Weleda White Mallow Baby Care & Eczema range

weleda-white-mallow-baby-review

weleda-white-mallow-baby-reviewEczema is a very common skin condition that makes your skin dry, scaly, red and itchy. It can affect anyone from babies to adults, but it’s more common in children. Eczema can be even harder to manage in children, because they don’t always understand that scratching makes it worse. Which means that it’s really important to find the best skincare products to manage the symptoms.

Babies already have delicate skin; eczema makes it even more sensitive. They need a natural skincare product that is suitable for babies but also for oversensitive skin. And that’s where Weleda’s White Mallow range comes in.

The White Mallow range is specially formulated for hypersensitive and eczema-prone skin in  babies and children. It’s all natural, it’s 95% organic, and it’s recommended by the National Eczema Foundation.

White Mallow, the main ingredient in all of Weleda’s White Mallow products, is a medicinal plant known to have anti-irritant, moisturising and soothing effects when applied on skin. All of which makes White Mallow the perfect skincare regimen for hypersensitive skin! The other natural ingredients are also designed for sensitive skin:

  • Pansy extracts
  • Organic cold pressed coconut oil
  • Borage seed oil
  • Organic safflower oil
  • Organic sesame oil
  • Organic beeswax
  • Organic cocoa butter

Both the White Mallow Face Cream and the Body Lotion have been independently tested for skin tolerance and effectiveness. The results showed that they calm the skin, provide intensive moisture and relieve itching. The face cream also protects and strengthens skin, and the body lotion cools hot, irritated skin.

Weleda White Mallow Certifications

  • Awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance™
  • Specifically made for baby skin (but also great for adults)
  • Perfect for hypersensitive and eczema-prone skin
  • 100% certified natural & organic
  • Fragrance free

weleda white mallow skincare for sensitive skin and eczema

Weleda White Mallow products

weleda white mallow body lotionWeleda White Mallow Body Lotion

I remember when I first tried this. I’d been having a really bad winter with my skin, and nothing seemed to help. My skin was so dry, it was cracked and bleeding in places. This body lotion saved my skin – within a day my skin had improved. I’ve been using it ever since.

It’s fragrance free and it’s super moisturising but it’s not at all greasy. It’s definitely not just for babies! If you’re an adult with hypersensitive skin or really dry skin, this body lotion is also perfect for you.

Price: $27.95 for 200mls

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Althaea Officinalis (White Mallow) Root Extract, Viola Tricolor (Pansy) Extract, Xanthan Gum, Glyceryl Caprylate, Squalene (Squalene), Squalene (Squalene).

weleda white mallow face creamWeleda White Mallow Face Cream

After I had such success with the body lotion, I tried the face cream as well. And I’ve been using it ever since. In summer, I only use this. In winter, I layer it with something else for extra moisture. I’ve got really sensitive skin, but I find that I can even use this around my eyes. It’s amazing. It’s perfect to use on babies if they have dry spots anywhere, not just their little faces.

Price: $17.95 for 50ml

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Alcohol, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Cetearyl Glucoside, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Althaea Officinalis (White Mallow) Root Extract, Viola Tricolor (Pansy) Extract, Xanthan Gum, Lactic Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate.

weleda white mallow nappy change creamWeleda White Mallow Nappy Change Cream

I haven’t tried this, as my boys are well beyond nappy stage. But our six month old office baby loves this. (Okay, he’s not exactly the office baby – he actually belongs to Christine, our wonderful customer service lady.) It’s perfect for the sensitive nappy area.

Along with white mallow, the coconut and sesame oils and zinc oxide work together to keep baby’s skin moisturised, yet dry and free from soreness.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Zinc Oxide, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Glycerin, Lanolin, Hydrolyzed Beeswax, Glyceryl Oleate, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Althaea Officinalis Root Extract, Viola Tricolor Extract, Glyceryl Caprylate, Sodium Caproyl/Lauroyl Lactylate, Lactic Acid.

Price: $16.95 for 50ml

 

We stock the whole range of Weleda White Mallow products at Hello Charlie, along with lots of other products from the Weleda range.

Natural Cleaning Products: Here’s What to Buy (and Why)

natural-cleaning-products1

natural-cleaning-products1Mainstream cleaning products can contain chemicals that are toxic to women and children. And as women still do most cleaning (both in the household and as professional cleaners), we’re more affected by these chemicals than men are. Some of these chemicals can be especially problematic for pregnant women and children.

But trying to choose safer cleaning products while you’re at the supermarket can be confusing, to say the least.

While I was researching this article, I jumped on to Coles Online. There are over 500 cleaning products there. No wonder consumers feel overwhelmed and confused when they’re choosing products in the supermarket!

I don’t shop at supermarkets, but I went into one recently when I was away for the weekend and needed enough food to tide me over. I ended up walking out again. There was so much choice in the cereal aisle alone that I was completely overwhelmed.

Studies have shown that consumers spend mere seconds choosing products in the supermarket, so manufacturers use tactics to catch your eye and help you make an instant decision. Names like ‘BAM’ in bright colours jump out at you. And if you’re thinking of eco, you’ll see names like ‘Earth Choice’ which make you think that they’re eco friendly. No wonder we feel confused and overwhelmed in the supermarket: manufacturers are deliberately trying to do that to you!

