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Archive for May, 2011

I was on the tube the other day and noticed a girl sitting a few seats away. She was peering intently at her skin in a small mirror picking at a spot on her face. She continued to peer and scratch at the spot, then moved onto another area. She was still engrossed in this activity as I left the train about 10 minutes later.

That used to be me…

As those who read my blog and visit my website will know, I used to suffer from awful acne.

I used to carry a small mirror with me at all times. I would take it out a sneak a look at my skin when I thought no-one was looking. I would have been far too embarrassed to do it in a packed train, but it would have been very much on my mind. If anyone even glanced at me I would be worrying about what my skin looked like, and what the person would have thought.

I used to look in the mirror first thing when I got up in the morning, just before I left the house, immediately when returned home, and countless times in between, just in case my skin had magically healed since the last time I checked. But, no matter what the big companies’ marketing departments say, healing your skin is not a magic quick-fix issue that can be brought about by using the latest wonder-cream.

Spending all of this time focusing on your face is destructive. It’s stressful (and stress always makes a skin complaint worse!), and it’s a constant reminder that you’ve got this acne (or whichever skin complaint you may have) on your face.

The best way to stop focusing on your skin is to simply stop thinking about it so much. I say ‘simply’, but it’s actually a lot harder than it sounds, so here are three steps to help make it a little easier…

Step 1 – Reset you thought patterns

Every time you have a disparaging or negative thought about your skin, or you find you’re thinking about it too much, tell your mind to think of something else.

Tell yourself to be patient, and that you are doing the best you can for your skin. Then change your thoughts to something else, preferably something that makes you feel happy.

I like to think of sitting out in the garden, surrounded by plants and flowers and sweet-smelling herbs, feeling the warm sun on my body.

Step 2 – Look in the mirror less

The little mirror I used to carry around with me had been a gift, and was just beautiful. I loved it. But carrying it with me where ever I went just wasn’t helping, so I gave it away.

If you have any hand-held mirrors, especially the magnifying kind, maybe you should give them away, too. Or at least hide them in the back of a dark cupboard where you can forget about them. If you are finding it really difficult not to check your skin, you could even cover all the mirrors in your house with scarves or binbags.

This may sound like an extreme step to take (and would possibly gain a raised eyebrow from any visiters you may have!), but believe me, it will make a difference. If you really can’t stop thinking about your skin, and can’t leave it alone, then not looking at it is the best thing you can do to clear your mind.

Step 3 – Get a breath of fresh air

As I said earlier, stress can make a skin complaint worse. Being out in nature is one of the best ways to de-stress and improve your well-being. So visit your local park, beach, nature reserve, or whatever is available to you, as often as you can. Even if you arrive in a gloomy mood, I bet you won’t leave feeling the same way!

Take the next step towards naturally beautiful, healthy skin by clicking here to sign-up to the Freyaluna tribe.

I’ll send you weekly inspiration, recipes, ideas, and straight-talking skincare advice to get you on track for your most beautiful skin ever, the natural way!

As a bonus, you’ll also get a FREE copy of my “5 Secrets to Naturally Beautiful Skin” ebook. Join the tribe here!

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Let’s get a torch and magnifying glass and take a good look at what’s lurking in the corners of your toiletries cupboard…

Today we’re taking a closer look at some of the ingredients manufacturers put in the “skincare” products you use every day.

First up, lets take a look at some of the well-known ingredients…

Mineral oils (found on ingredients lists as parafinnum liquidum, petrolatum) – these form a layer on top of the skin that doesn’t allow the skin breathe. They are skin irritants, allergens, and potential carcinogens (substances that cause cancer).

Mineral oils are found in face and body lotions, baby oils, lipstick.

Detergents (sodium lauryl sulphate, cocamidopropyl betaine, ammonium lauryl sulphate, cocamide DEA, cocamide MEA) – cause skin irritation. They can promote the formation of cancer-causing substances known as ‘nitrosamines’ in products during storage.

