Protect Your Skin This Summer!

June Hummer

Keep Cool!

Summer is pretty much upon us, especially here in Arizona!

These warm, wonderful months are great. Pool parties, barbeques, beach fun, your new swimsuit and more. However, being around all these social events leads to one huge issue – the insecure feeling of imperfect skin. Now, this is silly. You should love the skin you’re in! Be happy with that body, you’re beautiful already (yes, men, you too)! But I am human as well and share these common insecurities. Sunburn, being out of shape, acne, and what if my pores are too big, or my lips chapped up? Yikes! Even though we are our own toughest judges, it’s common knowledge that we have to love ourselves before others can even have the chance to share that experience. So what do we do about this? Face-creams, washes, medications, indoor tanning…our skin goes through a lot of rough stuff and chemicals just to reach our perception of what we feel beauty is. This has the possibility of creating damage that may appear years later. I know I personally don’t want that.

One way to help protect our sensitive skin this summer is to be sure to wear the appropriate SPF sunscreen at all times while continuously out in the sun. Re-applying is also key and very important! I designed my lotions at Ember Cove to have the most gentle ingredients possible, while still providing SPF 15. Although this isn’t an alternative to sun screen, it provides enough cover without harsh chemicals, so when you’re not out continuously, you’re still protected. The gentle ingredients in my lotion such as Aloe and Shea Butter provide wonderful healing properties so even if you get a sunburn, my lotion is safe to apply (unscented works best in this situation). This also works as a great makeup primer for the ladies, as it won’t clog pores or irritate acne. Besides this, you’ll be happy your skin is velvet soft once you meet that special someone at those summertime events. ;)

Consider covering your lips, as they are more sensitive than your normal skin. Ember Cove lip balms contain all natural ingredients which heal while keeping your lips luscious and kissable. They taste great, and won’t leave a waxy feeling or buildup on your lips that may cause unwanted attention – or keep someone from giving you welcome attention! Healthy lips are happy lips, especially during the summer.

Enjoy the sun

Enjoy the Sun!

No matter what, be happy with how your skin looks and who you are. Imperfections are beautiful and they make you unique and individual. I can guarantee that confidence in yourself will attract way more people this summer than the perfect skin. However, sunscreen and other sun protection is the quickest way to healthy skin, as prolonged exposure can cause irreparable damage. Be safe, plan ahead, and you and your skin will have the best summer ever.

I design my products at Ember Cove to be gentle and have healing properties without the harsh chemicals you find in so many other products these days. They are safe to apply on sunburns, sensitive skin, and the unscented lotion is even gentle enough to apply to fresh ink on your new summer tattoo!

Remember, I am not a doctor. All my thoughts are my own opinions or suggestions and are not meant to be taken as a prescription or guaranteed healing remedy. All images used in this post belong to me.

 

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Calendula Oil – So many remedies!

Calendula Flower

There is an incredibly great reason I use calendula oil as the main ingredient in my Shaving Oil & Skin Salve at Ember Cove. The wide variety of healing remedies this little herb has to offer the skin are simply amazing. You may recognize “calendula” as its other name, the common flower, Marigold. When the flowers are infused into an oil base, the healing properties flourish. For many cases, calendula oil can be used as an alternative to Neosporin. Time to list a few big words. Calendula naturally contains anti-oxidants and offers antibacterial, antiseptic, antimicrobial, astringent, anti-fungal, antiviral, and immunostimulant properties. Wow! This makes it useful for disinfecting and treating minor cuts, wounds, and scratches (hence the “Skin Salve” part of my Shaving Oil). Not enough? It is also anti-inflammatory when applied topically. Because of this, you will more than likely find relief and a speedier recovery when applying it to other irritations as well like burns, rashes, bruises, yeast infections, athlete’s’ foot, bee stings, and dry or chapped/cracked skin. In further addition, it will also benefit those suffering from skin conditions such as eczema, acne, and psoriasis.

