Natural Skin Care Newsletter - February 2008


Natural skin care products by Wildcrafted Herbal Products

WILDCRAFTED HERBAL PRODUCTS

Your Natural Skin & Personal Care Solution


Natural skin care products by Wildcrafted Herbal Products

Natural Skin Care Newsletter: February 2008 Issue

Natural Skin Care Products by Wildcrafted Herbal Products

Introduction

Welcome to the February Issue of the Natural Skin Care Newsletter. We hope you have all had a great start to the new year and are looking forward to the months ahead.

This Newsletter has a focus on skin reactions to new products. Often we purchase personal care products only to find we are allergic to one or more of the ingredients. The articles below will give you some helpful tips on how to avoid purchasing products that are not suitable and if you do buy new products, how to test them so you won't end up with an unwanted surprise.

There are many exiting things in the pipeline and we will hopefully be able announce some great news very soon...

Stay tuned and happy reading


Index of the February Issue of the Natural Skin Care Newsletter:

(You can click on the topics below which will take you to the article of choice on this page, or simply scroll down and read each one)

Articles:

Feature Article: How and Why Should We Use Natural Skin Care Products
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)

Article: Skin Patch Test - Testing Your Skin's Sensitivity To a Product's Ingredients
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)

Article: The Role of Echinacea in Supporting The Immune System To Fight Skin Infections
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)

About a herb of interest - Herb Gentian (Gentiana lutea)
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)

Kitty's Corner - How to Plan and Prepare for Your Pet’s Safety in the Event of an Emergency Home Evacuation (Part 1).
(by Kitty the Cat)

 

Newsletter - February 2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How and Why Should We Use Natural Skin Care Products

 

Introduction

The human skin is the largest organ of the human body. It not only has quite a complex structure, but also performs several life sustaining functions.

We can live without a Spleen, Gall Bladder, or an Appendix, and we can survive with only one Kidney or one Lung, but we cannot survive without our skin. As a result it is of the utmost importance that we take care of our skin.

Using natural skin care products is a good first step in providing the skin with the right nutrients and building materials to retain its health and functionality.

What Does Our Skin Actually Do for Us?

Our skin has many functions, most of which we are unaware of until something goes wrong. They include:

  • Regulation of body temperature;
  • Protection against the elements;
  • Sensation;
  • Excretion;
  • Immunity;
  • Blood storage and
  • Synthesis of Vitamin D.

If you want to read about these functions in more detail you can have a look at this article: Anatomy & Physiology of the Skin.

In summary, these functions provide us with awareness of our surrounding climatic environment, protect us against some of the bacteria and other potentially harmful bugs in our surroundings, allow us to experience touch and feel, eliminate toxins from our body, store blood, and provide the means for our body to obtain vitamin D while protecting our body from the sun’s UV-rays.

Considering these vital functions our skin has to perform, it is no surprise that we need to look after our skin and make sure it is given every opportunity to function properly and remain healthy.

Why You Should Choose Natural Skin Care Products?

With all the media and news reports warning consumers of the potentially toxic ingredients in many of the commercially available skin care products sold in supermarkets and department stores, this is an easy question to answer.

Firstly, many of the commonly used skin care products contain artificial and/or synthetic ingredients that the body has difficulties in eliminating, and as a result it tends to store these chemicals in its tissues. Research has shown that the accumulation of many of these substances can have serious health effects.

If you are interested in learning more about some of the toxic chemicals used in skin care products, please read the article “Potentially Toxic Ingredients In Skin Care Products”. It will provide you with much information and research references for you to be able to identify what is in your skin care products and what should not be there.

Holistically natural skin care products do not contain artificial or synthetic ingredients. They should also not contain isolated, concentrated, natural substances, such as parabens (pseudo-natural preservative) and the like, that have been shown to be potentially hazardous.

How To Choose Natural Skin Care Products That are Safe and Effective?

This is where it starts to get really difficult. You see, many so called natural or organic skin care products are in reality nothing of the kind. Adding a miniscule amount of aloe vera to water does not constitute a holistically natural skin care product. It may be ‘natural’ or even ‘organic’, but it will not be effective and therefore is a waste of your money.

To have an effective aloe vera product for example, it requires at least 10% of the overall content to be aloe vera. Or, the aloe vera needs to be combined with several other active, natural ingredients that are combined to achieve a specific result.

