Posts tagged ‘skin’

October 25, 2012

Is Your Skin a Toxic Dumping Ground?

Are you aware of the toxic cosmetic ingredients commonly found in your personal care products?  There are lots of them lurking on that ingredient label. You know, all those long words that you struggle to pronounce. Some ingredients in beauty products aren’t that pretty.

U.S. researchers report that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors. Many products include plasticizers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to get grime off auto parts), and surfactants (they reduce surface tension in water, like in paint and inks). Imagine what that does to your skin, and to the environment.

There are virtually no restrictions on the ingredients that may be used in personal care products since the FDA cannot require safety testing of products before they are sold to the public. The cosmetic companies themselves are held responsible for the safety of their own products. As a result and driven by profit rather than a concern for human health and well-being, personal care products are often filled with synthetic and hazardous chemicals.

In fact, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG.org) “under federal law, companies can put virtually anything they wish into personal care products, and many of them do. Mercury, lead, placenta extract — all of these and many other hazardous materials that millions of Americans, including children, use every day…” Many of these ingredients are also linked to cancer.

We really need to start questioning the products we are putting on our skin and not just assume that the chemicals in them are safe or even “natural.” 74% of all personal care products on the market according to chemical industry databases contain:

  • Carcinogens- cancer causing chemicals
  • Teratogens- causing birth defects
  • Reproductive toxins- male & female infertility
  • Developmental toxins- hazardous to unborn children
  • Skin/sense organ toxicants- causing skin disease and rashes
  • Allergenic toxicants- causing allergies
  • Mutagens- causing cells to mutate

57% of all skin care products contain  penetration enhancer chemicals like Propylene Glycol and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate that drive the products down deep through five layers of skin and straight into your bloodstream!

The Toxic Top Offenders-

  • Known Human Carcinogens: Mercury, Lead Acetate & Formaldehyde, Coal Tar
  • Reproductive/Developmental Toxin:  Toluene, Dibutyl Phthalate
  • Possible Human Carcinogens: Petroleum Distillates, Ethylacrylate, Potassium Dichromate, Selenium Sulfide, Acrylamide, Phenylphenol
  • Respiratory toxicity hazards: Dimethylamine
  • Forms carcinogens when mixed: 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol
  • Banned for use in cosmetics: Zirconium Silicate, DC Blue 6, EXT DC Green 1, EXT DC Red 1, EXT DC Red 3
  • Limited evidence of cancer: Hexachlorophene

Most of the chemicals on this list have been banned by the EU for use in cosmetics. However, these chemicals are still widely used in cosmetics sold  right here in the United States.
Official Sources: CDC, HazMap and Scorecard.org, EWG.org

Are You Aware That Some Chemicals Can Change Your Hormones?

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the endocrine (or hormone system) in animals, including humans. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. Specifically, they are known to cause learning disabilities, severe attention deficit disorder, cognitive and brain development problems, deformations of the body (including limbs); sexual development problems, feminizing of males or masculine effects on females, etc. Any system in the body controlled by hormones, can be derailed by hormone disruptors. The critical period of development for most organisms is between the transition from a fertilized egg, into a fully formed infant. As the cells begin to grow and differentiate, there are critical balances of hormones and protein changes that must occur. Therefore, a dose of disrupting chemicals can do substantial damage to a developing fetus.
An example of a common endocrine/hormone disruptor is phthalates. These chemicals, also called “plasticizers,” are a group of industrial chemicals used to make plastics like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) more flexible or resilient and also as solvents. Phthalates are everywhere in modern society. They are found in toys, food packaging, hoses, raincoats, shower curtains, vinyl flooring, wall coverings, lubricants, adhesives, detergents, nail polish, hair spray and shampoo. Baums carries safe personal care products as well as safe cleaning supplies for your family, including your pets! Come and see the great things we have to offer!

Just for kids

Extra caution is in order for kids because, pound for pound, they are exposed to more contaminants in everyday products than adults. Their immature metabolism and organ systems are typically less capable of fending off chemical assaults. Even subtle damage to young bodies can lead to disease later in life.

Follow EWG’s tips for kids:

  • Use fewer products and use them less often.
  • Don’t trust ad hype. Check ingredients.
  • Buy fragrance-free products.
  • Avoid the use of baby powder.

