Neem Oil has been a bathroom cabinet staple in our household for four or five years, since the last time my son had a major eczema flare up triggered by accidentally ingesting cow milk.
At the time, I was advised by a family member to use diluted neem as an alternative rather than reaching for the steroid cream. I was extremely dubious as my son’s skin was sensitive to everything I had tried in the past, so for me it was a major leap of faith.
It is safe to say that it was one of the best decisions ever.
By applying the neem oil that had been diluted with olive oil, the itching stopped quite quickly, and the angry reddened skin visibly calmed down within a couple of days. At the time, I had panicked and also given my son infant antihistamine, so I believed then, that the antihistamine had helped as well. Nevertheless, during his previous flare up, when he’d only had the antihistamine medicine, the itching didn’t completely go away, so I knew I was on to a winner. After four days of using the blended neem & olive oil day and night, I noticed that my son’s eczema had flattened and was no longer inflamed. It wasn’t bothering him at all.
I was still of course applying my own handmade Tigs & Moo Body Butter as well, hence his skin was well moisturised, and I knew the ingredients to have anti-inflammatory properties. At that time, it wasn’t a skincare product I was selling, but rather just for the benefit of my family only. After seven days the eczema was the same colour as his skin and no longer an issue. After 14 days the eczema was gone completely.
What a relief!
I have to admit though, that it wasn’t the skincare products alone that fixed the eczema. I am fully aware, as a result of doing a food diary, that my son’s food triggers are all animal milks and all processed sugars, so I knew how to prevent another flare up by keeping away from those foods.
I did however decide that it was time to do my research on neem.
Used in Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds, if not thousands of years, neem is known for its medicinal and healing properties. Three of neem’s compounds are nimbidin, nimbin and quercetin. These compounds are what makes neem antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antihistamine. As well as being used to soothe inflamed eczema skin, it can help with psoriasis, acne and hyperpigmentation, so now, as soon as I feel any acne slowly making an appearance, I dab neem undiluted on that particular bump, even before there is a whitehead on it. I then continue to use it until the scarring has gone. As well as using it undiluted, I also add it to my daily face cream to help with my uneven skin tone.
The best type of neem oil to purchase is the organic cold pressed neem oil. The colour can vary but the smell is distinctive. Some people have described the smell as a cross between peanuts and garlic. Remember that when you first try it, dilute it, and do a test patch, as it is potent and sometimes those with very sensitive skin may find it too strong. If you react negatively, then you should stop using it because of its potency.
If you do a quick online search, you will see that neem can be used for many other conditions. Neem comes in varying forms, including teas, powders, supplements and even pessaries for the ladies. It can be used on the hair and scalp, in soaps, lotions and many other cosmetics.
As well as the oil being used topically, other parts of the neem plant can be used in powdered form, added to foods, used to help digestive issues and as a blood and liver cleanser. This is a definite benefit, as many of you will probably know that internal issues with our gut, blood and liver can appear as symptoms on our skin, in the form of those many skin conditions that we have normalized such as eczema and acne.
Although bitter in taste, this can be overcome by having neem as a supplement, or blending the powdered neem leaf with something else, which is worth it, as neem can also help to lower blood glucose. If you are someone who suffers regularly with acne, then controlling your blood sugar levels, and preventing it from spiking and falling will help prevent the appearance of acne. For me, applying the oil topically and taking the supplement when I deem it necessary, has without a doubt, helped my skin.
And just when you thought the benefits stopped there, neem can even be used as an insect repellent on your skin, and for your plants when added to water and put in a spray bottle. In fact, it has been approved in the US as a natural pesticide for organic crops.
I hope you found this useful and become a user of neem as it is a true product hero.
For more information, check out our YouTube video;
Natural Oils That Help Eczema: NEEM OIL @ Tigs and Moo Naturals
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A study of 640 infants aged 4 – 11 months was conducted, and in that study, 23% of infants were already found to be sensitive to peanuts (webmd, 2010). However, even if you aren’t born with this allergy, you can still have a sensitivity or intolerance to peanuts.
