Recently I asked some of the inspirational women I know in the skin care/beauty industry what inspires and motivates them and keeps them moving forward. This on-line interview is with Tess Dingle, a naturopath, homeopath and the creator of Third Stone Botanicals (TSB). I have known Tess for 4 years now and admire her product creativity and the dedication she shows for TSB. More from Tess follows:
1. Tell us a bit about your business and what inspired you to get started?
Third Stone Botanicals began 15 years ago as an exercise in self-sufficiency. I had some time on my hands and wanted to learn how to produce most of the consumable products that I used: growing vegetables and making bread, soy milk and tofu, paper, clothing and shoes, cleaning products and of course, skin care, soaps and shampoo. Some of these things turned out more successfully than others! Later on, when life got busier and I needed to buy these products again, I found that no commercial skin care could compare to the products I had developed myself in the kitchen. Add to this the growing awareness of potential harm caused by chemical and synthetic cosmetic ingredients and my motivation to turn TSB into a viable business was born.
2. What makes your range special or different from other ranges available?
Holistic principles are applied to every aspect of TSB, from formulation to ingredient sourcing to manufacturing process to packaging. As a trained health professional, my knowledge of physiology, biochemistry, nutrition, herbal medicine, naturopathy, homeopathy and aromatherapy combine to create holistic products that work in harmony with our bodies rather than placing extra burden on our organs of detoxification and elimination. A big stand-out of TSB is our policy on no synthetic preservatives of any kind and we have achieved this through careful formulation and avoidance of unnecessary “filler” ingredients. Our ingredients are sourced fair trade and certified organic where available and Australian where possible, in consideration of reducing carbon miles and supporting the local economy.
Our packaging is also Australian made where available and 100% recyclable. All our products are made by hand at low temperatures in small quality-controlled batches. Every aspect of each product is traceable and we take after-sales service very seriously. All of this adds up to the top quality, highly effective, ethical skin care range that is TSB.
3. What are your 3 must have skin care products?
· A gentle daily cleanser that removes everyday dirt and pollution without damaging the sebum content and upper structure of your skin.
· An organic moisturizer with high vitamin and antioxidant content to protect against UV radiation and preserve the moisture content of your skin. This is something you wear every day and is carried through your skin into your body so it should be at least as important as what you eat.
· An effective non-irritant aluminium-free deodorant, also a product most of us wear every day, so it is really important to find a non-toxic deodorant that works for you.
4. What products do you recommend people new to your range begin with?
It really depends on your individual skin care needs. For those prone to oiliness and breakouts, I can’t stress enough the importance of using a mild cleanser that won’t strip the sebum from your skin, causing the problem to worsen. Rose Geranium Cleansing Gel is
ideal as it is detergent-free, based on organic olive castile and aloe vera. The Green Tea Cleansing Mask teams well with this product to deep cleanse your skin, repair damage from infections and refine pores. For drier and mature skin, a high quality nourishing daily moisturizer that is not too heavy and dragging on your skin is a must. Rosewood Moisture Lotion is a lovely light daytime moisturizer with the vitamin and antioxidant protection of certified organic shea butter. Rosehip Eye Balm would go well with this to prevent dryness and wrinkles forming around the delicate eye area.
5. What is your most popular selling item and why?
Rose Geranium Moisture Balance. This moisturizer is a light gel consistency yet still contains certified organic jojoba, rosehip and evening primrose oils to help maintain the integrity of cell membranes, thus preventing moisture loss without being too oily. As the name suggests, this moisturizer is designed to balance oiliness and dehydration so it is particularly suitable for combination skin which actually is the most common skin type. It is also suitable for the lucky ones with normal skin as it will be neither too oily nor too drying. The light floral scent of lavender, geranium and ylang ylang is popular and a good quality moisturizer is everyone’s priority in skin care I think, so this product is a top seller.
