Some Honey, Honey?

 

As I made my daily green tea with honey and lemon drink this morning I began to think about the inevitable fact that winter is just around the corner.  Winter is a time for hot tea, coffee beverages, hot chocolate and the occasional hot toddy.  I’ve found that honey blends perfectly with all of these drinks.  But I also began to think about all the other things I use this golden delight for.  Not only do I put it to my favorite drinks, soap recipes and food recipes but I put it on my body quite often.  I never really thought about how much I use it or why I seem to always have it stocked in my pantry until today.

Skin Benefits of Honey

Honey is a highly concentrated sugar solution produced by honeybees. It’s color and flavor depend upon the type of flower used by the bees in their honey making process.  As I described above, honey is commonly used as a substitute for sugar or a flavor enhancer.  But aside from that, is honey good for your skin?

Honey is a natural product that doesn’t contain any chemicals or man-made elements.  It has been used for thousands of years all around the world in nutrition, medicine and skin care.  As far back as the days of Cleopatra, honey and milk were used to promote youthful skin.  Scientists are also researching it’s use in modern medicine for skin healing purposes.

Try Some Honey, Honey

Here are the main reasons to try some honey:

  • it is natural and free from chemicals, especially when you buy organic
  • due to its high content of nutrients it provides great nutrition to your skin
  • as a humectant it acts as a moisturizer hydrating and softening the skin
  • it has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and can be used as a natural antiseptic
  • its antioxidants eliminate free radicals from the body, protects from the damage of the sun’s rays and supports the skin’s ability to rejuvenate and refresh depleted skin
  • in wound management it can stimulate and speed up healing

Honey On Your Face

For an easy face mask, it only takes two ingredients.  Organic Honey and one other favorite from your kitchen.  I like to use a mashed Fresh Avocado or Ground Oatmeal.  Milk also works well as does, an Egg or Plain Yogurt.  Warn the Organic Honey and mix it with your other ingredient until you have a smooth paste.  Gently apply to your clean face and neck keeping away from the eyes.  Relax and leave the mask on for 15 minutes.  Wash it off with cool water.  Pat your skin dry with a clean towel. Lastly apply a moisturizer, to seal in the water.

Honey In Your Hair

Combine 1/2 cup of Honey with 1-2 Egg Yokes and 1 Tbsp Olive Oil in a cup.  Massage into clean, damp hair and let sit for 20-30 minutes.  For a deep condition, apply a plastic cap and sit under a hood dryer for 20 minutes.  Rinse with warm water.

 

What is Soap Scum?

Soap scum is a white or gray filmy layer that covers the surfaces around our showers, bathtubs, and sinks. Soap scum is actually formed thanks to minerals in your water that combine with the wonderful oil and moisturizing elements in your soaps.  Get rid of those minerals and you get rid of the scum.  Soap is getting a bad wrap.  It shouldn’t be called soap scum at all should it?  Maybe water scum is a better name.  Let’s just call it what it is.

Those with mineral filled hard water are much more likely to have water scum. This effect arises because the chemical makeup of those hard water minerals react with the properties of the soap by forming a solid precipitate (the scum). The soap is not your problem it is your water.  Hard water filled with minerals can also reduce the amount of creamy soft suds you can form with your soap bar.

Wherever water hardness is a concern, water softening is commonly used to reduce hard water’s adverse effects. If you have hard water you may use a water softener to do this.  Salt is mixed with water. The chemical properties from the salt replace the chemical properties of the minerals, eliminating the reaction to the soap properties and ending the scum problems. Don’t attempt to fix the symptom by sacrificing the health of your skin and using store bought detergent bars!  When you use commercial soaps, you may have found your skin feeling dry and stretched.  Those bars aren’t soap at all!  With the natural ingredients in handcrafted soap, you will find your skin feeling smooth and fresh, without any itchy feeling.  Address the root of the problem, your water source.  