My first experience with calendula oil marked the end of my shaving problems for life. I had won a contest on another blog where the prize was a small sample of calendula. When it arrived in the mail, I set it aside for future use. I had read a few things about the healing remedies it had to offer, but the timing wasn’t right to add it to any of my existing Ember Cove products. Well, a few weeks passed and I was getting sick of the red bumps and irritations that my electric shaver caused me, so I tried to shave with a razor instead. I used regular foaming shaving gel, applied liberally, let it soak in and shaved. It felt great, or so I thought. The next morning, my legs were COVERED with razor burn, ingrown hairs, big splotchy rashes…it was a disaster, I even took pictures because it was so bad. Because I own a bath & beauty company that focuses on healing skin irritations, the first thing that popped in to my mind was to grab some ingredient to slather on my shaving battle wounds. I thought of Shea Butter, but that’s really greasy when applied alone, same with coconut oil. Both of those were great options, but I didn’t want my legs to have that greasy shine. The calendula came to mind and I figured, “why not?”. I applied the oil, completely rubbed it into my skin and waited. The next day, the swelling that the ingrown hairs had caused had gone down, but there were still little scars and a few bumps from the previous irritation. A week went by with daily application, the scars completely healed and the ingrown hairs went away. Since I was due for another shave, I used the calendula and mixed it with sunflower oil to experiment. I used a regular throw-away razor with only three blades. The moment of truth came the next morning. I woke up and looked at my legs, and for the first time in 24 years, my legs had no irritations on them. They were as smooth as a baby’s bottom. I was hooked for life! I immediately started working on a recipe for my business, infused the calendula with olive oil and a few other choice oils, and came up with my Shaving Oil & Skin Salve at Ember Cove.

Speaking of baby bottoms, anyone with a baby in their life will appreciate this. One of the best uses for calendula oil is healing diaper rash. It soothes the area instantly, and helps with a speedy recovery for baby’s little hind end! Bed sores and rug burns can even benefit with an application of calendula oil. For the “older” kids, it contains anti-aging properties and broken or varicose veins will benefit from the healing properties. I have seen it suggested to “apply calendula oil after cosmetic waxing or laser procedures to calm the skin and reduce the inflammation and redness quickly while bringing a sense of relief to the site. As a bonus, it will reduce scarring”.

Calendula Oil

The process of creating calendula oil involves immersing the flower heads in an oil (I use olive oil at Ember Cove), and letting them slowly infuse with each other over a period of weeks. Because of this, individuals who are allergic to ragweed, goldenrod, or any other plant in the Asteraceae/Compositae family will probably not benefit from a calendula application. If you aren’t one of these unlucky people, then go ahead and enjoy the benefits of this medicinal oil all you want! Just be sure not to go absolutely bonkers and when using calendula topically, follow general guidelines for first aid, (aka don’t apply it to gaping or oozing wounds).

Be sure to check out the Shaving Oil & Skin Salve I make at Ember Cove! My business is how I make my living, so know that any purchase you make helps me personally. In return, my products are guaranteed to help you so it’s a great deal for both of us! :D Link this article to your friends and family, maybe even the guy at Starbucks who is always on his laptop! Educate everyone with the healing properties of calendula. Consider sending me a “like” on Facebook as well so that I can reach more people with my information. :)

A thank you to my sources:  Effortless  Eating, The Mountain Rose Blog, Delighted Momma, Ageless, Livestrong, Score Skincare, Langua Vert, List of Birthstones

Shaving Oil? Never heard of it!

Shaving Oil

Ember Cove Shaving Oil & Skin Salve

As many of you know, I have launched my newest product which is Ember Cove Shaving Oil & Skin Salve. I have such sensitive skin that even after shaving with an electric shaver I get razor burn. Shaving with an actual razor? It used to be out of the question. I became tired of razor burn, irritations, ingrown hairs and the acne caused by both of these, so I decided to look for an alternative. I was doing research on oils one day and a wonderful idea for a shaving oil came to mind. After doing an extensive search, I discovered myself that there are “pre-shave” oils, but little to no shaving oil, so I decided to make my own!