To look at Sodium lauryl sulphate in particular, it was originally created for industrial use. When rinsed from the skin, the product will have cleaned the area, but will also have taken moisture from the top layers of the skin. In addition to this, when SLS gets into rivers and ponds, it can affect ducks and other water foul by ‘cleaning’ the natural oils from there feathers. This causes the feathers to lose their waterproofing, which can cause the birds to sink and drown.

Detergents are found in shampoo, body wash, shower gel, bubble bath, liquid soaps.

Fragrances (parfum) -parfum is a mixture of dozens of synthetic chemicals that are linked to asthma, skin irritation, nausea, mood changes, depression, lethargy, irritability and memory lapses.

These fragrances are found in most fragranced products.

Preservatives (parabens {methylparaben, ethyl paraben, butylparaben, propylparaben, etc.}, formaldehyde quaternium, methylisothiazolinone) – cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. Can be neurotoxic. Some, like parabens, are suspected hormone disrupters; they mimic the oestrogen hormone, and have been detected in breast cancer tissue, and in a 2004 UK study, they were found in 18 out of 20 breast tumours.

Preservatives are found in most, if not all (except natural products, of course!), cosmetics and toiletries.

Now let’s delve a little deeper, into the less well-known ingredients…

Bacteriocides (triclosan, benzalkonium chloride, chlorohexidrine) – kill bacteria, but can also react with water to form chloroform gas. If inhaled in large quantities this can cause depression, liver problems and cancer. Can cause skin irritation.

Bacteriocides are found in anti-bacterial face wash, toothpaste and mouth wash.

Aluminium (aluminium chlorohydrate, aluminium zirconium) -is a neurotoxin linked to Alzheimer’s disease. May also contribute to heart and lung disease and fertility problems.

Aluminium is found in deodorants and make-up products.

Phthalates (dibutyl phthalate {DBP}, diethylhexyl phthalate {DEHP}) – these are hormone-disrupting plasticisers that ‘fix’ a product to the skin. Can cause damage to the liver, lungs and kidneys. May affect fertility and foetal development.

Phthalates are found in hairspray, nail varnish, and perfumed products.

A report from scientists at the institute of Child Health at University College London found that using body scrubs and strong soaps on the skin could be behind a recent rise in eczema, asthma, hay fever and rhinitis, because they strip natural oils from the skin.

I’m sure you’ll agree that its all very alarming! But don’t think you can avoid the chemical onslaught simply by washing them away.

Typically, women use around twelve beauty products and toiletries in a day… cleanser, toner, moisturiser, soap/shower gel/exfoliating scrub, body lotion, foundation, mascara, eye shadow, lip stick, blusher, etc, etc… This can expose you to up to 175 different chemicals. It has been estimated that women can absorb around 2kg of chemicals through their skin each year!

Watching what you put on your skin is absolutely as important as watching what you eat! I found a study once that proved that eating lipstick would be better for you than putting it on your lips. That way, at least you have the digestive enzymes to help absorb it.

Maybe it’s time for you to clean up your act and turn over a new leaf. Ditch those potentially harmful products in favour of Mother Nature’s gorgeousness!

Take the next step towards naturally beautiful, healthy skin by clicking here to sign-up to the Freyaluna tribe.

I’ll send you weekly inspiration, recipes, ideas, and straight-talking skincare advice to get you on track for your most beautiful skin ever, the natural way!

As a bonus, you’ll also get a FREE copy of my “5 Secrets to Naturally Beautiful Skin” ebook. Join the tribe here!

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We’ve all heard things throughout our life that we then stick to because we believe they’re true. In our Beauty Myths Busted series we’re going to look at some of these myths in depth to see if they are really true.

Beauty Myth

Taking long hot baths is bad for your skin.

Beauty Fact

Well, yes and no. There are really two parts to this myth…

Firstly, the “hot” part. This is true. If you have the water too hot (like when you get in it physically hurts!), it can damage your skin. The hot water removes too much oil from your skin which means your skin is left dry. I know it sounds strange that too much water can dry out your skin, but it is true. Very hot water is also terrible for the hair, and can cause serious damage.