ImageThe benefits of a good bar of handcrafted soap made from natural ingredients are several especially that they help in maintaining healthy and beautiful skin.

  • Handcrafted soap made from coconut, olive oil or palm oil, is rich in vitamins that helps people with sensitive skin and those who suffer from skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, eczema, and other dry skin problems.
  • Handcrafted soap is made in small batches to better manage quality and consistency.
  • Handcrafted soap contains glycerin that is a necessary moisturizing agent found in lotions and other skin creams.
  • The natural oils in handcrafted soap, such as jojoba oil help in balancing the skin complexion.
  • Natural handcrafted soaps do not contain synthetic fragrances or colors and this helps you avoid ingredients that can be harmful to your skin or cause reactions on sensitive skin
  • Natural handcrafted soap is completely environment friendly and thus, by using it you are actually doing a favor to the environment.

Ahhhh…..The aroma of Lavender!

Essential oils are one of the true wonders of nature. The oils are stored in the cells of the plants, in places like the leaves/needles (mint and pine), the flowers (rose or chamomile), bark (cinnamon), the roots (ginger ), the skin/rind (citrus fruits) or in the seeds (anise). They are the “essence” of the plant.

The majority of essential oils are obtained through two methods: expression and distillation. Expression is when the rind is pressed, squeezing the oil out.  But the majority of essential oils come from some sort of water or steam distillation. This by far is the most common process and can be done at home too!  The heat from the steam forces the plant to open up and release its oils. Just google distilling essential oils and you can find all the instructions you need to make quality essential oils right in your kitchen.

Ways to use essential oils

ImageCommon ways of using essential oils include, vaporization, massage, bathing, and compresses. But be careful essential oils (except in rare exceptions) should not to be applied to the skin without diluting them first.  Select your oils based on their therapeutic properties.  One of my favorites is Lavender.  Lavender essential oil, is floral and herbaceous, and always delightful. Aromatherapists use it because it has relaxing and calming properties. I always have it on hand for burns, bug-bites and skin irritations. And we Soap and Candle makers love lavender just because it smells so good.

 

Google is your friend, so research what you are looking for.  You can also pick up a book at your local bookstore if you really get into using essential oils. Do your research on the oil you want to use BEFORE using it.

Vaporization: I use Lavender in my vaporizer and on my pillowcase.  You can also use essential oils in a small container over a radiator, or in a light bulb ring diffuser (found at our local craft store) to softly scent a room.  Or treat your stress or cold by placing a drop or two onto a tissue or pillowcase.

Baths: I also use Lavender in my baths.  Put drops of essential oil in your bath and soak to sooth achy muscles or to simply relax.

Massage: Lavender is a wonder scent for massage therapy.  Blend your essential oils into a base oil such as sweet almond or grape seed oil. Use this to massage your body or better yet to massage someone else.

Compresses: Essential oils can be used to as an effective way of relieve pain and reduce inflammation.  Apply them as a compress to the affected area.

Can you smell the aroma of Lavender and the level of relaxation that can be associated with this essential oil???? Well just imagine “Lavender Fields” in an Natural Soap, Soak or Oil. You can have all that you have imagined at http://www.bathedbynature.com/ Our Lavender Fields products are handcrafted from the heart to nourish the soul! WELCOME TO RELAXATION!

Benefits of Milk Soaps

There is a long history of using milk in soaps and other skin care products.  In fact milk has been used in bath products since ancient times.  Cleopatra, rumored to have had beautiful skin, was said to have taken daily milk baths.  But what, if any, benefit does your skin get from these popular products?

The three most important benefits of Milk Soaps are:

  • Gentleness
  • Moisturizing
  • Exfoliating

Gentleness

Milk soap is great for all skin types, oily, normal and dry.  Milk is rich in proteins, calcium, and vitamins that are easily absorbed by the skin while bathing.  Milk soaps are so gentle because their pH are very close to the natural pH of human skin.  This allows the soaps to gently cleanse without being harsh or irritating to the skin.