A couple months ago when I was trying out recipes for it, I asked my significant other if he’d try it. Since he is in the military, he needs to shave every single day and is prone to razor burns and irritations so I thought this would be perfect for him. The only answer I received from him at that point was, “I don’t think that’s going to work”. Perfect. He’s the hardest person to convince! I developed my recipe and gave it to him to try, and after a few days of ignoring the shaving oil on the counter he finally did. Immediately, he said it felt wonderful and a couple weeks later he actually came up to me and said, “you know, I actually like shaving now”.

So why does this “shaving oil” work? And why the “skin salve” part? Well, the shaving oil & skin salve is made up of 6 extremely healthy oils that all have individual benefits for your skin. Each oil works as a different salve and helps heal and soothe skin ailments. Like every product I make, this shaving oil serves multiple purposes and benefits to your skin besides just providing a close shave. The oils it is made with consist of Sunflower Oil, Aloe Vera Oil, Calendula Oil, Emu Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, and Lemon Oil. Sounds great, right? Maybe not yet, but I’ll explain why these are awesome.

  • Sunflower Oil has calming and emollient properties. It is nourishing and softening and can help skin that suffers from acne, eczema, rashes and redness. It contains very high levels of vitamin E.
  • Aloe Vera has been prized for hundreds of years for its medicinal and cosmetic properties. It can be used to treat various skin ailments like eczema, psoriasis, ulcers, dermatitis, acne and also to stimulate cell regeneration, as it is an excellent softening agent. The various enzymes in aloe vera oil reduce the itching, swelling and inflammation. The oil and gel of aloe vera can also be used to treat wounds, burns, scalds and even sunburn, as the plant extract counters any bacterial infection while increasing the circulation, which speeds up the healing process.
  • Calendula Oil has become one of my favorites. Its use is for skin irritations, cracks, slow-healing wounds, razor burns, psoriasis, eczema, sunburns, dry skin, itchiness, and inflammation. Perfect as a shaving oil ingredient!
  • Emu Oil is pretty outstanding. Research and history shows that Emu oil has been used for thousands of years as a natural medicine by the Aborigines of Australia. It was used for arthritis pain relief, to heal wounds, burns, sunburns, and to reduce the pain, itch & swelling of insect bites and stings. Emu Oil is gentle for all skin types, non-toxic & natural, non-comedogenic (does not clog pores) and hypo-allergenic so it’s great for people with sensitive skin and allergies.
  • Sweet Almond Oil is an excellent moisturizer. It also soothes and softens the skin. Safe for all skin types, baby massages, wrinkles, stretch marks, and great for really dry skin.
  • Lemon oil deploys antiseptic effects on minor infections of the skin, including acne. When mixed and diluted correctly (which mine is), this oil will leave you feeling refreshed with smooth, soothed, healthier skin.

Okay, that sounds a lot more awesome! But it sounds like an oily mess, why would I want to use this? Quite the contrary! This shaving oil will not make your skin feel oily at all with proper use, and will provide amazing benefits to  your skin that your normal shaving routine never did before! There are a few ways to use shaving oil, but for Ember Cove Shaving Oil & Skin Salve I recommend:

  • Wet the area with warm water
  • Shake the bottle to ensure the oils are mixed well
  • Apply Ember Cove Shaving Oil & Skin Salve, making sure to cover the entire area to be shaved
  • Optional: Apply shaving cream. However this product was made to eliminate the need for this.
  • Shave!
  • Rinse your razor often.
  • Rinse lightly and pat dry.
  • Rub the remainder of the oil into your skin and enjoy!

I also recommend making sure your razor is sharp, as dull razors are more likely to pull.

