Inflammation- The Aging Catalyst

Inflammation is a catalyst of all the signs of aging in our bodies.

Inflammation is the bodies response to something going wrong.  It could be a bacterial or viral attack, an injury, or a exposure to an allergen or dangerous chemical. It is a protective mechanism meant to guard the body from harm.  The function of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out damaged cells and tissue, and initiate tissue repair. The five signs of inflammation are heat, pain, redness, swelling, and loss of function. The trouble with inflammation is that it often times becomes chronic, and begins to cause problems, not protect from them.

Chronic Inflammation vs acute inflammation

Chronic inflammation can result from a multitude of problems. These can include a chronic low grade infection, autoimmune diseases (possibly linked to chronic low grade infection), dysbiosis, or an imbalance in the natural bacteria in your gut, chronic stress, inactivity, poor diet that is high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, eating foods that cause an allergic reaction, and repeated exposure to chemicals and/ or medications that cause an immune response. Examples of more complex chronic inflammation include psoriasis, eczema, insulin resistance, etc.

Acute inflammation results from something the sees as a threat, or that is damaging to the body. Once the pathogen or allergen is removed, the inflammation goes away. Inflammation on skin presents itself with redness, itchiness, hives, broken blood vessels,  Inflammation on skin can be caused by both natural and synthetic compounds, with some compounds causing irritation in a large amount of the population, and some only affecting certain individuals.  It’s important to monitor the ingredients in your personal care products, and how you react to changes in your care regimen, including changes in laundry detergents and cleaning products.

How to address skin inflammation

Defending yourself against inflammation requires a two pronged approach. You have to root out the cause, but you also have to treat the symptoms.

Often, chronic inflammation is the result of burning the candle at both ends.  It’s hard to make time for self care when you’re that busy.  Cooking healthy meals is replaced by eating convenient foods. Exercising, enjoying a hobby, learning about what supplements you should take all takes time.  When we don’t make time for these things, the stress starts building, and our ability to handle is diminished because of our diet and exercise habits.  This decreases our immune systems ability to function properly, which could lead to a low grade chronic infection.

The way to stop this death spiral is to dig in and start to address one problem area at a time.  Take a walk every day.  Start adding in 1-2 servings of vegetables at every meal.  Write in a prayer journal.  Take a probiotic and multi-vitamin daily. Participate in a hobby that you find rewarding every week. Any one of these steps will help to improve your health, and give you more momentum to take on the next area.

Chronic inflammation can also result from frequently being exposed to something you are allergic to.  This might  be a food that you are eating or an environmental factor such as mold or chemicals.  If you think you might have food allergies, the Whole 30 diet plan is a great place to start to find out what is irritating your body.

Calm the symptoms of inflammation

There are quite a few natural remedies that help reduce inflammation in the skin.

  1. Apricot Kernel Oil – Apricot Kernel Oil is very light oil that is easily absorbed into skin.  It’s high in oleic acid, which means that it’s great at softening skin.  It is also high B-sitosterol. B-sitosterol is sort of like the plant version of cortisone, and it helps to reduce the itchy, dry skin feeling. Citrus Grove Skin Smoothing Oil  and our Royal Treatment Face Cream both contain apricot kernel oil and olive squalane, so it’s very soothing to skin.
  2.  Coconut Oil- Coconut oil is one of the best skin softening oils known to man.  It’s high in plant polyphenols, so it has great anti-oxidant power, as well as soothing to skin.  Coconut oil has been shown to be acne forming and pore clogging in some individuals, so you might not want to use it on your face.  (I have heard from many people that they don’t have any  trouble using it on their face, though.) Coconut oil also helps to reduce itching and inflammation in skin.  Our Citrus Grove Skin Smoothing oil and our Honey Bee Hand Cream both contain organic extra virgin coconut oil.
  3. Probiotics- Just like our guts, our skin has a microbiome that can be disrupted.  When this biome becomes unbalanced, we can experience redness, inflammation, or acne.  Applying probiotics topically to skin has been shown to reduce the appearance of redness and fine lines associated with inflammation.  Both our Honey Bee Hand Creams, Happy Baby Butt Butter. and Royal Treatment Face Cream contain probiotics. An easy at home remedy to relieve inflammation is to apply plain yogurt to the affected area, let dry, then rinse off.
  4. Calendula- Calendula petals are a tried and true remedy.  They have been used for ages to help calm red and inflamed skin.  You can infuse oil with calendula petals, then apply to irritated skin.  I would suggest infusing calendula petals into an anti-oxidant rich, calming oil such as apricot kernel oil for maximum benefit. Our Calendula soap uses calendula infused oils, as well as petals added to the soap at the trace, so that the wonderful properties of the flower are in the bar, without too many whole petals floating around the tub.
  5. Allantoin- Allantoin is the active ingredient in aloe and comphrey root.  It has been shown to reduce redness and irritation and promote wound healing 1.  Our Royal Treatment Face Cream, Happy Baby Butt Butter, and Bee Rugged Hand Salve.
  6. Essential Oils- Lavender, Geranium, Rose, Clary Sage, and German Chamomile are all excellent for calming inflammation.

