All Your Hannahpads Questions: Answered

There are so many options these days to help you have a healthy period. We’ve stocked organic pads and tampons here at Hello Charlie for years. And now we’ve got another option for you – the washable and reusable Hannahpads.

Cloth pads are a great way to go waste free during your period. You can reduce single plastic use, and reduce the amount of waste going into land fill.

But they’re not just better for the environment. They’re also better for your body. Organic cotton is grown without pesticides, and lightly processed without toxins. There’s no bleach, no dyes and no formaldehyde. The layers of soft cotton are ideal for putting next to the most sensitive areas of your body.hannahpad questions answered

How long with they last?

Hannahpads will last 2 to 3 years, depending on how you use them and care for them.

What sizes are there?

Hannahpads come in six sizes: Pantyliner, Small, Medium, Overnight, Ultra Overnight, and Super Ultra Overnight.

Panty liners:

  • 21cm long x 18cm wide (including wings), 15g
  • Absorbency 30-45mL

Small:

  • 21cm long x 18cm wide (including wings), 20g
  • Absorbency 40-60mL

Medium

  • 27cm long x 18cm wide (including wings), 28g
  • Absorbency 55-80mL

Large (Overnight)

  • 33cm long x 18.5cm wide (including wings), 37g
  • Absorbency 75-110mL

Ultra Overnight long

  • 36cm long x 19.5cm wide (at the wings) x 15.7cms at the gusset (back end), 44g.
  • Absorbency 85-130mL

Super Ultra Overnight

  • 42cm long x 19.5 cms wide (at the wings), x 18.2cms at the gusset (back end), 61g
  • Absorbency 120-180mL

hannahpad reusable sanitary pad sizes

What are they made from?

Made from certified organic cotton layers, they’re undyed and unbleached. They’re so unprocessed, that you may even see small cottonseeds (small black dots). The organic cotton is safe and non irritating against your skin.

The outer, waterproof layer has a TPU coating on the inside. This is what prevents leaks. And it’s the pretty part with patterns!

How do you use them?

Just pop them into your underwear and fasten the wings with the snap. That’s it!

Who can use Hannahpads?

Anyone from teen girls, to pregnant and postpartum mums, normal periods and even for incontinence or light bladder leakage.

For postpartum use, we’d recommend that Super Ultra Overnight size.

hannahpad organic sanitary pad

Can I use Hannahpads with incontinence or light bladder leakage?

For light bladder leakage, the medium absorbency should be fine. For medium leakage, go with the large. Hannahpads aren’t recommended for heavy or severe leakage.

Change the pad within 15 to 30 minutes of leakage to avoid skin irritation.

How do I wash and care for Hannahpads?

  1. Rinse under running cold water. You can do this up to 12 hours after use.
  2. Pop a few drops of eco friendly laundry detergent on the pad and rub it.
  3. Without rising the detergent, soak in cold water for 6 hours or up to 48 hours.
  4. Hand wash or machine wash in cold water on a gentle cycle.
  5. Dry in the sun wherever possible. It’s a natural antibacterial and bleach. Make sure that they’re fully dry before being put away, so that they don’t get mouldy.

Tumble drying is not recommended, as you’ll shorten the life of the pad.

Don’t bleach, don’t use fabric softener, and don’t dry clean.

Images: Hello Charlie (top), Hannahpad

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All Your Hannahpads Questions: Answered

What Is Retinyl Palmitate? (And Why You Should Avoid It)

retinyl palmitate avoid sun

retinyl palmitate avoid sun

This is the next instalment in our ongoing series about chemicals often found in home and personal care products. Here, we make an assessment of ingredients, so you can make informed choices about the products you buy.

Today, we’re looking at retinyl palmitate.

Retinyl palmitate (Vitamin A) is an ingredient that pops up in tons of different skincare and beauty products. Retinyl palmitate in skincare is very common, including anti-wrinkle creams, sunscreens, and SPF-containing products, as well as in lipsticks, concealers, eye shadows, and mascaras.

Some of the types of products with retinyl palmitate include shampoos, facial cleansers, body washes, moisturisers, shaving creams, nail polish, nappy creams, and bubble baths. This stuff is everywhere!

Unfortunately, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has warned against retinyl palmitate. In its 2017 Guide to Sunscreens, EWG targeted the chemical as one of three main ingredients that it considers harmful.

It based the warning off multiple studies that have shown a possible link between retinyl palmitate and skin cancer. Studies have also found that the chemical could contribute to excessive vitamin A intake, which could lead to serious health problems.

So if you’ve got a retinyl palmitate cream, sunscreen or other product, should you toss it out?

What is retinyl palmitate?

Retinyl palmitate is the ester of retinol (vitamin A) and palmitic acid (a common saturated fatty acid). In the skin, it is converted into retinol and then to retinoic acid, the form of vitamin A in the prescription acne meds Retin-A and Accutane.

Retinyl palmitate belongs to the class of chemical compounds called retinoids. These are some of the most popular treatments for skin conditions like photoageing, wrinkles, acne, and psoriasis.

What is retinyl palmitate used for?

Retinyl palmitate is in vitamin A supplements and in treatments for dry eyes. It’s in low fat milk, where it replaces the vitamin A lost when the fat was removed.

Some of the retinyl palmitate benefits are that it’s gentler than retinol. Although there are questions about whether retinyl palmitate causes acne, it’s actually a more suitable acne treatment for those with sensitive skin. Cosmetics companies add retinyl palmitate to sunscreens to help prevent skin ageing brought on by sun exposure.

Though it has its benefits, there are some retinyl palmitate dangers. Studies have raised the possibility that retinyl palmitate could be making us susceptible to cancer.

