...And one of those ingredients is water!
It is that time of year when the mozzies are out and about. Before you reach for the commercial insect repellent though, consider a natural option. One that skips harmful ingredients – in particular DEET.
DEET is a common ingredient in conventional insect repellents designed to repel mosquitoes. However, for some people, DEET can be an eye and skin irritant, and may even cause neurological problems.
One plant native to Australia that mozzies are repelled by is lemon myrtle (I really LOVE this plant, can you tell?). Other plant sources that will see mosquitoes and other insects turning away include any of the mint family, lavender, eucalyptus, citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, tea tree, cloves, cedar and catnip. The below recipe was made with some lemon myrtle from a tree I have growing in the garden, but you can use the same recipe for any of the above herbs if you happen to have them handy – they work well with a variety mixed together too.
o 2-3 cups of lemon myrtle leaves (fresh or dried)
o 1 cup boiling water
o 1 cup witch hazel, rubbing alcohol or vodka
Crush the lemon myrtle leaves a little in your hands or a mortar and pestle. Pour the boiling water over the top of the leaves in the mortar and pestle or a bowl, and grind them a little more to help release the oils.
Cover with a plate or lid – important to stop the oils evaporating – and leave until cooled. Remove the leaves and mix the water with the witch hazel or alcohol.
Pour into a spray bottle and store somewhere cool, or in the fridge. To use, spray on your skin or clothing. You may need to spray this more regularly than commercial repellent, but you can do so freely knowing it is safe for you, and little kiddies too. And personally, I think it smells much better than commercial repellent.
(RECIPE ADAPTED FROM WWW.THESLOWPOKE.COM)
Over 2 years ago I decided to stop using antiperspirants and deodorant sprays, after reading an article by a well-respected professor in environmental toxicology that the number one indoor air pollutant in your home is deodorant spray. I was also breastfeeding my son at the time, and was uncomfortable with the idea of exposing him to a toxic bundle of chemicals each time he had a meal.
“But my antiperspirant/deodorant is the only one that works… But all natural ones have failed…” you might say. Read on. Trust me.
Let's look at the ingredients in many antiperspirants and deodorants.
Aluminium based compounds are the element that makes an anti-perspirant do what it says. Some research has suggested that these aluminium compounds may be absorbed by the skin and cause changes in estrogen receptors of breast cells. Because estrogen can promote the growth of both cancer and non-cancer breast cells, some scientists have suggested that using the aluminium-based compounds in antiperspirants may be a risk factor for the development of breast cancer (although a clear link has not been established as yet).
Parabens in their many forms are a class of artificial preservatives widely used in cosmetics and personal care products that are being investigated for their possible role in breast cancer. Parabens mimic the activity of estrogen in the body. Since estrogen promotes the growth of breast cancer cells and a woman is eight times more likely to develop breast cancer in the part of the breast closest to the underarm, scientists are studying the connection.
Propylene glycol—a humectant which means it keeps substances from drying out, and it was originally developed as an anti-freeze, but is now included in some deodorants and antiperspirants – oh, and many commercial ice creams! It is a neurotoxin known to cause contact dermatitis, kidney damage, and liver damage. In propylene glycol’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), published by the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety, workers are urged to avoid skin contact with the toxic chemical as it may cause eye and skin irritation, gastrointestinal irritation and discomfort, nausea, headache, vomiting, and central nervous depression. So nope, I don't want to put it on my skin.
TEA and DEA (triethanolamine and diethanolamine) adjust the pH, and used with many fatty acids toconvert acid to salt (stearate), which then becomes the base for a cleanser. They both could be toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time where DEA can cause liver and kidney damage and TEA can cause allergic reactions. These chemicals are already restricted in Europe due to known carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects.
Triclosan is an artificial antimicrobial chemical used to kill bacteria on the skin and other surfaces. Triclosan is a skin irritant and may cause contact dermatitis. Recent studies suggest this chemical may disrupt thyroid function and other critical hormone systems. The American Medical Association recommends that triclosan and other
“antibacterial” products not be used in the home, as they may encourage bacterial resistance to antibiotics that can allow resistant strains to flourish. The FDA has now banned effective 2017, the use of triclosan in cleansers and handwashes – WINNING!
And then there are artificial fragrances - these cause a whole host of problems from headaches and skin allergies to hayfever-like symptoms.
Is it any wonder our bodies revolt eventually with allergies, inflammation and even possibly cancer, when one of the most permeable parts of our skin is pumped with the above list of chemicals every day? It's crazy to think how we might have got here.
I hear you though, you don’t want to stink. I don’t either! As I mentioned, I have used natural deodorant, fragrance free for over 2 years now, and no synthetic fragrance skin care or bath / shower care of any kind for a bit longer.
Recently I forgot my natural deodorant so I ended up using an antiperspirant which rhymes with "Sharona". Oh my god - by the end of the day I stunk! And I developed a nasty rash under the arm.
I hadn’t had BO for a couple of years so it was really unsettling and I felt super self conscious. So, the moral of the story? These synthetic fragrances could actually be causing some of the BO you might get, yet we ironically reach for heavier fragranced products to cover up the excessive BO.
So what to do instead?
First of all, what you eat can make a difference. I do find that if I have had a less than great diet (processed foods, alcohol, too much coffee) then I might pong a bit.
Generally, if my immune, nervous and lymphatic system are working well, then I just don't tend to smell, so looking after these with good nutrition and herbs helps a lot. Chlorophyll drops or greens powders are great to support internal cleansing.
The next thing is to look at clothing - natural fibres such as cotton, wool and bamboo are the ones to wear.
And then, there is a whole host of natural deodorant alternatives, which you can find at the health food store.
Personally, I reall like the Black Chicken Axilla paste available at www.nourishedlife.com.au. Axilla is an effective natural deodorant which is known to out perform even the mainstream chemical laden brands. This paste keeps you fresh without inhibiting your sweat glands' ability to dispel toxins. It contains a unique blend of natural ingredients including Arrowroot, Sodium Bicarbonate and Organic Coconut Oil which work together to absorb moisture. I find this amazingly effective and I can even skip a day and still be OK.
Some people find they get a bit of irritation when they first try Axilla (don't rub it in too hard or apply immediately after shaving), which might mean you need (and don't laugh) an armpit detox. Read more here about how to go about this first.
CREDIT: Low Tox Life
I am not going to make any wild claims that this body scrub will get rid of cellulite. There is no cream or treatment that will do this without diet and exercise. But since caffeine has been shown to minimise the appearance of cellulite (thanks to its temporary tightening effect) and scrubs can stimulate circulation and production of collagen, well I like to pretend that I am scrubbing away lumps and bumps every time I use it.
What I can say is that this scrub will leave your skin feeling smooth and soft. And gosh it smells so good.
Plus, you can make it yourself with ingredients you are likely to have in your pantry already.
You can use fresh coffee grounds, but I use spent grounds collected from my coffee machine. You can even ask your barista for their used grounds. They might look at you strangely, but they probably won’t forget your regular coffee order again.
WHAT YOU NEED
4 tablespoons spent or fresh ground coffee
2 tablespoons Himalayan or dead sea salts
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract or vanilla bean powder
WHAT TO DO
Mix all in a bowl and scoop into a jar
HOW TO USE IT
Use about a tablespoon as a scrub in the shower. If you are worried about coffee grounds going down the drain, then tape a chux cloth over the drain to collect the grounds.
Naturopath, Nutritionist and Herbalist