WILDCRAFTED HERBAL PRODUCTS
Your Natural Skin & Personal Care Solution
Natural Skin Care Newsletter: January 2009 Issue
Welcome to the first Issue of the Natural Skin Care Newsletter for the year. We'd like to take this opportunity to wish you a happy, prosperous 2009 and thank you all for your continued support.
This is the 5th year of our Newsletter and we hope you will enjoy the articles, hints & tips we'll provide over the coming 12 months. As usual we have included several articles and Kitty is looking at how you can attract more native birds into your gardens. We look forward to your feedback and suggestions.
Dermabration: How Safe Is It and Should You Get It Done?
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)
Herbs and Essential Oils that Rejuvenate Your Skin
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)
Sun Protection (Part I): Why You Can't Count on SPFs To Work
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)
About A Herb of Interest: Frankincense
(by Danny & Susan Siegenthaler)
Kitty's Corner - Creating Native Bird Habitats in Your Garden
(by Kitty the Cat)
Natural Skin Care Newsletter - January 2009
Skin Resurfacing Treatments: Dermabrasion, Microdermabrasion and Facial Peels - How Safe Are They and What Can You Expect Long-Term?
Skin resurfacing treatments are becoming an everyday occurrence. Pop-out at lunch and come back looking 10 years younger. If only it was that simple.
Unfortunately nothing is ever that simple and while there is a benefit in the short-term there is usually a price to pay in the long-term.
Let’s look at some of the most popular skin resurfacing treatments and what you might expect in the short- and long-term.
As with chemical peels, it is effective for wrinkles on the upper lip and chin, but cannot be used around the eyes. Some experts prefer dermabrasion to lasers for skin surfacing of people with darker skin colours.
Standard dermabrasion uses a rotating brush that removes the top layers of a person's skin (a bit like having your face sandblasted). As with chemical peels, dermabrasion selectively strips away the upper layers of skin, leaving the underlying skin layers exposed and very vulnerable.
Similar to chemical peels, after the procedure, the treated skin oozes and forms a scab, a reaction that looks and feels uncomfortable, but is usually only temporary. Postoperative care is similar for both procedures.
The results are similar to light chemical peels and patients can have this procedure done in their lunch hour and return to work. Usually, only mild redness occurs after treatment, although some patients can experience skin irritation, cold sores and other temporary side effects.
Acetone or rubbing alcohol is used to cleanse the skin first, than the acid is painted on and depending on the required depth of the burn, is left on for the required period of time – longer for deeper burn, shorter for light burn.
Expected short- and long-term results
The problem with all these treatments is that while some have been used for many years now, there is no long-term study that has looked at how the skin ultimately reacts to these types of treatments over a 20-30 year period.
Think about it in this way. Let’s say you get moderately burned on the back of your hand (a burn from boiling water for example). The skin will become inflamed and ooze at first and then either form a blister, or become a leathery, dark, discoloured area. The surface of the blister is the burned skin, while beneath the blister or discoloured area new skin forms. This newly formed skin is wrinkle free, smooth, youthful looking and all’s well.
Now take this hand twenty years down the track of normal ageing… What will happen is that the area of the hand that was burned (and remember this only happened once) will start to take on a slightly different colour and it will be clearly different from the surrounding, non-burned skin.
This is probably because when the hand was initially burned, the skin, while looking wrinkle free, etc., was nevertheless damaged and structurally weakened. This was not initially obvious. In fact the new, healthy skin looked younger than it did before the hand was burned. However, twenty years down the track, the damage now becomes visible and obvious. The skin that was burned is now ageing more rapidly than the surrounding skin and is changing colour.
If you think this is just a possibility that’s being hypothesised here, you’d be wrong. Susan’s hand was burned about thirty-five years ago and whilst it was not a severe burn, it was not unlike the type of burn caused by a strong chemical peel. Yes, after the skin healed, it did look very new, youthful and wrinkle free for an extended period of time, but now, thirty years later, the area that was burned has taken on a darker colour from the surrounding skin and looks older.
You see, it’s not just the short-term side effects that may or may not come to be after having some type of skin resurfacing treatment done to the face – it’s the long-term effects that are the problem. The negative effects of having these types of treatments done when you’re in your 20’s, 30’s and 40’s may not show up until you’re in your 40’s, 50’s and 60’s…
At the end of the day, the only way to healthy, youthful looking skin is to help your skin stay healthy. Rather than stripping off layer upon layer, year after year, why not nourish it, provide it with the type of nutrients it needs and be proud of having a few character lines develop?
