Calming Herbs for Sensitive Skin

There are a lot of people out there who either have sensitive skin, myself included, or have sensitive skin conditions.

Many commercially made skincare products are not fully designed to cater to skin sensitivities since they are often loaded with synthetic ingredients and preservatives which are not always as skin friendly as they claim to be.

Making your own gentle skincare for your skin’s specific needs is much more productive and much less expensive in the long run and its completely customizable.

Calendula | Calendula is a bright, yellowish orange colored flower that is widely used in skincare for those with sensitive skin.

It is anti-inflammatory which makes it a great option for those who suffer from allergic reactions on their skin or even for sunburns and bruising.

Calendula helps to produce collagen which makes it useful for any cuts or acne since it reduces scarring and softens dry or thin skin.

 

Lavender | Lavender is also a herb that is widely known for its skincare abilities and is usually a crowd pleaser amongst everyone.

With anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties lavender is soothing to wounds and helps the process of skin healing. It is anti-aging with its ability to stimulate skin and tone pigmentation.

It plays well with all skin types, specifically oily skin and helps to treat skin conditions such as dermatitis, acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

It also helps to calm irritated, red skin or breakouts.

If you’d like to learn more about what lavender can do for you and your skin, you’ll want to check out my last post specifically about

 

Chamomile | This herb isn’t only good as a nighttime tea it also has several benefits for skin, specifically irritable skin.

Like lavender, chamomile is an amazing option for those with skin conditions such as dermatitis, acne, eczema, and psoriasis since it is calming.

Chamomile helps to gently ease pain and irritation in acne sufferers, boils, skin wounds, and rashes or allergic reactions including sunburns.

It is a great option for all skin types and is the most widely used herb in skincare when it comes to sensitive and easily irritated skin types.

 

Green Tea | Though green tea might not be specifically thought of as a herb I decided to include it anyway since it also has many positive qualities for those with sensitive skin.

Like the other herbs on this list, green tea is anti-inflammatory and is soothing to skin conditions such as acne and rosacea and psoriasis.

Green tea fights against free radicals and sun damage on skin and is anti-aging because of the natural antioxidants that it contains. It promotes skin cell reactivation which helps to reduce the signs of aging such as wrinkles, age spots, and skin sagging.

It is also a natural astringent which makes it a great toner as well as an option for those with oily skin.

As with all natural skincare it is important to always do a spot test with the herbal products that you are trying out to ensure that you will not have an allergic reaction to any of them.

 

An Honest Talk About Essential Oils VS Fragrance Oils

As a soap maker I wanted to talk about the differences between fragrance oils and essential oils in soap making.

The argument between the safety and efficiency  of natural oils vs fragrance oils can spark quite a reaction from many and as a soap maker who has chosen to only use essential oils and resins, I wanted to be able to go into detail about the pros and cons of both options.

As long as the person handling the oils is making sure to use skin safe oils, then both fragrance and essential oils are considered to be safe for most skin types which begs the question of what the difference between these two oils really is.

Fragrance Oils | First of all lets take a look at what fragrance oils are exactly.

Fragrance oils are a combination of various chemical components, some are natural, being extracted from plants and even animals occasionally as well as some synthetic components.

Pros | Fragrance oils are very cheap which means that anyone who uses them in their products will most likely be able to provide the most affordable options of products.

Fragrance oils often smell amazing and come in an endless variety of scents that do and do not come naturally in nature such as apples and lavender or sugar cookies and winter wonderland.

Most fragrance oils are much stronger in smaller quantities than essential oils are and also have a longer shelf life when it comes to scent fading.

Cons | Fragrance oils however, are not natural which not only exposes the user to more chemicals, whether they are considered bad or not, but also makes them more likely to be irritating to sensitive skin types or people with serious allergies.

Sellers of fragrance oils are not required to give out a full disclosure of the ingredients that are used in their fragrances which can not only gives the person making the soap less control over their product but also the customer. Someone who is allergic to specific things will most likely have to avoid products scented with fragrance oils since no one can be certain about the specific ingredients included.

 

Essential Oils | Essential oils are steam distilled plant extracts that come from the natural oils in plants such as cinnamon bark and orange rind.

Pros | Essential oils as you might have already guessed, are all natural and are considered by many to be the least harmful way of scenting products.

