I absolutely love Neem oil. It is my bathroom cabinet saviour oil; my son’s eczema saviour oil and my daughters saviour oil for her teenage hormonal acne. When I was first introduced to neem oil I couldn’t believe how quickly my son’s painful and itchy eczema flare up was calmed and controlled. Knowing that his prescribed steroid cream didn’t ease his itch, or work quickly on his eczema I was advised by a family member to try neem diluted with another carrier oil. I’m so glad I listened to their advice.
My son’s eczema itch stopped and within 2 days his eczema was noticeably calmer. Within 2 weeks it was completely gone from his elbow, neck and knee joints.
Now…I have to admit that at this point we had already eliminated milk and sugar from my sons diet. His eczema flare up was however triggered when he accidentally ate a pancake that had cow milk as an ingredient. The difference this time was that I didn’t panic and use a steroid cream or his usual prescribed dry skin creams, like I had during his previous flare ups. Instead I continued with his 100% natural Tigs & Moo Naked Body Butter and simply mixed several drops of neem oil in with it, into the palms of my hands.
Even the nutty smell pungent smell of the neem oil could be forgiven, as we watched the eczema fade away without needing yet another trip to the doctor.
That was four and a half years ago and I haven’t used a steroid cream ever since…despite the conventional dermatologist telling me that I should. It is amazing how many doctors are still unwilling to try a more Homeopathic or Ayurvedic remedy over something like a topical steroid cream which at some point, with long-term use will cause damage to the skin, as is the case for my mum. Topical Steroid Withdrawal is hell to go through for anyone let alone a child.
Neem, combined with my own body butter was and still is a little miracle dream team.
Like many other natural oils and butters, neem has absolutely fantastic anti-inflammatory compounds that can soothe the skin and reduce the dreaded eczema itch and irritation. Some of these amazing anti-inflammatory properties are three compounds called nimbidin, nimbin and quercetin.
Now, I’m no scientist, but I believe it works so well because neem also has antibacterial and antifungal properties. I have even used this as a natural insect repellent when added to another carrier oil.
Neem only has a comedogenic rating of 1 – 2 meaning it is less likely to block pores, making it a good choice for acne sufferers. For those who want an oil that can aid collagen production, dry skin and wrinkles, neem also has an absorbency rating of 5, making it an oil that slowly absorbs into the skin and therefore offers a protective barrier. Some of its other benefits also include properties such as fatty acids, antioxidants and Vitamin E.
When it comes to the smell, like Marmite, you either love it or hate it, but that is why diluting neem with another carrier oil is something I do, unless I am dabbing it directly onto acne. My kids love the smell, I don’t! But as I have seen the benefits of this oil first hand, I do add a couple drops to my daily facial moisturiser.
As always, test anything new on the inner part of your elbow and wait 48 hours. If you’re going to give it a try, go for Organic Cold Pressed Virgin Neem Oil.
My skin tone, eczema, adult acne and fine lines salute this oil with the most respect!
Firstly, and very important, anyone with a nut allergy should not use almond oil. And, as with any type of new skincare product, you should always do a patch test first…especially if you have sensitive eczema prone skin.
Now that we have said that, it is good to know that almond oil is classed as both a moisturiser and an emollient, which is a double bonus for those who want to give it a go. It is a vegetable oil, obtained from the dried kernels of the almond tree, it can be applied directly to the skin and hair, or used as an active ingredient or carrier oil.
As an emollient it smooths the skin, filling in little gaps, which helps the skin retain moisture by improving its barrier function. As a moisturiser it supplies water to the skin and holds it in with an oily substance.
With its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and even anticarcinogenic properties, many people use almond oil as a natural skincare ingredient to help treat common skin conditions, such as dermatitis and eczema. There is good evidence that this natural moisturiser improves eczema when used regularly, and I myself add almond oil to my skincare routine regularly.
Almond oil includes B vitamins, vitamins A, D and E and also includes fatty acids such as oleic acid, which help cells to function normally.
With an absorption rate of 3, it mostly sits on the skin and leaves a satiny silky look
It also has a comedogenic rating of 2 which means that it won’t cog the pores of most people, but may potentially block the pores of some.
Also known as Rosehip oil, the colour of Rosehip seed oil ranges from a beautiful deep golden tone to a rich orange-red. If it looks more yellow in colour this means it has been more processed and refined, which removes many of its original properties and benefits. It is also advantageous to know that when it is 100% pure it has a nutty toasty aroma due to the grinding process of the seeds.
When it comes to benefits to the skin there are lots of good reasons for using this natural oil.