So what’s the alternative if you’re looking to switch to greener cleaning products in the kitchen? You may not want to go DIY. That’s understandable. I don’t want to spend my weekends mixing up citrus peel cleaning solutions. Packaged products are convenient, but I want to support companies who really are eco and ethical.

So we’re making it easy for you to swap cleaning products! This week we’re starting in the kitchen, with some eco swaps for mainstream cleaning products.

Swap Jif Cream Cleanser for Ecostore Liquid Scourer

jif cream cleanser

ecostore liquid scourerJif is owned by Unilever, and I’d prefer to buy from an independent brand with good ethics. Ecostore’s liquid scourer (cream cleanser) does a great job, without the perfumes, colours and environmental toxins.

You could also try Ecover’s Cream Cleaner, made with plant and mineral based ingredients (including a plant based natural fragrance).

Swap Earth Choice Dishwash Liquid for Ecover Dishwash Liquid

earth choice dishwash liquid lemonecover lemon dishwash liquidYou thought Earth Choice was a better environmental choice? I’m afraid you’ve been greenwashed. Check the ingredients list for Earth Choice, then swap the synthetic fragrance, colours, SLES, and environmental toxins like benzisothiazolinone. Benzisothiazolinone is also a skin irritant, so if you’re washing dishes by hand, I hope you’re wearing gloves.

Choose Ecover’s Dishwash Liquids instead. Made from plant based ingredients, including plant based sugarcane packaging, without the petrochemicals and synthetics.

You could also try Resparkle’s Dishwashing Liquid, which is certified organic by NASAA. Or Abode’s dishwash liquids which are made from plant and mineral based ingredients. And of course, Ecostore has a range of plant and mineral based dishwash liquids, too. I can personally vouch for all of these – I’ve used them all and they’re all incredibly effective.

Swap Ajax Spray & Wipe Kitchen Cleaner for Resparkle Kitchen & Multi Surface Cleaner

ajax spray and wipe kitchen cleanerresparkle kitchen and multi surface cleanerAjax Spray and Wipe Kitchen contains ingredients like methylisothiazolinone (MIT), methylchloroisothiazol (MCI),  and octylisothiazolinone. MIT is a strong allergen. Although you’re not using it directly on your skin, you are spraying it and then leaving it on kitchen surfaces. MCI is also a strong allergen, and so is octylisothiazolinone. Octylisothiazolinone is also an environmental hazard and is highly toxic to aquatic life. There’s evidence that MIT is toxic to marine life, too.

Skip it. Choose Resparkle’s Kitchen & Multi Surface Cleaner instead. It’s made from plant based ingredients like bitter orange oil extract, glycerine and lemon essential oil instead. Much safer and just as effective.

Or try Abode‘s plant and mineral based surface sprays, Ecostore‘s multi purpose spray cleaners, or Ecover‘s multi surface spray cleaner.

Swap Dettol Antibacterial Surface Cleansing Wipes for a kitchen cloth and spray cleaner

dettol surface cleanser antibacterial wipesI didn’t even look at the ingredients for this. Seriously, people, have we got so lazy that we can’t spray surface cleaner and wipe it off with a cloth?

The wipes in this are not biodegradable, so they’re going to end up in landfill. Use a reusable cloth in the kitchen, wash it regularly and hang it in the sun to bleach. If you absolutely MUST have a single use item, go with a paper towel and some surface spray. At least the paper towel will biodegrade.

Swap Finish All in One Dishwasher Tablets for Ecostore Dishwasher Tablets

finish all in one dishwasher tabletsecostore dishwasher tabletsThe problem here in one word: phosphates. The largest ingredient in Finish dishwasher tablets is phosphates. Phosphates cause the growth of large amounts of algae (algal bloom). The algae uses up all the oxygen in the water, and kills of plant and animal life in the process.

Phosphates were banned in the EU in laundry detergents in 2013, and will be banned in dishwasher detergents in 2017. But it’s simple to carry out your own ban – just don’t buy detergents with phosphates. Switch to Ecostore’s Dishwasher Tablets, which are phosphate free. I’ve been using them for years, and I can tell you that my dishes and glasses come out sparkling.

Ecover also has dishwasher tablets. If you prefer dishwasher powder, Ecostore does that, too. And so does Resparkle, and Abode. None of these products contains phosphates.

Swap Mr Muscle for Ecover Oven & Hob

Mr Muscle Odourless Oven Cleanerecover oven and hob cleanerI’m a little scared of Mr Muscle Non Caustic Oven Cleaner. The instructions shout: Wear thick rubber gloves and eye protection at all times. Always make sure that no part of your body/hair/clothes comes into contact with sprayed areas. Avoid breathing fumes, mist, vapours or spray.

That’s okay, Mr Muscle. I’m going to leave you on the shelf, and go with Ecover’s Oven & Hob Cleaner instead.

Or you could go with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar, left on overnight, then wiped out in the morning. I’ve done this, and it definitely works.

Have you swapped mainstream product for eco friendly? What’s your verdict?