I am extremely proud of this product and quite excited about it as well. In fact, I guarantee that after trying it you will be hooked as well! If you’re not, there’s always a full refund waiting so what do you have to lose? I can write about this shaving oil & skin salve all day and night, and many people will be skeptical to even give it a quick try. I am confident that like my other products, this one is an amazing benefit to your skin – both to women and men alike! It comes in a few awesome fragrances that are faint enough to not irritate your nose, but pleasant enough to give off a sort of aftershave scent. This makes an awesome gift for anyone who shaves, and I highly recommend it to those who have to shave every single day.

Tried the oil already? Leave your feedback here! I am always eager to hear comments about any and all of my products.

Psoriasis – Not a Skin Condition

Bath ScrubI have seen numerous websites advertising that goat milk soap cures psoriasis. However, this is not true. There is no cure for psoriasis but there are treatments for your skin (and this is where my special recipe of goat milk soap really helps). Psoriasis is a medical condition that occurs when skin cells grow too quickly and instead of just being a skin disease, it is an inflammatory disease of the immune system that appears on the skin. Faulty signals in the immune system cause new skin cells to form in days rather than weeks. The body does not shed these excess skin cells, so the cells pile up on the surface of the skin and lesions form.

There are five different types of psoriasis but none of them are contagious. You cannot get psoriasis from touching someone who has psoriasis, swimming in the same pool, or even intimate contact. Psoriasis is much more complex, and it is unknown as to why it forms. Scientists are still studying what happens when psoriasis develops. They know that the person’s immune system and genes play key roles. In studying the immune system, scientists discovered that when a person has psoriasis, the T cells (a type of white blood cell that fights unwanted invaders such as bacteria and viruses) mistakenly trigger a reaction in the skin cells. This is why you may hear psoriasis referred to as a “T cell-mediated disease.”

This reaction activates a series of events, causing new skin cells to form in days rather than weeks. The reason T cells trigger this reaction seems to lie in our DNA. People who develop psoriasis inherit genes that cause psoriasis. However, not everyone who inherits genes for psoriasis gets psoriasis. For psoriasis to appear, it seems that a person must inherit the “right” mix of genes and be exposed to a trigger. Some common triggers are a stressful life event, skin injury, and having strep throat. Many people say that that their psoriasis first appeared after experiencing one of these. Triggers are not universal. What triggers psoriasis in one person may not cause psoriasis to develop in another.

For some people, psoriasis is a nuisance. Others find that psoriasis affects every aspect of their daily life. The unpredictable nature of psoriasis may be the reason. Some people have frequent flare-ups that occur weekly or monthly. Others have occasional flare-ups. When psoriasis flares, it can cause severe itching and pain. Sometimes the skin cracks and bleeds. When trying to sleep, cracking and bleeding skin can wake a person frequently and cause sleep deprivation. Sometimes a flare-up requires a visit to a dermatologist for additional treatment.

Ember Cove soaps are specially made to help treat and soothe inflamed skin caused by psoriasis. The mixture of goat milk and honey along with my other all natural, gentle ingredients has been helping many of my customers with their psoriasis treatments, depending on how severe it is. A nice alternative for heavily medicated products, my hypoallergenic soap and lotion is extremely beneficial to treating this chronic disease.

Please note that I am not a doctor and will never claim to be one. Consult your dermatologist and ask them if my soaps and lotions could be right for your skin. Everyone is different and reactions to products vary from person to person. Always know what’s good for you and make your decisions based on how you know your skin reacts. If you experience any inflammation or irritation, stop use of any product you’re using immediately and contact a doctor or dermatologist.

A thank you to my sources: Psoriasis Speaks, Psoriasis Net, eMedicineHealth, MedicineNet, NIAMS, Medical News Today, Psoriasis Connections, National Psoriasis Foundation, Inside-Psoriasis

Eczema – What is it?