First of all, and one which is massively important for those with sensitive skin or for those who are acne prone, rosehip seed oil only has a comedogenic rating of one. This means it is highly unlikely to block pores
It also has a absorbency rating of one which makes it a dry oil that is absorbed quickly by the skin, without leaving that oily feeling.
If you are someone who shy’s away from the oily feeling, then this will definitely be an ideal oil for you. There are many properties to rosehip oil that make it an ideal candidate for natural beauty warriors.
As well as fatty acids like linoleic and linoleic acid, which those with dry skin should use as part of their beauty routine to help prevent water loss, other benefits include that is has natural antioxidant properties.
All you natural beauty warriors by now will know that antioxidants are needed to help reduce inflammation in the body and skin. By reducing inflammation and neutralising free radicals, our skin can help to repair itself from damage such as those caused by the UV rays of the sun, pollution, our diet and even some of the synthetic skincare we use which includes those artificial chemical fragrances. Antioxidants can also aid in the production of collagen which is massively beneficial to those who want to prevent, slow down or reduce signs of premature ageing.
Did I also mention that rosehip seed oil is also a natural exfoliator?
Then apologies, because it is!
It is naturally high in vitamins A (retinol) and C which encourages skin cell turnover which means brighter, glowing, vibrant skin.
And for those with inflamed skin or skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis or rosacea, rosehip seed oil is rich with anti-inflammatory properties like vitamin E, anythocyanin and polyphenols. Those words may be a bit of a mouthful but rest assured, when simply put, it means you are treating your skin with love.
Included in rosehip’s many benefits is its use for those with hyperpigmentation. As a person who has used this oil before, I know that although my face didn’t seem to like this drier oil, my body did reap the benefits. When I mixed this with other carrier oils and used in regularly on my imperfections i.e. hyperpigmented areas of my body, after several months I did start to notice a difference to my uneven skin tone.
I learned later on that rosehip seed oil contains beta carotene and lycopene. Both of these have skin lightening properties.
When I mentioned previously that it didn’t agree with my face, this was because it worked perfectly on my body during the 48 hour patch test, but when I made the mistake of using it on my face without diluting it with another carrier oil I did get a slight rash…oh to having super sensitive skin!!!!
So…the moral of this story is do that all important patch test and if you are still unsure, dilute it with another oil you are certain you don’t react to
Before I leave you I should also say that this is another oil that is easy to get hold of in wholefood and health shops, or online.
I should first point out that hemp seed oil shouldn’t be confused with hemp oil. Hemp seed oil comes from the seeds of the hemp plant and is cultivated for non-drug use
An all-rounder skin oil that is ideal for most skin types, hemp seed oil doesn’t block pores and has a rating of zero on the comedogenic ratings chart, which means that that for those who are worried about the potential of an oil blocking your pores, you don’t have to worry about this one at all.
With an absorption rate of 3, hemp seed oil leaves a nice satiny, glowing finish on the skin, hydrates the skin well, reduces inflammation and can even help to balance out oily skin.
Research shows that as well as using it on the skin, dietary hemp seed oil…in other words ingesting it as part of your diet, can help to improve eczema symptoms.
When applied topically, hemp seed oil can help to improve eczema, acne, psoriasis and dry skin. A 2014 study even found that hemp oil can contribute to stronger skin that is more resistant to viral, bacterial, and fungal infections.
As an oil that is naturally high in fatty acids and omega acids, hemp seed oil is a skin soothing oil which also has humectant benefits, meaning that it attracts moisture from the air, to the skin.
In fact, hemp seed oil is so great that to date, it has no known side effects!
Personally I love to use it on my face, hair and body!
Is ‘thick and hard to manage’ a part of that dialogue?
If so…please allow this blog to encourage, empower and inspire you.
I believe that not only is the crown on your head beautiful! It is also “waiting” to be worn in its full beauty! Even though it is thick, it is manageable! Even though it is “hard to manage”, it is manageable! Even if your life history has delivered a message of mistruth…your hair can be worn well……it is manageable!!!!!!
Part of the key to “managing” your natural hair is in your own self truth, your hair maintenance and an understanding of how to “listen” to what your hair is “saying”
– Your hair is beautiful no matter it’s length, texture or density! – You are beautiful! – You can learn how to develop and maintain your hair – You can empower yourself with knowledge about nourishing ingredients and also in the benefit of reading product labels before you bu.