The term ‘Organic’ is another area where consumers are being misled. Adding a single ‘organic’ ingredient and then calling the products ‘organic’, is quite simply wrong. You see the commercials on television and magazines every day... “xyz product contains organic this and organic that”... but no mention is made of the other ingredients that are contained in these products, many of which have been shown to be hazardous to our health.

There is yet another problem with natural skin care products, that is an area of confusion and potentially misleading. Just ask yourself what exactly is “natural”? What is actually meant by the term “natural”?

The word ‘natural’ congers up images of nature - pristine environments that make us feel good. A safe, natural environment that is conducive to health and a sense of well being. Spring water, waterfalls, pristine lakes, a healthy salads, Rainforests, etc., are all images that we perceive as ‘natural’, or in other words ‘good for us’.

The cosmetic industry has ceased on this and is using the word natural to instill in their advertisements a sense of well being. and the idea that this product is good for us. Unfortunately, one or two natural ingredients does not a natural skin care product make... Far from it, natural skin care products should not contain any ingredients that are not naturally sourced. This brings us to another problem with natural skin care products.

A naturally sourced ingredient, such as the various forms of paraben, may still be potentially hazardous. Just think about it - would you put arsenic or lead on your skin? No of course you wouldn’t. But, they are natural, so what’s the problem? Natural substances too can also be deadly poisons.

Applying this to skin care products, you might be looking for a product that is natural and contains AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), which we know help to remove dead skin cell layers which in turn helps to remove fine lines and wrinkles, revealing new vibrant skin.

Now, you could buy a product that lists as one of its ingredients AHAs, it might even contain AHA in its name, or you could buy a product that contains a concentrate called papain, which is a natural substance from the Papaya fruit. So, yes papain is natural and yes this product could, depending on other ingredients, be called a natural skin care product. However, papain is a concentrate and as such many people have experienced side effects because the papain is present in too high a concentration for some people.

A truly, holistically natural skin care product would not contain papain as an extract. Rather it would contain Papaya fruit itself. You see, the whole fruit still contains papain, however, it also contains other ingredients in the papaya that modify the excessively strong effect of the papain. Choosing such a product will, at least to a large extent, reduce any potential side effects from the papain, because the product is naturally balanced and contains naturally balanced ingredients that will benefit your skin rather than burn it.

The results of removing fine lines and wrinkles may take a little longer, but are overall better and you reduce the chance of ‘burning’ your skin with a concentrated AHA. Remember AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acid and we all know acids burn our skin.

How To Use Natural Skin Care Products?


Following directions

This is actually a lot more important than most people think. Directions for use are a communication by the manufacturer of a product to their consumers about how to use and get the best results from a particular product.

It has been our experience, that most people who purchase our natural skin care products do not read the directions and use our products the same way that they have been using their previous brand. This however, may or may not be the correct way to use our products.

Properly formulated products contain ingredients in sufficiently high quantities to achieve a desired effect if used in accordance with the product’s directions. Using more does not mean better or quicker results, rather using too much can have adverse effects or no more effect than the lesser quantity.

Conversely, if for example, the product’s directions suggest that it be used 2 or 3 times a day using it merely once is not likely to produce the desired effect in most cases.

This is obvious when we think about taking medicine. We read the directions and take the drugs, herbs, or what ever, as prescribed and hopefully we get the desired result.

So why is it that we do this when it comes to taking medicine, but ignore it (for the most part) when it comes to using skin care products or other personal care products?

Reading the instructions carefully and following them ensures that a) you are not wasting your money, and b) you should get the desired results.

Good and Bad Reactions from Using Skin or Personal Care Products

There are basically two possible reactions you may experience from new cosmetics, perfumes, skin and personal care products. There are good reactions and negative reactions.

Let's look at good reactions to begin with.

Good Skin Reactions to New Products

Herbs, essential oils and most of the other ingredients that you'll find in our range of products have a medicinal actions and are included for a specific purpose, that is, the formulations that make up our various products were originally designed to treat particular skin health issues. This intent, though we do not actively promote this, continues to this day.

As you probably know, there are three basic skin types; Normal, Oily and Dry. In addition, your skin may also be sensitive, prone to allergic reactions or under the influence of hormonal changes that are taking place in your body. The herbs and essential oils in our products are specifically chosen to normalise the skin given one of the skin types. The herbs and essential oils will have a therapeutic effect on the skin's structure and function in order to provide an environment under which your skin will start to function normally again.

Similarly this is relevant for sensitive skin that tends to react inappropriately to different stimuli (Chemicals, Stress, Food, etc.). It is possible, for example, that an individual with sensitive skin who is using our products for the first time, will experience a reaction which they may see as being a negative reaction.

