I have a lot of medical words in my brain, but few have been on my mind as consistently over the last several years as perioral dermatitis. Having suffered with it myself, I have done extensive research, both didactic and practical, often with myself as the guinea pig, and I am happy to share what I have learned.
Perioral dermatitis (POD) is a very common condition of the facial skin (perioral=around the mouth), especially in women of menstruating age. It is frequently undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, and acts like a cross between acne and eczema. The fact that these two diseases behave very differently may, in part, explain why it is so poorly understood, and so troublesome to treat. It varies in severity. In mild cases, it consists of patches of slightly bumpy, red or irritated looking skin, often with some mild flaking of the skin around the mouth, chin, and nose...read more
This topic was a little bit like understanding football for me. Someone could explain it fully, I would get it (mostly) in that moment, and then it would become really blurry and confusing in my memory afterwards. I have been working with these materials for a few years now, and I finally understand them. So, now let me try to explain it all to you.
The most straightforward of this aromatic group of materials is the essential oils. There are several ways to make essential oils, the most common of which is steam distillation. This means that steam is passed through a hopper containing raw plant material, causing the plants to release their aromatic compounds, which rise with the steam. As the combined steam and plant compounds are cooled in another tube or chamber, they separate into water and oil. The water contains the water-soluble (hydrophilic) parts of the plant, which is why the remaining water is called a floral water or a hydrosol...read more
Time to stop throwing the words “natural” and “organic” at consumers, especially when they are not accurate adjectives to describe the products being sold. Time to stop using phrases like “No Synthetics!”, when anything that has been altered from its raw, natural state is, in some sense, “synthetic”. Time to start telling consumers WHY certain ingredients are undesirable, and let them make informed decisions about what is important to them. Time to start telling the whole truth...read more
Sometimes it is the need to unwind that makes you crave a bath. Sometimes it’s a wet, chilly day that seeps into your bones and makes you cold right to your core. Sometimes it’s your kids, saying “Mama!” just one too many times. Whatever the reason, sinking into that tub is one of life’s great pleasures and if you're a natural skin care product junkie like I am, you're going to choose non-toxic, natural bath products that are excellent for your skin and easy on the environment.
Baths have been praised for centuries for their relaxing and rejuvenating qualities. Some natural hot springs have earned reputations for near-miraculous cures of various ailments, from wrinkles to rheumatism to skin disorders. While few of these claims have been studied scientifically, there is no doubt that regular, warm baths contribute positively to one's mental and physical well-being. These benefits are probably the combined effect of physical immersion in warm water and both conscious and unconscious psychological factors, not the least of which is making the choice to dedicate a few moments to yourself in a given day. Conversely, a bath that is too hot can leave you feeling tired, dehydrated, and more prone to dizziness or low blood pressure when standing, so a nice, warm bath is always better than a hot one...read more
It’s been a long time since I used anything but my own soap. It’s in every bathroom. It sits on counters all over our town. My husband and family and friends are hooked. I sniff it like I have some sort of embarrassing sniffing addiction. I travel with it. I scrub my toes with it and practically kick my leg like a dog getting scratched behind the ear. Sometimes I think it’s just because I enjoy making it so much, and wonder if it’s partly my silly pride that makes me love it. But, on a recent trip, I forgot my soap. I used the luxury hotel soap for two days. And then… I itched all over.
So what is it about Osmia soap that my skin was missing? And what was it about the hotel soap that it didn’t like??...read more
When people search the internet for black soap, they are usually looking for African Black Soap. It’s an ancient, specialty soap, made using centuries-old recipes and methods passed through generations, from the hands of elders who have done it since their parents taught them. It is made mostly in West Africa, specifically Ghana and Nigeria. The “secret” is in the ashes of cocoa pods, plantain leaves, and palm fronds, in various combinations, which are mixed with honey, shea butter, and other oils, and then stirred in the African sun for several weeks in a slow soap-making process. (Doesn’t that sound romantic?) It is called dudu osun, or ose dudu. (Dudu means “black” in several West African dialects, an unfortunate coincidence for American marketing purposes.) An authentic black soap looks like a lumpy piece of wood – brownish in color, with an earthy, fairly neutral smell. If it smells like perfume, or is perfectly pitch black, it isn’t the real African version – period.
So, what can this secret recipe do for you? There are lots of claims made about what African Black Soap can do – some are probably accurate, and some likely aren’t. Most of the claims revolve around relieving dry or irritated skin, psoriasis, eczema, and acne. In fact, for those who believe in the benefits, there is almost nothing that African Black Soap can’t do!...read more