– Our (yes I am including myself) hair needs moisture! – Our scalp needs to be healthy in order to promote hair growth! – Our hair strands need to be nourished! AND – The ends of our hair need to be protected in order to prevent breakage and have length retention! (aka: long hair)
How can this be accomplished? ️
– By developing a daily/weekly/monthly haircare routine that will help our hair become manageable – By having a healthy scalp which will promote hair growth – By understanding that the routine doesn’t have to be complicated, it just needs a commitment to learning as well as the space to implement
Where to start
– Moisture: 100% Water is the first stop. Aloe Vera Juice (AV Juice) is great. You can mix 50% AV juice with 50% water. You can also use 100% AV Juice. I have been exploring floral water (Hydrosols) and I have to say my hair is responding nicely! It stays moisturized longer and is even softer than by just using AV Juice
Does your hair need a lot of liquids to stay hydrated or not so much?
– Some Oils & Butters such as Jojoba, Olive, Sweet Almond, Flaxseed, Shea, Cocoa, Mango will penetrate and the hair shafts as well as coat the strands to help lock in moisture
– Washing hair weekly will help keep a healthy scalp. If you live in a hard water area a chelating agent will be part of your monthly wash
– Deep Conditioning will help with softness and detangling
– Read and understand the ingredients on the product labels before you buy
– Do your own research
When I started my own natural hair journey, I used the words ‘thick’ and ‘hard’ to manage as descriptors for my hair
So, it goes without saying that currently as individuals, our hands are under much more stress than usual.
With the much-needed constant hand washing and hand sanitising, our poor hands are certainly being put through their paces at the moment. When it comes to safety, we need to make sure we’re doing this, but how can we also protect our hands from becoming dry and sore?
By now we all know that each time we wash our hands with soap and water, it should be for a minimum of 20 seconds which equates to singing the Happy Birthday song twice. On top of that the hand sanitizers we carry around with us should contain a minimum of 60% alcohol…what does this mean? Put simply it means that unless you’re extremely unique to what is happening, then like me your hands must be very very very dry (I repeated that 3 times to place a lot of emphasis on how dry my hands get at the moment).
Now, I’m not a health professional, but I’ve spoken with a few that wash their hands over 75 times a day, and some over 100 times a day because of the work they do. As well as getting or exasperating dry skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis, what they also have is very sore hands…dry, sore and cracked hands! From your own experience, you’ll know that alcohol dries out the skin, and although soap and water wash away dirt and germs, they also strip away the natural protective oils in our skin, which causes our skin to dry out.
So, what can we all do to help our hands? Here’s a few recommendations I’ve tried recently:
During the day, each time you wash your hands, instead of rubbing them dry, pat them and leave them slightly damp.
Whilst your hands are still slightly damp use a good quality hand/body moisturiser, as this helps to lock in the moisturiser. Try to keep away from lotions as they have a high-water content and this can add to the dryness.
From experience I know body butters or oil-based creams are more effective, due to having no water or less water than lotions. Personally, I make and use my own blend of butters and oils which have no water.
If you don’t have a good quality oil-based moisturiser then try items from the kitchen such as olive oil, coconut oil or avocado oil.
If you’re taking your moisturiser out of the house, don’t share an open pot as this can spread germs
If you’re busy cleaning around the home, do wear rubber gloves when you’re using cleaning products. The harsh chemicals in the cleaning products can cause damage to the hands.
Before going to bed wash your hands in warm water, pat them dry and use a good quality moisturiser straight away. The more natural it is the better. The thicker it is the better
Put on a pair of gloves for either several hours or throughout your time asleep.
From my own experience, my preference is bamboo gloves. Just like bamboo sheets, tights or leggings, they help prevent the skin from drying out, are health and eco-friendly, biodegradable, antibacterial, comfortable and the bamboo fibre is cool to the skin. These are a must for those with dry skin conditions. You can wash them at 60 Degrees Celsius, so they can be used over and over again (we have bamboo bed sheets at home for my son’s eczema and he love them). Another added bonus is that you can wear your gloves inside your rubber cleaning gloves.
Cotton gloves are a cheaper alternative to wear at bedtime, but can be drying for those with dry skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.
If you don’t have any gloves you can wear socks on your hands at bedtime as a last resort
If you have money to spare and really want to pamper your hands with luxury, there’s also silk gloves as an option. They’re naturally hypoallergenic and can also help your moisturiser penetrate deeper into the skin. They can be washed at 30 Degrees Celsius and can therefore also be washed over and over again.
If you have dry hands that aren’t sore, mix a tablespoon of oil (from the kitchen) with half a teaspoon of sugar and/or fine salt. Once you’ve combined the ingredients together in a bowl, use the mixture as an exfoliator for the hands. Wash the hands first, then exfoliate the hands (can also be used on the body), rinse off with warm water, moisturise your hands then pop your gloves on.
And there you have it!
I’m sure there’s lots of ideas out there for how to look after our hands so feel free to put some forward…the more the merrier
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