How to Treat Eczema and Dermatitis Naturally

how to treat eczema and dermatitis naturally

how to treat eczema and dermatitis naturallyEczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is a type of inflammatory skin condition that commonly appears in babies and toddlers. However, it can also occur in children and adults. Eczema causes the skin to become scaly, dry, reddened and itchy. It’s not contagious but recurs through the years, especially when triggered. Although it can be managed, there isn’t a cure for it.

There are different types of eczema. Some are more common during childhood, some more common during adulthood or old age. Regardless of the type, eczema and dermatitis can make life miserable. It’s almost worse for children, because they don’t understand that you can’t scratch it. And of course, as a parent, you hate seeing your child miserable and in pain.

What causes eczema?

According to the National Eczema Association, children with a family history of eczema, asthma or hay fever, are more likely to develop eczema. But the causes of eczema are not fully understood. It’s possible to develop eczema without any family history.

What triggers eczema?

You can ease eczema symptoms with good management, and also lessen your chances of a flare up. Knowing what triggers your eczema is the key to good management. Here are some common triggers that make eczema worse:

  • Dry skin
  • Irritants
    • Everyday skincare products
    • Ordinary cleaning solutions
    • Commercial surface cleaners and disinfectants
    • Natural liquids such as fruit and vegetable juices
  • Emotional stress
  • Extreme temperature
  • Sweating
  • Infection
  • Allergens
    • Seasonal pollen
    • Dust mites
    • Pet dander from cats and dogs
    • Mould
    • Dandruff
  • Hormones

Different people have different triggers. Knowing the specific irritant that is causing your eczema to flare up is key to making it more manageable for you.

Keeping a skin diary can be helpful to work out what your triggers are. There’s a handy one here from the Eczema Advice Programme.

How can you relieve eczema?

There are many different ways, including natural remedies, to relieve the symptoms of eczema. Management will vary depending on the triggers that aggravate your eczema.

Heat

Heat can make eczema worse, so you need to keep your skin cool. Try bathing in warm or cool (not hot) water. Instead of using soap, try adding a capful of oil, like Grahams Natural kids eczema oil. If you’re showering, don’t have hot showers. And avoid using soap as it can dry out your skin. Smooth some oil over damp skin as soon as you’re out of the shower. Ideally, you should take a bath or shower two hours before bedtime.

Avoid direct sunlight, and stay in the shade. Plan any long car journeys. It may not be sensible to put the heater on in the car, as it may cause overheating. Take plenty of short breaks. Also, bring wet dressings and cool compresses to help manage symptoms of heat.

Overheating during sleep can cause your skin to itch. Cotton or bamboo bed linen is the best bedding for someone who has eczema. Try not to have woollen blankets next to your skin, as these can cause irritation. Plastic mattress protectors don’t allow your skin to breathe, so avoid these.

If you wake up at night or if you see bloodstains on your sheet in the morning, it may be a sign that you’re scratching during the night. Using a good moisturiser may stop your skin from overheating and feeling too dry.

Dry Skin

Dry skin can aggravate eczema, so keep your skin moisturised all the time. Natural eczema remedies include applying plenty of hypoallergenic moisturiser like Weleda’s White Mallow Body lotion or Grahams Natural Kids Eczema Cream to the affected area after a bath. Both of these products are specifically designed for eczema prone skin. If your skin is extremely dry, you can apply the cream several times throughout the day. If the affected area is around your face, you could try Weleda’s White Mallow Face Cream instead.

Allergens and irritants

Stay away from any known allergen or irritant that might cause your eczema to worsen. Get a good vacuum cleaner, and use it regularly to keep pet hair and dust to a minimum. Carpets can harbour lots of dust and dirt, so it may be better to go with wood or tiled floors as these are easier to keep clean.

For babies, the nappy area can be terribly sensitive if they have eczema. A combination of heat, wetness, and perfumes in some disposable nappies can be common triggers. Use a specific cream like Weleda’s White Mallow Nappy Change Cream to relieve eczema symptoms, as well as protect and moisturise this area.

Keeping a food diary as well as a skin diary may help you to work out if there are certain foods that cause eczema flare ups.

Avoid skincare products using food ingredients

Be careful about using skincare products that contain food ingredients. There is some evidence that children with eczema are at a greater risk of developing food allergies. It seems that the breakdown in the skin barrier (which is what happens to eczema sufferer’s skin), may contribute to an allergic immune response in food.

Research shows that people with eczema have developed food allergies after using skincare products containing wheat, oats, peanuts and goat’s milk. If you’re concerned, talk to your healthcare practitioner before using a new eczema cream.

Image source: DepositPhotos

What are your tips for managing eczema naturally? Share in the comments below!

Natural Ways to Prevent Stretchmarks

natural ways to prevent stretchmarks

natural ways to prevent stretchmarksWhen you’re pregnant, your body goes through a lot of changes. Our favourite? The most obvious sign of pregnancy – the growing baby bump! But along with the baby bump comes the not-so pleasing physical changes like stretch marks. But what are stretch marks exactly? Are there natural ways of preventing them? 

What are stretch marks?