This however, may well be totally the opposite to what is actually taking place. You see, in order for your skin's health to improve, it has to change. This change may appear at first as a worsening of a particular skin issue and this will understandably be interpreted as a negative.

Under normal circumstances however, this type of reaction, if the products are continued with, will only last for a few days and following this time the skin will improve and end up much healthier. This process is sometimes referred to as 'A healing crisis', and is actually a good thing to happen.

It signifies that the ingredients are doing what they are supposed to, that is they are repairing and normalising the skin's functions.

This is a normal and in fact good reaction.

Bad Skin Reactions to New Products

Obviously there are times when a new product may actually cause a bad skin reaction. Unfortunately a bad reaction often appears very similarly to a good reaction. So how can you tell the difference and what should you do?

The first thing to do when ever you purchase a new skin or personal care product is to test it to see if you'll have any adverse reactions to this product. Below is a detailed outline and links that will provide you with all the information you need to test a new product in order to determine whether or not your skin is going to react adversely to it or not.

Test the Products to Avoid Allergic Reactions

An important aspect to using any skin care, personal care or cosmetic products, whether they are natural or otherwise, is to test the products first in order to see if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.

To do this, follow the steps described in our second article below called The Skin Patch Test, which will provide you with a simple, yet effective step-by-step test that you can easily do at home over a 24 hour period, to reasonably ensure that you will not experience major adverse reactions to the ingredients in products you want to use on your face, or anywhere else on your body. This test is simple and very effective.

What to Look for Before You Purchase Your Next New Skin or Personal Care Products

Before you purchase a product, look at the ingredients list and see if the ingredients are easily recognisable. As a rule of Thumb, if the ingredients are easily recognisable it is more likely that the ingredients are of a natural source and have not been excessively modified. If on the other hand you need a chemistry degree to understand what the ingredient is, it is likely not to be a holistically-natural ingredient. It may still be a natural ingredient, but it is likely that it has been isolated and is used in a concentrated, possibly even synthetic form.

For the most part, most ‘natural skin care products’ widely available in the market place are far from natural or for that matter organic. Most have minimal quantities of some natural ingredient in an otherwise non-natural product and are referring to the one natural ingredient in the product, rather than the nature of the product itself.

Hopefully this article will clarify some of the confusion that exists about what is a natural skin care product and what is not, help you to choose natural skin care products that will actually live up to your expectations, and clarify why using natural skin care products is a healthier choice.

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Skin Patch Test - Testing Your Skin's Sensitivity To a Product's Ingredients

The Skin Patch Test is a simple method that can be used to test whether or not you may have a sensitivity reaction to a substance.

We suggest that new customers, especially those who have known sensitivities, allergies or immune system health problems, use this technique when first using Wildcrafted's Natural Skin and Personal Care Products. Indeed you should use this test when ever you use a new skin or personal care product you have not used before or not for a long time.

Method

  1. Place a few drops (2 or 3) or a small quantity of the product onto a band-aid and then affix the band-aid to the skin of the inner forearm.
  2. Leave the band-aid in place for 24 hours, then remove and check for any reactions. Avoid getting the band-aid wet during this period.
  3. If redness, itching, blistering or soreness has developed on the skin in the area covered by the band-aid patch, it is possible that you are sensitive to or have an allergy to the product or to some ingredient in the product.
  4. Wash the affected area in cold running water for 3 minutes, do not scrub the area.
  5. DO NOT USE THE PRODUCT!!
  6. If there is no reaction, the product is suitable for you to use.
  7. If redness, itching, blistering, soreness or some other symptoms persist or worsen after washing the affected area/s seek medical advice immediately.

If you have purchased more than one product and wish to test whether they are suitable for you using the Skin Patch Test, you can test them all at the same time by following the instructions below.

  1. Assign a number to each product and write this down on a sheet of paper, e.g. 1 - Milk of Roses Toner, 2 - Rose Day Crème, 3 - Hydrating Cleanser.
  2. Take 3 band-aids and write numbers 1, 2 & 3 on each one;
  3. On band-aid #1 place 3 drops of Milk of Roses Toner;
  4. On band-aid # 2 place 3 drops of Rose Day Crème;
  5. On band-aid #3 place 3 drops of Hydrating Cleanser;
  6. Affix the band-aids to the skin of the inner fore-arm and leave for 24 hours. Avoid getting the band-aids wet during this period.
  7.  If redness, itching, blistering or soreness has developed on the skin in the area covered by the band-aid patch, it is possible that you are sensitive to or have an allergy to the product or to some ingredient in the product.
  8. Wash the affected area in cold running water for 3 minutes; Do NOT scrub the area.
  9. DO NOT USE THE PRODUCT!!
  10. If there is no reaction, the product is suitable for you to use.
  11. If redness, itching, blistering, soreness or some other symptoms persist or worsen after washing the affected area/s seek medical advice immediately.