6. Tell us something about yourself you are proud of.
There are not too many mentors in this business and I have had to invent my role every step of the way. As a small business, the outlays involved in outsourcing are considerable and ethical control over those aspects minimal, so I have thus far done pretty much everything myself, right down to designing and printing product labels. This has demanded passion and dedication to my business which I hope will reward me by providing worthwhile employment for others and helping to shift consumerism towards ethical choices.
Following up from the previous blog on SLS, I thought I would mention some of the issues that customers come in with after routinely using commercial shampoo. And let me say for the record that many of the more expensive “salon” brands also use SLS even though it is basically a cheap, nasty ingredient. What it does do is produce bubbles, lots of lovely bubbles! As consumers we have been programmed to expect shampoo that foams – anything less and we think the product isn’t working. However, all a surfactant (see previous blog for explanation) needs to do is break the surface tension of the hair follicle and it will wash out all the dirt and oil. A soap based product is needed but it doesn’t have to foam at all!
So back to the issues I often see. Most often it is a dry scalp that builds up a scurf of dead skin cells. Sometimes the dead cells flake off making people think they have dandruff when in fact it is just that the scalp has been stripped of its protective oils. The opposite problem can also occur, a scalp that over-produces oil, creating greasy hair and sometimes blocked pores around the hairline. This happens because the skin, including the scalp has a great balancing mechanism – when stripped of naturally produced oil by a product like SLS, it responds by producing sebum and in some cases it goes a little bit over the top creating too much sebum resulting in greasy hair.
Increasingly I also see people that come in with a “sensitive scalp”. They find their scalp feels irritated, itchy or sensitive to touch after shampooing. In this case it is likely that the SLS has stripped back the scalps protective layer leaving it exposed to other irritating ingredients such as artificial fragrances. Usually, changing to a naturally scented or unscented shampoo with no SLS will clear this problem up. If your scalp is still sensitive or irritated at this stage, a natural scalp oil including calendula and jojoba oils will help to soothe and nourish the cells. Scalp oils can be applied the night before a morning hair wash so that they have a chance to work effectively. Or they can be left in for a few days if the hair doesn’t look too greasy.
The scalp responds quite quickly to products that don’t contain SLS. After about 4-6 weeks, the dry, itchy or oily scalp starts to rebalance and any scurf build up starts to clear. When I made the switch to natural SLS free hair care my scalp was fine after about 6 weeks however it took a little longer for my hair to become healthy again as it was dyed and very dry (as curly hair tends to be). I also stopped washing my hair so often and now only wash it once a week. GROSS you may say, but being dry anyway, my hair doesn’t build up grease and still looks and smells fine for that time. I also use natural wax based hair styling products that don’t build up grease in my hair.
In general I think that most people tend to wash their hair too frequently, each time stripping back the protective oils from the scalp and hair. I did a quick vox pop of the staff at Vitale to see how frequently they washed their hair. The average was twice a week. Natarsha (the office manager) told me that she tried to stop washing her hair altogether based on the fact that in Ayurveda, oils are used to strip out dirt and grime rather than shampoos. It went well for 6 weeks, and her hair was much more healthy in general. Then she cracked becauseit she missed the squeaky clean feeling so returned to washing it once a week. Liz, the beauty therapist washes hers twice a week but told me she uses an oil to style her hair which is why it is always so shiny.
Once or twice weekly for normal to dry hair is a good benchmark to go by. Obviously oily hair needs to be washed more often. Washing hair often entails blow-drying or straightening which if done excessively, damage the hair shaft. The less you dry & straighten, the better your hair condition will tend to be.
What hair stories are out there? Tell us your experiences.Twitter It!
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is widely used as a detergent in all types of foaming personal care products from liquid soap and shampoo to toothpaste.
As a detergent, SLS is used in cosmetic agents to break the surface tension of the skin which allows dirt and oil to wash away. All detergents act to dissolve the fats and oils from the skin but also strip it from the top layers of the skin. This can lead to thinning and permeability of the skin. The skin is a barrier to the outside world and by washing away the natural oils produced by the skin SLS reduces the effectiveness of this natural barrier.