Stretch marks are small, thin streaks that appear on the surface of overstretched skin. Although it commonly appears in the tummy area during pregnancy, it also occurs in different areas of your body like the thighs, breasts and buttocks. They usually start out pink, red or purple, depending on your skin colour; then fade to a subtler silvery colour but don’t totally disappear.

Why do stretch marks appear during pregnancy?

According to NHS Choices, stretch marks appear in about 8 out of 10 women during the later stages of their pregnancy. One of the reasons behind this is the release of the hormone that softens the ligaments of the pelvis, to prepare it for your baby’s birth. This particular hormone, unfortunately, also softens the fibres of the skin. This makes your skin prone to stretch marks as it expands to accommodate your growing baby.

Pregnancy also tends to make some women gain a lot of weight over a very short period of time. This rapid weight gain puts your skin under strain and causes the middle layer of your skin to tear. This makes the deeper layers of your skin more visible, forming stretch marks.

Natural ways to prevent stretchmarks during pregnancy

Source: DepositPhotos

Can you prevent stretch marks?

Unfortunately, there’s no proven way to prevent stretch marks. Whether you’ll get stretch marks during pregnancy depends on your skin type and its elasticity, and your genetic tendency to stretchmarks. But, there are definitely ways to lower your chances of developing stretchmarks.

Keeping your weight in check

Stretch marks often appear when you gain too much weight too fast. Research shows that this is especially true for pregnant women. Rapid and drastic changes to your weight causes stress to your skin. Eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly. Talk to your healthcare professional about what the best exercises are for you, and how much weight gain is right for you.

Using natural stretch mark prevention products

Using natural and organic remedies to help reduce stretch mark formation is considered safest during pregnancy. Choose products that don’t contain synthetic chemicals. It’s also important to know that not all natural ingredients can help prevent stretch marks.

Cocoa butter and olive oil are commonly thought to help prevent stretchmarks. But research shows that neither cocoa butter nor olive oil make any difference. There is some evidence that gotu kola oil (centella) and massage with bitter almond oil can help prevent stretchmarks or reduce their severity.

Weleda’s Stretch Mark Oil is clinically proven to increase the smoothness and elasticity of your skin. Massage it regularly into your stomach, thighs, breasts and bottom to help reduce the appearance of stretch marks.

Increase your Vitamin D

Research shows that increasing your Vitamin D level may help prevent stretch mark formation. This doesn’t mean that you have to sunbake.  You can also get Vitamin D from natural sources like fatty fish, mushrooms, cheese and egg yolks. You can also take Vitamin D supplements. Talk to your healthcare practitioner before you take supplements during pregnancy.

Any tips for reducing stretchmarks during pregnancy? Share in the comments below!

Natural Ways to Clean Indoor Air

natural ways to clean indoor air

natural ways to clean indoor air

Colder weather means that most of us are huddled up indoors with their heaters running. We don’t open doors and windows as much to let fresh air in. So the air in your home can become polluted from things like fuel-burning appliances, building materials, household cleaning products and excess moisture. This can cause you and your family to experience symptoms like dizziness, headaches and fatigue. Over time it can lead to serious health problems.

I’ve talked before about adding a few houseplants to help clean indoor air in your home. I’ve also written about reducing pollutants in the air by selecting the right furniture and bedding. Turning off electronics at night is another good idea. Here are a few more ways that you can clean indoor air naturally.

Ventilation

The most effective thing you can do to improve the indoor air quality in your home is to make sure that it is properly ventilated. Opening up your windows or doors for just a few minutes a day can make a big difference. Also, be sure to use exhaust fans in your kitchen, bathroom or attic to help increase air flow throughout your home.

Ventilating your home will help reduce the transmission of coughs and colds, too.

HEPA Filters

If you have central heating, be sure to replace the air filter regularly, and use a high quality HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter to help trap more pollutants. These filters are the most effective at trapping airborne particles, pollen, smoke, pet dander and dust mites.

Even if you don’t have a HEPA filter on your central heating, you can get vacuum cleaners that do. Instead of spreading dust around, they actually help clean indoor air by filtering the particles and trapping them.

Himalayan Salt Crystal Lamps

Lamps made from pink Himalayan salt crystals are like beautiful works of art that can also help clean the air in your home. The pretty pink salt used in these lamps is hygroscopic, meaning it can attract and absorb water molecules from the air. The heat from the light bulb then evaporates the water back into the air and keeps any particles of dust, pollen, smoke or other pollutants trapped inside the salt.

Be aware, however, that Himalayan Salt Crystal isn’t the most environmentally sound stuff. It’s mined, with all the environmental issues that go with mining.

Diffusers and Essential Oils

A great ultrasonic diffuser can serve multiple purposes, including purifying the air in your home. They work by releasing anions, which create electrostatic reactions with any dust or other particles in the air. This makes the particles heavy, so that they drop to the floor, where they can be vacuumed up. A diffuser can also work as an air ionizer, which uses negative ions to attract particles, cleaning the air and removing odors.

Adding just a few drops of an essential oil to your diffuser not only fills your home with a beautiful aroma, but it can also help keep the air in your home clean. Essential oils are naturally antibacterial and antiviral, so they can kill bacteria in the air. They can also help ease allergy and cold symptoms, like congestion.

