Well not quite aspirin, rather white willowbark. This herbal extract has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory and was actually the original source for the now synthetically produced pain reliving drug aspirin. Apart from its pain-relieving effects, applied topically white willowbark has anti-acne, sebum control and exfoliation properties. The active component of white willowbark is salicylic acid, a form of beta hydroxyl acid (BHA) which works by causing skin cells to slough off, reducing the formation of blackheads, whiteheads and breakouts. The added bonus is that it also has a natural antiseptic effect thereby reducing the bacterial overgrowth often associated with acne.
In this video, the use of white willowbark is explained further by Celeste Lutrario the creator of Burt’s Bees Natural Acne Solutions.Twitter It!
I pride myself with being up to date with most skin care ingredients but every now and again I am caught out – thank goodness because every time I discover or rediscover a new and exciting skin care ingredient. In this case, believe it or not, it is jojoba oil. Now, it’s not that I hadn’t heard of jojoba oil before but I guess I hadn’t realised how versatile and beneficial it is for the skin.
An extract from the jojoba seed, the resultant oil is actually considered a wax ester rather than an oil. This is significant because unlike most oils (which have a myriad of different benefits), jojoba wax ester is the most similar to the sebum we naturally produce. This is significant for a number of reasons:
After a quick google search I found many excellent uses for jojoba oil:
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Given the frequency of allergic skin reactions when I found this article by Mukti of Mukti Botanicals I thought it was excellent. It is an extensive look at how to manage skin allergies and so I have included it in full. If you have experienced allergic skin reactions at any stage I would love to hear what you did to overcome the problem or indeed if you are still trying to work out what the culprits are:
Allergies are a leading cause of chronic disease in western civilizations. With an annual cost estimated well into the tens of billions, allergies are believed to complicate and handicap the lives of millions of adults and children alike.
At some point most of us have experienced an allergic reaction or sensitivity to something in our immediate surrounds. It is unknown as to why certain individuals develop allergic sensitivities. In some cases it may take repeat exposures over a long period of time before an allergy actually develops or it could be due to a combination of certain chemicals or environmental exposure. Once you have become sensitized (allergic) your immune system “remembers” and you will continue to be sensitive to that particular ingredient. If you suffer from eczema a particular chemical may be the cause but other factors play a role as well. Whatever the case, reactions are very idiosyncratic and paradoxical in nature due to our unique biochemical makeup. Therefore it is difficult to determine and pin point the exact cause.
What we do know about allergies is that our immune system over reacts with its defence mechanisms to a familiar or unfamiliar substance with a unique response to each subsequent exposure. When our skin or system encounters an individual or combination of particular ingredients our immune system responds by accepting, rejecting or adapting to the substance. If a reaction occurs our body naturally produces histamines as a defence mechanism and to rid the body of the unwanted toxin.
A reaction to a substance can trigger a number of associated problems. Topically you may experience swelling, redness, itching, burning, rash like pimples and general irritation. Other symptoms may include sneezing, coughing, difficult or obstructed breathing and may be linked to a number of common yet serious respiratory illnesses such as asthma and sinusitis. Of greater concern is that in some cases reactions can be severe and sometimes even fatal.
Similar to our genetic predisposition such as height, eye colour and baldness, the capacity to become allergic is an inherent characteristic. Although you may be born with a genetic makeup capable of developing allergies, you may not be allergic to specific allergens. Several factors contribute and must be present for an allergic sensitivity to develop:
Two ingredients that are present in all mass-produced cosmetics and personal care products are fragrances and preservatives and are often thought to be the major contributors to skin problems. Fragrances whether they are synthetic or natural in origin can have a cumulative effect. Artificial fragrances can in fact be composed of more than 200 chemical constituents including known carcinogens such as methyl chloride. There is no current regulation for fragrance manufactures to disclose the ingredients or test for toxic synergies.
Preservatives are a necessary addition in skin care products. Without them moulds, bacteria and fungus would contaminate the product posing further health risks. There are now a number of efficient natural preservatives including: Citrus Extract, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Co2 rosemary extract, Gum Benzoin, Grape seed Extract, Tea Tree Extract, Silver Chloride and other patented synergies that are derived from oils and extracts that have potent anti-microbial, anti-bacterial properties. Manufacturers should be looking towards replacing commonly used broad-spectrum anti-microbial and agents and known sensitisers such as parabens (endocrine disruptors) and imidazolidinyl and diazolidinyl urea (formaldehyde releasers).
