Posts tagged ‘natural hair’

Petroleum and Mineral Oil…Are Your Hair Products Increasing Your Risk For Cancer?

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Loads of the cosmetic and hair products on the market contain mineral oil, as do many creams and lotions. Mineral oil may sound harmless, but… it’s not. This concept is especially hard to grasp for those of us who have used it for so long. From baby oil to hair grease to lip gloss- this product has surrounded us daily for most of our lives…so how can it be bad?

Mineral oil is actually a derivative of petroleum, that’s right, the same stuff you put in your car’s engine! Because it’s very viscous (slippery), and very inexpensive many products use mineral oil as the main ingredient. This despite the fact that it’s a known carcinogen!

It acts as a sealant which means it blocks your pores and does not allow your skin to breath, a natural respiration process your skin very much needs. Blocked pores can lead to acne. And, because mineral oil can create an impenetrable film on your skin, and hair it may also block the absorption of any beneficial ingredients you may apply. It can also cause the hair to become dry and brittle and prone to breakage if it is not thoroughly cleansed to ensure the chemical barrier is completely removed.

“A study, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, found that commonly used moisturizing creams containing mineral oil are tumorigenic when applied topically to UVB-pretreated high-risk mice. What this means is that these creams and lotions can increase the rate at which skin tumors form. The study tested four common skin lotions:

  • Dermabase
  • Dermovan
  • Eucerin Original Moisturizing Cream
  • Vanicream

What these creams have in common is that they all contain mineral oil. Mice that were at high risk of developing skin cancer received a topical application of 100 mg of one of the creams once a day, five days a week for 17 weeks. The researchers concluded that the rate of tumor formation significantly increased, as did the tumor size per mouse. In fact, the number of histologically characterized tumors increased by a whopping 69 percent!” Dr. Joseph Mercola.

If 100mg per day sounds like a lot, it’s not, 100 mg is equivalent to 20 tsp. When we add up the total sum of all the products we use daily (makeup, lip stick, lip balm, lotion (most of us re apply), shampoo, conditioner, leave in, hair gel, curl cream, hair polisher, makeup remover, sun screen, soap, shower gel…the list can go on; with all of that if -we only use 20 tsp we’re fortunate.

Mineral oil has countless different names, but the same effect.

Alternate names include:

  • Adepsine oil
  • Albolene
  • Baby oil
  • Drakeol
  • Lignite oil
  • Liquid paraffin / paraffin oil
  • Mineral seal oil
  • Petrolatum
  • White oil

Safer Choices

One of the easiest ways to ensure that you’re not being exposed to potentially hazardous agents is to simply make your own personal care products, when possible, and if not read labels CAREFULLY. Some great natural moisturizers are EVOO and EVCO, these can be used for face and body. ( I personally LOVE my coconut oil) Coconut oil also is also a potent source of the beneficial fat lauric acid.

You can also find many organic skin oils and lotions these days. Just be sure to read labels and check products out before buying them to make sure you’re not being fooled by less-than-honest claims ( This not an area you want to be trusting about). A fantastic web site by the Environmental Working Group can aid you- http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ it is an excellent resource for finding and evaluating healthful personal care products, and weeding out the bad ones.

Resources:

Dr. Joseph Mercola

http://www.mercola.com/

The Journal Of Investigative Dermatology
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2630214/?tool=pubmed
Green Med Info
http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/commonly-used-moisturizing-creams-containing-mineral-oil-are-tumorigenic-when-applied

Lavender Oil and Hair Growth


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Lavender oil has many wonderful benefits both for mind and body.  Many naturals mix their own hair tonics and various concoctions, present company included, and often include lavender oil.  Lavender oil is so popular not only because of it’s amazing sent, but because of its regenerative properties; one of which is aiding in hair growth, or even in some cases stopping hair loss.

Research

The Department of Dermatology at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary studied the effect of essential oils on  patients who suffered from hair loss caused by alopecia areata. This study was conducted in 1999 by  Scottish dermatologist Dr. Isabelle C. Hay and a team of researchers from the department of dermatology at Aberdeen.

Researchers divided the patient participants into two groups, one group was the active group the other the control group.  The study was controlled and double-blind taking place over a seven month active period and included follow ups at three months and seven months post treatment.  The treatment was broken down as follows:

  • Active Group:  massage the essential oil recipe they were given onto their scalps daily for two minutes.
  • Control Group: massage the carrier oils jojoba and grapeseed onto their scalps daily for two minutes.