And they’re so much better for you than synthetic air freshener sprays!

Charcoal Air Purifiers

For hundreds of years, charcoal has been used to control odors and purify air. In the 1800s, charcoal was applied to manhole covers to help combat strong sewer odors. During World War I, it was used in gas masks to help neutralize toxic gas. Today, charcoal is often used in air filters and purifiers to help boost their effectiveness. If you’re looking for an electronic air purifier, look for one that uses a charcoal filter to make sure you’re keeping the indoor air as clean as possible.

Image Source: DepositPhotos

What’s your favourite way to clean indoor air at your place? Share your thoughts below!

Why You Need to Avoid Fragrance If You Have Sensitive Skin

avoid fragrance sensitive skin

avoid fragrance sensitive skinIf you’re a regular reader of mine, you’ll know that I’m always saying that you should avoid fragrances and perfumes. Skincare products, cleaning products, air fresheners – if it’s not scented with essential oils, I think you should skip it. And even then, I believe that baby products should be free from all but a few essential oils.

What’s my problem with fragrance?

Manufacturers don’t have to disclose what’s in their fragrance formula. Fragrance is considered to be proprietary and commercially sensitive. I understand this. Smells can be powerfully evocative.

Getting a waft of Opium takes me instantly back to my childhood, and memories of my mum getting dressed up to go out for the evening.

Manufacturers understandably want to keep these fragrance formulas secret, so that they’re exclusive.

The problem is that if you have sensitive skin, fragrance can be an irritant and an allergen. Dermatologists say that perfumes are responsible for 30 to 45% of allergic contact dermatitis cases.

Here’s where it’s tricky.

Fragrance isn’t a chemical. It’s a group of ingredients that are combined to make the scent. Fragrances can be made up of any of over 3,000 different ingredients.

And in amongst this 3,000 chemicals are some that are fine, and others that are suspected allergens and sensitisers, phthalates, neurotoxins and endocrine disrupters.

Don’t essential oils contain irritants?

Chemists argue that essential oils contain many of the irritants that perfumes do. As a result of a report by the EU a few years back, there were some 26 fragrance allergens that must now be labelled on cosmetics. These include linalool, geraniol and citral. All 26 of these fragrance allergens are also present in essential oils.

So why aren’t I saying that you should avoid essential oils?

If the essential oils are listed in the ingredients, you know if you have a problem with any of them. If you are sensitive to lavender oil, and it’s there in the ingredients list, you don’t buy that product.

I suggest that you avoid products with fragrances, because if you do have sensitive skin, you don’t know what’s in there.

For example, I can’t wear perfume, and if I walk into a room where someone has just sprayed perfume or aftershave, I become wheezy and can’t breathe.

This doesn’t happen to me with essential oil based perfumes, so there’s something else in perfume or aftershave that’s causing me problems.

It’s the same with skincare products that are scented. My skin becomes irritated and inflamed when I use scented products. Not all of them, and there may be other factors at play, but without knowing which ingredients are in the particular fragrance that’s in a product, I don’t know what’s causing me problems, so I skip them all.

avoid fragrance sensitive skin perfume bottles
Images sourced: DepositPhotos

Should fragrance be banned?

Am I arguing that fragrances should be banned? No, because clearly this isn’t an issue for everyone.

And I’m also not arguing that manufacturers should have to disclose all the ingredients in their perfume formulas.

But I am saying that I will choose not to buy products that contain synthetic fragrances, and that if you have sensitive skin, or want to know exactly what is in the products that you are applying to your body, that you should avoid them, too.

I will continue to buy products with essential oil based fragrances.

If it’s an essential oil based fragrance, I’m happy if I see a list of the essential oils that make up the fragrance. I know which essential oils I’m sensitive to.

If I see perfume based on essential oils, I’ll make the call based on whether I know that company and trust them. For example, Weleda and Lavera. I know that their products are formulated to NaTrue standards, and I don’t have any issues with any of their scented products. Or I’ll look for products with EcoCert or Australian Certified Organic certifications, because I know and trust those certifications.

If you have super sensitive skin, you may want to skip even essential oil based fragrances. And that’s entirely up to you.

How do you avoid fragrance?

Synthetic fragrances are the problem, so if you do want to use products with a scent, choose ones that use essential oils, especially organic essential oils.

If you choose unscented products, be aware that unscented doesn’t mean no phthalates. Read the ingredients, and if you’re not sure, ask of the manufacturer. If they won’t tell you, shop elsewhere. Or check our Cheat Sheets to find good products.

Be wary of ‘fragrance free’ or ‘unscented’ products. The product may have no discernible scent, but may still have fragrances added to mask the smell of other ingredients. Read the ingredients on the back of the product’s label. If there’s no fragrance in the ingredients, you should be okay.

At Hello Charlie, we don’t stock any products with synthetic fragrances. But we do stock products that are scented with essential oils. We also have a large range of fragrance free products, including cleaning products.

Do you have sensitive skin? What’s your thoughts on products with fragrances? Share below!