Essential oils not only scent soap but they also provide a number of natural health benefits that fragrance oils cannot provide such as tea tree which is anti-bacterial as well as many other oils that provide their own specific health benefits.

Much like the ability to provide health benefits, essential oils can also provide a variety of mental wellbeing and aromatherapy benefits that synthetic fragrance oils have yet to achieve. For example, a lavender fragrance oil has not yet been created with the same ability to relax and sooth like the origin lavender essential oil.

Cons | Since the extraction of essential oils is a lengthy process that provides a small amount of oil, they are more costly and so create more costly products.

Essential oils in their undiluted state are considered to be irritating to certain skin types which make the formulating and measuring of the oils very important for soap makers. Certain oils should be avoided by individuals who have a history of irritation but thankfully most soap makers will give a full ingredient list with no irritating oils hidden.

 

I hope that this list of pros and cons of fragrance oils vs essential oils has been found useful to some of you and has perhaps, helped you to better understand which oils you prefer.

 

Skin Care Basics | Tea Tree Oil

A few weeks back I wrote a blog post on a few essential oils that are good for your skin and I briefly mentioned tea tree oil.

Tea tree oil is by far my most beloved and most used essential oil and is the one that I have also been using the longest out of any essential oils.

I believe whole heartedly in this oil’s ability to help everyone’s skin in some way which is why I decided to write a more in-depth post on its benefits.

Acne | Tea tree oil is both antibacterial and antifungal which makes it a wonderful option for those who suffer from mild to sever acne.

It is much more moisturizing than most acne treatments while also being drying enough to nip problematic acne in the bud.

Tea tree oil will even help you with the scars that acne leaves behind which makes it a wonderful, all in one product for acne sufferers who don’t want to be left with yet another skin care problem to conquer.

Anti-Inflammatory | If you have problems with sensitive skin or skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis than tea tree oil is a good skin care option for you as well.

It’s anti-inflammatory properties makes it a fast healing oil for skin conditions that create itching or irritation. It even works to heal cuts and mild infections.

Tea tree oil works to quickly reduce any redness and irritation as well as to quickly heal any growing pimples or blemishes. For these reasons, many people use tea tree oil as a spot treatment.

Hair | Not only is tea tree oil beneficial for skin but it also has many positive hair qualities.

It works to unclog hair follicles which allows for faster and thicker hair growth as well as eliminating dandruff and an irritated and itchy scalp. It even acts as a solution for removing lice.

As with all other essential oils, it is important to exercise precaution when using tea tree oil since it is highly concentrated and could cause irritation.

Tea tree oil is also considered toxic if taken internally so always keep it away from your mouth and eyes and do a patch test on your skin to eliminate the possibility of any kind of irritation or allergic reaction.

 

Weekly Chats | Grating Soap and Melancholy Thoughts

Welcome to the first weekly chat post, a series that I hope can become a staple to the Tangerine and Me blog.

Since I recently renovated this blog into a more business oriented platform I wanted to find a way to still keep it interesting and personal upon occasion. And so the weekly chats series was born.

Shop Talk | The month of June was the birthday of the Tangerine and Me soap shop which was incredibly exciting as well as equally scary.

It was a relatively successful beginning with many lessons and realizations that could only come through experience and a few failures.

The dozens of fragrant soap bars cluttering my cabinets seemed like a hefty product selection to open shop with but I quickly realized just how few products I actually had to offer once each listing was put up.

That little lesson has taught me to be less hesitant when it comes to stocking up, so this month will be all about making, making, making.

Slow Moments | To be terribly honest, I haven’t made much room for slowness as of late.

Growing a business, writing a book, taking care of health issues, and just living life in general is apparently a lot for one persons plate and I just happen to be trying to balance all of that.

I have stuck to my routine of leaving one day free a week to relax and spend as I please, a few work related things might worm their way in occasionally but as a rule I usually just stick to take a breather.

One strange but calming thing that I have found myself doing recently is grating soap. It sounds crazy, I know, but I have been experimenting with some new soap products lately and I have found myself, more than once, completely lulled into a strange state of calm as I grated a chunk of soft soap into wispy, little strips.

Thoughts | Lately I have been thinking about balance and how it is such a rickety concept that is constantly changing with the times and seasons and how once you seem to grasp it everything changes and you have to start again.