So when you purchase your next cosmetic, skin, body or hair care products, make sure you get a 100% money back guarantee, test the products on your forearm using The Skin Patch Test, and if you have/develop an allergic reaction you can return the products and get your money back.

Remember, it is better to be safe, than sorry.

 

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The Role of Echinacea in Supporting The Immune System To Fight Skin Infections

 

Medicinal herbs have a long history in fighting infections and have thus been associated with having beneficial effects on the immune system. Herbs such as Echinacea have become very popular herbal remedies for the treatment and prevention of the common cold and other similar conditions.

This article reviews some aspects of Echinacea's ability to aid in fighting of infections and in particular its benefit on aiding the immune system in combating skin infections.

The Skin and The Immune System

The skin of the body is one of the first lines of defence against pathogens, employing both mechanical and chemical barriers that block the initial attempts of microbes and foreign substances to penetrate the body and cause disease.

With many layers of closely packed, keratinised cells, the outer epithelial layer of the skin, the epidermis, provides a formidable physical barrier to the entrance of microbes. In addition, periodic shedding of epidermal cells helps remove microbes at the skin surface.

When the skin is intact, bacteria rarely penetrate the surface of healthy epidermis. However, when the epithelial surface is broken, by cuts, burns, wounds, and so on, an infection often develops. The bacteria most likely to cause such an infection are staphylococci, which normally inhabit the hair follicles and sweat glands of the skin. Furthermore, when the skin is moist, as in hot, humid climates, infections are quite common, especially fungus infections such as athlete's foot.

Certain chemicals also contribute to the high degree of resistance of the skin to microbial invasion. Oil glands (Sebaceous glands) of the skin secrete an oily substance called sebum that forms a protective film over the surface of the skin, known as the 'Acid Mantel'.

Sebum contains unsaturated fatty acids that inhibit the growth of certain pathogenic bacteria and fungi. The low pH of the skin, between pH 3 and 5, is caused in part by the secretion of fatty acids and lactic acid. The skin's acidity discourages the growth of many other micro-organisms.

Echinacea To Aid The Immune System In Fighting Infections

One of the most popular herbs in America today is the Native American medicinal plant known as Echinacea. The herb is named for the prickly scales in its large conical seed head, which resemble the spines of an angry hedgehog (echinos is Greek for hedgehog).

Results of archaeological digs indicate that Native Americans may have used Echinacea for over 400 years to treat infections and wounds and as a general "cure-all." Echinacea has also been used throughout history to treat scarlet fever, syphilis, malaria, blood poisoning, and diphtheria.

Although this herb was popular during the 18th and 19th centuries, its use began to decline in the United States after the introduction of antibiotics. Echinacea preparations became increasingly popular in Germany throughout the 20th century, where almost all of the scientific research on this herb has been conducted.

Today, Echinacea is primarily used to reduce the symptoms and duration of the common cold and flu and to alleviate the symptoms associated with them, such as sore throat (pharyngitis), cough, and fever. Many herbalists also recommend Echinacea to help boost the activity of the immune system, treat skin disorders and to help the body fight infections.

Clinical Trials Testing Echinacea purpurea

There is a large amount of research which has been done to test the effectiveness of Echinacea species on the immune system. It is important to remember that there are several species of Echinacea and that this article is only focused on Echinacea purpurea.

Studies show that Echinacea and its active components affect the phagocytic immune system, but not the specifically acquired immune system.

The Phagocytic immune system is a part of the immune system that comprises the lymphatic system (lymph nodes, lymph vessels and lymph fluid) the phagocytic immune system responds to inflammation due to microbes, physical agents or chemical agents that injure the skin. The lymph nodes are activated to produce special cells called phagocytes that engulf and clean up pathogens and dead cells. They are usually the first immune cells to arrive at a site of injury or infection.

Beneficial Effects of Echinacea purpurea in Fighting Skin Infections

From the above discussion and the research findings, it follows that using Echinacea as a key ingredient in herbal products to treat skin infections makes good sense. Echinacea's beneficial effect on the phagocytic immune system has been well demonstrated and thus it's effects on wound healing and treating of various skin infections is unquestionable.