Sample SoapsI take pride in making products that help soothe and even heal eczema. With all-natural hypoallergenic soaps and gentle lotions, I am excited to announce that I have helped many people with their eczema ever since I launched Ember Cove, including myself! So what exactly is this skin condition that I keep talking about on my site and in my blogs? Eczema is a general term for a set of chronic skin conditions caused by inflammation. Atopic dermatitis (AD) is the most common type of eczema, and has been called the “itch that rashes.” The general term “eczema” is usually used to refer to AD. The word “atopic” means an allergy that is usually hereditary, and “dermatitis” is defined as inflammation of the skin.

The word “eczema” also has a more general meaning. Eczema can mean a family of skin conditions that causes the skin to become swollen, irritated, and itchy. Many skin conditions are considered a type of eczema. Atopic dermatitis is just one type. Other types include hand dermatitis, nummular dermatitis, and seborrheic dermatitis. Dandruff is a mild type of seborrheic dermatitis. Diaper rash and the rash that many people get after coming into contact with poison ivy are other types of eczema.

What causes some types of eczema is pretty clear. One type of eczema, irritant contact dermatitis, develops after frequent exposure to a mild irritant such as a detergent or brief exposure to a strong irritant such as battery acid. Another type, allergic contact dermatitis develops when an allergen (substance to which a person is allergic) touches the skin. Common allergens include poison ivy and nickel. A nickel allergy is actually one of the most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis. Many everyday objects contain nickel, including coins, buttons, jewelry, and eyeglass frames. Eczema is not contagious, but since it is believed to be at least partially inherited, it is not uncommon to find members of the same family affected.

The exact cause of other types of eczema is not fully understood. Researchers believe that atopic dermatitis develops when many factors combine. These factors include inheriting certain genes, having an overactive immune system, and having something that dermatologists call a “barrier defect.” A barrier defect is a term that means “gaps in the skin.” These gaps allow the skin to lose water too quickly. The gaps also allow germs and other things too small to see with the naked eye to enter the body.

Seborrheic dermatitis is another type of eczema that seems to develop when a number of factors interact. These factors include the person’s genes, yeast that live on human skin, stress, climate, and overall general health. Research shows that seborrheic dermatitis tends to be severe in people who have the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This indicates that the person’s immune system plays a role.

Eczema can be a very stressful and frustrating condition, and can make living your daily life challenging and uncomfortable. The intense, frequent itch can cause loss of sleep and extreme discomfort. Eczema most commonly causes dry, reddened skin that itches or burns, although the appearance of eczema varies from person to person and varies according to the specific type of eczema. Intense itching is generally the first symptom in most people with eczema. Sometimes, eczema may lead to blisters, but it can also result in dry and scaly skin. Repeated scratching may lead to thickened, crusty skin. While any region of the body may be affected by eczema, it typically occurs on the face, neck, and the insides of the elbows, knees, and ankles. In infants, eczema typically occurs on the forehead, cheeks, forearms, legs, scalp, and neck.lotion

Eczema can sometimes occur as a brief reaction that only leads to symptoms for a few hours or days, but in other cases, the symptoms persist over a longer time and are referred to as chronic dermatitis. By washing with Ember Cove goat milk & honey soap and applying our luxury gentle lotion, you can help soothe and heal your eczema the natural way and make sure it doesn’t come back! Goat Milk, Honey, Coconut Oil and many other ingredients used in my soaps and lotions have already been explained in my blog as an eczema cure.

Remember, if you think you have eczema or any other skin condition, you need to consult with a dermatologist first. Only you know what is healthy for your skin, and my products are not intended to be a “cure-all” for everything, even though that would be awesome. Everyone has different skin types and not all conditions are the same, please note that I am not a doctor and will never claim to be one. If you experience any irritations while using mine or any other products, discontinue use immediately and consult a dermatologist.

A special thank you to my sources: WebMD, TeensHealth.org, NetDoctor, Medical News Today, EczemaNet, Neosporin Essentials, MedicineNet

Coffee, Coffee, Wash That Body!

Breakfast Soap

Ember Cove – Breakfast Soap

Many of us wake up to coffee in the morning, and a lot keep drinking it through the entire day. At Ember Cove, we want you to wake up to it a different way – using it on your body! Yes, you read that correctly. I want you to wash with coffee! Along with waking you up in the morning, coffee can also wake up your skin.