Secondly, the “long” part. There is advice ‘out there’ that you should only stay in the bath for about 10 minutes. That’s not a bath! That’s just a little dip. To me, a bath is a chance to wind-down and relax. Who can relax in ten minutes? You’ve just got in and it’s time to get out again! I love those baths where you completely lose yourself in distant thoughts, and have absolutely no idea what time it is when you finally emerge from the bathroom.

I find baths so much more relaxing that showers. After a nice bath I tend to sleep better too.

To make your bath a little more healing, and to stop your skin from drying out, you can add a bath oil or bath melt. These contain natural oils and butters and so will moisturise your skin as you bathe. They also contain wonderful essential oils to add a healing aspect.

So, to sum up, my advice is to have a bath with comfortably warm water, for maybe not longer than half and hour or so. I would strongly recommend using a bath melt or oil to prevent moisture and natural oils being stripped from the skin.

Now, lie back, relax and enjoy!

I’d love to hear what you think, so leave me a comment below, and share it on Facebook or Twitter (below) if you think others would benefit!

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Skincare Recipe of the Month is a monthly feature where we share one of our favourite skincare recipes that you can make at home, usually using ingredients you will already have in your kitchen cupboards.

This month we’ve got a recipe for Lavender Bath Bomb.

I’m sure you all know the wonderful and varied effects of lavender by now!

But here’s a little round-up anyway…

Lavender has long been known as giving effective relief from insomnia. The pain-relieving qualities of lavender deal effectively with muscular spasm, and can be useful for sprains, strains and sharp rheumatic pains. Lavender is valuable for most skin types and conditions, since it promotes the growth of new cells and exerts a balancing action on sebum (the skins natural oil). It has a pronounced healing effect on burns and sunburn, and can be helpful in cases of acne, eczema and psoriasis.

For this recipe you will need some sort of mould. There are many purpose-made moulds available for making bath bombs. However, you could use many items you already have in your home, such as cookie cutters, ice cube trays, yoghurt pots, etc.

Ingredients

40g bicarbonate of soda

20g citric acid

5 – 6 lavender flower heads

10 drops lavender essential oil

water or rosewater (in a spray bottle is best)

Method

  1. To dry the lavender flowers, heat the oven to around 180 C. When it has reached the temperature, turn it off. Place the flower heads in the oven and leave for around two hours. Alternatively, you can leave them somewhere warm (like an airing cupboard) overnight. When the lavender has dried, remove the flowers from the stems.
  2. Ensure the bowl and your hands are completely dry, or the mixture will start to fizz.
  3. In a glass or ceramic bowl, mix the bicarbonate of soda and citric acid together. Add the essential oils and mix thoroughly with a metal spoon. Now add 1tsp of the lavender flowers and stir to distribute them evenly through the mixture.
  4. Now we add the water. This is where the spray bottle comes in very handy! Spray the mixture with a little water and mix well. Keep adding water, little by little, until you have a mixture that holds together well. (see below for testing the consistency)
  5. Put the mixture in your mould(s). Depending on the size of the mould, you may make more than one bath bomb. If you are using a cookie cutter, place the cutter on a piece of baking paper. Press the mixture firmly into your mould using the back of a spoon.
  6. The water now needs to evaporate away from your bath bomb. Leave them to set for at least an hour, or preferably overnight.

To test for the right consistency, press a small amount of the mixture onto a teaspoon, if it crumbles easily it needs a little more water added. If the mixture is fizzing and frothing all over the place you’ve added too much water!

To Use

  • Store in an air-tight container to keep out moisture.
  • Add the bath bomb to a bath of warm water
  • Lie back, relax, and enjoy!

Variations

Why stop at lavender?!

This basic recipe can be adapted to include any scent you like.

You could try;

  • sage and marjoram for relief from aching muscles
  • calendula petals with orange essential oil for a healing and reviving bath bomb
  • peppermint and rosemary for a bit of get-up-and-go

The possibilities are endless!

I’d love to hear how you get on with this recipe! Do let me know by leaving a comment below.

If you think others would like this, please share via twitter or facebook, also below.

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