But here is the thing! It is not so much because of the peanut itself, but because of the quality of what you are eating.
In this blog, let’s break down roasted & salted peanuts. A simple snack that can trigger eczema, and other skin conditions.
We’ll look at the peanut itself, rapeseed oil and salt which are ingredients, commonly found together with purchased peanuts that you find in the snack aisle of any supermarket, and most local smaller convenient shops.
Firstly, always assume that unless the pack tells you the peanuts are organic, then it has been massively sprayed with chemical pesticides. Pesticides are sprayed on conventionally grown foods to control pests, weeds and disease. This prevents the growing food from spoiling, but there is no way to prevent the pesticides from ending up in your body as chemical toxins, which can cause a whole host of health and skin problems. If you have sensitivities to food, you could quite conceivably be reacting to the pesticides.
Peanuts are a highly processed food, created as cheaply as possible to make a profit for that particular company, and your health isn’t their concern. I used to not eat peanuts as I believed that peanuts were at the top of the list for being from GM crops (genetically modified), but currently they aren’t. I learned instead, by my own trial and error, that when I had digestive issues, or skin problems, after eating non-organic peanuts, that it was more than likely what had been sprayed on or added to the peanuts that was causing my reactions.
It is definitely a food for thought, isn’t it?
Rapeseed oil is canola oil. The difference between the names is that canola oil is the culinary/food version, whereas rapeseed oil is industrial and used more in the chemical and automotive industries. Although the names tend to be used interchangeably, to be called canola oil, it must have less than 2% erucic acid.
As well as being an industrial seed oil, which means high heat and then chemicals such as petroleum are used; to get to the end product of the extracted oil, it needs to be refined, deodorised, and bleached…a very unnatural process. Unnatural foods, Ultra processed foods, gut issues and skin issues are intrinsically linked to eczema, acne, and the many other skin issues that we have to put up with throughout our modern day lives.
Just like peanuts, unless the rapeseed oil found in grocery stores is labelled as organic, then it has been genetically modified (GM), which again means that many chemical toxins will end up in our bodies.
By modifying the genes of the rapeseed plant to become pest-resistant, growers are able to produce larger yields, resulting in a more affordable product with less waste. While this may be perceived as a benefit, there are some concerns about GM foods and their effects on health, particularly allergies, antibiotic resistance, and cancer according to Genes Nutr, 2013. Hence it is important to consider this ingredient when you consume peanuts and how it will affect your overall health and your skin.
It is also worth noting that industrial seed oils such as rapeseed, soy, corn and safflower have been linked to heart health issues, although they are sold as having health benefits.
Unless the label states otherwise, assume that it is table salt.
Table salt is mined from the salt deposits of the older remnants of seawater, which is left over when it washes away. It is massively processed, losing its minerals and anything that was originally good about it.
The leftover deposits from the old sea water are washed with water, then the salt solution is evaporated under a vacuum to form crystals. As all its minerals are stripped away it is then made into its fine texture.
Sea Salt is the deposits of more current sea water. This one retains more of its minerals as it is less processed and therefore more expensive to produce. If you purchase unrefined instead of refined, then you have even more of its natural minerals. But how often will you sea the words ‘sea salt’ on a packet of cheap peanuts?
Pink Himalayan Salt
Pink Himalayan Salt is mined from areas close to the Himalayas, often in Pakistan. It is lower in sodium than table salt. Its pink colour is due to its minerals like iron, potassium, magnesium & calcium. It is usually hand extracted and has minimal processing…
…And I have never seen salted peanuts with Himalayan salt as an ingredient!
