The Soap Cabin

Skincare

Eczema

I’ve had eczema all my life, and as most eczema sufferers know, it moves around the body. When I’m stressed and over-tired I get patches on my eyelids (dark glasses!). When I was a teenager, I would get a patch next to my mouth during exam time. When I was in my early twenties, I had a small patch on my stomach, which has never returned. Last year I had a random patch on the middle toe of my left foot, which made wearing shoes rather annoying.

In the winter it always affects the backs of my knees (yes, I’m sitting here now and the backs of my legs are itchy..but let’s pretend they’re not). Sometimes I get patches on my inner arms from getting too hot. I’m currently slathering on Soap Cabin Body Butter, Soothing Skin oil and Soothing Skin balm, depending on the time of day. I’m actually thinking of bringing back the Lavender Butter that we used to make, but perhaps further enriched with other goodies as an eczema butter. I think you want different textures of moisturiser at different times, and Lavender is soooo good for eczema skin.

Soothing Skin Balm
Soothing Skin Balm

If you’re suffering in your skin, here’s a good article from the Huffington Post on how to combat eczema during the cold winter months!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/julie-kuriakose-md/how-to-treat-eczema-and-winter-itch_b_6608474.html

The oil debate

I saw this article in the Metro this morning:

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Dr Nigma Talib, a ‘naturopathic’ doctor, basically claims that putting oil on your face is actually drying it out, clogging pores and that she prefers serums and to treat skin from the inside…

Ok, NATURAL oils DO NOT clog pores. Think almond oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, and so on. What a bold claim she makes, that I’m sure a few aromatherapists and masseurs would take issue with! Lotions, creams and petroleum based products like Vaseline are more likely to clog pores. I think it’s lazy, sensationalist advice not to distinguish between types of oil. I mean are we talking about chip fat?!

Real Oil balances the skin’s natural oil production, which is why as someone with an oily/combination skin, I find oil perfect and no longer need to use blotting paper part way through the day. The doctor seems to be confusing cleansing issues with finishing. If your skin is dirty and you apply her wonder-serum…you’re still going to get zits. (I don’t care how many famous names you drop!)

Treating the skin from the inside out is hardly a revelation. Stress, poor diet and overdoing it at Christmas all take their toll on the skin.

Staying hydrated is really really important and we could all do with drinking more water, but I don’t see why this makes oil is the bad guy.

Benefits of Bar Soap

I believe we have been totally brainwashed over the last couple of decades into discarding bar soap and only buying liquid soap and shower gels. I hear it at my stall all the time: “I only use liquid soap!”

We used to use Imperial Leather when I was growing up, and I loved using Pear’s Soap in the bath (love that coal tar scent!), and later Dove, but we gradually switched over to shop’s own brand handwash and Sanex or Simple shower gel in the 90s. (For some reason I seem to remember having Dettol in the bath as a child. Anyone else??) However, since becoming interested in what is actually present in my skincare, I decided to go back to natural bar soaps, rather than the cheap detergent ones. I also switched from having a bath every day to showering, and then only having a bath when I really want to chill out in some steam. I do use shower gel nowadays, especially in my gym bag, but for hand washing I am NATURAL BAR SOAP ALL THE WAY.

We have become paranoid about bacteria and believe that the only thing that will keep us germ-free is liquid soap. TV advertising is great at achieving this aim, with every advert about germ-killing products showing nasty, evil bacteria creatures contrasted with a bright, blindingly white kitchen or bathroom, which looks more like a laboratory. I am still not entirely sure when it comes to meat-handling and hygiene in the kitchen, so I do keep an anti-bacterial liquid soap in there, but if I’ve not handled anything like that, I just use my Kelp or Tea Tree soap to wash my hands – a lot of essential oils are anti-bacterial.

The thing that makes me laugh is that these companies are packaging one product in different bottles, and you buy them all, not realising the shower gel, the bubble bath and the hand wash are all exactly the same thing!

I love bar soap, and that’s why I make them, so here is a list of the Benefits of Bar Soap:

  • Looks SO MUCH nicer by the sink than an ugly plastic bottle
  • Less packaging, therefore better for the environment
  • Takes up less space and lighter to carry
  • Easier to fit into your suitcase and won’t leak
  • No chance of not being able to get any soap out because of a faulty pump
  • Just as hygienic, despite the claims of liquid soap manufacturers
  • All the properties you require can be present (e.g moisturising, exfoliating, anti-bacterial etc)
  • Glycerine soaps like ours and cold processed soaps are not harsh and drying like the mass-produced supermarket detergent soaps
  • Most liquid soaps are full of nasty chemicals and petroleum, where as natural soaps are not
  • The Soap Cabin soaps are locally produced and contain amazing essential oils!

Have I convinced you?…

Spotlight on Sweet Orange & Patchouli

This week I made 2 loaves of our lovely Sweet Orange & Patchouli soap, which contains pumice powder to scrub off dead skin. Although Lemongrass & Lime is our best selling soap, I am hooked on the sweet yet citrussy scent and vibrant orange colour of this transparent soap, with it’s fine powdery layer on top. It is almost mouth-watering!

Sweet Orange

Sweet Orange Essential Oil (Citrus dulcis) is pressed from the peel of the almost-ripe sweet orange, and has sweet and fruity top notes, with radiant undertones. The sweet-orange tree grows in Israel, America, Italy, Brazil and Australia. Because of its uplifting effects, it is known to be good for anxiety, stress and insomnia.

Therapeutic Properties: anti-inflammatory, anti-sceptic, sedative, digestive, anti-depressant

Patchouli 

A lot of people tell me they love the smell of Patchouli because it reminds them of the 70s…

Patchouli Essential Oil (Pogostemom cablin) is a dark orange coloured oil with spicy, woody topnotes and earthy undertones. It is steam-distilled from the dried fermented leaves of the perennial shrub, which is found in Mauritius, Indonesia, China, India, the Philippines, and Malaysia.

Therapeutic properties: anti-inflammatory, anti-sceptic, anti-microbial, anti-depressant, deodorant, aphrodisiac, sedative

New Soothing Skin Balm

Eczema Balm

 

I have finally got around to making our new Soothing Skin Balm. Made with calendula oil, which is known for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic properties, the balm is great for skin that is prone to eczema (like mine) or psoriasis. Calendula (pot or common marigold) is also used to treat burns, cuts and grazes. Apparently, it was once said that “where calendula is, no pus will form”. (Oh I am glad!) Added lavender and sweet orange essential oils bring extra soothing properties, as well as a nice, subtle scent.

I decided to make a balm because I know how nice a balm feels on irritated skin, compared to a heavy butter, particularly if you need to put clothes on over the skin. This morning I massaged a bit of leftover balm into a small irritated patch of eczema I have on my wrist at the moment and it seems to have stopped the itching and smoothed the skin out! Because I tend to get patches during Autumn/Winter season, I will make sure I take a pot with me everywhere I go.

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Soothing Skin Balm is available in 50ml and 100ml tins.

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