Your skincare questions answered....
Below are a selection of skincare related questions that you have asked Dr Mah over the years.
If you have a question you'd like answering please visit our contact us page and we'll be happy to help.
I have oily skin and suffer from frequent breakouts, what can I do to readdress the balance of my complexion?
Saaf’s Organic Complexion Boosting Serum helps to balance combination or oily skin, clear breakouts, smooth blemishes and improve skin tone and texture. Highly absorbent, the clarifying serum contains all natural ingredients including Rosehip Seed Oil, Jojoba and Black Seed Oil which all help improve the quality of the skin and are known for their remarkable healing and rejuvenating qualities and promoting healthy skin renewal.
No matter what hair products I use, my hair remains dry and course. What do I need to introduce into my hair routine to sort this out?
Saaf’s Enriching Hair Oil is a deeply nurturing, calming and restorative formulation to smooth split ends and boost, fine flyaway hair. With a unique formulation including Mustard Seed Oil, Rosemary and Ylang Ylang, the hair oil not only helps to combat dandruff and greasy hair, it also nourishes the scalp and hair follicles, promoting healthy, lustrous, thick hair. Its scientifically formulated blend of natural botanicals protects, conditions, strengthens and shines all types of hair; boosting your confidence at the same time.
A lot of skincare ranges claim to be organic these days. What makes Saaf different?
Saaf is the UK’s only face and body care range that is fully certified organic by the Soil Association as well as being vegetarian, vegan, cruelty free and Halal approved. Unfortunately, some companies choose to label a product as ‘organic’ even if it contains 1% organic ingredients. Every product within the Saaf range is between 95 and 97% organic, which is extremely high. The only reason they aren’t 100% organic is simply because of the high levels of Vitamin E, which is included for its beneficial effects on the skin as an anti-oxidant.
I have very sensitive skin and suffer from Rosacea, what do I need to consider with my daily skin routine to alleviate this?
Skin products like our Organic Hydrating Face and Lip Balm that contain ingredients such as Chamomile, which is renowned for its soothing properties and has a long tradition of being used for inflammatory skin conditions, are perfect. Skin products that should be avoided are those that contain high levels of ethyl alcohols and irritating synthetic chemicals.
I know what ingredients I need to avoid to prevent my eczema from flaring up but what do I need to look for to help soothe my condition?
One in five women will develop eczema and it is more prevalent in those over the age of 30. It usually occurs inside elbows, on the backs of knees, in between fingers and on the face. Saaf’s skincare products contain a number of organic skin soothers that have proven therapeutic benefits. Ingredients such as Rosehip Seed Oil, which aids cell hydration and regeneration and Safflower Oil, which soothes irritations and itchiness are ideal for eczema sufferers. These can be found in products such as our Organic Ultimate Moisture Serum and our Organic Super Hydrating Body Balm.
I’ve just returned from a holiday abroad. How can I prolong my natural sun tan?
Our skin bronzes when the sun activates a layer of pigment in the skin’s top layer. Therefore a tan typically lasts up to 10 days, as our cells naturally regenerate. So firstly, before you holiday, have a vigorous body scrub as this will ensure your cells are at the beginning of their cycle and your tan will last longer. Secondly, staying hydrated and replenished is key. Science tells us that water extends the life of our cells, so drink lots and moisurise your skin regularly. Our Organic Eraser Body Oil increases the moisture content of the skin, whilst nourishing and protecting.
I suffer from cracked heels and rough, dry skin and in the summer, this only gets worse. What can I do to get them in shape so that I am proud to show them off on holiday?
This is a very common complaint and one that is easily tackled. Firstly, get yourself a good quality foot file or pumice stone and after soaking your feet, gently rub away the hard skin. Apply a generous layer of our Organic Foot Softening Balm before you go to bed and wear cotton socks overnight – this will help it to really soak in. The balm acts as a deeply penetrating foot food to soften and regenerate your skin.
I’m going travelling for a few months and won’t have the space to take all of my usual skin routine products. How can I keep my skin in prime condition whilst I am on the go?
When we’re travelling around we’re often exposing our skin to varying conditions including increased UVB rays, unfamiliar pollutants and a lack of a regular sleeping pattern. It is therefore absolutely critical that we strive to offset this with an optimised moisturiser that calms and nourishes dry, irritated skin. Our Organic Hydrating Face and Lip Balm contains powerful natural ingredients such as Rosehip Seed Oil that boosts levels of collagen and elastin and promotes smoother, firmer skin.
Why should I use organic skincare?
Although there is no scientific evidence to suggest that organic skincare is better than non-organic alternatives, common sense dictates that anything grown without the use of synthetic fertilisers, toxic pesticides and chemical processing is bound to be better for our skin – and bodies. As some reports suggest, 60% of what we put on our skin can be absorbed by the body, and statistics show that we ingest up to 5lbs of chemicals a year from skincare and cosmetic products. Quite a frightening thought.