So to recap, eat healthy, exercise, make time for recreation. Use natural oils and botanicals to calm inflammation and give your lifestyle changes time to work. Through the years I have found that I am allergic to gluten and milk.  There are other foods that I’ve found I can only eat in small doses without causing a reaction.  I steer clear of strongly scented products, and try to use natural alternatives in my cleaning, as my lungs have become very sensitive to chemicals. I would love to hear what has worked for you in beating inflammation.

 

  1. Klouchek-Popova E et al. Acta Physiol Pharmacol Bulg. 1982;8(4):63-7.
How to stop the winter wrinkles

How to stop the winter wrinkles

Winter wrinkles – Ugh!

I just turned 40.  And to be honest, I’m taking an extra glance in the mirror.  And I didn’t like what I was seeing.  I wasn’t seeing 40 years of life, I was seeing a depleted woman.  I wasn’t taking proper care of myself, and it was showing.  I wasn’t even taking time to use the products that I make that are helping so many other women age well.  Lack of self care coupled with dry winter air was really doing a number on my skin.

WIth a little help from my husband and my boys, I am off to a much better year.  They could see the tiredness in my spirit, and they all stepped up so that I could have a little more space to take care of myself.

Here is I learned from my experience.

Stay hydrated!

  1. Drink more water than you think you need.  I was burning the candle at both ends, rarely even stopping for a drink.  If I did stop for a drink, it was a cup of coffee, which further dehydrated me. Cold air can’t hold much humidity, and furnaces do away with the little moisture that was left.  You might not be sweating as much, but you’re losing more water just through evaporation of water in your breath.  Breathe out humidified air from your body, suck in dry air from the environment. Repeat 23,000 times a day. So long hydration.
  2. Our bodies as a whole can become dehydrated, but our skin takes on its fair share in the battle of dehydration.  It’s our first line of defense in separating our insides from the outside world.  It’s in contact with that dry, thirsty air all day long. Trans-epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) is a fancy way of saying we’re losing our water through our skin.  Dehydrated skin can’t function as well as a barrier, and it also begins to look flaky and wrinkled.  What’s the difference between a grape and a raisin?  A raisin is just a dehydrated grape.  In order to maintain that plump, grape-like skin, we have to make sure we’re putting enough water in, and then keeping it in.  The very bottom level foundation for a healthy body and healthy skin is proper hydration. The next step is to keep that water in.  A good barrier cream will prevent water loss through your skin, and beeswax is a great barrier ingredient. You can check out our selection of beeswax skincare here.

Skin on the outside is a mirror to skin on the inside

Do you feel like you’re wrinkling and aging faster than you should?  Is your skin dry, red and flaky? Maybe you’re dealing with hyper pigmentation, aka dark splotches.  Did you think that surely you would have outgrown acne by now? All of these things reveal problems that are much more than skin deep, so of course solutions are more than skin deep. The major causes of these problems can usually be traced back to one of the following causes.

