WILDCRAFTED HERBAL PRODUCTS
Your Natural Skin & Personal Care Solution
Natural Skin Care Newsletter: October Issue
Welcome to the October Issue of the Natural Skin Care Newsletter.
Spring has sprung here in Australia and Autumn is the season affecting our friends in the northern hemisphere. These seasons are important times for our skin and we've addressed the factors that need to be considered during these seasons in a couple of articles. We have also included other articles you will hopefully find of interest.
Kitty reports on captive birds and how to best care for them.
We hope you will enjoy our October 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)
Don’t put anything on your skin you would not put in your mouth...
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)
About A Herb of Interest: Passion Flower
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)
Kitty's Corner - I Like Birds
(by Kitty the Cat)
Newsletter - October 2008
You have probably heard people say “if you can’t eat it, you shouldn’t put it on your skin”. Well, as a general ‘rule of thumb’, this might not be a bad way to choose the skin and personal care products you use; but, is it a statement you should take literally?
Let’s look at a product that has 100% natural, vegetable-sourced ingredients and assume that all these ingredients are (at least at some stage or in some way) edible; for example, a coconut oil based moisturiser that also contains almond and olive oils, essential oils of rose and chamomile, honey, papaya enzymes and grapefruit seed extract as a preservative.
We know that coconut, almond and olive oils are often used in cooking, we can make herbal teas using rose petals and chamomile flowers and honey does not need any explanation. Papaya enzymes naturally occur in the skin and flesh of paw paw fruit, which is definitely edible and while most people don’t usually deliberately eat the seeds from their morning grapefruit, there’s no harm done should the odd grapefruit seed be accidentally ingested.
So far so good: we’ve established that our example skin care product contains edible ingredients. But you wouldn’t really consider eating your moisturiser, would you? Well, why not? It’s all-natural, from essentially edible sources…what’s the problem?
Firstly, it’s not likely to taste very nice and it would be a ‘meal’ with a fairly high fat content when you come to think about it!
Secondly, although it is an all-natural product, your jar of facial moisturiser has been formulated for a different function – protecting, moisturising and repairing your skin, not as a nutritional supplement.
Although the skin and digestive tract are both composed of epithelium, there are different types of epithelial cells, with different functions depending upon their locations.
One of the primary functions of the epithelium of the skin is to protect our inner environment from the external environment by reducing the loss of water from the body tissues and preventing harmful things (chemicals and microbes) from entering the body.
The nut and seed oils in the moisturiser help to soften the keratinised layers of cells at the skin surface. This is both a cosmetic and practical function of these oils: softening the dead skin cells removes the dry skin appearance and reduces the itchiness that layers of dry dead skin cells can cause. The heavier oils, like coconut oil and other nut butters, support the protective function of the surface skin layers and help retain moisture.
There’s a lot going on in the deeper skin layers (dermis): new skin cells are produced and immune cells ‘patrol’ to clean up debris and repair injured cells. Also, the hard-working sweat glands, sebaceous glands, sensory nerve endings and blood and lymph capillaries are located in these deeper skin layers. The topical (locally on the skin) application of essential oils like rose and chamomile and enzymes like papain, enables these substances to penetrate into these layers. This penetration occurs through micro-spaces (cell junctions) between the cells that make up the keratinised cell layers and via sweat and sebaceous gland ducts. Once these plant extracts enter the dermis they then exert their specific and localised effects on immune cells, capillary and lymph vessels, nerve endings, etc to keep the skin functioning in a healthy way.
Some claim that the skin is not an effective absorber of substances but there are many examples that can show this is not necessarily true. Good quality skin care products have to be formulated in such a way that the herbs, essential oils, vitamins and other nutrients are able to penetrate the skin barrier and exert their effects in the local dermis.
In contrast, the epithelium lining of your digestive system is designed to break down and/or absorb almost everything you put into your mouth.
If you were to concoct a meal containing the ingredients listed in our example moisturising cream, you would probably reduce the proportion of oils and increase the proportion of papaya and honey! This might help make it a bit more palatable to start with.
However, would it have a direct effect on your skin? Most of the oily ingredients would be broken down into smaller molecules in the small intestine, absorbed into the lymphatic system and then transported to liver for further processing. The papaya enzymes and honey would be digested in a similar way and most likely absorbed directly into the blood stream. The small molecules that result from the digestive processes can then be used by many different cells in the body, not just skin cells. Some essential oils with a small molecular weight can be absorbed into the blood stream unaltered via this digestive route and are then circulated to specific ‘target organs’.
In a nutshell, eating your skin care products would probably not elicit the direct effect on the skin that you would expect or hope for.
Around about now, a literal interpretation of the statement “Don’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat” starts to look a little shaky don’t you think?
My advice is, by all means consider what you apply to your skin carefully and if the ingredients look like they are edible then it is a good bet that the product is safe…but for best results, don’t eat it!
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The days are getting longer, the sun is getting stronger and all around us we can see the evidence that Nature is awaking from her long winter slumber.