Findings

At the completion of the study 19 of the 43 patient participants in the active group showed significant improvement in hair growth, with one gentleman reportedly growing a full head of hair after being bald.  In the control group 6 of the 41 patient participants showed a little improvement, but nothing significant. This study reveals that 44% of the group using the essential oils significantly improved.  The average area of hair regrowth with the essential oils was 104 square centimeters, compared with nearly zero for those using the placebo.

The Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Study Recipe

  • atlas cedarwood essential oil – 2 drops
  • thyme essential oil – 2 drops
  • rosemary essential oil – 3 drops
  • lavender essential oil – 3 drops
  • jojoba carrier oil – ½ teaspoon
  • grapeseed carrier oil – 4 teaspoons

**At the beginning of the study, and again after three and seven months, professional photographs were taken of each patient’s scalp. Changes as seen in the photographs served as the primary outcome measure.  Mapping and measuring of the bald patches was also done to determine results.

Reference:

Hay, Isabelle C., et al. Randomized Trial of Aromatherapy – Successful Treatment for Alopecia Areata.  Archives of Dermatology 1998;134:1349-135

Beer…For Your Hair?

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So the absolute saddest moment in my post gluten life was when I had the full realization that I would no longer be able to have beer.  Yes I know there are a variety of gluten-free beers about, but any beer connoisseur will tell you, “It’s just not the same.”  So while this delicious blend of malt and hops can no longer bring joy to my pallet, it can make my hair soft, shiny, and bouncy.   I have not used anything else that makes my curls and coils spring to life so rapidly! If you feel like your curls are falling a little flat, want to quickly revert hair back to curly if you’ve straightened it, or just want another option for a protein treatment- Beer is your friend!

How it Works

When you soak, rinse, or spritz your hair with beer, its natural ingredients coat each strand and lend hair-nourishing benefits. In addition to B vitamins, the proteins found in malt and hops are said to repair damaged hair and boost overall body. Meanwhile, the maltose and sucrose sugars in beer tighten the hair’s cuticles for enhanced shine.

Although it is debatable whether the corn, rice, or wheat protein in beer can actually deposit on your hair to form a strengthening film, there is no question that it makes hair seem thicker. This effect may be attributed to the proteins left on the hair fiber, though beer also seems to slightly swell the hair shaft.

You can use a beer with low or no alcohol. It’s probably better to use traditional brewed beer made from hops to maximize nutrients and minimize chemicals (since most commercial beers are loaded with stuff you probably shouldn’t be putting in your body, let alone your hair). But I use plain old O’Douls.

Highlighted Benefits:

  •  can add bounce and shine to your hair.
  •  softens the hair.
  •  can increase the elasticity of your hair.
  •  tightens hair cuticles and brings limp  hair to life.

My Recipe

1 bottle of O’Douls non-alcoholic beer

1/4 cup evoo

Allow beer to flatten over time, or heat till warm. And mix in evoo (you can add other oils if you like or leave out oil altogether) I prefer to use a warm mixture with added oil, this works well for my low porosity hair.  After application gently massage in mixture from root to tip, and allow to sit on your hair for aprox 5 min. Then rinse thoroughly with warm water.  DUE TO MY GLUTEN ALLERGY I DO NOT LET MIXTURE SIT ON MY HAIR AND SCALP, BUT RINSE IMMEDIATELY. I still see wonderful benefits without any unwanted side effects (like itchy scalp).

This treatment can be done once a month, or as needed (your hair will let you know)

Parabens, What Are They And What Are The Risk?

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What Is Paraben?

 

 

Parabens are a group of preservatives that are added to most cosmetic products and or some foods. Parabens are a low-cost and effective method of preserving items for relatively long periods of time. Although the chemicals known as parabens were once thought to be safe, there is some controversy over their use.

 

Function and Labeling

These preservatives are used in cosmetics and other products to protect the item against the growth of microorganisms.
It is important to be aware that the use of parabens in our personal products on a regular basis could be a risk your health.

Check product labels for: ethyl, butyl, isobutyl propyl, isopropyl and/or methylparaben.

Risk

Parabens  are also present in some foods, but these act very differently than those applied in personal care products.  First of all, in a food, other compounds are present in nature’s perfect balance. We’re talking antioxidants and enzymes that work together to create an overall healthful effect on the body.  Second, when parabens enter the body through foods, they have a much better chance to be metabolized because they’re going through the digestive system.  Stomach acids and other enzymes help to break them down to metabolites that are easily flushed out of the body.  Third, parabens behave much differently when applied to skin than when ingested in a food.

