Saturday, September 1, 2012

All Natural Skin Care and Remedies

I have been on somewhat of a health kick lately.  It makes for a whole lot of good crunchy herbal information for everybody around me.  So much so that I am calling people up and telling them “Did you know such and such is good for such and such!”  This kind of thing gets me excited.  In my former life, I was a medic in the Army.  I dig medical information even if it is a little…  ahem…  less than mainstream now.  ...And it is less emergent than my previous life.  Going from combat medic to wannabe herbalist is a big transition no matter how you try to swing it.  But the part I love most about it is that I can still manage my family’s health without pumping them full of chemicals to get the job done. 

So lesson for the day!  I came across some good stuff lately and I did make it and try it out.  LOVE IT!  Of course, that means I have to share it now. 

Our skin is super important when it comes to our bodies.  Not only is it the largest organ we have, but it regulates our temperature, protects us from outside disease, and well…  it also keeps everything inside and in check right where it is supposed to be.  Taking care of your skin properly at an earlier age than when people start to worry about these things (like when you start to get wrinkles…  which, by then it is too late) is very important.  As always an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure- or something like that. 

Bath Salt recipe

  • 1 part baking soda or half a cup
  • 1 part unrefined sea salt or half a cup (REAL sea salt that still possesses its worth actually has a color to it)
  • 1 part Epsom salt or half a cup

I make these in bulk, so I am not sure the individual breakdown of the salts, but if you add 1 cup of olive oil to 8 to 10 drops of essential oils, you add to each bag 1 tablespoon of the solution.  This should make about 24 bags.  Lavender and tea tree make a great combination for cleansing the skin and to help relax.  Both of those have natural antiseptic and antibiotic properties.  I would also recommend making and keeping on hand for the cold season that is upon us a few of these with the combination of rosemary and eucalyptus scents.  Relax with a little cold therapy at the same time!  Nothing better for your body when you are sick.  Really, any combination will do.  Just find something that you like!

Put all ingredients into a Ziploc bag and mix well.  Just don’t shake too hard or you may have a mess on your hands.  I don’t tell you this from experience.  Nope.

These make GREAT gifts for people!  Or for a friend that is sick.  At the same time you are dropping off food for their family (if you do that type of thing), you can toss in a few of these.  They will be appreciated.

For a good acne treatment, use witch hazel with about 10 drops of tea tree oil added to the bottle.  Wipe over your face with a cotton ball after washing it for a good astringent. 

There are all kinds of things that are great for moisturizing!  Cocoa butter is probably one of the top on the list, but I found a recipe a few days ago that looks quite promising.  I did not make this, so I cannot take the credit obviously.   You can find that recipe here.  Personally, in South Carolina I don't usually feel the need to use any moisturizer, but occasionally in the winter time the air does dry out a little bit.

To cleanse the face (and body), I actually recommend a good castile soap.  It’s soft on the skin and great for sensitive skin.  Milk soap is really good, too.  I actually use a milk soap that a friend makes. 

Dr. Bronner’s has several different kinds of castile soaps, or you can make your own!  Amazon sells Dr. Bronner’s, but so does Target.  Making your own soap though is very rewarding and FUN!  I recommend making your own…  hint hint  Besides, it’s a good homesteading/ survival/ farming kind of skill to have! 

Skin problems can happen to everyone.  One of the most prominent is probably a fungal infection.  Ewww…  Anyways, fungal outbreaks can happen anywhere on your body.  Ringworm, athlete’s foot, sun fungus, etc…  It can happen to even the best of us, but is more likely during the spring and summer when we spend a great deal of time outside sweating in the heat.  Anybody that sweats a lot is especially prone.  But what do you do?  A lot of prescription medications REQUIRE that you get your liver routinely tested while taking the medicine because it can affect your liver so badly.  To me, that doesn’t necessarily seem like the benefits outweigh the risks.  There is a natural alternative. 

Apple cider vinegar works WONDERS on fungal infections no matter where they are.  There are different ways of application for each kind of fungal infection.  On a side note, DO NOT ever apply hydrocortisone cream or any steroidal cream to a fungal infection.  It will feed off of it and rapidly spread.

Athlete’s Foot- characterized by dry skin and cracking in between the toes and VERY itchy.  First step is keeping your feet as dry as possible.  Consider rubbing them down with baking soda to help absorb the moisture if you know that you are prone to this.  If you already have it, soak your feet in 2 cups of apple cider vinegar to a gallon of water.  Add half a cup of alcohol UNLESS there is an open cut somewhere on your feet.  In that case, skip the alcohol.  Make sure your feet stay clean by washing with a good soap (see above), and towel dry.  Go barefoot as much as possible.  If you are in a hurry and have a hard time just sitting down to soak your feet every so often, get a small spray bottle and fill it with ACV, then spray the affected parts of your feet every time you think about it.  The more often the better.  Do not wipe off unless absolutely necessary.  Let the skin absorb it.

Ringworm- characterized by round raised red areas in the form of a circle with normal looking skin in the center.  VERY contagious.  Dab on apple cider vinegar with a cotton swab.  Wash your hands as often as possible to keep from spreading it.  Try not to scratch.

Jock Itch- characterized by red raised dry scaly looking skin in the groin area.  Baking soda to keep dry.  That is the most important thing to do.  The baking soda will help balance the pH in that area of the body, making it more able to overcome any fungal infections in the future.  ACV to make it go away.  Notice a pattern here?

Sun fungus- characterized by raised red spots in clumps usually across the shoulders, back, and chest.  Use the ACV in a spray bottle every time you think on it.  This one is very hard to get rid of completely.  Once it does start to look normal again (the spots underneath will become white) KEEP USING the vinegar.  It is not gone.  Do this for two months or so.  You can add some witch hazel to the solution to spray on the skin, but let it sit there for at least five minutes after each application before wiping it off.  One part witch hazel, one part apple cider vinegar.  You can also use tea tree oil for an antifungal (because yes, it is an antifungal, too.  See what I like it so much?) 

Toe nail fungus- characterized by yellowish, brittle toenails.  This one, unfortunately, has no easy fix.  Soak your feet in the ACV in a concentrated solution every day until the toenails grow out completely.  And yes, that will take a long time.  It’s simple, but quite the lengthy process. 

For your shoes, try this recipe to help keep moisture out of your boots (REALLY important in the winter time), lessen your chances of getting a foot fungus,  and it will also help combat any odor that lingers.

Boot Freshener Recipe

  • 2 cups of baking soda
  • 50 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 1 cup of sage leaf
  • 6 large cotton muslin bags*
  • 6 large paper tea bags**

Mix ingredients together in a bowl, fill tea bags with mixture, and then place inside of muslin bags.  Will make six total and will last about three months. 

*Muslin can be found incredibly cheap anywhere that sells cloth by the yard.  You can get it bleached or unbleached and you shouldn’t need more than ¼ yard for this.  By the yard, it usually sells for $2 at the low end, and up to $6 for thicker muslins, but the thinner ones would do best with this.
**This can be replaced with old panty hose that can’t be worn anymore due to holes or something.  Just cut up enough to cover the muslin bags and secure both ends.  


My Spice Sage (fresh herbs and spices)
Mountain Rose Herbs (herbs and oils for wholesale, bulk prices available)
The Chemistry Store (for soap making supplies, bulk prices, pick up is available if you are local)

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