Thursday, 30 June 2011

DIY Recipes ~ Toothpaste and Orange Coffee Body Scrub

Toothpaste (recipe can be halved)
·         50g calcium carbonate powder (or crushed calcium tablets)
·         25g bicarbonate soda
·         4 table spoons glycerine

Blend all ingredients together to make a paste and store in an air tight container.  Place some paste onto brush then brush teeth as usual.  You can add a drop of essential oil such as spearmint or lemon for flavour if you desire.
Use 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in one cup of water as a natural mouth rinse.
Orange Coffee Body Scrub
¼ cup fresh ground coffee beans
¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup olive oil
2 drops vanilla extract
2 drops orange essential oil [optional]

Blend all ingredients together to make a loose paste - add more oil if paste is too thick.  Use during a shower or over your bath tub to scrub and exfoliate your body.  Do not apply to broken skin and avoid tender skin (not suitable for face).  Note: coffee is great for treating cellulite, therefore this scrub can be used to minimize cellulite, and the orange essential oil tones and firms skin.

From the March 2011 Newsletter.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Soaps ~ Why Go Natural?

In short: Skin Conditions.  Eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis (also known as overexposure), dry, damaged skin, sensitive skin, baby’s skin.
[Natural Glycerin Soap]
 
Animal Fats and Crude Oil.
Lots of soaps are made using lard or tallow (animal fat) and crude oil (mineral and petroleum).  Animal fats in soap is not a recent thing; animal fats have been used in soaps since the beginning.  Aside from not being animal friendly there is nothing particularly wrong or bad with lard or tallow: it is natural, it is bio-degradable, it lathers well.  It is said that animal fats in soap clog pores and cause acne and other skin conditions yet this is largely unproven.  In fact, even when tallow soaps were the norm acne was not a major problem like it is now.  Mineral oil in soaps may have more to do with this.  The thing about animal fats in soaps is that they don’t pass on any beneficial properties to our skin they way that vegetable oils do.  Animal fats in soap can also have a particular odour (though this maybe argued by some) which needs to be masked with other additives and strong fragrances.

Additives.
It is the additives, harsh chemicals, colours and fragrances, that are the main concern with soaps today.  Unlike the soaps our mothers and grandmothers used, many soaps nowadays contain additives that are known skin irritants.  Soaps are made this way for a number of reasons.  They can sit on store shelves from long periods of time, they can be made in massive quantities and are stable enough (i.e. keep their scent and don’t go rancid) to be transported world wide.  It is all about consumerism [a social and economic order that is based on the systematic creation and fostering of a desire to purchase goods and services in ever greater amounts].  Each soap is made differently by different manufacturers and may contain any number or different additives, here are just a few to look out for: triclosan, benzyl acetate, diethanolamine, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), parabens and phthalates [most likely these last two will not be listed on any ingredients label].

 
Fragrances vs Essential oils.
Many consumers LOVE delightfully strong smelling soaps.  They love the “wow factor” fragrances have.  It is true fragrances are stronger and longer lasting than essential oils.  They contain stabilizers (for e.g. they may contain parabens, phthalates and other animal or synthetic stabilizers) to extend their shelf life and scent.  Where as essential oils don’t have as long a shelf life and in soaps they may not hold their scent for as long.  More essential oil(s) maybe needed to reached the preferred level of scent making the soap more pricey.  Thus fragrant soaps are more affordable to make as well as to buy.  However, essential oils in soaps pass on their beneficial properties, they are natural, contain no animal or synthetic stabilizers and are considerably less irritating and aggravating on the skin – making them suitable for sensitive skin and for alleviating skin conditions.

Skin Reactions.
A growing number of people are having various reactions to using main stream soaps containing harsh additives and fragrance. Contact dermatitis, for one, is on the rise.  Mechanics at a work shops usually use a gooey greasy substance to wash their hands and arms.  This strong cleaning agent can cause severe skin reactions in users due to its chemical composition.  One such person presented with severe a skin disorder whereby the skin was red, swollen, painful and peeling and flaking away up to his elbows.  Topical creams and lotions had little effect.  When the mechanic switched to washing with a natural Castile soap the condition improved dramatically because the problem of contact with harsh chemicals was removed.

Benefits of Natural Soaps.
Vegetables oils are richly moisturising and contain nourishing vitamins and minerals and the beneficial properties of such oils are passed onto your skin.  Vegetables oils don’t have the same odours as animal fats or crude oils thus require less fragrance to mask any unwanted scent.  When accompanied by essential oils you also get the added benefits of the essential oil properties and soaps can be made to benefit certain conditions such as acne, eczema, sensitive skin, dry skin etc.  Soaps are antibacterial in themselves and you only need to wash your hands with soap and water to eliminate germs.

Summery.
Vegetable oils have skin conditioning properties as apposed to animal fats and crude oils which have none or little.
Natural soaps don’t contain harsh additives and known skin irritants.
Essential oils have added beneficial properties and subtle natural scents vs fragrances with stronger scents and no beneficial properties.
Natural soaps clean just as well.