Retinyl Palmitate Debate - Should This Chemical Be in Sunscreens?

The retinyl palmitate debate

In 2010, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer called the public’s attention to retinyl palmitate safety in a government study that found that topical retinyl palmitate accelerated cancer growth in hairless mice.

In the study, which was conducted by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP), tumours and lesions grew up to 21% faster in the skin of lab animals that were coated with cream containing retinyl palmitate and exposed to sunlight than in those slathered with a control cream.

This confirmed the results of earlier studies showing that retinyl palmitate encouraged excess skin growth and that in the presence of sunlight, the chemical formed free radicals that could damage DNA.

EWG published an analysis of raw data from the NTP website and concluded that government scientists were sitting on evidence that retinyl palmitate could be doing more harm than good.

The group considered the results troubling because, at the time, retinyl palmitate was in more than 40% of all sunscreens on the market.

So does retinyl palmitate cause cancer? The American Academy of Dermatology and the Skin Cancer Foundation both defended the use of retinyl palmitate in sunscreens. Scientists challenged EWG’s warning, saying that there was no “convincing evidence” that retinyl palmitate, as a sunscreen additive, is carcinogenic.

EWG disputed this, claiming that the commentary was “faulty” and “highly misleading,” and noting that the researchers behind it had ties to the sunscreen industry. In 2012, the NTP released a technical report affirming that retinyl palmitate hastened the growth of cancerous tumours and lesions on animals exposed to simulated sunlight.

Is retinyl palmitate safe?

The scientific jury is still out on retinyl palmitate and cancer, but that’s not the only issue with the chemical. Let’s look at retinyl palmitate toxicity. 

Vitamin A toxicity

Government officials in Germany and Norway have warned that vitamin A ingredients in makeup and personal care products could contribute to vitamin A toxicity, particularly in pregnant women and other populations at risk of overexposure. Hypervitaminosis A can lead to liver damage, osteoporosis, hair loss, skeletal defects in babies and children, and spontaneous fractures.

Last year, the European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) concluded that retinyl palmitate and other Vitamin A ingredients are safe for use in cosmetics.

However, the committee noted that in addition to Vitamin A exposure from food, “any additional source of exposure, including cosmetics products, may exceed [the recommended daily upper limit.]”

What the experts say

The FDA considers retinyl palmitate a GRAS (Generally Recognised As Safe) substance and has not limited its use in food.

The European SCCS allows the use of retinyl palmitate (with concentration limits) in personal care products and cosmetics. In Germany, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) recommends that the concentration of Vitamin A ingredients be restricted in products for the face and hands. It also warns against the addition of Vitamin A to lip and body care products.

Health Canada allows the use of retinyl palmitate with a maximum concentration of 1.83% w/w in cosmetics and personal care products. It has, however, required a warning label on all sunscreen products containing the chemical.

The label must warn consumers that the product “may increase [their] skin’s sensitivity to the sun and particularly to the possibility of sunburn.” It must also advise consumers to “limit sun exposure while using [the] product and for a week afterwards.”

EWG gave retinyl palmitate a score of 9 in its ingredient safety scale, marking it a high hazard chemical. The Cosmetics Database notes that there is concern for both reproductive and nonreproductive organ system toxicity with the chemical.

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel concluded that retinyl palmitate is safe as a cosmetic ingredient back in 1987. It reviewed new data in 2005 and in 2013, and reaffirmed its previous conclusion.

Decline in use of retinyl palmitate

In its sunscreen guide this year, EWG noted that the usage of retinyl palmitate in sunscreens has dropped by more than half since it released its findings about the additive seven years ago.

In 2010, almost 40% of sunscreens the organisation reviewed contained the ingredient. This year, retinyl palmitate sunscreen made up only 14% of the products surveyed for the annual sunscreen guide.

So what’s the best approach to retinyl palmitate?

EWG has urged regulators to consider restrictions on retinyl palmitate and asked manufacturers to voluntarily stop using the chemical. The organisation asks consumers to avoid retinyl palmitate in sunscreens, lotions, and lip products.

Studies on the link between retinyl palmitate and skin cancer remain inconclusive. However, we do know that Vitamin A and its derivatives make skin thinner and more susceptible to sun damage. So it makes sense to just play it safe and avoid the ingredient, particularly in products you use during daytime.

This doesn’t mean you should stop using sunscreen! Just choose one without retinyl palmitate.

And, as mentioned above, retinyl palmitate is in a lot of different products. The chemical may appear in small doses, but given the number of products we use on a daily basis, those small doses can accumulate and raise our risk of cancer and other health issues.

What’s your opinion on retinyl palmitate-free sunscreen? Let us know in the comments.

Image: BigStock

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What Is Retinyl Palmitate? (And Why You Should Avoid It)

How to Soothe Bruises and Sore Muscles Naturally With Arnica

arnica for bruises and sore muscles

Sore muscles? Bruises? You need arnica! This powerful herb naturally soothes muscle and joint pain, but only if you use it correctly.

Arnica has been used medicinally since the 16th century and is still popular today. This beneficial plant is one of the most powerful in Mother Nature’s pharmacopeia. With its ability to treat various common aches and pains, it deserves a spot in every household medicine box, first aid kit, and school nurse’s clinic.

If you have children, are prone to exercise related injuries, or are looking for natural remedies to take the place of popular pain medications, it’s worth looking into arnica and its many uses. Here’s how this wonderful plant can help you and your family feel better and how to take it safely.

What is arnica?

Arnica (Arnica montana) is a yellow flowering plant that grows in the mountains of Europe and western North America. It resembles a daisy and is also known by the names “mountain tobacco,” “wolfsbane,” and “leopard’s bane.” The flowers and roots of the arnica plant are used to make arnica oils, gels, creams, ointments, and salves. Arnica also comes in the form of pills, drops, sprays, tinctures, teas, and injectables.