Plants and animals are responding to the return of warmer days, becoming more active, producing new growth, building new nests and preparing for the arrival of new life.
Although we may not be as obviously responsive as the plants and animals to the changing seasons, we are also awakening from the hibernation of winter and preparing for increased activity in the coming months.
This is the time of renewal and revitalisation. Now is the time to make changes, to break old habits and patterns that we would like to be rid of and to make a new start.
Now is also a good time to start ‘spring cleaning’ the body. This can be achieved by drinking herbal teas, fresh juices and lots of clean, pure water that rejuvenate and cleanse the blood. Get out into the garden and start that home vegie garden you’ve been dreaming about all winter – just think of those fresh green salads!!!
The approaching longer daylight hours means we need to think about getting prepared for the ‘big reveal’ – exposing our winter skin to the ‘world’ and about how we are going to take good care of our skin when we are out and about, enjoying the sun and the fresh air.
Now is a good time to rejuvenate your skin by following these basic steps: exfoliate, cleanse, nourish, tone and moisturise.
Exfoliation in itself is a great way to not only remove layers of old dead skin that have accumulated during winter but to also stimulate the circulation in the skin and the production of new skin cells.
Exfoliation can be done in a variety of ways: dry or moist, using a luffah mitt or a natural scrub of some kind or a combination of these approaches. When choosing your exfoliation method, you need to consider the part of your body you are working on: facial skin and skin in more ‘sensitive’ areas should not be too vigorously exfoliated, especially if you have a sensitive or delicate skin type; skin on the soles of the feet, knees and elbows on the other hand is thicker and can withstand relatively abrasive exfoliation. Skin of the arms, legs, back and trunk will respond well to a moderate exfoliating approach.
Exfoliating scrubs that contain natural abrasives, such as fine ground rice, oatmeal, tea tree bark and pumice have been found to give good results, although pumice is probably not recommended for the face, neck and delicate skin areas.
Your scrub can be of a foaming type with a ‘soapy’ base or a creamy base type – in either case, the base provides lubrication to make use of the scrub more easily.
Exfoliation can be done daily if a very gentle scrub is used but generally it is recommended that exfoliation be done every second or third day to avoid irritating the skin. Also, exfoliation is best done BEFORE applying your toner, nourishing cream or moisturiser.
Cleansing and detoxifying the skin can be approached from both the inside and the outside, for example, a 24 hour fast from food every week or two combined with drinking plenty of juices, herbal teas and water, flushes the kidneys and bowels and ‘cleanses’ the blood of impurities. This enables the eliminative organs to work more effectively and the benefits to skin tone and texture are very noticeable after this regime has been repeated a few times. (NB people with existing health problems should consult their health practitioner before embarking on fasting regimes).
A diet high in fibre-rich foods and fresh fruit and vegetables is also a good way to help keep the skin looking good and healthy.
From the outside, skin detoxing and cleansing can be done using gel or cream-based masks. Masks are versatile and provide a means to draw impurities out of the skin and to apply nutrient clays, seaweed products, fruit extracts and healing herbs and oils to the skin.
Clay Masks that are formulated for drawing out impurities are applied to the skin and then allowed to dry-off to some extent, then washed off in water. Masks that are primarily formulated for the application of nutrients and healing botanicals often do not have a drying-off phase and can be removed using water or toner.
As masks can have quite strong effects on the skin, it is recommended that these be used once or twice a week to avoid skin irritation.
Cleansing lotions are gentle but effective and can be used daily to remove make-up and the grime that accumulates on the skin during the course of the day.
3. Tone and Calm
After you have completed your exfoliating and cleansing steps, it is time to tone and nourish your skin. Toning used to be done with alcohol-based toners but this practice has largely been discarded due to the drying effect that alcohol has on the skin. It is now more usual to use botanicals, like witchhazel, aloe vera or rosemary extracts and apple cider vinegar that have tonifying effects but do not dry the skin out. Essential oils like chamomile can also be used in toning preparations for an anti-inflammatory effect.
Toning helps to ‘calm the skin down’ and restores the acid mantle to the skin after exfoliating and cleansing.
4. Moisturise and Nourish
The final step to your ‘New Spring Skin’ is the application of nourishing and moisturising creams, lotions or serums to the skin.
These products are formulated to retain moisture in the skin and to protect the skin from the effects of external factors.
Nut and seed butters and oils are commonly used as bases or carriers of other ingredients such as essential oils and have the added benefit of providing a protective waterproof layer to the skin surface. Inclusion of fruit extracts, botanicals and micellised vitamin preparations provide the nourishing component in this important step and also address the needs of particular skin types or skin problems.
Moisturisers should be used daily after cleansing and toning and especially after exposure to the sun, bathing or showering, to replace the natural protective oily surface layer to the skin.
The use of moisturisers in this way helps to prevent premature skin ageing and other types of skin damage.