Always avoid EWG’s top six chemicals of concern for kids:

  • 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3 Diol
  • BHA
  • Boric acid
  • sodium borate
  • DMDM Hydantoin
  • Oxybenzone
  • Triclosan

Visit the Environmental Working Groups website at  http://www.ewg.org

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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September 27, 2012

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Reblogged from organicfacts.net

The health benefits of coconut oil include hair care, skin care, stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism, relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer, dental care, and bone strength. These benefits of coconut oil can be attributed to the presence of lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid, and its properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, soothing, etc

How is Lauric Acid Used by our body?

The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia. As a result of these various health benefits of coconut oil, though its exact mechanism of action was unknown, it has been extensively used in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicinal system. The Coconut Research Center has compiled various references on scientific research done on coconut oil.

Hair Care:

Coconut oil is one of the best natural nutrition for hair. It helps in healthy growth of hair providing them a shiny complexion. Regular massage of the head with coconut oil ensures that your scalp is free of dandruff, lice, and lice eggs, even if your scalp is dry. Coconut oil is extensively used in the Indian sub-continent for hair care. Most of the people in these countries apply coconut oil on their hair daily after bath. It is an excellent conditioner and helps in the re-growth of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing damaged hair. It is therefore used as hair care oil and used in manufacturing various conditioners, and dandruff relief creams. Coconut oil is normally applied topically for hair care.

Skin Care:

Coconut oil is excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skins including dry skin. The benefit of coconut oil on the skin is comparable to that of mineral oil. Further, unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin with the application of coconut oil. Coconut oil therefore is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays wrinkles, and sagging of skin which normally become prominent with age. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema and other skin infections. Therefore coconut oil forms the basic ingredient of various body care products such as soaps, lotions, creams, etc., used for skin care. Coconut oil also helps in preventing premature aging and degenerative diseases due to its antioxidant properties.

Heart Diseases:

There is a misconception spread among many people that coconut oil is not good for the heart. This is because it contains a large quantity of saturated fats. However, coconut oil is beneficial for the heart. It contains about 50% lauric acid, which helps in preventing various heart problems including high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. The saturated fats present in coconut oil are not harmful as it happens in case of other vegetables oils. It does not lead to increase in LDL levels. It also reduces the incidence of injury in arteries and therefore helps in preventing atherosclerosis.

Weight Loss:

Coconut oil is very useful in reducing weight. It contains short and medium-chain fatty acids that help in taking off excessive weight. It is also easy to digest and it helps in healthy functioning of the thyroid and enzymes systems. Further, it increases the body metabolism by removing stress on pancreases, thereby burning out more energy and helping obese and overweight people reduce their weight. Hence, people living in tropical coastal areas, who eat coconut oil daily as their primary cooking oil, are normally not fat, obese or overweight.

Digestion:

Internal use of coconut oil occurs primarily as cooking oil. Coconut oil helps in improving the digestive system and thus prevents various stomach and digestion related problems including irritable bowel syndrome. The saturated fats present in coconut oil have anti microbial properties and help in dealing with various bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc., that cause indigestion. Coconut oil also helps in absorption of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

Immunity:

Coconut oil is also good for the immune system. It strengthens the immune system as it contains antimicrobial lipids, lauric acid, capric acid and caprylic acid which have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. The human body converts lauric acid into monolaurin which is claimed to help in dealing with viruses and bacteria causing diseases such as herpes, influenza, cytomegalovirus, and even HIV. It helps in fighting harmful bacteria such as listeria monocytogenes and heliobacter pylori, and harmful protozoa such as giardia lamblia.

Healing and Infections:

When applied on infections, it forms a chemical layer which protects the infected body part from external dust, air, fungi, bacteria and virus. Coconut oil is most effective on bruises as it speeds up the healing process by repairing damaged tissues.

Infections:

Coconut oil is very effective against a variety of infections due to its antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial properties. According to the Coconut Research Center, coconut oil kills viruses that cause influenza, measles, hepatitis, herpes, SARS, etc. It also kills bacteria that cause ulcers, throat infections, urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and gonorrhea, etc. Coconut oil is also effective on fungi and yeast that cause candidiasis, ringworm, athlete’s foot, thrush, diaper rash, etc.

