Tag Archives: skin irritation

Organic manuka honey

Organic manuka honey is produced from bees that feed from the Manuka tree. The manuka tree is also known under its latin name Leptospermum scoparium and even called tea tree falsely because Captain Cook used to make tea with its leaves. It is a small evergreen shrub from New-Zealand and Australia that measures between 2m to 5m and produces white flowers whose nectar is gathered by the bees.manuka-tree

Manuka honey benefits

Organic manuka honey has a unique taste and is stronger and darker than most honeys. Manuka honey is reputable for its extraordinary natural anti-bacterial properties and scientists have discovered that this is due to a protein called defensin-1 made by the bee and added to the honey. Defensin-1 kills bacteria and is efficient to treat infections and act against bacteria that have become antibiotic-resistant. Further research is being done to produce natural antibiotic with manuka honey. Manuka honey is also rich in proteins, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins and is an amazing product to add to the diet. It is a good product to use against persistent coughs.
Manuka honey is also excellent for the skin as it can help treat skin infections, skin irritations, rashes, wounds, burns while retaining the moisture of the skin and promoting cell reproduction; it is ideal for dry skin and manuka honey is widely used in the medical field. It leaves the skin soft and nourished and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory. People with acne can try it because it is very beneficial and will cure spots in no time.

We recommend a certified organic manuka honey as the organic seal will give you peace of mind when buying organic products. Raw manuka honey is ideal if you want to eat honey and if you want to use it for your skin. However, you can also find ready manuka honey moisturizer or manuka honey cleanser for the skin.

Organic cocoa butter

Cocoa butter benefits

Cocoa butter naturally occurs in cocoa beans that contain 40% to 50% fats. Cocoa butter, and even better, organic cocoa butter organic cacao butteris very beneficial for the skin. Cocoa butter is one of the most stable natural fat and is an amazing moisturizer that prevents from dehydration and leaves the skin extra smooth, especially for dry skin. It is also efficient for skin conditions such as dermatitis or eczema and is one of the main ingredients in creams that are formulated against stretch marks. Organic cocoa butter should be favored because it is free from chemicals, petroleum and preservatives and has been mechanically extracted so it can provide the expected results. Also organic cocoa butter has not been heated so all the beneficial nutrients remain. You can find organic cocoa butter at local health stores or online.

organic cocoa butter creamCocoa butter is found in many organic skin care products such as organic cocoa butter cream but can also be used raw. It has naturally occurring antioxidants and therefore has a shelf life of 2 to 5 years if conserved in a cool and dark place. You can cut a piece of cocoa butter that will sort of melt in your hands and apply it on your face and body, especially on areas that are dry. The texture is very nice and the smell very pleasant.

A truly raw and organic cocoa butter can also be eaten and because it has high content of stearic acid, it actually contributes to lowering cholesterol levels. You cannot cook with cocoa butter though and it should not be used in the pans, only slightly heated to melt it and make chocolate bars (with organic cocoa powder) for example.

Organic rose geranium essential oil

Organic rose geranium essential oil is extracted from the leaves and stalks of the plant Pelargonium that belongs to the Geraniaceae family and is not to confused with geranium. Pelargonium comes from South Africa but is nowadays popular in every garden as they can resist strong heat and even mild frosts. Besides being a beautiful flower with a very pleasant smell, it is also believed to repel insects and mosquito.

Rose geranium essential oil is a valuable essential oil with a sweet and rosy note and has antiseptic, antibacterial and anti fungal properties, it is astringent and tonic, it has anti inflammatory properties, it is anti depressant, cicatrisant and haemostatic (stop haemorrhage). Its properties are due to its chemical composition that includes terpenes, cetones and aldehydes.

Health benefits of organic rose geranium essential oil

Rose geranium essential oil can be used as such:

– to lift the spirit and release stress and tiredness by rebalancing the nervous system; it puts you in a good mood
– for detoxification and elimination because it has a diuretic effect and will be beneficial in case of water retention; it also helps cleanse the lymphatic system
– for PMS
– for inflammation in the joints, muscles or connective tissues
– on the skin, it has amazing effects especially in case of acne, eczema, psoriasis or other skin disorders caused by bacteria, but it can be used by anyone to regulate the sebum secretion and is beneficial to dry skins
– it can be useful for nose bleeding because of its haemostatic properties and even in case of cuts, wounds or burns thanks to its cicatrisant properties

You can use rose geranium essential oil in baths, massage oil, diffusion in the home, in a vaporizer, in organic cream or shampoo bases, or other organic products. As it is an insect repellent, you can use a few drops on a tissue if you are sitting outside or even at home to avoid insect bites. However, essential oils are very strong and only one or two drops should be used. It should not be applied undiluted on the skin as it can create irritations or burns and rose geranium essential oil should be avoided by pregnant women. Also, chose an organic essential oil to guarantee its quality as fragrance essential oils do not carry the therapeutic effects a therapeutic grade oil does.