Dermal reactions are different from food intolerances; however diet does play a major role in the integrity of our skin. Ingested allergens should be independently assessed. Just because you are unable to consume nuts for example does not necessarily mean that you will have a negative reaction to a topical application of a known culprit.
What can you do?
Not only do cosmetics and personal care products alter the energy and well being of our skin, equally important is what we put into our bodies. How we think and feel also plays a determining role in the health of external appearance.
With correct management and education allergic responses can be controlled and eliminated enabling individuals with allergies to lead normal and productive lives. Fortunately more responsible companies are manufacturing veritably natural products that are free from harmful and synthetic toxic chemicals.Twitter It!
The label of Dr Bronner’s Liquid Soaps states that “cleanliness is next to Godliness”. In the case of makeup brushes, this is absolutely true! Last week I was reminded of this – I had been having a bit of trouble applying mineral makeup as smoothly as usual and I realised that there was a build up of oil on my brush. It had been about 6 months since I last gave it a good clean! And so I did and I now have no problems with smooth makeup application.
Taking care of your makeup brushes makes sense for two key reasons:
Below is a really easy way to keep your brushes clean:
Wet your brush carefully ensuring you don’t run water directly up into the ferrule (the bit that joins the handle to the brush hairs) as over time it may weaken the join. Rub the hairs over a cake of natural soap building up foam. Alternatively you can put a little natural shampoo in the cup of your hand and later. Keep massaging the bristles in the cup of your hand and then rinse with cold or luke-warm water. Ensure that you rinse all traces of soap and that the water runs clear. Repeat if necessary.
If you are worried about bacteria use vinegar. While the vinegar may not wash your brush as effectively, it is a natural disinfectant so will help to kill off any bacterial. Following the soap wash dip your brush in a mix of 1/3 vinegar to 2/3rds water. Leave for 10 seconds and then rinse off with running water.
Drying your brushes
Firstly get rid of the excess water by gently squeezing the bristles from base to tip. Then put your brush upright in a glass so that it can air dry. Please don’t use a hair drier as this may damage the hairs and the glue. Also try to avoid laying your brush down, particularly with hair brushes as they will flatten and dry that way. I always wash mine overnight or after I have applied my makeup in the morning. It is always dry by morning.
How often should you wash your brush?
If you have normal to dry skin, washing once a month is fine. Even with normal to oily skin, this should be frequent enough. Just to be sure monitor the bristles and if they look or feel oily, give it a quick rinse. If you have acne, more frequent washing is ideal to minimise the spread of bacteria. Fortnightly or even weekly if you have active breakouts is a good time frame. The same routine can be applied to any sponges or other make up tools you use regularly.
One question I am regularly asked is how to improve brittle, easily broken nails. Will a manicure help? My standard reply is, yes a manicure is lovely and it will help in the short term but ongoing care is what will really improve your nails. I found these great tips from Mukti of Mukti Botanicals:
The nail is extremely porous and exudes moisture one hundred times as fast as the skin. So preventing moisture loss is essential:
Massaging the cuticle area will increase the circulation and encourage new nail growth. Other ways of protecting from nail breakages include:
Too little protein in the diet will make nails dull and brittle.
Rich in beta-carotene it has renowned anti-inflammatory and healing properties. It is very useful for skin inflammations and dry mature skin. Extracts of Calendula exert the following effects: they assist with the stimulation and formation of new tissue, anti- inflammatory and anti-itching properties which are soothing to the skin, as well as gently promoting improved circulation.
It has soothing, moisturising and healing properties and contains a plethora of additional goodies such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, enzymes, antioxidants as well as mono and polysaccharides. It can relieve irritation and inflammation. It has also been implicated in assisting with cell regeneration. It leaves no oily residue on the skin and will not clog the pores or increase sebum production.
It helps to repair collagen. A lack of vitamin E can lead to blotchiness, loss of firmness of skin tone and give the impression of premature aging. It is an excellent moisturiser as it improves skin re-hydration by preventing moisture loss. It is readily absorbed and helps to maintain soft and supple skin. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant and is required by the body to fight the occurrence of free radicals.
A Quick Sugar Scrub for smooth hands:
Massage 1 tablespoon of lemon juice mixed with 1-2 tablespoons of sugar. Rinse off then apply a hand cream.
A daily Cuticle Softener:
Combine 1 tsp jojoba oil, 1 tsp almond oil and 1 vitamin E capsule. Mix together and store in a clean glass bottle. Soak cuticles in warm water for ten minutes. Dry hands then rub in oil treatment. If all else fails and you don’t have these ingredients at home, use olive oil!
Author: Mukti from Mukti BotanicalsTwitter It!
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