See also: My Green Soapbox Blog - Coming Clean About Soap.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Acne ~ Tips for improving the appearance of blemished skin.

[various types of tea tree oil] 

Acne, pimples, breakouts, spots, zits, blemished skin.  There are a number of names to try and describe the various forms and severity of pimples.  Acne being at the more severe end of the spectrum.  Which ever blemished skin condition you have here are some tips to help reduce the symptoms: 1. unclog pores. 2. remove bacteria. 3. reduce oil.

* Cleanse.
Most people know about this already however here are some things you may not know.
-      It is important and highly beneficial to cleanse DAILY.  Missing just one day can be like taking 5 steps back in the care of your skin.  Cleansing washes away bacteria, an important part of keeping skin clear.
-         Not all skin cleanser are good for acne.  Some contain mineral oil that coats the skin causing blockages and therefore more blemishes.  Some cleansers strip the skin of natural oils causing your sebaceous glands to go into overdrive to produce more oil to keep your skin moisturised, thus causing more breakouts.  I have seen cases of skin worsening after purchasing potent over the counter acne cleansers.  Choose a gentle natural cleanser that removes dirt and oil without stripping your skin of its natural protective oils.
[recommended products Facial Wash Scrub made for oily or acne skin]

* Toner.
Toners clean away any soapy residue left over from the cleanser and also any residual makeup, dirt and grime and this further reduces the possibility of blocked pores.  Toners also help to shrink your pores which helps reduce bacteria getting into your pores.  Alcohol based toners strip your skin of important natural oils and may be too harsh for sensitive skin, however, one good point about alcohol based toners is the added benefit of killing off bacteria on the surface of your skin, and bacteria while not causing the blemish do play a role in the development of pimples.
If you don’t have any Toner dampen a cotton pad with cold water and wipe down your skin, repeating the process until the pad comes away clean (as you would also do with normal Toner).
[recommended product: Purifying Skin Toner, non alcohol based]

* Moisturise.
After cleansing and toning it is important to rehydrate the skin and not leave your skin dried out.  Choose a moisturiser that is not made with mineral oil because it will block your pores.  Choose a moisturiser not containing loads of additives that can aggravate your skin and cause flare ups.
I have seen cases where people cleanse their face with a potent acne cleanser and that’s all.  As a result there skin is worse within days because over active sebaceous glands are trying very hard to rehydrate their skin.  I have also seen a noticeable improvements once they start applying a suitable moisturiser.
[recommended product: Light Facial Moisturiser – lavender, rose geranium and sandalwood scents are beneficial for blemished skin]

* Tea Tree Oil.
Tea tree oil can be purchased from the supermarket or health food shop and can be applied directly to pimples with a cotton ball or cotton stick.  Tea tree oil is especially good for blemishes because of its antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic properties.  It is a natural remedy for acne.

* Makeup.
This is one primarily for the girls (although truth be told mineral makeup can also be beneficial for guys).  After all that cleansing and hydrating of skin you are undoing all your hard work if you follow through with mineral oil based makeup.  Mineral oil based makeup sits on the surface of your skin clogging pores and causing further breakouts.  Mineral oil and chemicals in makeup are not at all good for regular skin let alone acne blemished skin.  Choose a 100% natural mineral makeup to apply to your skin.
Additional benefits to mineral makeup: 1. They aid with healing the skin thus reducing the life span of blemishes and reducing scaring. 2. You don’t look like you’re wearing makeup while the coverage itself is thorough, which means that even males can dab on some mineral makeup over a pimple to hide its existence and no-one will be able to tell you’re wearing it.
[recommended product: CC Mineral Makeup, Oil Control – Balance]

* Dairy.
Have you ever watched Embarrassing Bodies?  They did a segment on the show about causes of acne and pimples and announced to the world something I’ve been saying for quite some time.  Chocolate and pizza, chips and soda are NOT predominant causes of breakouts.  While it is important you eat well to maintain healthy skin, junk food in itself is not the cause of blemishes.  Dairy on the other hand IS!  Diary products come from lactating cows.  Lactating cows have high levels of hormones coursing through their bodies and these hormones are in the dairy we consume.  Since hormones play a significant part in causing acne you hardly want to top yourself up with even more hormones (especially animal hormones not made for our bodies) on top of the ones you’re already producing.  Cut down your diary intake; swap your calcium from dairy to calcium from leafy greens, soy, tofu, fish.  Try it for a week or two and see what a difference it makes.

* Water.
Increase your water intake especially if you’re the type of person who tries to avoid water at all costs (like me).  Water helps keep the skin and body hydrated and maintains healthy skin.  Instead of reaching for a drink of milk, drink some water.  Instead of making yourself a cup of milky tea or coffee have a herbal tea without milk.