Natural shaving oil for men and women

For people conscious of their health, shaving creams or shaving gels can seem a bit hazardous considering the ingredients they contain and if you prefer using a natural shaving oil alternative, we have a great organic shaving oil substitute for you, may it be for men or women.

In men, shaving is the most obvious cause of skin inflammation on the face because it needs to be performed almost every day. Some women also prefer regular shaving for legs, armpits and private areas instead of waxing which also dry and inflame their skin. The purpose of a shaving product is to moist and soften the hair and create a film that will reduce the effects of the razor and protect the skin. A natural shaving oil will perform this function just fine and here is what you could use to produce your own shaving oil:

Use 3 parts of safflower oil (17ml)
Add 1 part of evening primrose oil (5ml)
Add 2 drops of vitamin E
Add 2 drops of tea tree essential oil
Add 2 drops of vetiver essential oil
Add 10 drops of copaiba essential oil

Apply on the shaving area and use the razor as you usually would do with a regular shaving cream. Once done, remove the excess of oil using a soap for sensitive skin and it’s done! This shaving oil will bring the same expected results and will leave the skin smoothe.

You can make your shaving oil on a daily basis or increase the quantities above to make an oil that will last a bit longer. However, home-made cosmetics do not resist shelf-life so long because they do not contain preservatives so you should make sure not to keep this oil too long. Also, because it contains essential oils, the oil should be tested on a small skin section before application to make sure that no allergic reaction occurs.

About the ingredients:

Safflower oil:
Safflower oil is produced from the safflower seeds, a plant from the sunflower family with red, orange or yellow flower heads. The plant measure from 30 cm to 150 cm and can grow in dry climates but is not very resistant to intense colds. Safflower is typically used to produce dyes, and the seeds to produce oil. The safflower is also being tested to produce insulin.

The safflower oil is colorless and odorless is used in cooking for salad dressing (you should ensure the oil is cold-pressed) and in cosmetics. Safflower oil is rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, omega 6 and vitamin E. The safflower oil contributes to weight loss and is recommended to people suffering from type 2 diabetes to lose weight but also to reduce blood sugar. It also helps to regularize menstrual cycles. It is also recommended for dry hair or hair loss, for dry skin, skin inflammation and acne-prone skins.

Organic evening primrose: See our article dedicated to organic evening primrose

Copaiba essential oil:
Copaiba tree belongs to the Copaifera genus and grows in South America, mainly in Brazil, in the Amazon region where Indians have been using the copaiba resin for centuries due its healing properties. Copaiba essential oil helps with wounds healing, pain, inflammations, sore throats, bronchitis, urinary tract disorders, ulcers and cancer. When used on the skin, it is an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antifungal, it stops skin from bleeding, it is recommended for skin disorders, even psoriasis.

Tea tree essential oil:
Tea tree essential oil is extracted from the tea tree leaves. Tea tree is native to Australia where Aborigines have been using it for its healing properties. The name originated from Captain’s Cook who drank a mix of leaves as a tea substitute. Tea tree has powerful anti-bacterial and antiseptic effects and can be used for cuts, insect bites, rashes, burns and acne.

Vetiver essential oil:
Vetiver is a type of grass originating from India but is also grown in tropical regions such as Haiti. Vetiver helps to combat soil erosion because its roots grow downwards. Vetiver grows up to 1,5 meter high, has long stems and large leaves. The vetiver essential oil is extracted from the roots and has a smoky, earthy and sweet scent and is used as a sedative to fight stress, nervous conditions, to improve blood circulation and in case of acne, cuts, and as a cicatrisant. It is commonly found in cosmetics and perfumes for its scent and its fixative properties.

Organic shampoo: a wise choice

Why choose an organic shampoo?

One of the reason why many people turn to organic shampoo is to avoid the harmful toxins and chemicals that they contain and that enter our body, leaving the most sensitive persons with allergies, irritations, itching in the eyes and sometimes worse conditions.

Regular synthetically-made shampoos do not go back far. They were introduced in the 60’s to replace the regular soap people would use on their hair. Shampoo formulations are created in the lab and are carefully thought in terms of colors, smell, texture, purpose to ensure that the product will appeal to consumers. Shampoo formulations include the following:

water: that makes up for 80% of the formulation
surfactants: Surfactants are the detergents or cleaning agents. The common detergent used in shampoos is called sodium lauryl sulfate. Truly organic products are sodium laureth sulfate free shampoo.
foaming agents: also called alkanolamides, are the agents that give the shampoo its foaming action (some shampoos foam more than others). Typical alkanolamides include lauramide DEA or cocamide DEA.
thickeners: They make for the thick consitency of the shampoo and include methylcellulose (derived from plant cellulose) or chloride sodium (salt).
preservatives: they keep away bacteria growth. They include DMDM hydantoin and methylparaben.
modifiers: added to give the shampoo its specificities or to adjust the Ph. Modifiers include citric acid or sodium hydroxide.
additives: additives give the shampoo its color or its smell and include dyes and fragrances.