Now imagine…you eat a packet of your bog-standard peanuts. Your skin breaks out with eczema, acne, or something else a few days later. You may even have problems digesting it, whilst all the while wondering why you react to the whole nut, but not to a good quality peanut butter…put simply, it is because of the quality of the nut; its accompanying ingredients; what all those ingredients have been sprayed with; or the process used to get them to the end product.
After all, you can’t control what the manufacturer of the product or the grower of the ingredients have done to it.
You can control whether or not you decide to eat it.
Healthier alternative tip
In all the time that I have purchased peanuts, I have never ever seen organic roasted and salted peanuts that have included olive oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee or lard as an ingredient. Nor have I ever seen sea salt or Himalayan salt as an ingredient.
If you crave that peanutty taste, then consider organic peanut butter with slices of apple, carrot, celery, or topped banana slices.
If you just really want to eat peanuts then you may have to consider a trip to a health food shop and make do with salted organic peanuts or unsalted organic peanuts.
For now, I eat organic crunchy or smooth peanut butter, but if you do know of any salted organic peanuts, please let me know, as I’d love to try them.
For more information, check our YouTube video;
What Snacks Can I Eat?
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What is Hormonal Adult Acne?
Hormonal adult acne is any acne over the age of 25 years.
Teenage acne can sometimes or primarily be triggered by an influx of hormones during puberty which in theory should calm down and stabilise after puberty. However, for adult women, fluctuations in female hormones can be the cause of our acne returning in our later life. Your hormones can fluctuate or become imbalanced before and during your period, during pregnancy, when you are perimenopausal and during your actual menopause.
Another cause of hormonal adult acne is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) where women experience a hormonal imbalance, metabolism problems and high levels of insulin. Here’s a link to the website that further explains this in detail:
Although women are often the ones who commonly experience hormonal adult acne, men can suffer with it as well. A disruption in testosterone levels can be the culprit for this, as well as other lifestyle factors that disrupt the hormonal/endocrine system, triggering acne.
How you treat your body can make all the difference as to how much your hormones fluctuate during any of these occurrences.
How can we naturally deal with this?
If you have viewed any of the informational videos we post on YouTube, you will know that I always put emphasis on how important both food and skincare are to the health of your skin. Put simply, if you eat the wrong foods, this can cause fluctuations or imbalances in your endocrine/ hormonal system. The wrong foods can cause low level chronic/long term inflammation in your gut which affects your whole body and skin. Wrong food choice also cause the production of sebum or oil on the skin and can weaken your immune system. As I always say, “crap in equals crap out”. In the same way that if you have an expensive petrol car that you love, you wouldn’t purposely put the wrong diesel fuel into it and expect it to run perfectly.
All in all, wrong foods cause a whole host of issues to your body and ultimately your skin. Hence, if you look after your skin from the inside and out, you will be less inclined to suffer with recurring acne and skin problems like eczema or acne.
I started by doing a food journal of just monitoring what I ate and drank for 2 weeks. I then did an exclusion diet of removing known acne and eczema triggering foods. Remember that exclusion diets should only ever be short term, to ensure you are getting a good variety of foods for the vitamins and minerals they supply. Over time I established that for myself, gluten (wheat, rye and barley), animal milk whether from a cow, sheep or a goat, and processed sugars are my triggers. Different folks, equals different strokes…in other words , we are all unique, so food that causes a problem for one person, may not be a trigger for another.
The idea behind a temporary exclusion diet is to only remove ALL suspected trigger foods for a couple of weeks and then add one of your trigger foods back into your diet to see how your health and skin react. If there is no reaction, then move on to the next food, but if you do react then the choice is yours as to what you will do about it. As well as possibly reacting to some natural foods, there is a higher probability of reacting to junk foods.
Here’s a crap food list to avoid:
- Foods that have artificial colours,
- Foods that have artificial sweeteners,
- Food that has more than one source of sugar like syrup, or basically anything that ends in ‘ose’, because if sugar is mentioned more than once, then you’re eating crap,
- In fact, if the item of food you have picked up doesn’t look as close to its original natural state as when it was picked from the tree or soil, then assume that it is crap.