Why You Really Need to Throw Your Makeup Away

makeup use by dates

makeup use by datesI wrote a post a couple of months back on why you should discard your mascara after three months. Mascara can harbour bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. These can give you serious eye infections.

After I published the post on mascara, I had a few requests about makeup use by dates for the rest of your cosmetics. This is an especially important question if you’re using natural makeup and skincare which don’t use as many preservatives as mainstream brands.

Makeup and skincare products are like food – they have use by dates. They can go off or lose their effectiveness.

And yet Australian product safety laws don’t require use by or best before dates on cosmetics. You will find that some manufacturers will label their products with either a manufacturing date, or a use within date. These are usually a little image of a container with a number inside.

Natural products often tell you how soon to use them. For example, Simple As That recommends that a couple of their products like the Mocha Body Scrub and the Matcha Mask are used within 6 weeks, as they contain raw foods (matcha, coffee beans and cacao).

What’s the use by date on makeup?

But if the packaging doesn’t have a use by date on it, how do you know when to use it? Here’s some guidelines on makeup use by dates:

  • Mascara and liquid eyeliner – three months.
  • Eyeliner and lip pencils – up to two years. Sharpening before you use it will ensure a clean tip and make them last longer.
  • Eyeshadows – liquid eyeshadows one year. Powder eyeshadows can be used for two years.
  • Lipsticks – 18 months (and never share lipsticks in case of cold sores)
  • Lip glosses – 12 months
  • Blushes and bronzers – cream blushes & bronzers – one year, powder ones two years.
  • Foundations and concealers – 18 months. Oil free ones won’t last as long.

Write the date you opened the product on to it with a marker pen as a reminder to yourself of when to discard it.

makeup expiry date
Image Source: DepositPhoto

Why packaging is important

Closed packaging means that bacteria can’t get into the product as easily. It also means that you’re not putting fingers (and bacteria) into the product each time you use it.

So makeup in a pot is more likely to get contaminated, whereas stuff in a pump pack isn’t. An example of this is my much loved Miessence concealer. I always used to dig this out with my fingers. When I started to get reactions every time I used it, I realised it had gone off. Now I use a small spatula which I wash before and after each use to stop it getting contaminated.

The ideal packaging is a pump tube, like the Lavera liquid foundation that I love. You don’t touch it, and bacteria can’t get into it because of the design. Perfect.

Keeping makeup brushes clean

Keeping your makeup brushes and applicators clean is important, too. This will stop the transfer of bacteria and preserve your makeup for longer.

Wash all your brushes and applicators once a month in warm, soapy water. It’s easy to do, but I found step by step instructions on the Lauren Conrad blog if you need.

General tips for makeup safety

Makeup should be fun, not a health hazard!

  • Don’t share makeup
  • Wash your hands before applying makeup
  • Use clean brushes and applicators
  • Keep containers clean and closed tight when you’re not using them
  • Keep makeup somewhere cool and dry. So the glovebox of your car is not ideal!

Safety tips for eye makeup

Eye makeup can be especially problematic, so you need to be extra careful with anything that you apply around your eyes.

  • Apply your eye makeup and especially mascara, somewhere stable – not in the car or on the train! Scratching your eye with your mascara wand could lead to eye infections.
  • Don’t add water or (horrors!) saliva to your mascara tube or liquid eyeliner, and throw them away after three months.
  • Only use eye makeup for eyes. Don’t use a lipliner as an eyeliner for example. It’s okay to use a blush as a lipstick, though.
  • Replace your eye makeup if you’ve had an eye infection. It may be contaminated with bacteria, which means that there’s a chance of reinfection.

So go on, tell us. What’s lurking in your makeup bag? 

How a Tongue Cleaner Can Banish Bad Breath

using a tongue cleaner to get rid of bad breath

using a tongue cleaner to get rid of bad breathBrushing and flossing keeps your teeth and gums clean and healthy. But what about your tongue?  Are you keeping that clean and healthy?

Your tongue, like your teeth and gums, collects debris. The surface of your tongue isn’t smooth, it’s got lots of crevices and bumps. And these hold all sorts of organisms – bits of leftover food, plaque, bacteria and other microorganisms. You might be cleaning your teeth thoroughly, and flossing perfectly. But if you’re not cleaning your tongue, all these leftovers start circulating around your mouth again the second you’ve walked out of the bathroom. The result? Poor dental hygiene, and bad breath.

Studies estimate that 85% of halitosis (bad breath) starts in your mouth and 50% of these are caused by tongue residues. So it’s important to clean your tongue if you want to reduce bad breath. But how do you do it?

tongue cleaner vs toothbrushYou may have heard that you can brush your tongue with your toothbrush. You can, but the problem with this is that toothbrushes are designed for the smooth surface of your teeth, not the rough surface of your tongue.

One study got people to clean their tongue with a soft bristled toothbrush, and others to use a tongue scraper. The results were interesting.

Using a soft bristle toothbrush only removed 45% of the sulfides (the bacteria that cause bad breath) on the tongue, but using a tongue scraper removed 75%.

As a bonus, using a tongue scraper will improve your sense of taste!