Inflammation from a poor diet, sickness, autoimmune problems, stress

Bacterial imbalance of the microbiome of skin and/ or gut ( pretty much the same causes as inflammation)

Oxidative stress from poor lifestyle choices and insufficient preventive measures (think sunscreen and a healthy diet)

Blood sugar issues from too many sweets for too long

Fat, Vitamin or Mineral Deficiencies from a poor diet or poor absorption

Hormone imbalances that resulted from consumption of synthetic hormones, prolonged illness, exposure to too many endocrine disruptors from chemicals in food and personal care products

 

A diet that is full of organic fruits and vegetables and low in refined carbohydrates and sugar, coupled with regular exercise and successful ways to cope with stress will work wonders in all of these areas.  (Might I suggest keeping a prayer journal to help you regularly cast all of you cares on Jesus, because He cares for you?)

Next I’ll discuss causes and effects of inflammation in your body, what your skin has to say about it, and what you can do about it.

Ramblings from the Bee Yard + Honeybee Hand Lotion Sale

Ramblings from the Bee Yard + Honeybee Hand Lotion Sale

SEASON CHANGES AND HONEYBEE HAND LOTION SALE

What better time of the year to look back at the summer and see how fast time has gone back and also to offer a Honeybee Hand Lotion Sale. Where has the summer gone anyway? I am sure you have been asking yourself that very question a lot lately. Kids are either back in school or will be next week. Leaves are starting to turn colors. People are finally dressed properly (in plaid).

It is times like this that make you take a step back and realize that time really is the only commodity that we have. With time you can build, with time you can make a living, with time you can uplift a worn out spirit. Even a tiny rain drop can in time wear down the hardness of rock to create grand structures.

When life get so hectic, time always seems to be for another time. I will eat better and exercise when I have the time. I will read bed time stories when I have the time. I will visit my aging parent when I have the time. We get so caught up on the present we forget about the eternal.

We forget that the little things we can do with the minutes we have could have long lasting effects. In some cases they might be the only thing that gives us more time.

TAKE SOME TIME

Reflecting back on the past three months has given me a slightly different perspective on time. I ask that you do the same. As the season changes take SOME TIME to find where you can spend the time you have been given to make the world around you a little better.

Now on to the discounts!!

It is TIME for change. If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram you might already know of the great opportunity to be a part of the BonTon Close to Home Program. With that, it was time to change our packaging to facilitate better sales for our wholesale customers.

We now have boxes for our all natural beeswax hand cream. This allows us to stand our lotions up for a better display, as well as protect them from being dented all the time.

As we are in the process of switching over, we have many tubes that are well traveled and need a home. They are dented on the outside, but still have all the natural goodness inside. We are offering our dented tubes for $15, while supplies last. You can find the discounted lotions here. Get $9 off a Bees Wax Hand Cream while supplies last! Tell the cashier the reward code 947 786 when you pay. The reward expires on October 31, 2017. No cash value. Not transferable. In-store only. May be canceled at any time.

Time for a break

So take a breath, prioritize, then head over to the Bee Lovely Botanicals™ website and score some awesome hand cream!

 

So What is the Big Deal about Parabens Anyway?

So What is the Big Deal about Parabens Anyway?

Today we’re going to talk a little bit about a questionable ingredient, and why you may want to avoid it.

Paraben Molecule

Parabens. If you’ve read up on natural skincare, healthy living, or detoxing chemicals from you life, you’ve probably heard about parabens.

So what is the big deal about parabens anyway?

Parabens are used in products as a broad spectrum preservative. They protect products against bacteria, fungus, yeast, and molds. They’re cheap and effective, and easy to use.

Parabens have weak estrogenic effect.

The concern with parabens is that they have weak estrogenic activity, which could disrupt hormone activity. It is suspected that this disruption in hormones could lead to breast cancer. The estrogenic effect of parabens is actually quite a bit less than that found in foods such as soy. That said, they have found parabens in breast cancer tumors, and another study showed that 96-99% of urine samples of a diverse group of US residents contained parabens, This doesn’t show a causative link between cancer and parabens, but it does show a widespread use and exposure to parabens in our country.

