Secrets Finally Exposed About Silk Amino Acids
Silk amino acids – also known as SAAs and sericin – are obtained during hydrolysis. Water is added to the cocoons of silkworms, which breaks down the natural chemical bonds in the cocoons, leaving silk strands which are then used in cosmetics and personal care products such as hairsprays, conditioners and various skin and hand creams. SAAs can also be used in foundations, mascaras and lipsticks.
Although SAAs are believed to be non toxic and non irritant to skin and eyes, the fact remains that silkworms have to die during the extraction process for SAAs. Many people are uncomfortable with the fact that creatures have to die to provide their cosmetics, and even those who don’t mind that tend to be put off by the thought of applying creams and lotions containing dead creatures.
SAAs are very good at pulling moisture from the air, which is why they are so effective in skin and hair products, because it mimics the skin’s natural action of extracting some of the moisture it needs from the atmosphere. And of course, SAAs feel silky and luxurious on the skin – not a bit like dead insects, really.
Amino acids are classed as proteins, and because SAAs are animal proteins, there is always a risk of viral or bacterial contamination when they are used on humans. Although the contamination risk in SAAs is classed as low, the truth is that there has not been substantial testing on humans. Testing on animals indicates that SAAs are safe, but there is no certainty.
Vegetable based proteins from cotton, rice, soy and wheat are equally as effective as SAAs, and of course they are more sustainable. And jojoba oil, which is very close in composition to human sebum, is another good substitute for SAAs in skin and hair care preparations. Proponents of SAAs say their low molecular weight makes them ideal for skin and hair care products, because they are easily assimilated, but vegetable based proteins also tend to be of low molecular weight.
The latest use for SAAs is as work out supplements for body builders to ‘charge up’ muscles and enhance performance. It’s rather worrying, given that not much research data is available regarding the safety of SAAs for human use. Silk may be a natural product, but the uses to which SAAs are put are anything but natural.
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