A tongue cleaner is in addition to your normal dental routine

tongue cleaner for fresh breath and dental health
Image: DepositPhoto

Cleaning your tongue should be an add on to your normal routine of brushing and flossing. Although tongue scraping reduces the amount of bacteria in your mouth, it doesn’t reduce plaque.

So stick to brushing your teeth twice a day, and flossing at least once a day, and just add your tongue scraping in once a day, too. It will help with your general dental health.

Kids can use tongue scrapers, too, but you’re best to wait until they can clean their own teeth.

How do you use a tongue cleaner?

Although it might seem strange at first, using a tongue cleaner isn’t difficult.

  • Open your mouth wide, and stick your tongue out.
  • Put the scraper at the back of your tongue, near the throat. Don’t put it so far back that you gag.
  • Press down firmly, but not so that it’s uncomfortable. Scrape from the back towards the front.
  • Scrape the top and sides of your tongue, not just down the centre.
  • Rinse the tongue scraper thoroughly after you use it.
  • Rinse your mouth out with fresh water and spit it out.

Once you’ve got the routine down pat, it should only take a few seconds each day to do your tongue scraping.

Choosing a tongue cleaner

dr tung's tongue cleaner stainless steelYou can buy plastic or stainless steel tongue scrapers, but I have to admit that I prefer the stainless steel one. It’s like the difference between using a plastic fork or proper cutlery! The Dr Tung’s tongue cleaner is gentle on your tongue, hygenic, lasts for ages and it’s easy to use.

At $9.95 it’s a cheap investment in your dental health, too!

You can grab a Dr Tung’s Tongue Cleaner right here at Hello Charlie.

Do you use a tongue cleaner? Love it or hate it? Share your thoughts below!

 

Teen Deodorant Smackdown: Natural vs Mainstream

Teen Deodorant Smackdown Natural Vs mainstream

Teen Deodorant Smackdown Natural Vs mainstream

I have a 13 year old boy. He’s a lovely kid – makes me a cup tea when I ask, isn’t embarrassed when I kiss him goodbye in front of his mates, and is generally sweet to his younger brother. But if you’d told me a year ago what a sweaty, smelly TEENAGER he’d turn into (seemingly overnight), I wouldn’t have believed you.

Thank goodness for 808 Dude. I’ve written about this fantastic range before, when I got a bunch of teen boys to test it out for me. I still love it, and most importantly, so do they.

So of course, when the topic of deodorant came up recently with my son and one of his mates, I couldn’t help myself. I’ll admit, I do tend to go into ‘lecture mode’ when I get worked up about something, and deodorant is no exception. They were talking about Lynx. Now the smell of Lynx makes my lungs seize up. Spray it around me and I immediately have trouble breathing. (And no, it’s not because of memories of boyfriends from my teens!)

Anyway, I thought I’d do a smackdown on teen boy deodorants for you, so that you can see exactly why you shouldn’t be buying Lynx for your sons!

808 Dude No More Stinky Pits

808 dude natural teen deodorantIngredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice Organic, Heptyl Glucoside, Zinc Gluconate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Dehydroxyacetate, Juniperus Virginiana (Cedarwood) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil Organic, Cupressus sempervirens (Cypress) Leaf/Stem Oil Organic, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Leaf/Twig Oil Organic, Citrus Reticulata (Mandarin) Oil Organic, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Oil Organic, Elettaria Cardamomum (Cardamom) Seed Oil Organic, Santalum Spicatum (Sandalwood) Oil Organic, Vanilla Planifolia CO2 Extract Organic, Citronellol,* Geraniol,* Linalool,* Limonene (*from essential oils)

The zinc glutonate is the only ingredient that I could find any issues with. EWG Skindeep Database says that there is some evidence of toxicity, but I couldn’t find any information on this anywhere else. It’s listed as a low to moderate hazard, so I’m not too concerned about this. There are a lot of essential oils in this, so it’s worth having a read through to make sure there’s none that will cause sensitivity.

This is a good list of ingredients, though, and it’s certainly one that I recommend.

Price: 70g for $7.95 (Available at Hello Charlie)

Lynx Apollo Deodorant Spray

lynx apollo teen deodorantIngredients: Alcohol, Butane, Isobutane, Propane, Water, Fragrance, Propylene Glycol, T-Butyl Alcohol

Ingredients list from here. Butane, isobutane and propane are all propellants, designed to get the stuff out of the can. But they’re also irritants. They’re skin and lung irritants, and this is especially concerning when you consider that you’re spraying it on your skin, but also breathing it in as you spray it around.

Propylene glycol is less of a concern, but it’s another skin irritant. And of course fragrance is another big one. It’s not the fragrance itself (otherwise essential oils would be a problem) but the undisclosed ingredients in fragrance.

What concerns me even more about this product is that teenagers are selfconscious. They’re concerned that they smell, so they use way more of this stuff than an adult does.  Which means that they ingest more of it.

As a parent, I’ve tried to get into my boys’ heads that as long as they shower every day, wear clean clothes and practice general hygiene, they won’t smell, so they don’t need this stuff. You’d think it would be common sense, wouldn’t you? But teenage boys don’t seem to have a lot of common sense!