The surfactant, sodium lauryl sulfate, is known to penetrate the skin and our body easily and cause allergies, skin irritations and is a well-known carcinogenic (gives cancer). This is a common ingredient in car engine degreasers. The foam booster, lauramide is also known to be a carcinogenic ingredient. The preservative DMDM hydantoin is known to be toxic to our immune system and methylparaben can induce cancer and disrupts our hormonal system. The modifier sodium hydroxide can induce cancer and is toxic to the nervous system, the brain and the organs even at very low dosage. The additives, dyes or fragrances can be neurotoxic or harmful to the immune system. So why such ingredients would be used in shampoo formulations? Because shampoos are part of the cosmetics industry, which is not regulated in the United-States and therefore, all kinds of ingredients can be used in the formulations, even harmful ones.

How to know a shampoo is truly organic?

There are alternatives though and one of them is to use organic shampoos that are free of chemicals and toxins. However, the organic products industry is booming and many companies take advantage of it for their marketing and sales pitch and some allegedly organic shampoos also contain harmful ingredients. So how to know which organic product is real and which is fake? For one, it is better to choose an organic shampoo that carries the USDA organic seal of approval. Secondly, always check the ingredients of your shampoo and don’t rely on the marketing blurp of the packaging. If your organic shampoo contains any of the listed ingredients above, put it back on the shelf.

Organic shampoos contain an organic liquid soap base that serves as a detergent, that is made of saponified oils and that is chemical-free. Other organic ingredients are added to the base to give the shampoo its effect, its smell. Natural preservatives are also added to make sure that the product does not get contaminated with bacteria. One common natural preservative is grapefruit seed, known to have anti-bacterial properties.

Also, if you want to make sure that the brand you chose is not harmful, you can consult the Skin Deep website database that will show you the list of ingredients contained in your product and how harmful or harmless they are.

Choosing the proper organic shampoo for your hair type is not only beneficial to your health but also to the environment. Think about all those harmful chemicals that pass through the drains and end up contaminating the water and soils. This won’t happen with true organic shampoos. So follow your organic lifestyle but wisely: always read the labels and the list of ingredients.

Visit our organic shampoo section.

Organic calendula

Calendula belongs to the daisy family Asteraceae and grows in the Mediterranean region until Iran under sunny weathers. The flower can be yellow to orange and measures around 5cm in diameter. Also known under the Latin name Calendula officinalis, Calendula means first day of the month because the flowers bloom mostly on the first days of each month, from spring to fall. It can grow very easily in any garden. Pot marigold is also a common name for calendula. The flowers are edible and can be used to decorate salads. They are also fed to poultry to produce an egg yolk that is darker yellow.

Calendula is a very interesting flower with numerous healing properties. It is known to ease constipation, cramps or fever in traditional medicine. Studies have also produced hope as extract of calendula officinalis would have anti-tumor properties and would boost the immune system although further investigation is needed. Calendula is also known for its anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties and is often taken in the form of powder or tea to help treating infections.

As a topical ingredient, calendula is the herb of choice to treat many skin conditions including burns, sunburns, rashes, abrasions, scrapes and insect bites thanks to its antiseptic properties. It is said to even help in case of psoriasis. It is very beneficial to dry skin and damaged skin, has anti-aging properties and it is particularly efficient on baby skin when diaper irritations occur. It can be used to reduce stretch marks or on newly-designed tatoos to help the skin heal. It can speed up wound healing by activating blood flow and oxygen to the wounded area.

Using organic calendula is better as it has grown on chemical-free soils much like other organic products. Organic calendula can be found in the form of organic calendula oil, weleda calendula creamorganic calendula cream, organic calendula ointments. Organic calendula oil is also an excellent massage oil especially when varicose veins occur.

organic calendula oilOrganic calendula oil or cream is good for the whole family and is particularly great to keep your baby’s skin smoother and far from irritations. You can apply organic calendula oil on body and face as needed.You can find organic calendula at your local health store or online.

Certified organic cosmetics versus ordinary cosmetics

The skin is made of the epidermis whose thickness varies from one person to the next. Epidermis comes from the Greek “over” and is divided into 5 sub-layers:

– Stratum Corneum (dead flat skin cells that shed every 2 to 4 weeks)
– Stratum Lucidum
– Stratum Granulosum
– Stratum Spinosum
– Basal Layer (the base – where new skin cells are produced and come to the surface at the stratum corneum level).