Start your ‘New Spring Skin’ regime about 6-8 weeks before you plan on ‘exposing all’ to the world to give your skin a chance to renew itself…in the process, you’ll feel fresh and revitalised within and without.
Wishing a hope-filled Spring Equinox to all!
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Autumn and Your Skin - (For our Northern Hemisphere Readers)
Autumn is well on its way in the northern hemisphere and with cooler days require us to cover up and keep the cold out. This has physiological effects on your skin and it’s time to start implementing some changes to your daily skin care regime.
The first effect you may see in your skin is a slight change in skin type. Often, during summer, the skin tends to become a little oilier and this is primarily as a result of increased perspiration and additional oil secretions from your sebaceous glands (oil glands).
During autumn and spring, your skin will reflect your true skin type(s) and during these seasons you need to make adjustments to your skin care regime.
Adding a nourishing night cream to your daily skin care regime is a great idea at this time of year for two reasons: (i) The skin absorbs nutrients best at night and (ii) a nourishing night cream can be heavier and richer than a day-cream, because you won’t be putting on make-up over it.
So by combining the four steps outlined above, you will help your skin make an easy transition into autumn and winter and avoid many of the skin problems often associated with this time of year.
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Botanical Name: Passiflora incarnata
Other Names: Passion Flower, Maypop
Parts Used: Leaves and whole plant
The plant is native to North, Central, and South America. While primarily tropical, some of its 400 species can grow in colder climates. The name passion flower dates back to the seventeenth century. The mystery of the beautiful blossom out of the unassuming bud was compared to the Passion of Christ. The leaves, stems, and flowers are used for medicinal purposes.
Uses in Natural Skin Care Products:
This herb is not generally used in skin care
Passion Flower (herbal extract) has been added to the Wildcrafted's
Uses in Traditional Medicine:
Nervine, hypnotic, anti-spasmodic, anodyne, hypotensive.
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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
Hello to you all, and a hearty Miau.
I hope you found last month's article interesting and helpful.
This month we'll look at:
I Like Birds!!!
Caring For Your Bird
Dr Bob Donely
Once you have taken your bird home, you become fully responsible for its care and well-being. We owe it to our feathered friends to give them the best possible care. If we remember that many birds are as intelligent as young children, and often have similar emotional levels, it becomes clear that it is not good enough to just put them in a cage with some seed and water, and hope for the best.
The first choice you need to make is where you are going to keep your bird. Birds can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but sudden changes can be detrimental. Windy areas should be avoided, although mild breezes will often be welcome. Fresh air and unfiltered sunshine are important, and if necessary you may have to put your bird outside for an hour or so each day. If your bird is from a tropical region, you may need to mist it with water once a day to keep it comfortable.
A simple rule is - get the biggest cage you can afford. Cages should be long, rather than high, as birds fly horizontally, not vertical. At the same time, the cage must be high enough to accommodate long tails if necessary. The cage should be made from safe, non-toxic wire, and should be strong enough to prevent the bird chewing its way out. Chicken wire is not suitable, as many larger parrots and cockatoos can chew it and become poisoned.
Perches should be clean, easily replaceable, appropriately sized, natural wood branches from non-toxic, pesticide free trees. As a guide, if native birds perch in a tree, it should be safe for your birds. Dowel or plastic perches should be avoided. Rope perches are often suitable. Only place 1 or 2 perches in a cage, and make sure they do not overhang food and water dishes.
Wide rather than deep dishes allow better access to feed and water, and ensure that all food items can be reached. Dishes should be stainless steel, plastic, glass or glazed ceramics. Terracotta dishes and galvanised dishes are not suitable, and many galvanised dishes have lead solder on them.
Sandpaper cage liners and perch covers can be detrimental to your bird's health. Newspaper is much safer, easy to replace and more hygienic. Sand or gravel floors should be avoided, as birds may overeat these substrates when ill.
A box should be provided in the cage for your bird to escape into when it needs privacy.
The cage should be cleaned thoroughly at least once weekly, and the floor liners replaced daily. Feed and water dishes should be washed daily.
Parrots are intelligent, active creatures, and should be allowed to exercise out of their cage at least once daily. This exercise obviously needs to be done under supervision, and in the safety of the home.
Placing the cage where your bird can see and participate in family activities will provide your bird with plenty of stimuli.
Toys can be very beneficial, but they must be selected for their safety. Branches, pinecones, cardboard boxes, or special bird toys all have their place.
Things to avoid
1. sandpaper perch covers and cage liners
2. air pollutants such as cigarette smoke, insecticides, burning saucepans
3. easily dismantled toys, and items with lead or metal parts.
4. access to toxic plants, ceiling fans, young children and dogs and cats.
For now, Miau from me, until next month.
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Source: Dr Bob Donely - Bob Doneley is the principal of the West Toowoomba Vet Surgery. He graduated from the University of Queensland in 1982 with a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc).
You can contact Eagles Nest Wildlife Hospital Inc.
Harry Kunz & Karin Traub
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