I wanted a soap that provided a bright, beautiful complexion, and after some research, came up with my Breakfast Soap recipe which is exclusive to Ember Cove. (It was also one of my very first recipes that got me started). The soaps contain two primary ingredients to make them special: Oatmeal, which we learned a couple posts back is extremely beneficial for your skin, and coffee. A bit odd, but coffee is actually extremely healthy for your skin, and rich in anti-oxidants. I try make products that compliment each other, and above all – benefit your skin. My Breakfast Soaps definitely will.

Not only can it destroy tough odors like fish, coffee has a number of benefits for your skin. From treating redness and inflammation, to reducing the appearance of under-eye circles, to getting rid of cellulite, caffeine really has all its bases covered. By incorporating caffeine into your skin care routine, you can reveal evenly toned, smooth skin all over your body. Because of its high levels of anti-oxidants, caffeine can help soothe and heal eczema, acne, and other skin diseases. It also contains phytosterols, which promote moisture retention and provide chemical-free sun protection. (To add to that, new studies are showing caffeine on skin may even prevent skin cancer).

Caffeine has potent anti-inflammatory properties that make it perfect for reducing inflammation and redness in your skin. According to Livestrong, In a 1981 study performed at the Seoul National University, researchers found that caffeine is able to reduce inflammation almost as well as aspirin! In a 1978 study performed at the University of Tennessee, researchers found that adding caffeine to anti-inflammatory creams significantly increased their effectiveness. Overall, use of skin care products containing caffeine will reduce and prevent inflammation and redness, leaving you with a beautiful, even skin tone. I just had to incorporate it into my soap, it was perfect!

coffeeI know we’ve all been there, waking up looking like a raccoon after a rough night’s sleep. These dark circles or bags under our eyes are caused by a number of things which include dehydration, lack of sleep or even allergies. By applying caffeine under your eyes with my Breakfast Soaps, it will help reduce the puffiness and inflammation which will make your skin have a more alert appearance. Caffeine also reduces the build-up of blood under your eyes which makes them have dark shadows.

For acne, caffeine again works like a charm while making your skin have a smoother, more radiant appearance. While soothing irritation and redness, it will also help heal wounds. It works as a gentle exfoliant, removing dead skin cells while allowing healthy regeneration of new ones. Caffeine is a vasodilator, which means that it constricts blood cells. While this sounds intense, it actually just means that it will reduce inflammation and firm and tighten your skin. This leads to reducing the appearance of cellulite. Quoted from Livestrong, In a 2008 study performed at the University of São Paulo, researchers found that an application of skin cream containing caffeine to cellulite reduced the size of cellulite fat cells by 17 percent. In addition, a 2007 study performed at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro found that caffeine cream applied to cellulite decreased the hip’s diameter in almost 70 percent of participants. While I’m not sure if Ember Cove Breakfast Soaps are that powerful, a nice coffee scrub in a wonderful bar of goat milk soap might just help!

What about you? Do you benefit from drinking coffee in the morning? It has some pretty decent health benefits internally as well, but I like to focus on the ones that apply to skin care. Personally I drink 2-3 cups a day, which has run in my family for decades. It’s more of a relaxing thing, and it really is nice and refreshing to wash my face with in the morning. I’d love to hear about some coffee stories, please feel free to share!

I love this disclaimer: Remember – I am not a doctor and I will never claim to be one. My posts are not here to replace any medical advice given to you by any professional. If you experience any kind of irritation you need to stop use of the product immediately and consult an actual physician or dermatologist. Everyone is unique and only you are responsible to know what is beneficial and healthy for your skin.

A thank you to some other sources: HubPages, Ezine Articles, CoffeeForums.com, Revitalize Your Health, Food Technology, Inside Cosmeceuticals, eHow, MedicineNet, Beyond Jane,