The dermis is the second major layer made of living cells, blood vessels, elastic fibres, collagen, lymphatic vessels, oil and sweat glands. The dermis is composed of 2 sub-layers:

– the papillary dermis made of collagen fibres (if weak, fine lines and wrinckles appear)
– the reticular dermis (regulates the body temperature, controls the sensations of pain, burns, inflammation). It determines the strenght and elasticity of the dermis. It is where lie the hair roots, oil glands, nails and blood vessels.

The third major layer is the sub-cutaneus layer with fat and connective tissues.

The skin is the largest and the most complicated organ of the body because the role of the skin is to protect the muscles, the organs, the body temperature and it serves an insulation. It prevents pathogens from entering the body but at the same time, it can absorb large amounts of substances (as much as 60% of the chemicals we come in contact with). This is why by using chemically-made creams, we contribute to poisoning our body.

Why non-organic products do not work?

As women, we all know that we can spend a fortune each month on creams, masks, beauty products, especially when the magic formula “anti-aging” or “anti-wrinkles” is advertised. Cosmetic companies know it and this is why we have 1000 of products to choose from. But do these products really work? Most of the time, the answer is NO because most of the time, the money is spent on marketing budget, magic formulations to attract customers and packaging instead of being spent on the product itself. Also, most beauty products contain ingredients that can actually produce the reversed effect and damage the skin instead of improving it. Few examples of these ingredients include mineral oil (aka petroleum) that actually clog the pores of the skin, preventing it from breathing and producing natural protective oils; dioxane, which is a coconut shell derivate (now produced also synthetically) that enters quickly into the blood stream and poisons it; parabens (preservatives) that can cause allergies, skin irritations and even wreck the endocrine system (hormones) that in turn lead to numerous health complications; alcohol, that actually dries out the skin, just to name a few.

Why choose certified organic cosmetics?

This is why when choosing a beauty care product, we should favor alternatives that are available to us such as certified organic skin care products or certified organic hair care products that are rich in only certified organic ingredients and natural oils. This helps not only reduce the amount of chemicals absorbed on a daily basis into the skin and into the bloodstream but it also provides the skin and hair with natural nourishing ingredients that will leave it hydrated, replenished, smooth, firm and healthy.

The rule of thumb is to apply topically only what we would ordinary intake internally. It is therefore important to read the list of ingredients before purchasing a beauty care product to ensure that it only contains certified organic ingredients because organic products are in fashion and labels such as “organic” or “natural” are not a guarantee that the product is a truly natural cosmetic.

At last, we are what we eat so the skin should not only nourish our skin and hair from the outside but also from the inside. A balanced diet rich in organic fruits, organic vegetables, nuts, essential fatty acids (omega 3, 6, 9 such as the ones contained in organic evening primrose oil or organic borage oil), antioxidants and water galore will contribute to a healthy-looking skin and serve as an anti-aging in the long run.

Organic borage oil as a source of essential fatty acids for a beautiful skin

The borage plant, also known as Borago officinalis in Latin, originated in Syria but is present now in the Mediterranean region, in North-Africa and in South-America. The borage plant is also dubbed as starflower because of the flower being made of 5 blue perfect pointy petals, reminding the shape of a star. The borage plant can measure from 40 cm to 70 cm and is covered with a silky-like substance.

Borage herb can bloom throughout the year under mild climates but typically the plant blooms from May to September. The harvest is done from June through July although it is complicated as the grains do not all mature at the same time.

Borage oil benefits

The used part of the plant is the grain whose shape ressembles one of a pepper grain although the leaves and the flowers used to serve as a relief for inflammation of the respiratory tract or bronchitis. Borage flowers are also used to make an excellent honey.

The grain is used to produce borage oil and just like evening primrose oil, borage oil is one of the most valuable source of Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), the essential fatty acid with strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Organic borage oil can be used a therapeutic remedy for lipid metabolic disorders> and therefore can help solve dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, skin irritation and can also help prevent cardio-vascular diseases and arthritis. Taken in the form of borage oil capsules, borage oil makes dry skin softer, has anti-aging properties and is used as a treatment for fragile hair or breaking nails.

Organic borage oil can also be used topically and will have the same effects on the skin as taken internally. It moisturizes severely dry skins, helps with skin conditions such as inflammation, eczema, psoriasis, sunburn and restores the skin tissues and skin elasticity. It is also efficient for dermatitis and can be applied on baby skin.

Using an organic borage oil will ensure that you can use it topically, but also internally on a daily basis as a therapeutic remedy just like most organic products. Borage oil is not a cooking oil but can be used on salads and dressings for the whole family as an excellent source of essential fatty acids that will make everyone’s skin look beautiful. Alternatively, organic evening primrose oil can be used as well for its similar properties.