Price: 100g for $6.29

Of course, 808 Dude deodorant is not the only good choice for teen boys. My son and his friends like this one because it looks ‘normal’ and they have a horror of being seen to be using organic stuff that mum’s picked out for them. 808 Dude looks cool, so it passes the test.

But if you’re looking for other safe teen deodorants that work, check out my Safer Deodorants Cheat Sheet.

And if you know of any other great teen deodorants, let me know in the comments!

Is Your Soap Making You Sick? Why You Should Avoid Antibacterial Soaps

Is your soap making you sick? Why you should avoid antibacterial soap

Is your soap making you sick? Why you should avoid antibacterial soap

Germs are bad, which is why you need to wash your hands with soap. And antibacterial soaps kill even more germs, so they should be better than normal soap, right?

Well, maybe not.

Recent studies show that:

“Antibacterial soap containing triclosan (0.3%) was no more effective than plain soap at reducing bacterial contamination when used under ‘real-life’ conditions.”

The study asked people to wash their hands first with plain soap and then with antibacterial soap containing triclosan (a common chemical in antibacterial soaps). First, they had bacteria put on their hands. Then they washed their hands in lukewarm (22°C) and in warm (40°C) water for 20 seconds.  The results showed that the antibacterial soaps only worked better after 9 hours. That’s 9 hours of handwashing to kill slightly more germs. Not very practical, I think you’ll agree.

But even if antibacterial soaps kill only slightly more germs, isn’t that a good thing?

Again, maybe not. One of the chemicals used in antibacterial soaps and other products is a chemical called triclosan. Triclosan, although it kills germs, is a bit of a problematic ingredient.

The US Food & Drug Administration says that antibacterial soaps:

“may contribute to bacterial resistance to antibiotics, and may have unanticipated hormonal effects that are of concern to the FDA”

Triclosan is found in lots of products. You can find antibacterial soaps, body washes, cosmetics, and toothpaste. You can even find antibacterial kitchenware, furniture, toys and even clothing. Antibacterial socks, anyone? Not all of the antibacterial ingredients are triclosan, but they have similar issues.

  • antibacterials may be creating antibiotic resistant bacteria
  • antibacterials could be endocrine disrupters
  • reduced exposure to bacteria could mean our kids are getting more allergies

Huh? I can hear you saying? What exactly does all that mean?

Antibiotic resistant bacteria

Ever heard of superbugs? They’re strains of bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics. Bacteria are everywhere, and mostly they’re harmless or even helpful. For a healthy person, bacteria generally aren’t a problem. But they can also cause infections. When you’ve got a bacterial infection, using antibiotics will generally kill the infection.

The problem is that when bacteria come into contact with antibiotics, some of them change or mutate to protect themselves from being killed by the antibiotic. The ones that aren’t killed become resistant, and you end up with strains of bacteria that can’t be killed by the antibiotics. Which means that when you get sick, the antibiotics that are usually prescribed can’t kill these infections.

Washing your hands with plain soap means that you’re not introducing bacteria to antibiotics, and so the antibiotics are much more likely to be effective when you really need them.

Antibacterials could be endocrine disrupters

Triclosan, the antibacterial often found in soaps, has been found in breast milk, blood and urine samples. This is a concern, because triclosan has been linked to endocrine disruption.

Endocrine disrupters are chemicals that can interfere with the body’s endocrine (or hormone) system. Endocrine disruption has been linked to obesity and diabetes, female reproduction, male reproduction, hormone-sensitive cancers in females, prostate cancer, thyroid, and neurodevelopment (brain development).

More research is needed to see if triclosan is an endocrine disrupter, and this is one of the reasons that the FDA and other US government agencies are doing further studies.

Kids are getting more allergies

This is one of my favourites, because it completely justifies my lack of cleaning around the house! Studies show that kids need to be exposed to bacteria from an early age. Keeping your house too clean means that your kids aren’t building the immunities they need. Using antibacterial cleaning products around the house kills beneficial bacteria.

When kids are exposed to normal bacteria in house dust, they are much less likely to get asthma and allergies. So don’t get too concerned if your floor hasn’t been mopped in fortnight, or if the baby has fallen asleep in the dog bed. You’re just building kids immune systems!

What should you use instead of antibacterial soaps?

So if antibacterial soaps are no more effective than normal soap and water, and there are so many other problems with them, isn’t it time that you switched back to normal soap?

What should you look for when you’re buying soap?

  • Avoid anything that says ‘antibacterial’
  • Avoid anything that says ‘microban’
  • Check medicated soaps and washes for triclosan, triclocarban or chloroxylenol

I had a quick look at the range of soaps at Coles online and found it really difficult to find a soap without antibacterials. I also found a lot of ingredients that I wouldn’t choose to use.

Of course, here at Hello Charlie we’ve got a great range of natural soaps that don’t contain antibacterials. And the rest of the ingredients are good, too! Check out our range of baby soaps, our range of body care for grown ups, and our natural hand washes. I personally research all of the products that we stock, so you can be sure that you’re getting the best and safest natural products for you and your family.

Image source: Depositphoto

What’s your thoughts on antibacterial soaps? Share in the comments below!

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