Skin Infections and Echinacea purpurea

Over 500 scientific studies have documented the chemistry, pharmacology, and clinical applications of echinacea. The most consistently proven effect of echinacea is in stimulating phagocytosis, that is encouraging white blood cells and lymphocytes to attack invading organisms. Specific actions:

  • increases the number and activity of immune system cells, including anti-tumor cells:
  • promotes T-cell activation;
  • stimulates new tissue growth for wound healing;
  • reduces inflammation in arthritis and inflammatory skin conditions;
  • Mild antibiotic action: bacteriostatic, anti-viral, anti-fungal.
  • Inhibits the bacterial enzyme hyaluronidase, to help prevent bacterial access to healthy cells.

Therefore, Echinacea purpurea should be considered in the treatment of:

  • Cuts, grazes, skin ulcers and wounds;
  • Acne, Inflammatory Skin Conditions, and Fungal infections of the skin such as Tinea;
  • Burns
  • Other possible uses include: Dermatitis, including Contact dermatitis, Psoriasis, etc.

 

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About An Interesting Herb: Gentian & (Gentiana lutea)

 

Biological Name:
HerbGentiana lutea

Family:
Gentianaceae

Other Names: 
Gentian, bitterroot, bitterwort, gentian root, yellow gentian, pale gentian, felwort

Parts Used:
Roots

Active Compounds: 
Gentian contains some of the most bitter substances known, particularly the glycosides gentiopicrin and amarogentin. The taste of these can be detected even when diluted 50,000 times.

  • Bitter glycosides (gentiopicrin, amaropicrin, amarogentin, amaroswerin)
  • Alkaloids (gentianine)
  • Flavonoids (gentisin)
  • Pectin
  • Tannin
  • Mucilage
  • Sugar

 

Traditional Applications in Herbal Medicine:


Western Herbal Applications:

Actions:

  • Pronounced bitter digestive stimulant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Cholagogue
  • Anthelmentic

Indications:

  • Digestive atony of any sort
  • Anorexia, insufficient digestive secretions, intestinal and gastric inflammations
  • Hepatic and gall-bladder disease
  • As an adjunct to fever management and in conditions of chronic inflammatory disease where digestion appears to be less than ideal.
  • Dyspepsia and flatulence
  • Convalescence and debility
  • Food allergies sensitivities, intolerance
  • To prevent intestinal infection and help rebalance intestinal flora

 

The information provided here is not for the purpose of self diagnosis or self treatment. It is provided for the sole purpose of providing general information about herbs used in herbal medicine. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.

 

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We hope you enjoyed these articles and invite you to send us suggestions of topics you would like to see us cover in the coming months.

Your suggestions are always welcome and we endeavour to cover the topics you would like to know more about - so don't be shy, drop us a line or two!

 

In good health

Danny & Susan Siegenthaler

 

© Copyright: Wildcrafted Herbal Products, 2008

 

Kitty's Corner

Kitty

Hello to you all, and a hearty Miau.

I hope you found last month's article interesting and helpful.

This month I'll talk about  how to Plan and Prepare for Your Pet’s Safety in the Event of an Emergency Home Evacuation.

Part 1: Plan for Pet Disaster Needs

If you evacuate your home, DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND! Pets most likely cannot survive on their own and if by some remote chance they do, you may not be able to find them when you return.

Plan for Pet Disaster Needs

* Identifying shelter. For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets. Find out which motels and hotels in the area you plan to evacuate to allow pets -- well in advance of needing them. There are also a number of guides that list hotels/motels that permit pets and could serve as a starting point. Include your local animal shelter's number in your list of emergency numbers -- they might be able to provide information concerning pets during a disaster.

* Take pet food, bottled water, medications, veterinary records, cat litter/pan, can opener, food dishes, first aid kit and other supplies with you in case they're not available later. While the sun is still shining, consider packing a "pet survival" kit which could be easily deployed if disaster hits.

* Make sure identification tags are up to date and securely fastened to your pet's collar. If possible, attach the address and/or phone number of your evacuation site. If your pet gets lost, his tag is his ticket home. Make sure you have a current photo of your pet for identification purposes.

* Make sure you have a secure pet carrier, leash or harness for your pet so that if he panics, he can't escape.

For now, Miau from me, until next month.

Paw

Source: The Humane Society of the United States.

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