Perhaps that melancholy thought has been in my mind because I am still struggling daily to keep up with life or perhaps it is merely bred from my fear of falling behind and somehow failing that goal that we are all taught to strive for.

There are times where I sometimes feel like I might permanently be trapped in a mid-life crisis with all of the melodramatic thoughts that seem to clutter my mind.

But for now I will keep trying to find that sneaky little thing called balance with the hopes of one day finally grasping it.

 

All Natural Mouth Care

One of the first things that I made when I began to use more natural skin care was my own toothpaste and mouth wash.

The idea of making your own mouth products might seem strange to most people but it is really such a cheap and affordable step towards a more natural lifestyle.

The realization that what I was putting in my mouth might not be the healthiest option for my teeth and gum health was when I really started to notice the ingredients in the toothpaste and mouth wash that I was using.

Both were usually riddled with unnatural dyes, sugar, and a hoard of long words that I thought, must surely be unnecessary.

The ingredients seemed to contradict the products purpose and besides it being highly manufactured, excessively packaged, and unhealthy, there was a much more natural and affordable option.

Toothpaste | The one recipe that I have stuck with through the years has been a very quick and simple one made up of only two ingredients. Coconut oil and baking soda.

Oil has a way of latching onto dirt and bacteria in a way that most other ingredients cannot do which means that it will stick to and pull out the build up on teeth and gums.

Coconut oil is also the perfect consistency to whip up by hand and has a pleasant taste and a soft feel to it.

Throw in a small portion of baking soda which is known for its cleaning capabilities as well as having a slight whitening affect and you will have a very simple, all natural toothpaste recipe to use as is or to build on.

If you are want a more uniquely made toothpaste then you can add in a small bit of stevia for sweetness, benonite clay for an extra cleaning toothpaste, or a small amount of essential oils for flavor.

Mouth Wash | Creating a mouth wash personalized for your dental needs can be a little more tricky then putting together toothpaste.

Being someone who has always suffered from sensitive, bleeding gums, I use a simple mouth wash of sea salt and water to promote healing and good bacteria.

You should always reasearch natural options for your personal needs, if you suffer from bad breath maybe a strong cinnamon tea would make a good mouth wash for you or another herbal tea could help with any other dental issues you may have.

Always make sure that what you are making is safe especially if it is going into your body and always stop using your products if they are causing any negative reactions.

 

Skin Care Basics | Essential Oils

Essential oils are very ‘in’ right now and though I’m not one to follow trends or fads, I do fully support the promotion of more natural living.

The addition of essential oils into my skin care routine has been a slow journey and a cautious one since essential oils are very potent oils that need to be handled with care.

They are fun and wonderful ingredients to introduce into your skin care routine and with enough education and a light hand, they can be utterly harmless.

Lavender | Though I tend to stay away from most floral oils because of personal preferences, I do always have a bottle of lavender essential oil on hand.

It’s fragrant and has the amazing ability of calming irritated skin as well as reducing redness. It is also a very moisturizing essential oil which makes it a perfect match for dry skin.

Chamomile | Chamomile just might be one of the most expensive essential oils to buy but if you are really interested in incorporating essential oils into your skin care here are a few reasons why it might be worth the expense.

We all know that chamomile tea is amazing at calming irritation whether that be internal or external, when you use chamomile essential oil you multiply that by ten.

It is very potent and fragrant with a brightening and lightening effect on the skin as well as calming any redness or irritation. It is a fantastic option for those who suffer from acne or skin conditions similar to eczema.

Tea Tree | I have saved the best for last because this essential oil is by far my most used and favorite oil.

As someone who has chronically red and inflamed skin, this oil is my go to almost everyday because of its antibacterial properties.

It has the amazing ability of reducing redness and healing cuts or irritated skin blemishes almost overnight. For those reasons it is very popular as a spot treatment.

As a word of caution, tea tree oil is toxic if taken internally so always keep it away from your mouth and eyes.

Though I have only listed but a very few essential oil options, there are hundreds to choose from and experiment with but as always, you must do so with caution.

When you take charge of your own skin care you must also take charge of the safety measures. Never take essential oils internally unless you have properly researched the oil first and always be light handed with the amount you use even externally since anything can become irritating with too high of a dose.