Arnica has long been popular for its health promoting and pain relieving properties. For centuries, it has played a vital role in herbal and homeopathic medicines. As far back as the 1500s, Europeans have used arnica to treat muscle pain, joint pain, bruising, swelling, arthritis, and other disorders.

Arnica for muscle aches and joint pain

What is arnica good for?

Arnica is good at treating:

  • Bruises
  • Swelling
  • Injuries such as sprains, strains, fractures, and those that impact soft tissues
  • Muscle pain, joint pain, and pain from trauma (like from a fall)
  • Arthritis and other forms of inflammation

Research shows that applying arnica to your skin can help reduce bruising. Arnica also seems to be helpful for osteoarthritis, especially for knees and hands.

A 2006 study found that homeopathic arnica boosted the healing of patients who had a facelift (known as a rhytidectomy). And in 2007, a study found that homeopathic arnica reduced muscle soreness in marathon runners.

But while homeopathic arnica creams are helpful, homeopathic arnica tablets don’t appear to work.

How to use arnica (and who can use it)

Arnica oils, gels, creams, ointments, and salves are applied directly to the skin. Tinctures form the base of poultices, compresses, and some creams.

You can use arnica creams to treat bruises and other injuries in children, but only if it’s in homeopathic formulations. Adults can use both homeopathic and commercial preparations.

Pregnant women and breastfeeding mums should avoid taking arnica or using it on their skin. Those with hypersensitivity to arnica and other plants in the Asteraceae family (daisies, dandelions, sunflowers, marigolds, etc.) should also avoid using arnica.

Safety precautions

The US Food and Drug Administration does not recommend taking arnica internally. You should never take arnica by mouth without the supervision of a medical professional, unless it is an extremely diluted homeopathic remedy.

If you want to try arnica, it’s best to use it topically, i.e. applied on the surface of the body. Apart from treating aches and pains, it has also been found effective for acne, insect bites, and scars. However, unless you’re using homeopathic formulations, make sure you’re not applying arnica on open wounds or broken skin. And for children, don’t apply arnica cream to open wounds or on broken skin, even if it is a homeopathic formulation.

Suggested products

Weleda has a line of arnica based products that has earned a loyal following around the world.

The Arnica Cream is a first aid remedy that the whole family can use for relief from bruising, backache, sprains, pulled muscles, and other injuries. The Burns & Bites Cooling Gel, another medicine cabinet essential, soothes burns, scalds, rashes, stings, sunburn, and insect bites.

Arnica also works its magic through the Arnica Sports Shower Gel, which is perfect for after sports or exercising, and in the Arnica Massage Oil, which has been a favourite of massage therapists and exercise enthusiasts for over 90 years.

You can shop Weleda’s arnica products here.

Have you ever used arnica for sore muscles or joint pain? What do you think?

Image: Bigstock

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How to Soothe Bruises and Sore Muscles Naturally With Arnica

Biggest Ever PawPaw Balms Cheat Sheet – 38 Balms Reviewed!

Safer PawPaw Balms Cheat Sheet

Safer PawPaw Balms Cheat Sheet - Grab the free ebook now!

Pawpaw balms and ointments are very popular in Australia as a topical skin application. And no wonder!

You can use them in so many different ways, and they’re great for everyone from babies to adults. Pawpaw balms can help with skin problems like ulcers, eczema and other skin irritations, burns and even helps with moisture loss in skin.

As with all manufactured products, however, there are big differences between brands. Some pawpaw creams are nothing but moisturisers with paw paw flavouring. Other balms have good amounts of of paw paw but are based on petrochemicals.

And that’s where Hello Charlie comes in. I’ve researched all the ingredients, questioned the manufacturers, and found out which pawpaw balms really are worth buying. Finally, I’ve put them all into an ebook that you can come back to at any time.

Grab your copy now and check out which of the 38 pawpaw ointments I recommend!

PawPaw Balms: Researched and Reviewed

Here’s all the pawpaw balms I reviewed, in alphabetical order:

  1. Brauer Paw Paw Ointment Tub
  2. Coco Island Paw Paw Ointment
  3. Designer Brands Paw Paw Plus Lips
  4. Face of Australia Paw Paw Ointment
  5. Fix Organic Paw Paw & Manuka Honey Balm
  6. Girl Lane Paw Paw Lip Balm
  7. Healthy Care All Natural Paw Paw Baby Balm
  8. Healthy Care Paw Paw Lip Balm
  9. Healthy Care Paw Paw Rosehip & Manuka Lip Balm
  10. Herb Valley Wild Pink Paw Paw SPF15 Lip Balm
  11. Little Innoscents Organic Paw Paw Balm
  12. Lucas Paw Paw Ointment
  13. Melrose Little Bird Organic Paw Paw Balm Coconut
  14. Melrose Little Bird Organic Paw Paw Balm Original
  15. Melrose Little Bird Organic Paw Paw Balm Tangerine
  16. Models Prefer Paw Paw 100% Natural Original
  17. Natio Paw Paw Lip Balm
  18. Natralus Natural Paw Paw Baby Ointment
  19. Natralus Natural Paw Paw Lip Balm
  20. Natralus Natural Paw Paw Ointment
  21. McArthur Complete Skincare Cream
  22. McArthur Complete Skincare Cream – Fragrance Free
  23. Natural Alternative Paw Paw Ointment
  24. Nature’s Care Paw Paw Baby Balm
  25. Nature’s Care Paw Paw Balm
  26. Nature’s Care Paw Paw Lip Balm
  27. Nude By Nature Paw Paw Ointment
  28. Only Papaya Paw Paw Balm
  29. Organic Island Paw Paw Lip Salve
  30. Pharmacy Action Paw Paw Ointment
  31. Pure by Phytocare Papaya & Celandula Ointment
  32. Pure Paw Paw Ointment Grape
  33. Pure Paw Paw Ointment
  34. Scienza CoPaw Natural Relief Balm
  35. Sukin Paw Paw Ointment
  36. Suvana Paw Paw Lip Balm
  37. Suvana Natural PawPaw & Acai Balm SPF 20
  38. Wotnot Baby Balm

Safer PawPaw Balms Cheat Sheet - Free ebook!Read the free ebook now!