Mineral Oil and Petroleum Jelly

“The raw material for petroleum jelly was discovered in 1859 in Titusville, Pennsylvania, United States, on some of the country's first oil rigs. Workers disliked the paraffin-like material forming on rigs because it caused them to malfunction, but they used it on cuts and burns because it hastened healing.” Wikipedia

As you can see from the above snippet of information petroleum jelly (aka Vaseline) is made from crude oil.  It is a refined version of crude oil made by distilling the lighter, thinner oil from crude oil.

Mineral oil is liquid petroleum.  Paraffin oil is refined mineral oil.  Mineral oil is a by-product of the distillation of petroleum.

Both mineral oil and petroleum jelly have been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for use in cosmetics and also for consumption.  You will find best before dates on bottles of Vaseline, Petroleum Jelly, Baby and Mineral Oils as well as Vix.  Use by dates on these products are more about sales rather than expiration.
For all intents and purposes crude oil would seem like a natural, thus biodegradable substance, however it essentially take years and years to break down and degrade, lasting for a very, very long time.  Notice how your Vix, Petroleum Jelly or Baby Oil hasn’t gone off even after years past its use by date.

We’ve all seen those disturbing pictures of poor animals being drenched in crude oil that is slowly suffocating and often killing them.  Mineral oil and petroleum oil (being made of the same substance as crude oil) is essentially doing the same thing to our skin upon application.  It coats our skin in a layer of non-biodegradable non-breathable oil.  In many cases products containing mineral oil cause acne by clogging pores and not allowing skin to breathe.

The point I’m getting at is when it comes to choosing mineral based oil products over natural vegetable oil based product it makes sense to choose the vegetable based product.  Especially when you consider your baby’s and children’s skin.  Even though a vegetable based product may not last you a life time the ingredients are considerably better for your skin.  Mineral oil products may ward off the elements by coating the skin in a layer of oil while vegetable oil is absorbed into the skin, hydrating and moisturising your skin from within.  Isn’t that more preferable?


Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Stretch Mark Cream ~ product testing



As women and mother’s we know stretch marks are normal.  Many people get them and still there is a stigma about having stretch marks.  Joli does not want to down play the naturalness of stretch marks or the beauty in where they come from; becoming a woman and becoming a mother.  Stretch marks have been lovingly referred to as ‘baby marks’ by some, which is such a wonderful perspective to place on these natural signs that say “I’ve been pregnant and it was a beautiful experience”.
Even so many of us have often wished we didn’t have them.  We’ve also seen celebrities who don’t have them, who are wearing bikinis jut weeks after having their babies and we’re wondering how they did it.  Are all celebrities genetically blessed to not get stretch marks or is there some secret ‘you beaut and wonderful’ product they’re all privy too that we don’t know about?

It is said that stretch marks are genetic and if your mum didn’t get them you won’t either and vice versa, however, there are many women who have burst the bubble on this theory.  So, when it comes to a woman’s pregnancy it is difficult to know for sure if she will or won’t be prone to stretch marks.
When it came to testing Joli’s, Stretch Mark Cream it was important that results could be verified.  Test results needed to factor in variables such as genetics, and those who are prone to stretch marks and those who are not.  It is easy enough to test Stretch Mark Cream on many first time pregnancies with the women not getting stretch marks during their pregnancy – which has been the case.  Does this prove the Stretch Mark Cream works?  Or were all of the women tested simply not prone to stretch marks in the first place?  To verify test results Joli did some reverse testing.  Here are some case study results:

Case Study #1.
The woman in this reverse testing case study used Stretch Mark Cream for her very first pregnancy and was pleased to report that she did not get any stretch marks.  At this stage it is easy to celebrate and say, “Yes, it worked” and stop there.  However, in a reverse testing case the next step is to find out weather the woman in this case study was prone to stretch marks or not.  To test this: for her second pregnancy the woman did not use Joli’s Stretch Mark Cream and results were noted.  In the case of her second pregnancy she did get stretch marks, which means. 1. she is prone to stretch marks, and 2. using Stretch Mark Cream during her first pregnancy was a significant contributing factor in her not getting stretch marks.

Case Study #2.
The woman in this reverse testing case study did not use Stretch Mark Cream for her first or second pregnancies.  In both cases the results were noted: the woman’s stretch marks were severe, more so during her second pregnancy.  This shows that not only is this woman prone to stretch marks, she is also prone to getting new stretch marks with each pregnancy.  The reverse testing on this woman consisted of her using stretch mark cream for her third pregnancy and noting the results the third time around.  Much to the woman’s delight she did not get any new stretch marks during her third pregnancy (though the old ones could still be seen, somewhat faded).  What’s more is the appearance of previous stretch marks were noticeably improved both during and after her pregnancy.

[2nd pregnancy at 8 months - 3rd pregnancy at 8 months - post birth baby belly]

What these reverse test results show is that Joli’s Stretch Mark Cream [one of the richest cocoa butter formulations on the market] is highly beneficial for those who are prone to getting stretch marks and those who already have them, and is significant in aiding with stretch mark prevention during pregnancy.


*Note: Stretch Mark Cream is currently unavailable for purchase.