Recent Study found that parabens, when applied to skin, react with an enzyme called SULT.  In simplified terms, SULT is the enzyme that helps the body flush out estrogen.  So, when SULT enzymes are deactivated, estrogen levels increase.  Parabens were found to deactivate these important enzymes.  The study states “…these results suggest chronic topical application of parabens may lead to prolonged estrogenic effects in skin as a result of inhibition of estrogen sulfotransferase activity.”  Supporters of parabens are always talking about how little parabens are absorbed and how weak their estrogenic activity is–but with this study in mind, absorption and estrogen receptor activity really are moot points.  It’s a reaction with parabens in the skin that increases overall estrogen levels in the body.  Many reproductive cancers are estrogen-dependent and tumor growth is fueled by an excess of estrogen.  Uterine fibroids, endometriosis, adenomyosis, irregular menstruation–all of these reproductive problems are caused by an excess of estrogen.  So why would you want to apply these compounds to your skin!? 

Another pro-paraben argument that you’ll hear is that the skin metabolizes parabens quickly and they’re flushed out of the body.  Not so!  This Study found that after a month of applying methylparaben to skin cells, it “remained unmetabolized and persisted slightly” in the stateum corneum. Additionally, it was found to affect DNA expression in the skin cells, inhibiting collagen production, and possibly leading to early aging of cells.

How To Avoid

The David Suzuki foundation reports that 75 to 90 percent of cosmetics will contain parabens.  This includes shampoo, conditioners, skin creams, lotions, nail polish, moisturizers, make-up, shaving foam, deodorant, tanning lotions and toothpaste.  There are more and more paraben-free products available on the market, so that consumers can make a choice to limit their exposure to this chemical.

Refrences:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Parabens
Parabens inhibit human skin estrogen sulfotransferase activity: possible link to paraben estrogenic effects.
Prusakiewicz JJHarville HMZhang YAckermann CVoorman RL. Source Department of Pharmacokinetics, Dynamics, and Metabolism, Pfizer Global Research and Development, 2800 Plymouth Rd., 20/342S-D, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA. Jeff.Prusakiewicz@pfizer.com
Effects of methyl paraben on skin keratinocytes.
Ishiwatari SSuzuki THitomi TYoshino TMatsukuma STsuji T. Source Fancl Corporation, 12-13 Kamishinano, Yokohama 244-0806, Japan. shiishiwata@fancl.co.jp

Stephanie Greenwood from Chemical Of The Day

David Suzuki Foundation: Parabens

 

 

Flax seed Oil and Gel

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Flax seed gel is one of my favorite products for natural hair!  Flax seeds are very inexpensive, the gel is surprisingly quick and easy to make, and best of all it works wonders for my hair!

Benefits:

  • All natural..organic:)
  • Leaves hair soft, shiny, and moisturized
  • You can reuse the flax seeds
  • Cost effective (more for your money)
  • Nourishing for the hair rich in omega 3
  • Gives great curl definition
  • Gives hold with no crunch/non flaking/not drying to the hair/does not cause breakage/or shedding
  • Fast drying
  • Great for wash n go’s/sleek styles/twists and twist outs and sets the twists once dry for a lovely twist out (my twist outs will usually last up to 5 days!)
  • Mixes well with oils and most products
  • Great for all hair types

 

Flaxseed oil is created from the seeds of the flax plant, which is full of fatty acids.  Flax seeds are a fantastic source of Omega-3 fatty acids.   Why use flaxseed oil?  Well, this organic oil has healing properties that can help alleviate skin disease symptoms and digestive problems. What’s more, it’s also said that flaxseed oil can increase hair growth and revive dry scalp. Certainly, scientists confirm that the omega-3 in flaxseed oil has scalp-replenishing properties.

These healing effects are great, but you can also turn flaxseed into an all-natural gel to hold your hair in place.

 My Recipe

 

  1. Bring approximately 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil, then add 1/2 cup of  organic brown flax seeds (non organic work too).
  2. Boil mixture for approx 3-5 min stirring often so the flax seeds do not stick to the pot, when the water becomes thick and gel like remove from heat.
  3. Immediately pour entire mixture (seeds and gel) into a strainer over your storage container (some use a stocking and tongs, but I’m to lazy for this method).  Its is important to pour mixture into strainer while it is still hot !! BE CAREFUL !! because gel will thicken even further as it cools and become more difficult to strain.
  4. After gel is separated into your storage container add  aprox 1 1/2 Tbsp. of aloe vera gel, and essential oils of your choice.  ( I add about 10 drops each of lavender, sweet orange, rosemary and a  bit of vitamin e oil as a natural preservative). Mix well.
  5. When done add the lid to your air tight storage container and store in the refrigerator.

 

 

All Natural Deep Conditioning Treatment

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