All this and more is in our brand new Safer PawPaw Balms ebook Cheat Sheet. And because I love my readers (that’s you!) so much, there’s even a special bonus for you at the very end of the ebook. You’ll get 20% off all the pawpaw balms we stock at Hello Charlie.

It’s right here, and it’s free, so what are you waiting for? Get your free ebook now! Our pawpaw balms cheat sheet will tell you which pawpaw balms are the best for you and your family.

Further reading

We’ve got some other articles that you might find useful, too:

9 Ways to Use PawPaw Balm For Beauty & Baby

PawPaw Balm Smackdown

Where I Go to Research Ingredients and Chemicals

Quick Guide to Preservatives in Skincare

Are we missing any?

I’ve tried to include every single pawpaw balm available in Australia, but if I’m missing any, let me know! Drop me an email at info@hellocharlie.au with the name of the pawpaw balm and a link, or pop it into the comments below.

So go on, grab yourself a cuppa and get reading!

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Biggest Ever PawPaw Balms Cheat Sheet - 38 Balms Reviewed!

How to Increase Your Magnesium Levels Naturally

the base collective magnesium

Our bodies need magnesium for all sorts of things like muscle and nerve function, regulating blood sugar levels and blood pressure, as well as making DNA, bones and protein.

Studies by the US Department of Agriculture showed that nearly half of Americans weren’t getting enough magnesium in their diets, and for teenagers aged 14 to 18, 2/3rds of them aren’t getting enough. As Australians have increasingly similar lifestyles and diets, there’s no reason to assume that we’re any different!

How do you know if you’re not getting enough magnesium?

I wrote a post on this last year, and you’ll find lots more info in that article about magnesium deficiency.

You might need more magnesium if:

  • you’re not eating a well balanced diet
  • you drink lots of caffeinated drinks or soft drinks
  • you’re elderly (magnesium absorption descreases as you get older)
  • you’re alcholic
  • you have a medical condition or are taking medication that inhibits magnesium absorption

eating a balanced diet to increase magnesium

What happens when you increase magnesium intake?

Studies have shown that increasing magnesium levels may help with:

  • muscle fatigue
  • fibromyalgia
  • muscle cramps
  • sugar cravings
  • stress management
  • sleeplessness
  • cramps associated with pregnancy
  • post workout recovery
  • migraines
  • pain associated with some surgical procedures

the base collective - increase magnesium naturally

How to increase magnesium naturally

So where do you get magnesium? You can get magnesium from foods like legumes (beans, lentils and peas), leafy greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains and fish. However, thanks to soil depletion, your veggies don’t contain as many vitamins and minerals as they used to. So even if you’re eating a well balanced diet, you still may not be getting enough magnesium.

Research shows that your body absorbs magnesium more easily through the skin than it does if you take it orally. So applying to your skin daily makes perfect sense.

You can use an oil, like The Base Collective magnesium oil or Amazing Oils. Just spray on after a shower or a workout, or even across the back of our neck or your temples if you can feel a headache coming on.

I love to soak in a bath with some magnesium flakes like these ones from Ancient Minerals or The Base Collective. You can also try soaking your feet in a magnesium bath for a DIY pedicure that’s good for you!

We even have magnesium wipes that are soaked in magnesium oil. These are so great when you’re out and about (especially if you suffer from migraines). And if you’ve got a restless baby that won’t sleep, you could try the lower strength magnesium infused baby wipes.

And finally, you can add magnesium simply by applying a body lotion every day. The Base Collective have beautiful magnesium balm: White Tea Magnesium Body Balm and Magnesium & Lavender Baby Balm. Both products are organic, and they’re divine. Use them just like you would a normal body balm, but they’ve got the added benefit of magnesium.

Images: BigStock, The Base Collective

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How to Increase Your Magnesium Levels Naturally

9 Ways To Use PawPaw Balm for Beauty & Baby

ways to use pawpaw balm

Ways to use pawpaw balm

A good pawpaw balm is a multi tasking product! The papaya fruit (carica papaya) has loads of wonderful therapeutic properties. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-parastic, and antifungal. So if you can find a product that’s high in pawpaw, you’ve got a powerhouse in a tube.

Here are just some of the ways to use pawpaw balm:

1. As a moisturising and repairing face mask

Studies have shown that pawpaw cream helps significantly with skin hydration. So if your face is feeling dry and tight, slather on a layer of pawpaw balm before you go to bed. Your skin will feel smoother and plumper when you wake up.

2. On cuticles

Dry cuticles? Add some extra moisture by massaging some pawpaw ointment into your hands and nails. Do it last thing at night, and you’ll see a difference the next morning.

3. On dry hands or feet

Likewise, if you’ve got dry hands or feet, pop on some ointment before bed and you’ll wake up with softer, smoother hands and feet. Try it on dry elbows and knees, too!

4. Under eyes before bed

Pawpaw’s anti-inflammatory benefits are great for eyes! Smear a generous amount under your eyes before you go to bed, and you’ll see the difference in the morning.

