Following on from my last update, I had the two BCCs removed from my face about a month ago. I decided to get them cut out rather than use Black Salve (otherwise known as Cansema). I would probably have tried the Cansema had the BCCs been on my body but I felt a bit precious about risking this on my face as this product does have a risk of keloid and non-surgical scarring. So to surgery I went. I must say the whole process was simple but unsettling. I felt very relieved the cancers were cut out but at the same time wondered why they formed in the first place particularly as I have spent my life being careful to minimise sun exposure. Even more unnerving was the thought that more may develop.
Well its now a month later and the scars have healed up. I am applying all the good things including TSB Skin Smoother at night and Minerelle Vitamin C in jojoba oil (this product is in testing at this stage but due online very soon). I really think it has made a significant difference but due to the face the scars are on my face, I was not prepared to leave one without treatment as a placebo. No, I am far to vain for that level of dedication! Now that they have healed I have stopped worrying about more developing – I do all that I can to prevent them – wear natural sunscreen (Devita Solar Body Block when out in the full sun and Devita Solar Protective Moisturiser during the day), wear a hat, eat good food (most of the time) and generally look after myself but if anyone has any other ideas I would love to hear them. PS I am also using my phone as a hands free just in case it had anything to do with the development of the BCCs.
The photos below show the healing process to date.
Whoops! I promised I would post the remainder of Tess Dingle’s ND informative article about sunscreens and haven’t until now. The second half of this article really gets into the nitty-gritty of sunscreen ingredients. This means that you will know what you are looking at when you read the chemical names on the back of a sunscreen bottle and more importantly which of those are good, bad or downright ugly! Useful information indeed!
The second half of this article looks at some sunscreen agents commonly in use:
Octyl Methoxycinnamate and other cinnamates cause photo and contact allergy and do not effectively block UVA. We must ask, what is the point of using a sunscreen agent that causes allergy in the presence of sunlight?
Benzophenones/oxybenzone/benzoylmethanes do absorb some UVA radiation but have been found to cause photo/contact allergy and most significantly, they tend to imitate and therefore exacerbate existing skin disease (including acne).
Titanium dioxide effectively blocks out UVA radiation and therefore protects against skin cancer. Although this is also a photon scattering agent (UV reflector), it does absorb UV radiation which produces free radicals in the presence of water. Many manufacturers use different methods to “coat” the particles, making them less reactive.
Salicylates commonly cause photo allergy.
PABA (Paramino benzoic acid) is part of the B group of vitamins. Taken internally, it can help prevent UV damage. Used externally, it causes phototoxicity and sensitisation. PABA generates free radicals when exposed to sunlight, predisposing the skin to cancer. It does not effectively block UVA radiation. It is banned as a sunscreen agent in Australia.
Zinc oxide effectively blocks out UVA radiation, has the benefit of being inert on the skin (it does not absorb UV radiation) and has skin healing properties. It does, however, contain large particles and can form a paste when applied to the skin. The finer the zinc particles, the less visible they are on the skin. Micronised superfine zinc is the best choice for minimizing the “paste-effect” without resorting to nanoparticles.
Iron oxide is found naturally in mineral clays, which have an ochre colour due to the ferrous (iron) content. Due to the large particle size, iron oxide also acts as a UV reflector and is inert in the sun (does not produce free radicals). Natural mineral clays also contain varying proportions of other UV protectors such as titania.
It must also be noted that this discussion of the active constituents in sunscreens is academic without paying respect to the ingredients in the carrier or base formulation. Do they cause free radical damage themselves and in particular, how well do they stand up to sun exposure?
There are instances of people using sunscreens who have reacted to the excipients (base materials/carriers) included in the formulation, such as preservatives, fragrances and emulsifiers, which have caused contact allergies. So there is cause for concern not only about the active ingredients in sunscreens, but about the inert ingredients as well. Ed note: I don’t know about anyone else but standard sunscreens make my eyes sting and water particularly after swimming in the surf. I worked out that for me, it is probably the product fragrance that is causing this effect. In any case, it has been a long time since I have used a conventional sunscreen as I prefer to stick to zinc oxide based products.
There are a number of base ingredients to look for such as antioxidant vitamins C and E at effective concentrations. Vitamins C and E (tocopherol) are known to protect against skin cancer, particularly when applied topically as they prevent free radical damage from UV radiation. Certified organic shea butter, sesame and avocado oils have natural UV protective qualities, primarily due to their vitamin A and E content. Shea butter also protects against burning (UVB radiation) and is an excellent emollient, softening the skin and preventing the formation of wrinkles. Aloe vera, a plant which has been shown to prevent DNA damage to the skin following sun exposure and its use in treating burns of all descriptions is well-known and an excellent inclusion as a base ingredient. Antioxidant medicinal strength herbal extracts of ginkgo biloba, green tea and pomegranate are also excellent for their ability to protect against DNA damage from UV radiation.
Every now and again at Vitale we hear really amazing stories and one of these is about my friend Karen. A bit about Karen, she is very fit and has no fear and so when she decided to learn how to skydive solo, no-one was surprised. So she spent 3 months prepping for her first solo dive and one sunny Sunday morning jumped out of a plane (the thought almost makes me pee my pants but she says she had no fear!). The dive was perfect, the landing was perfect and then Karen to one step and shattered her ankle and lower leg. The ambulance people told her that this was a common occurance and that they had been out at the same field the week before for the same reason. If only she had known!
What followed was lots of leg surgery, bed rest, casts etc. But Karen is a busy kind of person so within 5 days she was up and about. Three weeks later she came to me and said “I need some Rosehip oil for my scar – it isn’t healing”. I had a look at the scar – it was gruesome! So I replied, “yes Rosehip oil is good, but try this stuff, it is Excellent!”.
Five days after that I received a text message with photos attached. Being a scientific-type, Karen took a photo of her scar and sent it through to me:
After 5 days I received this surprising photo:
Finally on Day 7 of application I received this photo:
Karen is pretty happy with the results and her surgeon was also quietly impressed!
The product I recommended is Third Stone Botanicals Skin Smoother. It does contain Rosehip Oil, which is great for scar healing but it also contains some other key ingredients that promote even more rapid skin healing including Calendula, vitamin E and Wheatgerm oil. Karen’s isn’t the only story I have been told about this product – open heart surgery scars and scars from a broken arm have also responded similarly. You can also use Skin Smoother on small scars, wounds and abrasions. For areas where the skin is dry or dehydrated, choose Calm Magic Balm instead.
If you have a story about wound or scar healing or have used this product yourself, I would love to hear about it.Twitter It!
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.
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