The most common reaction seen to SLS containing products is a dry, flaky scalp. What many people think is dandruff can actually be a reaction to the stripping effects of SLS. Those at greatest risk of this effect are babies, those with any skin irritation such as in eczema, dermatitis, acne and psoriasis, those with thinning of the skin such as the elderly or those with dry skin. However, long term use will also affect those with “normal” skin.
A search of PubMed (an internationally recognised database of scientific papers) and Skin Deep cosmetic data base supported these claims. Numerous trials showed that SLS can cause skin irritation, particularly in those with atopic eczema or dermatitis, as well as increase transdermal water loss. Essentially this means that when applied topically SLS will irritate and dry out the skin.
Other research suggests that SLS can mimic the hormone oestrogen. Too much of this hormone in the body (or substances that mimic its effects) can have a disruptive effect on the reproductive system. There are a range of less harsh detergent agents such as Ammonium Laurel Sulphate that are promoted as SLS alternatives, but they may also be harmful for those at risk and still have a drying effect.
So what are the alternatives? One natural alternative is olive oil based liquid Castile soap. It can be safely used with babies, those with skin conditions, the elderly and those with sensitive or dry skin. It is also ideal for dry and damaged hair.
Coconut based shampoos are also seen as safer alternatives. Good products for all hair types, feedback from users of these products say the health of their hair and scalp improves with ongoing use.
Given the potential harmful effects of SLS, both known and suspected, it is one synthetic chemical that is best avoided particularly as there are good natural alternatives available.
Author: Ananda Mahony NDTwitter It!
Blackheads, whiteheads and blocked pores are usually caused by a combination of factors. Excess skin oil, sebum and toxins that are expelled through the skin are often an underlying issue. In addition dead skin cells, pollution, occlusive make up and dirt also play a role by filling up pores already opened by sebum and oil production.
Treatment of of Blackheads
So, how to get rid of blackheads and congested skin? Well squeezing them out is not the answer. This technique will just lead to further skin irritation and possibly damage and scarring to the surrounding tissue. Rather than removing blackheads by squeezing, the best way to get rid of them is by attacking the source of the problem.
1. A good cleansing routine: Cleansing the skin of daily dirt, grime and pollution is essential. A good cleansing routine is a very effective way to remove blackheads, as it will help wash away excess oil and dead skin particles. Use a gentle cleanser as harsh and overly-drying cleansers will only make the problem worse by causing an increase in sebum production. If your skin feels squeaky clean, dry and tight after washing, you are doing more harm than good and need to use a more gentle cleanser. Avoid products with Sodium laurel sulphate as this ingredient tends to disrupt the acid mantle again causing increased sebum production.
2. Regular gentle exfoliation: one way to minimise congestion and clogged pores is to ensure the top layer skin remains clear by regularly removing the dead skin cells. There are a number of very effective products you can use to remove dead skin cells.
Regular use of facial exfoliants or scrubs will help clear dead skin cells that block pores. Removing the top layer of dead cells will also allow your moisturiser or serum work more effectively as it comes into contact with live skin cells rather than dead ones.
There are a couple of things to look for in a good exfoliant. The most obvious, although it is surprising how many people ignore this, is that a body scrub is too harsh to be used as a facial scrub. Look for a very fine, soft exfoliant as your facial skin is soft and delicate. A harsh scrub may actually scour the surface of your skin much like a scrubbing brush and this can actually damage skin cells. If your skin is excessively red or inflamed after use they are far too strong. Gentle exfoliants will slough off cells without a harsh scrubbing effect and are suitable to be used 2-3 times a week.
3. Fruit Enzyme Peels: enzyme peels are another way of clearing dead skin cells. They work as a result of their ability to break the bonds between dead skin cells that form at the surface of the skin. Skin normally has a dead layer of cells at its surface (the corneocyte layer), and fruit enzymes can speed up the normal process of skin cell regeneration and sloughing. This results in increased flexibility of the skin as well as decreased formation of large dry skin flakes at the surface of the skin.