Personally I’d rather have a few lines and wrinkles when I’m in my 60s’ than a face that’s one great big old scar.
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Why are herbs and essential oils so good for the skin and what is it that makes them work?
There are many essential oils and herbal extracts that are known to have beneficial and rejuvenating effects on the skin. Some of these include: Aloe vera gel, Apricot and Avocado oil, essential oils such as Calendula, Chamomile, Evening primrose, Frankincense, Lavender, and of course vitamins such as vitamin E, A and several of the B-vitamins.
Basically the reason why they work on and are beneficial to the skin is because the chemicals contained in each of these plant extracts have particular functions that have a direct effect on the skin. However, it is not sufficient to simply use a handful of herbal extract and/or essential oils that are known to be of benefit to the skin, put them together and hope for the best. The secret is, knowing what chemicals are contained in each of these plant extracts, what functions they have, and how the chemicals of one plant extract interacts with those of another.
The herbs and essential oils listed above are the primary ingredients in our Rejuvenating Night Cream and between them they contain over 500 known chemicals – no, I’m not going to list them here, or anywhere else for that matter, but the point is that these chemicals include every essential amino acid, all the vitamins, minerals and trace-elements that the skin needs to retain it’s health and rebuild damage to it’s structure in order to maintain a healthy vibrant looking complexion.
Aloe vera, for example, contains vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, E, F, Folic acid and Choline. It also contains 7 essential amino acids and many minerals that are known to benefit the skin. Aloe vera gel also contains active ingredients known as glycoproteins and polysaccharides. Glycoproteins are protein-carbohydrate compounds that speed the healing process by stopping pain and inflammation. Polysaccharides are a type of carbohydrate that stimulates skin growth and repair. These substances are also thought to stimulate the immune system.
Similarly, Lavender oil contains the natural alcohol linalool; ketones; esters; and aldehydes. Linalol has antiseptic properties, which effectively kill bacteria and viruses, and help in healing skin irritations as well as burns, wounds, acne and sores. The aldehydes in Lavender oil are responsible for its distinct aroma and soothing properties, while the ketones effectively reduce pain and inflammation. The esters contained in Lavender oil fight fungal infections and prevent scarring. Lavender is well known for its wound healing, cleansing and toning properties and removes redness and heat from the skin.
Subsequently, these two herbs, Aloe vera and Lavender, have the ability to repair damaged skin whether this damage is due to physical injury such as burns, cuts, abrasions, etc. or the natural ageing processes.
Apricot oil is a fine textured carrier oil which is easily absorbed by the skin. Carrier oils facilitate absorption of other ingredients into the skin. Apricot oil also contains many chemicals that are beneficial to the skin and its flavonoid glycosides have been show to be effective against both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria.
Evening primrose oil contains essential fatty acids including linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acid, which belong to the omega-6 family of fatty acids. These are powerful antioxidants that help to prevent DNA damage which can lead to premature ageing of the skin and skin cancer. They also prevent damage to collagen and elastin.
In addition to vitamins, minerals and amino acids, flavonoids are also very important in the maintenance of healthy skin tissue. Calendula, for example, contains high amounts of flavonoids, which are plant-based antioxidants that protect the body against cell-damaging free radicals. Researchers are not sure what active ingredients in calendula are responsible for its healing properties, but it appears to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial effects.
Calendula has been shown to speed healing of wounds (possibly because it increase blood flow to the affected area), and is used in creams for the healing of burns, bruises, and cuts, as well as minor infections. Comfrey contains allantoin, a substance that helps new skin cells to grow, along with other substances that reduce inflammation and keep skin healthy. In combination these two ingredients help the skin to repair itself.
Frankincense is another essential oil that has direct benefits on the skin. It is frequently used in the treatment of all forms of inflammation of the skin and mucous membranes. Having antiseptic, astringent and carminative actions on the skin, the essential oil of Frankincense is also reputed to preventing wrinkles and other signs of premature ageing of the skin.
As you can see, each of the herbal extracts and essential oils used contain substances that both directly and indirectly benefit the skin, and assist it in its ability to repair and rejuvenate itself.