Moisturizing

Milk soap naturally contains milk fats, triglycerides and vitamins which help moisturize the skin. Goat milk contains capric-capryllic triglyceride, which is a popular ingredient in moisturizers.  In addition to the milk fats and triglycerides, the natural glycerin in milk soap, is also an effective moisturizer.  However,  most commercial soap manufacturers remove this element from their soaps and sell it as a separate product.

Exfoliating

Finally, the lactic acid in milk, a natural exfoliating agent,  breaks apart dead cells and helps your skin shed dry skin cells.  This gentle exfoliation can result in healthier looking skin.

Milk Types

Milk soap can be made using goat’s milk, cow’s milk, buttermilk, coconut milk, soy milk, or basically any milk.  I tend to like soaps made with buttermilk and goat’s milk because they feel richer in the final bar.  It could just be me, but I think this may be due to the higher fat content in these milks.  The difference could be so slight you should try different types and then choose your favorite!

Recipe

Milk is also commonly used in baths and lotions.  Try this simple milk bath recipe:
  • 1 cups dry powdered milk (butter, goat or other).  You can also use liquid milk of you prefer.
  • 1/4 cup Dead Sea salts, or Epsom salts
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • Add your favorite essential oil for scent
  • Add dried lavender, chamomile, rose petals (optional)
Mix all ingredients together and pour into the bath as you fill the tub and stir well so the milk powder dissolves completely.  Lock the bathroom, light some candles. Relax!

Healing Your Skin After Too Much Sun

I recently spent a week on vacation at Marco Island in Florida.  The weather was great except for a few afternoon thunderstorms.  Fortunately they moves through quickly so we could enjoy our evenings out.

I spent my days on the beach reading or in the water.  Although I used my sun block religiously I still got a little burned.  I have to admit the one day I didn’t use it is the day I went wave running and ended up with tingling skin.  So that night I decided I had better treat myself to a little “skin healing” before I headed back into the sun.

After dinner I took a cool shower then headed into the kitchen to find something to mix up as mask for my face, neck and shoulders.  I loved it so much I have to share the recipe.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • 1 medium ripe avocado
  • 1 cucumber
  • 3 tbsp. all natural plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. all natural honey
Peel and slice two pieces of cucumber to place over your eyes.  Cucumber is the perfect addition to your avocado face mask, as it cleans, nourishes, hydrates and helps reduce circles underneath the eyes.  Slice the remaining cucumber in half (the long way) and remove any seeds.  Place it in a blender and blend a bit.  Add the avocado, yogurt, and honey then  blend until creamy.  The Avocado can help your skin maintain its healthy and beautiful glow. Yogurt is a natural and gentle cleanser.  Honey has the ability to kill germs on the skin and can reduce swelling and inflammation, giving the skin youthful appearance.
Splash your face with warm water and pat dry. Apply a generous layer of the face mask to your face, neck and shoulders. Place the cucumber slices over your eyes, lay back and relax.
Allow the mask to set for at least 15 minutes then rinse thoroughly with warm water, and patting dry.
You must try this and let me know now you like it.

Do We Need Antibacterial Cleaners?

As the debate continues, millions of people use antibacterial soaps and household cleaners every day, believing that their germ killing ability will keep their families healthier.  Could these same chemicals that fight germs also be hazardous to your health?  Many of these products contain the chemicals triclosan and triclocarban, which recent research has shown have potential to affect hormones (estrogen and testosterone) and possibly interfere with the nervous system.  Currently, there are no studies on the effects of exposure in infants, but reports show that it has been detected in human breast milk and urine.  Some germs are actually beneficial to our health which leads to another issue in the use of antibacterial cleaners – they kill the good germs too!  Yet, they leave the .1% that could cause us the most harm. Some experts worry that completely wiping out all traces of germs will throw off the healthy balance of bacteria in humans.