Liver:

The presence of medium chain triglycerides and fatty acids helps in preventing liver diseases as they substances are easily converted into energy when they reach the liver, thus reducing work load on the liver and also preventing accumulation of fat.

Kidney:

Coconut oil helps in preventing kidney and gall bladder diseases. It also helps in dissolving kidney stones.

Pancreatitis:

Coconut oil is also believed to be useful in treating pancreatitis.

Stress Relief:

Coconut oil is very soothing and hence it helps in removing stress. Applying coconut oil to the head followed with a gentle massage helps in removing mental fatigue.

Diabetes:

Coconut oil helps in controlling blood sugar, and improves the secretion of insulin. It also helps in effective utilization of blood glucose, thereby preventing and treating diabetes.

Bones:

As mentioned earlier, coconut oil improves the ability of our body to absorb important minerals. These include calcium and magnesium which are necessary for development of bones. Thus coconut oil is very useful to women who are prone to osteoporosis after middle age.

Dental Care:

Calcium is an important element present in teeth. Since coconut oil facilitates absorption of calcium by the body, it helps in getting strong teeth. Coconut oil also stops tooth decay.

HIV and Cancer:

It is believed that coconut oil plays an instrumental role in reducing viral susceptibility of HIV and cancer patients. Preliminary research has shown indications of the effect of coconut oil on reducing the viral load of HIV patients (Reference).

Finally, coconut oil is often preferred by athletes and body builders and by those who are dieting. The reason behind this being that coconut oil contains lesser calories than other oils, its fat content is easily converted into energy and it does not lead to accumulation of fat in the heart and arteries. Coconut oil helps in boosting energy and endurance, and enhances the performance of athletes.

Coconut Oil and Alzheimer’s Disease:

There are reports of  research conducted by Dr. Newport stating that coconut oil is useful for treating Alzheimer’s disease. Apart from this there is no scientific evidence or traditional knowledge or coconut oil being used for treating Alzheimer’s. It was also not known traditionally that coconut oil helps in the brain function.

Why is Coconut Oil Solid?

Unlike most other oils, coconut oil has a high melting point – about 24 to 25 degress Celcius or 76-78 Farenheit. Therefore it is solid at room temperature and melts only when the temperatures go high. Hence, if you buy a bottle of coconut oil and find it solid, don’t think that there is some problem with it. Coconut oil is like this only. And of course, don’t keep it in your refrigerator.

How to Use Coconut Oil?

If you are using coconut oil for topical purposes, especially hair care, just melt the oil (if it is solid) by keeping the bottle in the sun or warm water. You can also take some coconut oil out and put it in a small bowl and heat the bowl over a flame (do not use microwave). Then take the oil on your palm and apply it to your hair. If you want to use it for internal consumption, simply replace butter or vegetable oils with coconut oil in your recipes. Remember, you need not switch to coconut oil completely, as you will miss the benefits of other oils and dairy products.

Can I Use Coconut Oil for Cooking?

Yes, in most of the tropical coastal regions, people use coconut oil for cooking.

I Don’t Like the Taste of Coconut Oil. What Should I do?

Try using coconut oil in some different recipe. That may help. If you get nauseated after eating coconut oil, don’t force yourself. As it happens with any other food item, your body may be allergic to coconut oil and it is best not to consume it.

For more information on coconut oil check out our other blog post here or stop in at any of our locations! Baums carries several high quality brands of coconut oil for every purpose!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

June 28, 2012

Are You Tired of Having A Bad Hair Day, Everyday?

Hair, skin and nails can speak volumes about one’s health, and  can be a reflection of inner health most of the time. Yet, sometimes no matter what steps a person takes, their hair and skin look  dry, dull and older than desired. This can be the result of stress, excess sun exposure, insufficient antioxidants, metabolic conditions and many other factors. This does not necessarily mean that a person is not healthy on the inside, yet they may not fully embody that radiant glow from within.

Supplementing your diet with nutritious foods filled with vitamins and other nutrients is beneficial for your skin, nails and hair, as vitamins help to keep your body healthy and strong. Also, they can help to aid in the prevention and treatment of numerous conditions that can affect the health of your skin, nails and hair.