- If the fish you have picked up in the supermarket is from farmed sources and not wild caught, then you can assume that the fish have been swimming in their own poo and antibiotics have been added to the water to prevent disease. (The only exception to this is farmed mussels as they are self-cleaning and are attached to a string which means they aren’t feeding from the floor.)
- The same goes for our meat. I have started eating less meat because unless you can afford to eat only organic or grass-fed meats, then again assume that the animal had lived in confined conditions where they have been given antibiotics or even some sort of hormonal treatment for them to grow faster.
- And…any heavily processed junk foods or ‘Ultra processed foods’.
Once you have established what you shouldn’t eat for your body, then do your best to include more plant-based meals such as:
- Whole grains
This simple practical skincare tip may seem obvious, and it has nothing to do with what it is you are using on your face. It is the simple act of cleaning your face 1 – 2 times a day. It is extremely important to remove dirt and oil without stripping your skin of its natural oils. If you wear makeup, you should use the double cleansing method of removing the makeup first and then once removed, focus on gently cleaning your actual skin. Many acne sufferers over clean whilst believing that squeaky clean and skin drying facial washes are good.
This is far from the truth.
If you have worn any makeup that day, first remove the makeup by directly applying a natural fragrance-free oil like hemp seed oil, avocado oil, almond oil or rice bran oil or a combination of these all to your dry face. I also use my own Tigs & Moo Naked Body Butter, which I first rub between the palms of my hands to warm up and melt.
Rub and massage your preferred oil all over your face. This is because oil attracts oil. In other words, the clean natural oils of the skincare product attract the oil and dirt from your face. Once you have massaged your face with the oil, simply use a clean wet and warm flannel to remove any makeup. When you cleanse for the second time, apply the soap or facial wash to wet skin, wash it off and then dry your face with another clean dry flannel. I should also point out that I have about 20 white flannels, as I only use each clean flannel once. I don’t use my body towel on my face, and all my flannels are washed on a 40-degree load, with no fabric conditioner, as fabric conditioner is another irritating source of fragrance for your facial acne.
In the morning I clean my face with an organic floral water by either spritzing it with the spray function or if it has an opening, I pour it into my clean hands and rub on my face, I then use another clean flannel to dry my face. Floral waters are very mild and can be used instead of tap water.
For the individual acne itself, I have a homemade concoction that I use every morning and evening when I have a breakout:
It’s a combination of 17.5g aloe vera gel , 15g hemp seed oil, 15g neem oil, & 2.5g tea tree essential oil. This gives you a total of 50g, so you can use half these ingredients to make a smaller batch…just give it a shake before you use it.
Aloe vera gel – has antibacterial properties which helps to control and reduce acne causing bacteria.
Hemp seed oil (that has a rating of zero on the comedogenic ratings list, which means it has a zero likelihood of blocking pores) – and it is anti-inflammatory so it benefits acne, eczema & even freshly shaved skin.
Neem oil – which is fantastic for any inflamed skin conditions and hyperpigmentation because of the fatty acids, anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidant properties and anti-fungal benefits.
Tea tree essential oil – which isn’t for everyone but I use it diluted because of its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It reduces swelling, redness and inflammation.
Don’t think that because you have acne you shouldn’t use a face cream.
Use natural products when possible, or at the very least use green beauty products, which just means that there are no hidden nasties such as those fragrances, colours or unnecessary ingredients that can actually add to your acne problems.
Make one change at a time so that you know for definite if it is having an impact on your health and/or skin.
However, don’t be hard on yourself, all of this is a big learning curve for us all.
ps…if you wear makeup, consider using mineral makeup that is fragrance free .
For more advice, visit our YouTube channel to help with your skin journey! Don’t forget to like, SUBSCRIBE, comment & share!
@ Tigs and Moo Naturals
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