Pumpkin, pineapple and pawpaw provide natural, gentle enzyme proteases that loosen the glue between dead skin cells, slough away impurities, dead skin cells and unplug the pores while delivering nutrition to the skin. This leaves the skin cleansed and silky smooth and reduces the likelihood of blackheads. Fruit enzyme ‘peels’ only need to be used once or twice a week for good effect.
4. Light Moisturisers: moisturisers that use waxes, butters and petrochemical oils will be more likely to contribute to congestion in skin that is prone to blackheads. Please note that waxes and butters are perfectly suitable and definitely beneficial for those with dry or dehydrated skin but for those with congested skin, choose lotions rather than rich creams. If you have combination skin and suffer from congestion as well as dry skin, use oil based serums or hyaluronic acid to increase moisture content in the skin without contributing to further blockage.
5. Salicylic acid and glycolic acid in high concentrations are common recommendations for skin congestion and while they might be effective in the short term they can cause significant problems and can be counter-productive to softening and dissolving blackheads as they can dehydrate dry, normal and combination skin. In addition, those with a history of use of high concentration glycolic acid can suffer redness and irritation at a later date when exposed to even mildly acidic ingredients such as ascorbic acid. However, lower concentration AHAs and salicylic acid, such as found in retail brands is also effective. It may take a little longer to see the results but it doesn’t have the same potential for adverse results.
6. Make Up: Mineral make up is an ideal alternative for those with congested skin. Rather than sinking into or filling pores, the particles of pigment sit on the surface of the skin allowing the skin to breathe properly. This helps minimise congestion and eventually, allows the pores to shrink.
7. Dietary & Lifestyle tips: Plenty of water will help flush toxins out of your system and regular and regular exercise will keep your lymphatic system flowing. Together both these factors will help reduce the level of toxins being eliminated via the skin.
Research conducted at RMIT University, Melbourne, has shown that a low glycemic index (GI), moderate protein diet improved symptoms of acne including the number of facial lesions. The diet consisted of 25% of energy from protein and 45% of energy from low GI carbohydrates such as fruit and vegetables, grains and pulses. While this research was conducted on patients with acne, there are strong correlations between high GI diets and skin congestion as well. Generally a high GI diet is associated with a greater degree of systemic body toxicity and inflammation and those prone to skin conditions are likely to eliminate toxins through the skin more readily.
A diet high in vegetables, fruit, good fats, lean protein, nuts & seeds is ideal for the skin as it contains lots of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support skin health.
Following the steps above will not only help you minimise congestion but will also encourage clear, vibrant skin in general. And I am now back on track and accordingly my skin is looking so much better.
Author: Ananda Mahony NDTwitter It!
Welcome to our new Blog!! It is very exciting and we are looking forward to have some great interactive conversations with our readers. Myself, Ananda Mahony and Roechelle Williams will be chatting with you about heaps of great natural skin stuff!!
Most of our regular newsletter readers know that I am passionate about skin nutrition and there are some basics foods that I always avoid; inflammatory foods such as too much sugar, saturated and trans fats and packaged foods. So generally my diet is good. However, after doing Karen Fischer’s book “The Healthy Skin Diet” I have made a whole lot of changes to the way that I eat. I confess the reason I made the changes was mostly because my skin looked so much better – clear, even toned, glowing (so I am told) and so much more hydrated but also because I felt so good.
The nuts and bolts of the dietary principles that Karen recommends are similar to what I have recommended to skin care clients but the definitely advantage of Karen’s program is so easy and simple to use. For me this means that some of the principles I have been following for the last 4 weeks will be lifetime principles. One I will tell you about is “green water”. Karen recommends adding a teaspoon of liquid chlorphyll to your water (I used Grant’s Liquid Chlorphyll from the health food store). Chlorphyll is a natural detoxifying agent and is also excellent for reducing body odours – foot, underarm etc. It also tastes good which I think it actually the peppermint oil in the chlorphyll but I add it to my waterbottle and make sure I drink at least 600mls of “green water” a day.
Karen has put out a book obviously called “The Healthy Skin Diet” which we now have available on-line.Twitter It!
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