Life-long vegetarian Vicky Ewbank set up Live Native, one of the world's first 'living' skincare company, earlier this year. She talks to YA about the journey - and why raw skin food has the edge on conventional organic products.
When did you set up Live Native and why?
I have been interested in nutrition my whole adult life and have been vegetarian, then vegan for the last 18 years. I became a raw food vegan six years ago. During this time I also studied, nutrition and homoeopathy and have been in private practice for the last nine years.
When I became a raw vegan I realised that there wasn't much choice in ‘living skin foods', in fact none at all at the time. Having made a conscious choice to lighten my diet and cleanse my body with only fresh, living, vegan foods, I couldn't then use ‘dead' moisturisers.
So I began to make my own Skin foods from the highest quality, living and organic ingredients I could find.
It was after using my own moisturisers for a couple of years and feeling how soft and healthy my own skin had become that Ian and I decided to set up Live Native. We officially launched Live Native in April this year.
Why did you go with the concept of Raw Skin Food?
When you heat food much above our own body temperature you create chemical changes which are often irreversible. Cooking creates new compounds that even after ingesting cooked foods for the last 20,000 years our bodies still don't recognise!
Think of how the white of an egg changes from clear and runny to thick and white - this is an example of protein coagulating, the white form being only half as easily digested as the clear form.
Certain foods, such as oils, are very sensitive to heat and can easily be damaged when heated - polyunsaturated oils such as Grapeseed or Hemp oil can become oxidised and a dangerous source of trans-fats and free radicals.
Knowing we absorb 60% or more of what we put onto our skin, I didn't want to use conventional cosmetic creams any longer. The raw ingredients are often subjected to temperatures of up to 80C, then various chemicals are usually added to stabilise, preserve and colour the final cream.
The raw skin foods we now make are raw-blended and free from stabilisers, binders, cheap fillers such as water, and preservatives. They are full of fresh nutrients - enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fruit acids and phytochemicals, balanced as nature intended, to nourish the skin.
What benefits does it have over ‘conventional' skin products?
So-called living skin foods contain nutrients the body can easily recognise and assimilate, effectively feeding our skin from the outside in.
Our skin cells need energy as well as enzymes to renew, heal and to combat the effects of pollution and stress. By feeding the skin raw skin food we aim to provide that.
The individual ingredients that we use in our products have a long tradition of healing benefits. By combining these ingredients in the freshest form available, and raw-blending without the use of heat, we hope to have maintained as much of their inherent healing action as possible.
Do you think there is a real need for less toxic skin care products, given that most are still laden with Parabens and the like?
Yes, I do! I think that we know enough now about the adverse effects of certain chemicals that it is wise to choose to avoid them altogether.
We know that Parabens could be implicated in certain oestrogenic cancers, and Phthalates can inhibit male sexual development in foetuses and young boys. What we don't really know much about are the combined effects of chemicals - how they interact with one another and what effect this will have on our long term health.
Most toxicological studies focus on the adverse effect of a single chemical and measures at what level we have an adverse reaction to it. But in reality we are constantly exposed to a cocktail of chemicals from our food, cosmetics and the environment whose combined effect is likely to be considerably more damaging.
Is consumer awareness of the benefits of pure skin care products growing?
I would say so, yes. Organic and pure skin care is one of the fastest growing sectors in the health food industry today, and many wonderful educators such as Janey Lee Grace and Jo Fairley have all done so much to raise public awareness of the need for healthier skin care products.
Where can customers buy your products and do you have plans to widen your distribution?
We sell our Live Native Skin Food range both online www.livenative.co.uk and in independent health stores, mostly in Scotland at present. However, we are continuing to expand our distribution to health retailers around the U.K, as well as to Spas and other internet retailers.
The first image shows Vicky and Ian