Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Skincare Question

Wendy Ashmun emailed, and suggested I might want to post this question in the Blog... so I am!

"Getting your book has gotten me thinking about making skincare stuff again. Specifically, body lotion or cream. My skin is quite dry and prone to eczema -- for a long time, I was using a homemade body butter of 2 parts shea butter and 1 part jojoba, but it tends to separate, and I think I'm ready to venture into the world of emulsions.

I did the research on emulsifiers and preservatives about 18 months ago and bought a bunch of e-wax, potassium sorbate, etc, which has been hanging out waiting for me to come back to it. I've settled on a super basic recipe to start, using just oil (I'm planning to use calendula-infused jojoba), water (or hydrosol), e-wax, essential oils, and a touch of the preservative.

Calendula is in full bloom at my community garden right now, and I think I will go pick a bunch of it, dry the petals, and infuse jojoba oil with them ahead of making it, so that gives me a bit of time to order more stuff for it. I think I will use some English chamomile and some high-alt lavender, and maybe a touch of geranium and rosewood because I love the scent.

So the real question I wrote to ask, is: What hydrosol would you recommend for this?

Feel free to take this discussion over to the blog, if you want!"

My first thought is, no matter what hydrosol you choose, to make sure you sterilize it first. I'd hold it at 175 degrees, covered, for 15 minutes. The hydrosols are a perfect feast for nasties in your lotion.

Having said that...there's a long list that could be helpful. I'm going to list the ones that come to mind, more or less in order.

  • German Chamomile

  • Roman Chamomile

  • Calendula! (If that has worked well for you.)

  • Lavender

  • Helichrysum

  • Owyhee (Artemesia)

  • Blue Tansy (esp. if the eczema has an allergic component!)

I'm wondering if it might not be an idea to get a sampler and try some of the above on the eczema all by themselves at first, to see if any one or combination seems to really help.

These are the things that come to mind first; I'm hoping others will jump in.

Another thought. I'm not sure about infusing in Jojoba. I've not tried it; but I know we have sometimes had problems with some CO2s that will dissolve beautifully in most carrier oils...the structure of Jojoba...a liquid wax... can do some strange things. I'd hate to see you lose all your calendula! Has anyone else infused in Jojoba?

and yet another thought...other carrier oils that are suggested for eczema and/or psoriasis by various authorities: Avocado, Jojoba, and Peach Kernel oils, Borage Seed, Camellia, Cranberry Seed, Evening Primrose, Pomegranate Seed CO2 and Rose Hip Seed Oils.

Maybe another choice instead of the Jojoba if we get feedback that its not the best choice for infusing?


wendolen said...

I'm definitely flexible on the oil, I was just thinking of using jojoba because I know my skin likes it, and I have plenty on hand.

I was reading somewhere recently about apricot kernel oil, though... I forget where, or what, just that it stuck in my head as something I should check out.

Marge said...

I love apricot kernel! Next time, request a sample of it. Nice and light, but moisturizing.

Anonymous said...

i don't have issues with eczema but definitely do with dry skin (not the cracking kind, just really really flaky). i love including sesame oil in my oil combinations...for me it is a wee bit heavier (hence always in a combo) which suits my dry skin well. it is super nourishing & provides a small amount of sun protection, and is traditionally used extensively in ayurveda.

i particularly like cutting the sesame with jojoba.

i always get organic & raw/cold pressed (roasted sesame oil def. not be a good option for skincare, the scent to too strong!!).


Anonymous said...

I have been making my own lotions for a couple of years. I always use hydrosols and have not had any problems with the lotions going bad. I heat the hysdrosols a little to mix them with the oils and melted e-wax. I use a natural vitamin E oil as a preservative. I mix only small amounts of lotion at a time (2 ounces or less) and use them up in a few weeks.

Also, I have found tea tree oil to be good for keeping all kinds red, itchy, or flaky skin spots under control. I'm starting to feel like a walking dermatology textbook, because every time I ask my dermatologist about a new spot, he has a different name for it. My husband can't stand the smell of tea tree so I've been trying to find something else that works as well, so far without success. So if you don't mind the smell of tea tree, you might try it on your eczema.

Marge said...

I truly have difficulty with the response above, for many reasons.

1. just a reminder that there IS a risk in using unpreserved lotions. small quantities help, and perhaps using only 1/2 oz at a time, and refrigerating the rest would also be a safeguard.
2. PLEASE don't consider Vit. E a preservative. It has NO antimicrobial or anti-fungal properties. It is an anti-oxidant; will probably lengthen the shelf life of a shortlived carrier oil. If you are using fresh oils, and refrigerating them, it shouldn't be necessary. It will never protect against spoilage from bacteria or mold.
3. Teatree may help against eczema if it is caused by either bacteria or mold. It's a powerful agent against both. However, it's not an anti-inflammatory agent; it won't heal the skin.

If you are looking for an "all round" antibacterial, you might look at our new Benchmark thyme, milder and more effective than teatree against many bacteria.

Or, of course, Lavender angustifolia combines antibacterial effects with skin soothing. Perhaps a better choice.

When dealing with eczema I honestly normally recommend starting with the various carriers that are recommended for it before using any eo's, and proceeding very slowly with adding essential oils, since so very often eczema can have an allergic component. You don't want to add contact dermatitis on top of the eczema!