Ways to Use PawPaw Balm for Baby & Beauty

5. To tame flyaway hair

Like all oil based balms, you can use pawpaw balm to tame flyaway ends. Rub a small amount on to your palms, then lightly smooth it over the ends of your hair. No more frizz!

6. Cuts, scratches or burns

Pawpaw has proven benefits in assisting burns to heal. Indeed, in some African hospitals, where they have lots of pawpaw but not enough drugs, fresh pawpaw flesh and skin is is used on burns. In Jamaica, pawpaw is often used on ulcers. Using a good pawpaw balm can be helpful for cuts, scratches, bites and sunburn, too.

7. As a lip balm

A natural pawpaw balm can be great for chapped lips. Pawpaw helps moisturise skin. Get yourself a good product, with ingredients that you’re happy to eat (because that’s what you do with lip balm!) and slather it on.

8. Nappy rash

Pawpaw’s anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties are ideal for use on nappy rash. Find a good balm with high pawpaw content, and pop it on baby’s bum at nappy changes.

9. Dry spots on baby’s skin

Has baby got dry spots on his skin? Smoothe a bit of pawpaw balm over it, and it will soon be gone.

What to look for in a pawpaw balm

Make sure that you’re getting a pawpaw balm that’s high in pawpaw. Many balms are just flavoured with pawpaw, which means that you don’t get any of the benefits.

Look for a good natural formulation, too, rather than one that contains petrochemicals and harsh preservatives. Grab our PawPaw Balm Cheat Sheet where I’ve researched and reviewed 38 balms.

Our recommendations for good pawpaw balms:

McArthur PawPaw

This is a fantastic range of pawpaw skincare. They’ve got the highest percentage of pawpaw of any balm that I’ve come across, with a whopping 60%. The rest of the ingredients look good, too. I wouldn’t use this as a lip balm or eye cream, but on the rest of the body and in the medicine cabinet – absolutely.

Little Innoscents Organic PawPaw Balm

This lovely certified organic pawpaw balm has 10% pawpaw, which is great. With sunflower oil, shea butter and avocado oils, it’s a  moisturising formula that’s perfect for the whole family.

Natralus PawPaw Ointment

Another great balm, with a good amount of pawpaw at 8.3%. (By comparison, Lucas PawPaw Balm has only 3.9%.) The rest of the ingredients are good, too, making it another good choice.

Pure by Phytocare Papaya & Calendula Ointment

Certified by NaTrue, the ingredients are great, and the pawpaw is reasonable at 6%, too. Another one that I use and recommend.

To see all of our recommendations, grab your free copy of my PawPaw Balm Cheat Sheet.

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9 Ways To Use PawPaw Balm for Beauty & Baby

Image: main image (own), other from BigStock

The 16 Best Natural Remedies For Morning Sickness

natural remedies for morning sickness

natural remedies for morning sicknessGrowing a baby is hard work and morning sickness can be one of the hardest pregnancy symptom mums to be have to deal with.

Pregnancy nausea is perfectly normal in the early weeks of pregnancy. But just because it’s a common part of the pregnancy journey doesn’t mean you have to suffer.

Here are some tried and tested natural remedies for morning sickness that don’t involve drugs.

1. Small, frequent meals

You might be having a tough time keeping food down, but an empty stomach will only make you feel woozier. Eat little and often. Instead of three square meals, eat five to six small portions throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel. Try not to go for longer than three hours without eating something, even if it’s just a snack.

2. Protein rich foods

Having some low fat, high protein snacks before bed could help reduce the drop in blood sugar that contributes to pregnancy nausea in the morning. Nuts, seeds, and legumes are high in vitamin B6 and are better than fatty protein foods like butter, mayo, and meat products.

3. Bland carbs

Plain carbohydrate rich foods like saltines, toast, pasta, rice, potatoes, and dry cereals are often easier to stomach when you’re dealing with morning sickness. Starchy veggies like turnips and squash are also easy to digest.

Keep a pack of dry crackers on your bedside table and munch on a few before sitting up and getting out of bed in the morning.

4. Tea

Sip herbal teas like the Morning Wellness from Mama Body Tea. It’s a delicious blend of ginger root, lemongrass, chamomile, peppermint, and meadowsweet that helps ease morning sickness and queasiness.

Mama Body Tea - Morning Wellness Blend

5. Peppermint

In Chinese medicine, peppermint is considered “cold” (yin) and is prescribed for those with “hot” (yang) symptoms. If you’re vomiting a lot, feel constantly warm, or are irritable, you might respond to a cooling herb like peppermint.

Aside from sipping on peppermint tea, you could also rub diluted peppermint oil on your belly or sniff peppermint whenever you feel nauseous. Peppermint candy or chewing gum might also help.

Warning: Don’t take peppermint if you suffer from heartburn and don’t use undiluted peppermint oil on skin. Never give peppermint tea to babies or very young children.

6. Ginger

I discovered this during my first pregnancy and I still use it whenever I’m feeling nauseous. I keep a jar of chopped ginger in my fridge and just eat a spoonful. This might not be for everyone, though, so try crystallised ginger, ginger and honey tea, ginger cordial — even a ginger biscuit can help.

In Chinese medicine, ginger is considered a “hot” (yang) remedy. If you feel and look cold, find yourself feeling introspective or miserable, or are constantly needing a hot drink, ginger might suit you.

7. Acupuncture

Some women swear by acupuncture as the only thing that gives them relief from pregnancy nausea. Acupuncture helps balance hormones, ease stress, and reduce fatigue — all of which contribute to morning sickness.