Are parabens “safe as used”?

While the FDA and Health Canada have concluded they are “safe as used”, the EU has banned the 5 most common forms of parabens in all cosmetic products. The Dept of Ecology of Washington State also lists several parabens on their list of “Chemicals of High Concern to Children”.

Bee Lovely Botanicals does not use parabens.

At Bee Lovely Botanicals™ we don’t believe in scare tactics. I call parabens questionable because they are. There hasn’t been a causative link conclusively determined between parabens and breast cancer, but there is a preponderance of information that leads me to believe there is a pretty good chance they’re not good for you, or for me, or for my kids or your’s. We do not use parabens in any of our products. Check our labels, you’ll find ingredients like organic extra virgin coconut oil, beeswax, and probiotics in our natural skin care products.
So What is Cold Process Soap, Anyway?

So What is Cold Process Soap, Anyway?

So what is Cold Process Soap, anyway?

Cold process soap is made the old fashioned way with oils, water, and lye. It is a very exact science. Too much lye, and your soap is dangerous, too little, and you’ve got an ooey gooey mess.

All the heat of this reaction is intrinsic, meaning it comes from the reaction itself. Because no heat is added, it’s relatively slow, as in it takes at least 4 weeks for a batch of natural soap to cure! During the curing process, all of the lye is used up breaking down oils, and water is slowly evaporated, leaving a gentle, hard bar of soap. It takes patience to do cold process soap right!!

Activated charcoal propolis complexion soap

Activated Charcoal + Propolis Complexion Soap

Hydrolysis is oils being broken down by lye.

Fatty acids, such as coconut oil, palm oil, rice bran oil, and shea butter are being hydrolyzed, or broken down by the lye water. We always leave a little bit of the oils intact to help moisturize skin. It’s cool to be super fat when you’re a bar of soap! Glycerin is a natural byproduct of the saponification (soap making) reaction, and boosts lather and moisturizes skin.

These broken fatty acids end up with a water loving end (hydrophilic) and an oil loving end (hydrophobic). The way true soap works is the oil loving end grabs onto dirt and germs. The water loving end grabs a hold of the water as the soap is rinsed off, taking those bad boys for a wild ride down the drain.

Cold Process Soap with Calendula Petals

Calendula Bar Soap to help decrease the appearance of redness.

Cold Process Soap is Natural Soap.

Cold process soap differs from synthetic detergents in its ability to grab a hold of oils. Synthetic detergents, such as dish soap, and some liquid hand soaps and shampoos are very good at removing oils. A little too good, as they tend to strip skin of its natural oils and could leave your skin dry and itchy.

Cold Process Soap with oatmeal, honey, yogurt, and slippery elm

Oatmeal, Honey, Slippery Elm Bark, and Yogurt Powder make this bar great for sensitive skin.

Cold Process Soap is nothing like Melt and Pour Soap.

Just a little pet peeve here: glycerin melt and pour soap is not cold process soap! It is the left over glycerin from commercial soap manufacturing. To make it you just buy it, melt it (even zap it in the microwave), and pour it into whatever fancy little shape you want. After a few minutes it will harden up and your done. Even organic brands of melt and pour contain ingredients such as propylene glycol, sorbitan, and sorbitan oleate as well as undisclosed processing aids. It would be the same as comparing ice cream from the store that was scooped into a bowl to ice cream that was made from scratch, with tempered eggs, and slowly churned as it was freezing. Okay, I’ll get off my soap box, now!

 

Cold process soap is formulated with such a strong base, and it often has a high pH. Our soap is formulated to be very close to a neutral pH of 7. They clock in at around 7.5 to 8, which is great news for your skin!!

We add tussah silk fibers and honey to each batch, and some even contain pollen, and propolis! We also use many different natural actives, such as clay, activated charcoal, slippery elm bark, and oatmeal to name a just a few!

Check out all of our natural honey soap right here, and see which bar is right for you!