Baum’s carries an array of great formulas that incorporate vitamins, amino acids, herbs and other nutrients to help regain strong, healthy  hair, skin and nails. Many of these formulas include the following:

Vitamin C is an antioxidant vitamin. Antioxidants are responsible for neutralizing free radicals, unstable molecules that may possibly harm your skin, nails and hair, making them become weak. Vitamin C helps to form collagen, a protein that is used to make skin and other connective tissues. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, low intake of vitamin C may result in dry hair and skin.

Biotin, sometimes referred to as “Vitamin H”, is essential for healthy skin, hair and nails. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that a diet low in biotin may result in symptoms such as dry, scaly skin or hair loss. Biotin is an essential nutrient, as it helps to treat hair and nails that are thin or brittle. It is widely used to help prevent hair loss and stimulate hair growth in chemotherapy patients.  Biotin also helps our bodies to break down fats, protein and carbohydrates.

Several other B vitamins help with hair loss or slow hair growth as well. Panthenol, or Vitamin B5 is often used externally in shampoos and other hair products to help increase thickness. A deficiency of Vitamin B12 can lead to anemia, which stunts hair growth.

Vitamin E is yet another antioxidant vitamin, effective in reducing damage that free radicals may cause your skin, nails and hair. Natural News reports that vitamin E helps to keep your hair healthy and aids in the prevention of hair loss by stimulating capillary growth and hair follicles, which are responsible for growing hair. Also, vitamin E encourages healthy hair growth by enhancing blood flow in your scalp.

Vitamin A  is also an antioxidant vitamin. A deficiency can be manifested as poor wound healing and acne. Vitamin A helps prevent dry skin, ensuring that your skin is moist and hydrated.

The most well-known herb used for adding beauty and luster to the hair when taken orally is horsetail. Named for its long brush-like appearance, this herb is packed with a nutrient called silica. Silica is a substance that strengthens bones, nails, skin & hair.The presence of silica in our bodies can maintain the luster in our hair, the strength in our nails and the tone of our skin. It adds resilience to the hair by fortifying it with strength and thereby lessening breakage and thinning. Silica also is known for increasing shine and body. Use daily for brittle or unhealthy hair.

Rosemary is an excellent herb to use topically to promote hair growth and increase scalp health. When applied to the scalp rosemary increases circulation and helps to gently remove excess sebum and dandruff, which can inhibit healthy hair growth.

Lavender is another herb that enhances the beauty of the hair. Lavender helps increase shine and gently cleanse deposits that dull the hair.
Hops are not only a main ingredient in beer, they also make an excellent natural hair conditioner and softener when applied topically. The herb also contains silica so it helps fortify the hair from within to add strength and resilience.

Essential Fatty Acids—Want healthy skin, hair and nails? Dr, Andrew Weil says: Try taking the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA). This essential fatty acid offers a wide range of benefits, from acting as an effective anti-inflammatory agent to promoting the healthy growth of skin, hair and nails. GLA can also be used effectively for other conditions such as brittle nails and hair, arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and premenstrual syndrome.

Unfortunately, GLA is hard to come by in the diet, so supplements are necessary. Three good, natural sources are Evening Primrose oil, Black Currant oil and Borage oil. Do not expect immediate results when taking GLA: it takes six to eight weeks to see changes after adding GLA to the diet.

Skin’s Best Friend, Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance within the body that  hydrates the skin. Young skin is smooth and elastic and contains a large amount of hyaluronic acid that helps the skin look healthy. As we grow older, the ability of the skin to produce hyaluronic acid decreases and the amount of HA begins to fall. Since hyaluronic acid helps to bind water, the ability of the skin to retain water also declines with age. As a result, the skin becomes drier, thinner, and less able to restore itself. The loss of skin fullness also means that the skin becomes looser. This leads to wrinkling and an older appearance. Using a topical HA serum can have dramatic effects on skin health.  Derma E makes a Hyaluronic Acid Cream as well as a Hydrating Mist that work wonders on dry, dull skin!

Everything mentioned in this article is available at Baums Natural Foods stores. Stop in and check out our great Hair, Skin and Nail formulas as well as our cosmetic section .  Give your body what it needs to look and feel your best everyday!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.