8. Acupressure

Acupressure bracelets, which are used for motion sickness and are found in most chemist shops, might be your morning sickness hero. These stretchy, drug free bands stimulate the P6 acupressure point in the centre of your wrist, preventing or reducing the sensation of nausea.

9. Aromatherapy

Some essential oils might be able to relieve your pregnancy nausea, help with digestion, and improve your mood. Try peppermint, spearmint, mandarin, lemon, sweet orange, lime, ginger, lavender, and chamomile.

Look for aromatherapy products specifically formulated for use during pregnancy. Even better, consult with an aromatherapy expert to find out which essential oils are safe to use.

10. Brewer’s yeast

Brewer’s yeast is rich in magnesium and vitamin B6, both of which have tummy taming properties. You can sprinkle brewer’s yeast on your breakfast cereal or on grains such as rice. You can also try mixing it into a glass of lemonade or tomato juice.

11. Fennel seeds

Fennel seeds are one of the oldest natural remedies for nausea. Chew a handful anytime you feel queasy or steep a teaspoon of crushed seeds in boiling water for tea. Bonus: Fennel seeds also relieve constipation and bloating.

12. Sour foods and drinks

Some women swear by lemons, sour lollies, and other tart foods and drinks. Put lemon slices in a pitcher of water and sip throughout the day to help quell pregnancy nausea. You can also try lemon drops, lime juice, and grapefruit. For an energy boost, mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of honey in a glass of water.

lemons and sour food natural morning sickness remedies

13. Sour scents

Lemons are one of the most popular natural remedies for morning sickness. Aside from eating them and adding them to your water, you can also sniff them! Some women take to carrying around cut up lemon wedges that they can sniff whenever pregnancy nausea strikes.

14. Light exercise

If your stomach can handle it, walking and other forms of mild exercise can help quell morning sickness. Try to take at least a 20 minute walk every day so your body will release endorphins that help fight stress and nausea.

15. Lots of liquids

Dehydration exacerbates morning sickness. And if you’re throwing up a lot, you have to make sure that you’re getting enough liquids.

Try to drink as much water as you can. To make regular water more appealing, add lemon slices, fresh basil or mint, or some honey. Choose low sugar drinks and herbal tea over fruit juices and other sweetened beverages. Soups and bone broths are also great choices and provide much needed nutrients and electrolytes, to boot!

16. Fruit popsicles or lemon ice cubes

If you’re having a hard time keeping liquids down, try ice cubes or popsicles. For lemon ice cubes, mix the juice of a couple of lemons with half a quart of water, add a bit of honey or stevia to taste, and pour into ice cube trays. For fruit popsicles, mix a cup of unsweetened fruit juice, a cup of water, and honey or stevia. Pour into popsicle moulds. Enjoy both when frozen.

Finally, remember to listen to your body and to treat yourself every now and then (read: a doughnut or three once a week won’t hurt). Rest, get some fresh air, and nurture yourself as much as you can. Congratulations and enjoy your pregnancy!

Have you ever had to deal with morning sickness? Which natural remedies worked for you?

Disclaimer: The natural remedies mentioned above are not intended as medical advice. See your health practitioner if you have any concerns about your pregnancy.

Image source: BigStock

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The 16 Best Natural Remedies For Morning Sickness

5 Simple Lifestyle Changes for Better Sleep

better sleep

According to scientists, good sleep may be one of the biggest health crises of the modern age. Our lives have become so busy and we’ve created so many distractions and anxieties for ourselves that when it comes time to hit the hay, we struggle to snooze.

This is worrying, since good sleep, along with good nutrition and exercise, is one of the most important aspects of overall human health. But you can end your love-hate relationship with sleep but making a few crucial lifestyle changes.

1. Turn Off the Screen

You probably already know this one, so why is it so hard to actually do? You know you should switch off and get to sleep, but you just can’t seem to make the break. It’s not like anybody can blame you. After all, the smartphone revolution has put 24-hour information and entertainment on demand and right at your fingertips.

better sleep no electronics

But according to sleep scientists, it’s not just the level of engagement that prevents you from dozing off. The blue glow emitted by your phone screen diminishes production of the important sleep chemical melatonin. The same goes for any screen, including your tablet and TV. Sleep experts recommend switching off all screens half an hour before bed, turning on night mode if available, and sleeping as far away from your phone as possible.

2. Ditch the Caffeine

Speaking of things you already know, it won’t come as any surprise that it’s best to avoid caffeine before bedtime. However, you may not be aware of just how early it’s recommended you quit your coffee intake. According to a study from Michigan’s Wayne State University, drinking two to three cups of coffee six hours before bedtime can cost you an hour’s worth of sleep.

better sleep coffee cup

The researchers suggested caffeine intake be ceased after 5pm and generally avoided in the afternoon if possible. That goes for tea, too, which contains caffeine and can also have a diuretic effect. If you’re getting thirsty before bedtime, try milk, which contains the sleep-inducing chemical tryptophan.

3. Start with Your Bed

Many of us who complain about a lack of sleep often ignore what’s arguably the most important part of our sleep—the bed. Of course, not all of us are in a position to invest in an expensive, orthopaedic mattress, but it does pay to go out and do some research and cost comparison. Consider it an investment in your productivity and your spine.

better sheets ettitude bamboo sheets

Research what kinds of mattresses are best for the type of sleeper you are. Are you a stomach sleeper? A side sleeper? Then take a look at the best rated mattresses out there and whether there are cheaper alternatives or anywhere selling them for reduced cost. Once you’ve bought your perfect mattress, chuck some bamboo bed sheets on. They’re considered the most comfortable in the world, as well as helping control your temperature through the night.