According to many studies, regular soap and water is enough to wash away dirt, bacteria, and viruses. Proper hand-washing doesn’t need the added benefit of a antibacterial cleaner, to thoroughly clean your hands. The same is true for your home. Regular cleaning with soaps will remove much of the harmful bacteria and viruses.  While washing with soap and water removes a lot by itself, proper use of antibacterial cleansers does further reduce the amount of bacteria, for a short span of time.  This can help in households where someone is ill.  Otherwise, proper hand-washing and house cleaning techniques along with regular cleaning with soap and water should be enough to keep your family healthy.

Hand Washing – Here’s How:

This step-by-step guide will tell you how to wash your hands effectively so you know that you are minimizing your risk of catching and spreading illnesses.  Antibacterial soaps have not been proven to be more effective than regular soap, so you decide what’s best for you and use what you like.

  1. Turn on water to a warm comfortable temperature.
  2. Use bar of soap or a dime sized squirt of liquid hand soap.
  3. Lather and rub hands together for at least 20 seconds (Sing the “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” song 3 times).
  4. Be sure to wash front and back of hands, between fingers and under nails.  Using a nail brush is not necessary.
  5. Rinse all soap off hands.
  6. Using two paper towels, dry hands completely.  Don’t reuse bathroom hand towels!
  7. Turn off faucet with paper towels, then discard towels in garbage can.

Natural Home Cleaning

Here are a few basic household ingredients and items you can use to clean your home. Vinegar, baking soda, and lemons all have natural cleaning powers that rival manufactured cleaning solutions. They are easy and safe to use, and won’t put a pinch on your budget.  They will keep your house clean and smelling fresh.  Vinegar naturally cleans like an all-purpose cleaner. I prefer the white and use it on my hardwood floors weekly.  Mix a solution of 1 part water to 1 part vinegar and clean away!
Lemon juice can be used to dissolve soap scum and hard water deposits. It’s juice can be mixed with vinegar and or baking soda to make cleaning pastes. Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle baking soda on the cut section. Use the lemon to scrub dishes, surfaces, and stains. Mix 1 cup olive oil with ½ cup lemon juice and you have a furniture polish for your hardwood furniture.  You can also use it for a natural skin brightener!

Baking soda can be used to scrub surfaces in much the same way as commercial abrasive cleansers. Baking soda is great as a deodorizer – doesn’t everyone place a box in their refrigerator and the freezer!  Put it anywhere you need deodorizing action.  Other great natural cleaning ingredients include:  Cornstarch, Salt, castile soap and essential oils to add your favorite fragrance to the mix.

Is it Soap? Is it a Cosmetic or a Drug?

The FDA regulates cosmetics and drugs.  What determines how a product is classified is the intended used for the product.  The way in which firms market a cosmetic can make it a drug, or how a firm markets a drug can make it a cosmetic.

Cosmetics are intended “to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body . . . for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness or altering the appearance” [FD&C Act, Sec, 201(1)].  The definition of a Drug is “articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease” and “articles (other than food) intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals” [FD&C Act, sec. 201(g)(1)].  Once a product falls within these categories they become subject to strict regulations regarding approval, registration, labeling and good manufacturing practices.

So what is soap?  Soap is a product that is exempt from provisions of the FD&C Act.  It is a product that consists of an alkali salt of a fatty acid and is labeled, sold and represented solely as soap [21 CFR 701.20].  What does all this mean?  Soap does not contain detergents or other synthetic cleansing ingredients.  It consist of common oils or fats (i.e. olive, coconut, avocado, etc.) that have been mixed with an alkaline solution (referred to as lye) which saponify yielding soap with glycerine.  Nothing more nothing less.  Soap can not be made without these ingredients.  Once the fats react with the lye solution, NO lye is left in the product.  It’s simply soap, no regulation needed.

Today, most body cleansing products on the consumer market are actually synthetic detergents.  Did you ever wonder why the package doesn’t just say soap?  Because it’s not.

To learn more visit:  http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/ucm074201.htm

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