Each of these ingredients, which happen to be the major ingredients in our Rejuvenating Night Cream, has a specific purpose and in combination they contain all the necessary chemical compounds required to help the skin repair and rejuvenate itself.
Rashid, R. et al. (2007) Flavonoid Glycosides from Prunus armeniaca and the Antibacterial Activity of a Crude Extract. Arch Pharm Res Vol 30, No. 8, 932-937.
Siegenthaler, S. L. and Siegenthaler, D. T. (2007) Medical Aromatherapy Manual. Wildcrafted Herbal Products Pty Ltd., Sydney
Tisserand, R. (1992) The Art of Aromatherapy. 13th Ed. The C.W. Daniel Company Ltd., England.
United States Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service. Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Website: <http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke/plants.html> last visited: 04/12/2008
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What exactly does the sun do to your skin?
Why Are Ultraviolet Rays from Sunlight Potentially Harmful to Our Skin?
There are two types of ultraviolet rays that have the potential to seriously damage our skin both in the short and the long term.
The shorter of the two is known as UVB. UVB rays do not penetrate the skin deeply, however, they can cause major damage to the DNA and are the type of radiation that will cause sunburn and lead to skin cancer.
The longer wavelength rays are UVA rays. These penetrate much deeper into the skin and produce free radicals. UVA radiation is associated with premature aging of the skin, also known as photo-aging.
How and Why Do You Get A Tan After Sun Exposure?
Exposing the skin to sunlight causes the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) to become thicker and initiates the melanocytes (cells in the skin that produce melanin - darker pigment) to produce melanin at a faster rate (Melanin absorbs the energy of UV light and prevents the light from penetrating deeper into the tissues). This process results in your skin developing a tan, the purpose of which is to give your skin increased protection against sunlight.
Problems associated with excessive or over-exposure to sun light:
There is quite a list of problems that can result from over-exposure to sunlight. The problems range from short to long term and they vary in severity from mild sunburn to malignant skin cancers that are potentially deadly.
Mild sunburn is not a major problem. The pain can be eased by using Aloe vera and Lavender and should not last more than a day or so. However, repeated sunburn will cause skin damage and premature ageing of the skin is usually the long term result. However, with increased severity of sunburn and increased frequency, developing skin cancers or skin tumours becomes a real possibility.
Skin cancers vary in severity and range from benign skin growths which can easily be removed to potentially fatal skin cancers that can spread to other parts of the body and may result in death. Not a price one should be willing to pay for a tan...
The skin is not the only organ that can suffer from over-exposure to the sun. The eyes are also susceptible to the sun's rays and may get damaged if not protected. Cataract, macular degeneration and other eye disorders are common results of over-exposure to the sun's radiation. While it is unlikely to loose one's eyesight as a direct result, there is always the possibility of complications that may end up in reduced or loss of eyesight.
Snow, water and even sand are highly reflective surfaces and on bright sunny days they multiply the effects of radiation. That is, even if you are sitting in the shade on a beach, the reflected radiation off the water and sand has the potential to cause serious sun damage to your skin. It is therefore very important to a) be aware of this and b) take preventative measures.
How to protect yourself from the sun's radiation
Wearing clothing that covers your whole body is one way to protect yourself. Using a wide-rimed hat, sunglasses, a long sleeve shirt and light, but full-length pants when out in the sun, is probably the best way to keep the harmful rays off your skin.
Stay in the shade as much as possible and avoid going out into the sun during the hours of 10:00 am to 4:00 pm in Summer and 10:00 am to 2:00 pm in Winter. Be careful of Daylight-Saving Time.
How Effective Is Your Sunscreen Lotion?
We are told that sunscreen lotions which contain SPFs (Sun Protection Factors) are also beneficial to keep the skin from burning, as they prevent the harmful rays from penetrating the skin. However, it has been shown that at least some of the ingredients used in these UV-protecting sunscreen lotions (ones that include SPFs) are potentially harmful to our health and should be avoided (Jarry, et al., 2004). This is why, we at Wildcrafted Herbal Products, do not put SPFs into any of our natural skin care products, but rely on anti-oxidants and other ingredients to help the skin cope with exposure to the elements.
