Meet the Creators: Natisse and Jason Thomas
I first started making these products for myself out of utter desperation. I’ve been getting tattooed since I was 18 and I've always reacted very badly to A&D Ointment and Vaseline, basically anything Petrolatum(Petroleum Jelly) based. Incredible itchiness and horrible acne would always follow every tattoo in the area the ointments were applied. A good friend of mine also has very similar reactions to it as well and like me she also has many food allergies and super sensitive skin. Jason as well as a few friends of mine complained about breaking out heavily after getting tattooed, only in the area that was tattooed. I have only ever gone to the best most reputable tattoo shops and body modification artists. And it was always the same options of A&D ointment or Vaseline for the tattoo process. All the lotions I got recommended to use for the healing process were also unsatisfactory when looking closer at the ingredients; Alcohol, parabens, yellow and blue dyes. Why so much obsession with a white lotion!! All these white lotions get bleached and processed to a point where I must ask if it even does what it's supposed to anymore??? But I always followed the aftercare regimen I was given like the good client I am until I was 24 when I started using my own natural ointments.
I met Jason in 2012 to get a microdermal piercing. He was the most professional Piercer I had ever been to so naturally I went back for more and when I found out he was also a tattoo artist I then became interested in getting some work from him. I was very loyal to my other artist but Jason was so clean and knowledgeable that I wanted to talk tattoos with him. He told me he only used vegan, metal free and acrylic free ink….AMAZING!!!! I didn't know this type of ink existed and that I had a choice in what type of ink goes in my body. I have to say that was all I needed. His art blew me away and the first tattoo he did on me was so much more than I ever could have imagined. We got along so well and quickly became very close friends. After a year of friendship our relationship moved to the next level and on April 24, 2015 we tied the knot.
When I started researching the ingredients in A&D and Vaseline and other lotions recommended for tattoos like Lubriderm and Aquafor, what I found horrified me. I felt so misinformed but I was happy that I was educating myself on what I was actually putting on my skin and what is getting absorbed directly into my bloodstream. There is a lot of conflicting information on petrolatum, compelling arguments from both sides. I read it all and came to my own opinion and conclusions influenced highly by my own personal reactions and those of my friends. When I came across the Livestrong.com website a particularly in depth article on Petrolatum and its side affects made sense to me based on my experiences with it:
“…side effects of petrolatum include finding the petroleum byproduct in breast tumors, suffocation of the skin, premature aging and aggravated acne.” (livestrong.com)
“Petrolatum can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Studies suggest that exposure to PAHs—including skin contact over extended periods of time—is associated with cancer” (Livestrong.com)
“A study linking the petrolatum impurity PAHs to breast cancer was completed at Columbia University. The study indicated that breast tissue of women with breast cancer were 2.6 times more likely to have increased amounts of PAHs attached to their DNA than the breast tissue of women without breast cancer.” (Livestrong.com)
“…skin absorbs 60% of the chemicals in products that it contacts and these chemicals move directly into the bloodstream….petrolatum developed for its cost effective glide on make-up application suffocates the skin by absorbing these chemicals directly into the bloodstream decreasing oxygen absorbed through the skin.” (Livestong.com)
“Petrolatum or mineral jelly and mineral oils can cause skin photosensitivity or promote sun damage. Petrolatum may interfere with the body’s moisture mechanism, leading to dry skin and chapping….According to the Environmental Working Group petrolatum may be found in one of every 14 products as well as 15% of lipsticks and 40% of baby lotions and oils.” (Livestong.com)
Which lead to more articles.....
"The results indicate that several commercially available moisturizing creams increase the rate of formation and number of tumors when applied topically to UVB-pretreated high-risk mice. Further studies are needed to determine the effects of topical applications of moisturizing creams … in humans.” (www.realfarmacy.com)
I shared everything I was finding with Jason, he was just as shocked as I was and immediately wanted to find an alternative to use on his own clients when tattooing and piercing. We looked at the natural products on the market that were available and again I was disappointed. They are NOT bad products, it was just that upon further inspection of the ingredients I was finding a lot of filler ingredients, and cheap oils that have little benefit except diluting the higher quality ingredients to keep product cost down. I also found that a lot of these natural lotions and ointments had a lot of ingredients. Since I have such annoyingly sensitive and reactive skin I still could not find anything that my skin really loved. This was the spark that lead this amazing adventure to Golden Hart Apotheca.
I already had experience making some ointments for myself of all natural organic ingredients for the healing of my own tattoos for a couple years and had friends begging me to make and sell them some after trying mine. I started giving out samples to friends and family members and the responses were so encouraging. I was learning that there may be a need for a product that was sensitive to allergy prone people in the tattoo community in which I was realizing I was not alone. Living with very sensitive skin and allergies to things both topical and internal and living in LA with many friends that are vegan or have nut and other allergies I wanted to create a skin care line that would be sensitive to some of these common afflictions. I believe very strongly in the incredible effects that Emu Oil has on the skin and I include it in every product therefore they are not vegan, however, each product has a Vegan alternative in which the Emu Oil has been removed or replaced. I also use Shea butter instead of coconut butter as most people with nut allergies will not react to Shea when they will to coconut. Shea butter however is still derived from a nut so I have also removed the Shea butter from the Vegan versions for anybody with a severe nut allergy that may have a reaction to the Shea Nut. The product Heal is an oil based product and does not contain any butters and Barrier, a cream intended for the tattooing process(only available to professional body modification artists) is limited to 4 ingredient and is vegan and nut free. The artists in Jason's shop use this vegan all natural plant based cream during the tattoo process in stead of a petrolatum based product.
Sooooo…..in the middle of planning a wedding, being a busy Hair Artist and helping Jason with his own endeavors in his industry we still decided to dive head first into making our own all natural, healing skin care line. I thrived in the chaos and found a determination I didn’t know I had. I was putting every last penny and bit of energy I had into this and it was going to be amazing!!! I worked with Jason on what a healing tattoo or piercing needs and researched a ton of ingredients to find what I believed to be the best combination for what I was trying to achieve. Going off the basis of what I had already been making I improved it and made a couple different versions and consistencies. These products are not limited exclusively to the tattoo industry as it is an amazing hydrating ointment that can be used anywhere on the body and has replaced every moisturizer in my house (you can find the full description and uses of each product in its description on the store page as well as the benefits of each ingredient on the ingredients page).
All of our ingredients are organically and responsibly sourced. We acquire certified organic ingredients whenever possible however due to the arduous and highly expensive process a lot small organic businesses cannot afford the process. We research every company we source our ingredients from to make sure we feel confident they are the best we can find for that ingredient. I am constantly researching to find better and more pure sources all the time to make sure I am providing the highest quality products available. All of the certified organic ingredients are marked with an (*).
I have done my best to make this line as allergen free as possible, however there are many allergies to all kinds of things out there, so please make sure you check the ingredients in case you have any sensitives. Everything is made under Jason’s fastidious scrutiny to make sure every unit made is up to his standards. Everything is made in small batches and bottled by hand to ensure quality. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.
This project would not exist without the complete support, love, faith, and encouragement of my amazing partner in life, my husband Jason Thomas (Professional Body Modification Artist, Tattoo Artist, and Owner of Holistic Tattoo and Big Buddha Tattoos), and my incredible mother and sister with their unyielding support and who were my first guinea pigs and customers.
~ Natisse Thomas ~
Click the link to read the full Livestrong.com article