopathic training ensures a tried-and-tested, results-oriented range. This is optimum skincare with the emphasis on safe, gentle, & effective. The formulations do not contain common allergens and irritants, products are 100% free of Alcohol, and the organic oils used are chosen for their therapeutic contribution to the formulations – healing properties, and regenerating abilities.

Not simply ‘no added fragrance’, but no colour, no alcohol, no known irritants, no synthetic additives.

Q: Why aren’t your products 100% organic?

A: Safe science is important to Saaf and our organic levels are governed by European Cosmetic Safety Regulations as well as a need for long shelf life and product efficacy. We use very high levels of Natural Vitamin E as anti-oxidants (to stop the oils from going off) in the products for this reason. Natural Vitamin E is not organic certifiable and because of this, our typical organic content is between 95% and 97% organic. You may find other products on the market which are 100% Organic, but these do not contain any Vitamin E to stop the oils from going off, and therefore tend to deteriorate within six months.

Q: What is it about the skincare range that makes it halal and organic-certified?

A: Being strongly rooted in evidence based medicine, I wanted to apply the same principles to skincare and in my quest for producing the purest skincare around I got our range Organic Soil Association (UK) certified. I wasn’t satisfied just with that so I set about formulating a range which was not only 100% free from aliphatic alcohols, but I also ensured that no alcohol was used during the manufacturing process itself. Getting the products Vegan and Vegetarian certified made it easier to be Halal compliant. I had to get additional declarations from our suppliers of raw materials to ensure that the ingredients were also GMO and Irradiation free. All of these are requirements for Halal accreditation. UK Halal Consultancy, who approved our ingredients list first, and then did an audit of the UK factory that manufactures our products, accredits us.

Q: Organic vs Non-Organic, which is better?

A: Although there is little scientific evidence to suggest that Organic food is better for our bodies than non-organic alternatives, common sense dictates that anything grown without the use of synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, hormones and anti-biotics is bound to be better for you. The environment we live in at the moment is polluted with potentially toxic chemicals, and all of what we touch and breath goes into our bodies and can depress our immune system, cause allergies, chronic disease and even cancer. Eating organic food and using Organic skincare can counteract the negative impact of environmental toxic load on our bodies. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that people who switch over to an organic lifestyle, see a dramatic improvement in their energy levels as well as an improvement in their skin tone and texture - not surprising as our skin is the largest elimination organ in our body. Organic Skincare products are therefore particularly suitable for people prone to skin sensitivities and allergies (if fully certified), as they would not contain any chemical irritants. However, many natural/organic skincare products tend to contain natural essential oils, which do contain ‘natural sensitisers’ so for those who have very sensitive skins, either use a fragrance free organic skincare range, or do a patch test for 24 hours to find out if you have an allergy to the essential oils in the product.