Researchers have shown that “… sunscreens may prevent skin redness partly by UV absorption and partly by inhibiting the skin’s inflammatory response. As such, sunscreens might promote instead of protect against melanomas” 2,3. Another 5-year skin cancer study in Queensland, Australia, into the effectiveness of sunscreens, showed that from an initial 1621 participants, there was no difference in the number of skin cancers between the group of people who used sunscreens and the ones that did not. In other words, this study showed, that whether you use sunscreen protection or not, your chances of developing skin cancer is the same 3. Serpone, et al., (2007) report several other studies that showed similar results, that is, they showed the ineffectiveness of sunscreens.
Considering the wide use of sunscreens (containing SPFs) one could reasonably expect the incidence of skin cancers to reduce, however, this is not the case and in fact, especially in the northern hemisphere, the incident of skin cancer seems to be rising...
Natural Means of Protecting Your Skin
Apart from covering your body when out in the sun, there are additional precautions you can take to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun.
Essential Oils and Herbal Extracts:
Natural Skin Care Products:
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Uses in Natural Skin Care Products:
Uses in Traditional Medicine and Aromatherapy:
When used in Massage and Bath Oil blends Frankincense has an elevating, warming and soothing effect on the mind and emotions and overcomes negative thoughts and feelings. Frankincense oil is found in Wildcrafted Luxurious Massage Oil Blend.
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Susan and I hope you've enjoyed the articls and information provided in our Newsletter and look forward to any comments and feedback you may have. We'd also like to encourage all of you to suggest topics you would like to see us cover.
In good health
Danny & Susan Siegenthaler
© Copyright: Wildcrafted Herbal Products, 2009
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:
Creating Native Bird Habitats in Your Garden
The garden with the most potential to attract a variety of birds is one which contains the greatest variety of plants and plant-forms. A large acreage is not so important.
Mature indigenous trees
Gardens which contain, or are in close proximity to, several tall eucalypts (or the dominant indigenous tree, shrub or palm species in the area), can provide insects, nectar, seed, nest-sites and night-roosts.
The retention of mature flowering eucalypts, casuarinas, banksias, etc. is very important. Find out (if you can) which trees grew in your area before settlement, and try to plant at least one in your garden.
The greatest diversity of species naturally occurs where two or more kinds of habitat overlap--where grassland meets woodland, for example, or trees reach down to the edge of a lake. Gardens are ideal places to create this diversity on a small scale, as long as you include a mixture of the three main elements: tall tree cover, bushy understorey, and low ground cover or grassland.
Nectar, insects, seed and shelter
As for the question of native or introduced plants: our research found that as long as the tall trees were appropriate to the region, a mixture of native and introduced plants below them could attract as many resident bird species as a totally native garden. However, plants should be chosen with the needs of native birds in mind.
A thick understorey layer, of ferns, tall grasses or shrubs trom ground-level up to two metres, gives security to small birds such as thornbil1s, robins, scrubwrens and fairy-wrens as they move around your garden. Nearby areas of open grass or ground-cover can then be used with confidence: Try to include some prickly shrubs for safe nesting.
The following selection is a list of plants, both introduced and native, which have been proven to provide insects, nectar, seeds, or all three, for our native birds.
Please be careful. Some plants, although attractive to native birds, can become feral weeds in nearby parkland. This applies to some native Australian plants outside their natural region as well as introduced plants from overseas, so if you are uncertain please check with your local authority before making a final choice.
These may well provide the backbone of your bird-attracting garden.
Acacia: dealbata, floribunda, mearnsii, melanoxylon. retinodes
Banksia: ericifolia. integrifolia. marginata, robur, serrata, spinulosa
Eucalyptus (choose those native to your region)
Grevillea: alpina, banksii, robusta, rosmarinifolia. 'Honey Gem', 'Misty Pink', 'Ned Kelly', 'Pink Surprise', 'Poorinda Constance', 'Robyn Gordon', 'Sandra Gordon', 'White Wings'
Hakea laurina, sericea
Leptospermum: juniperum, laevigatum
Melaleuca: armillaris, hypericifolia, nesophila, quinquenerva, styphelioides
These plants will attract native birds into your garden and by doing this you'll help to preserve the diversity of species in your neighbourhood.
As you all know by now, I just love birds.... um, I mean watching birds...
For now, Miau from me, until next month.
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You can contact Eagles Nest Wildlife Hospital Inc.
Harry Kunz & Karin Traub
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