4. Stick to a Routine

If you don’t have a nightly bedtime routine, maybe it’s time to develop one. Research has shown following the same pattern of actions and behaviour at bedtime can actually improve your ability to fall asleep.

better sleep routine

Scientists believe this is because your body gets used to the precise series of actions you perform and interprets this information as you getting ready to sleep. As a result, your brain starts preparing you for sleep by releasing sleep-oriented chemicals, such as melatonin. If you’re unsure of what to do for your personal bedtime routine, try a bath and 30 minutes of reading. Just make sure you avoid screens.

5. Get Active

Many doctors and sleep scientists recommend exercise for those suffering from insomnia, so if you’ve been avoiding the gym lately, do it for your sleep. What’s interesting about the impact of exercise on sleep, however, is we’re not entirely sure just why exercise improves sleep, nor do all forms of exercise necessarily beneficial for sleep.

better sleep exercise

One study found that whilst a session of moderate exercise reduced the time it took to fall asleep whilst increasing the length of sleep for people with chronic insomnia, vigorous exercise can actually have the opposite effect. As for why exercise is so good for our sleep, scientists have suggested everything from the post-exercise body temperature drop promoting sleepiness, to exercise affecting our circadian rhythms.

About Our Guest Writer:

Phoebe Yu is CEO & Founder of Ettitude, Australian bamboo bedding startup. Ettitude makes luxurious, socially responsible bedding from bamboo biocell. She also founded 2 international sourcing companies, has 15+ years experience in supply chain management and merchandising, and knows all about the importance of a good night’s sleep!

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5 Simple Lifestyle Changes for Better Sleep

How To Clean Kids Toys (The Non Toxic Way)

how to clean kids toys

how to clean kids toys

It’s important to clean kids toys regularly. Toys are constantly in your children’s hands and often end up in their mouths as well. And because children can quickly spread and pick up germs this way, regular toy cleaning should be a part of your routine. This is one way you can reduce your children’s chances of getting sick.

You don’t want to damage the toys. So before you begin cleaning and sanitising your children’s toys, check manuals and leaflets for the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. As whatever cleaning product you use on the toys will inevitably make it into your child’s mouth, it’s best to use safe natural cleaners with no toxic ingredients.

Soft toys

While keeping hard toys clean is relatively easy, sanitising soft or plush toys is a bit more complicated. Plush toys absorb water and need to be thoroughly dried or they could become breeding grounds for mould.

The first thing you need to do is to check soft toys for parts that will be ruined by water or will not survive a spin in the washer. Check for delicate items like plastic hair or beads that can’t be removed. Look for glued on items such as ribbons and faux jewelry. Some soft toys have music boxes inside; see if these are removable. If a toy has fragile parts or is old, it may be best to hand wash it instead.

Clean toys that are washing machine safe by first pretreating visible stains with a safe stain remover. If dust mites in soft toys are an issue, stick the toys in the freezer overnight. Next, load them into the washer and run the machine on the gentlest cycle. After pulling the toys out of the machine, run a comb through doll hairs and stuffed animal fur to refluff them.

Don’t put soft toys in the dryer as they might shrink. Instead, use a towel to pat out excess water and hang them out in the sun to dry.

To clean toys that are too delicate for the washing machine, make a cleaning solution with water and baby safe laundry detergent. Use a clean cloth to gently rub the solution over the entire surface of the toys. Next, soak the cloth in warm water and gently wipe off the solution. Wipe down the toys with a towel to get excess water off and let them air dry completely.

Wooden toys

wonderworld-rainbow-sounds-blocksWood is said to have naturally occurring antibacterial properties, but it’s still a good idea to regularly clean wooden toys.

To clean toys made out of wood, you first have to wipe them down with a damp cloth. This gets rid of surface dirt and grease. To sanitise wooden toys, you can use a 100% natural spray cleaner or a laundry detergent and water solution. Use a clean cloth to rub the cleaner or solution onto the toy’s surface, wipe off the excess with a damp cloth, and let the toy air dry. This also works for metal toys and plastic toys with batteries.

You can also clean wooden toys with vinegar, which can kill mould and some bacteria. Mix equal amounts of water and distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray a small amount on a clean rag and wipe down the wooden toys. The vinegar smell should disappear within minutes.

Plastic toys

green_toys_air_plane_redWith plastic toys that aren’t battery operated, you have two options. You can either chuck them into the dishwasher or wash them by hand. With the dishwasher, use an all natural, biodegradable dishwash powder made with plant based ingredients. If you’re handwashing the toys, use hot water and a toxin free dishwashing liquid or laundry liquid. For stubborn stains or caked on grease, you can try using a mix of vinegar and baking soda. Then, rinse the toys well and let them air dry on a dish rack.

To clean toys with batteries, use a solution of water and a natural cleaning product to wipe down the surface. Wipe off the excess moisture with a clean rag and allow the toys to air dry.

Latex toys

Hevea_Alfie_Duck_Bath_ToyRecently, Sophie the Giraffe became the subject of controversy after a concerned mum posted a photo of mould growing all over the inside of her child’s Sophie teething toy. The company that makes the super popular chew toy has since released a statement about the issue. Because Sophie is made of 100% natural rubber, it said, it’s important to follow the cleaning instructions.

Latex toys like Sophie the Giraffe should be wiped down with a damp cloth. Because Sophie has a hole (as do many similar toys), it must never be immersed in water or rinsed under the tap. When cleaning latex toys with holes, take care not to get any water inside. Also, you can sterilise latex toys with an alcohol free spray sanitiser that doesn’t have to be rinsed off.

Latex toys should not go in a steam steriliser or a microwave. Don’t clean toys made out of latex by boiling them or using chemical cleaners. Because latex can be heat sensitive, rubbery toys that are regularly exposed to high temperatures and strong chemicals may disintegrate and become a choking hazard. Use only natural cleaning products on latex toys to keep the material from deteriorating.