What does Halal mean?
Halal is a term often associated with foods allowed under Islamic dietary guidelines, and is becoming more widely used across the beauty industry. If a product is Halal approved, it doesn’t contain alcohol, animal ingredients and is not tested on animals, so it gives people the reassurance that it is entirely natural. Halal is for everyone. It’s the ultimate stamp of purity and safety. It doesn’t matter if you’re Muslim or not — you don’t have to compromise quality to have skincare that looks and feels great.
How long will it take before I see an improvement in my skin?
Skin tends to regenerate naturally in 4-6 weeks and that is about the time it takes to notice improvements in your skin texture and tone. For best results, use Saaf products regularly and avoid using any other synthetic/harsh products at the same time.
Why don't you have a toner?
We believe toners and harsh exfoliators can damage the top layer of the skin, so we recommend you wash your face with a mild cleanser, such as Saaf Organic Pure Face Cleanser, then rinse off with a soft muslin cloth which will act as a gentle exfoliator, such as our Clean Sweep Face Cloth. Follow this skincare routine with a splash of cold water (nature's toner) and your favourite Saaf serum.
Is face oil or serum better than a cream or lotion?
Creams contain up to 90% water and the rest is made up of oils and other actives. You’re therefore paying a premium price for tap water and not getting the full therapeutic benefit. With face oils and serums, you’re getting 100% oils and natural nutrients, so we believe that they’re not only better value for money, but are also more powerful than creams and lotions. At Saaf, we use skin compatible oils that are easily absorbed into the skin, without leaving an oily residue.
I have oily skin, do I still need to moisturise?
Understandably, people often think that applying neat oil onto greasy or acne prone skin will just make matters worse. In fact, the opposite is true, which is why we recommend our Organic Pure Face Cleanser for all skin types, including oily.
Skin that has been dried out by harsh detergent-based face washes and watery moisturisers compensates by producing more sebum and oil. All skin, however oily, needs nurturing with vitamins and natural oils to ensure that it's in the best possible condition. The best formulation for oilier skin types is Complexion Boosting Serum. This light and gentle moisturiser is easily absorbed into the skin, and you only need to use 1-2 drops.
I'm pregnant, should I be worried about using essential oils?
All our skincare products are safe to use during pregnancy, as we use the finest quality essential oils in small amounts. Our Complexion Boosting Serum contains Juniper Berry essential oil, which some aromatherapists believe may be contra-indicated in pregnancy, however we use less than 0.2% and Dr Mah developed the serum to use herself during her own pregnancy, so it certainly has her seal of approval.
During pregnancy, we’d recommend using Eraser Body Oil to protect against stretch marks, help heal stretch marks and as a general body moisturiser.
Your products claim to be alcohol free but some contain Benzyl Alcohol. What is it?
Benzyl alcohol is a natural part of Ylang Ylang essential oil, which has to be declared on all packaging according to cosmetics Safety Regulations. It is not alcohol as in beers or spirits, but its scientific name ends in ‘alcohol’. It is permissible for use in Halal certified products, as it is a natural essential oil such as Rose or Jasmine.
Why aren't your products 100% organic?
The reason we can’t claim our products are 100% organic is simply because of the high levels of Vitamin E, which is included for its beneficial effects on the skin as an anti-oxidant, and because it helps preserve the products’ shelf life and efficacy, in line with European Cosmetic Safety Regulations.
Although the Vitamin E we use is from natural sources, it is not certifiable as organic.
Every other ingredient is certified organic, but due to the Vitamin E, we can only claim between 95% and 97% organic. Which is still extremely high!
Do you use perfumes in your products?
We do not add synthetic perfumes to our products, we only use natural essential oils as 'perfume'. Our products are lightly fragranced with steam-distilled essential oils, chosen for their therapeutic effect as well as their aromas. Saaf follow the recommendations based on the findings in R. Tisserand and T. Balacs, Essential Oil Safety, A Guide for Health Care Professionals, 1995, and by the Research Institute of Fragrance Materials.
Why are 'cold pressed' oils better?
Cold pressed means that heat was not used when mechanically processing the oil. Cold pressing not only preserves the natural anti-oxidant properties of the oil, but ensures that it does not spoil and become rancid, which will have a negative effect on its skin healing properties.
I have heard essential oils can irritate the skin, is this true of your products?
Saaf Pure Skincare has been carefully formulated specifically for people with sensitive skins, such as Dr Mah’s husband and twin girls. For this reason the range contains less than 1% of natural essential oils. However, some people with very sensitive skins may find them irritating, even at such low levels.
If you have sensitive skin, we advise you to carry out a patch test, by applying the product in the crook of elbow or behind the ears and leaving for 24 hours. If there’s no sign of any redness, you can try using the product elsewhere.