Image: DepositPhoto

Pregnancy Skincare Issues and How to Fix them the Non Toxic Way

pregnancy skincare issues

pregnancy skincare issuesAh, pregnancy. Your skin glows, your hair is thick and glossy and you look your very best. No? Well, you’re not alone.

The reality is that lots of mums-to-be don’t feel very glowy. You’re tired, you’ve got more spots than you ever had as a teenager, the stretch marks are starting to show and your hair is lank and greasy. You’ve got pregnancy skincare issues.

You want to do something about it, but you’re worried about the products that you’re using in case they’re toxic. 

Normally, we don’t think twice about swiping on blush or getting a mani-pedi. But during pregnancy, we are driven by concerns about our developing babies. We worry about whether the products we’re using might be harmful to our unborn children.

This can all be very confusing and anxiety inducing. But don’t worry!

We’ve got a quick guide covering pregnancy skincare issues, and how to solve them using safe, non toxic products.

Facial skincare

Acne and spots

During pregnancy, the surge of hormones in your body can lead to your oil glands going into overdrive. The excess oils can block pores, resulting in acne. While spots are a pain anytime they show up, they are even more so during pregnancy, when you may be too tired to follow a rigorous skincare routine. For pregnancy acne, you want an easy, no fuss skincare regimen that targets spots and soothes your skin.

Although you shouldn’t take salicylic acid orally during pregnancy, it’s fine to use it on your skin. Try a natural spot cream like Acure’s Acne Spot Treatment with 2% salicylic acid. If you want to avoid salicylic acid altogether, try 808 Dude’s nontoxic spot gel or Necessity’s zit stick.

Cleanse properly

Too tired at night to cleanse properly? Get into the habit of removing your makeup as soon as you get home. Instead of falling into bed with a full face of makeup, keep a pack of alcohol free facial wipes on your bedside table for a quick cleanup before you conk out.

Dark patches

If you’re noticing dark or tan patches of skin on your face, it could be melasma. This is a common skin issue known as the ‘mask of pregnancy.’ To even out your skin tone, try an organic concealer with no nasty ingredients like parabens and titanium dioxide. There’s a wide variety of  natural makeup out there that will help conceal spots, dark circles, and red patches but are also safe for you and your baby.

Sunlight can make the patches look darker, so it’s super important that you wear sun protection every time you head out.

Dry skin

Pregnancy can also leave you with drier skin than usual. A good facial moisturiser with hydrating jojoba oil or sweet almond oil will solve this problem.

nail polish pregnancy skincare issues

Body skincare

While there’s still no proven way to prevent stretch marks, you can try to reduce their impact by keeping your skin well moisturised. Natural skincare products that contain ingredients like jojoba oil will keep your skin elastic and firm. Post pregnancy skincare products with calendula oil or aloe vera can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

Cocoa butter can soothe itchy bellies and give you relief from that super stretched sensation on your bump.

Nails

Use nontoxic nail polish if you want to have your nails done during pregnancy. Regular polishes may contain harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP — the toxic trio. Formaldehyde is a carcinogen and may cause breathing problems, toluene can cause reproductive issues, and DBP is a developmental toxin. When you go to the nail salon, make sure the place is well ventilated. You may be using safer nail polish but you could still be inhaling a lot of nasty chemicals.

Speaking of nasties in the air, spray tanners may contain dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a chemical than can be harmful when inhaled. Throw your spray tanner away and use an organic self tanning cream instead.

There’s been some confusion about whether or not pregnant women should wear sunscreen. But because your skin is so much more sensitive during pregnancy, you’ll need more sun protection than ever before. Before you leave the house, make sure you’re wearing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Choose a safe sunscreen with physical blockers such as zinc dioxide rather than chemical sunscreen. Read labels carefully and look out for harmful ingredients like retinyl palmitate, which can increase the risk of birth defects.

To find the best natural sunscreen, check out our very popular Safer Natural Sunscreens Cheat Sheet.

Lastly, regular deodorant is chockfull of things like aluminium, parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, and synthetic fragrances. To be safe, swap your usual antiperspirant with a natural deodorant. We’ve got a whole article about pregnancy, breastfeeding and the safe use of deodorants if you’re looking for more info.

Haircare

Most mums-to-be find that their hair is at its thickest and bounciest during pregnancy, especially in the last trimester. But if you find that your locks need a little help volume-wise, there are some natural haircare products that will give your strands a boost.

Choose gentle shampoos and conditioners made with plant-derived ingredients and no hidden nasties like sulfates and synthetic colours.

For days when you simply can’t be bothered to wash your hair, use a sulfate free dry shampoo to control oil and keep your locks smelling fresh.

The link between hair treatment products and birth defects has not been established. But if you’re considering colouring, bleaching, perming, or straightening your hair, there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of chemicals harming your baby. The Mayo Clinic suggests wearing gloves when handling dye and leaving the product on no longer than directed. You can also swap regular hair dye with semi-permanent vegetable dye like henna.

In addition, you might consider waiting until after the first trimester to treat your hair. Anytime you go for a hair treatment, make sure that it is done in a well ventilated area.

Because your skin and your hair reflect what’s going on in your body, you can help improve their appearance by taking care of yourself from the inside. Drink lots of water and be mindful about the food you eat. Stress can worsen skin and hair problems. Try calming exercises like yoga and breathing techniques.

We hope these pregnancy skincare tips help you make better decisions about the products you use during your pregnancy. Let us know in the comments if there’s anything else you’d like to know about natural skincare during pregnancy.