Ever heard your mother say that she’s seen a new cream in the magazine that helps aging?Or covers wrinkles? She wouldn’t need any of those products in my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with her skin but only because we get influenced, is that we think we wouldn’t survive without it. Or your grandmother who swears her still-youthful glow is thanks to a lifetime of shea butter? Depending what part of the world you or your ancestors hail from, you may have grown up with some promise or other about the powers of natural beauty.
Companies conduct market research to find out what words folks respond to most—aloe! shea! vitamin C!—then they sprinkle a tiny bit of the popular ones into an otherwise crappy product. (To get an idea how much of that lauded ingredient is in your product, check the label: Ingredients are listed in descending order of concentration, so if it’s near the middle or bottom, you’re being ripped off.)
Let’s hope you’re not too shocked now. What can you do to prevent “bad surprises?”
We’ll have to use, what has been used many years before by our ancestors- get back to the basics. Forget ‘Q10’ effect or others, because who knows if the wanted coenzymes are even present in a proper dosage? Try using more of this:
- Argan oil: Nicknamed “liquid gold,” Morrocan women swear by this stuff to treat everything from wrinkles and psoriasis to burns and acne. Science is still catching up but argan is extremely rich in linoleic acid, which applied topically is proven to reduce acne, and vitamin E, an antiager that may reduce scarring as well.
- Aloe vera: Even if your mom wasn’t a hippie you know that aloe vera gel has calming and restorative properties straight from the plant. Science says that it’s antibacterial and has been proven to speed wound healing in rats. In humans who’d undergone dermabrasion treatment, damaged skin healed 72 hours faster when aloe was applied. (Works perfectly with fever blisters, just cut off a tiny piece of your aloe vera plant and sprinkle it on the blister regularly.)
- Baking soda: Most of us have it at home it will wash your sink, but it will also whiten your teeth,banish your bad breath, and deodorize bad smells—including your own.
- Coconut oil: With a molecular structure that allows it to penetrate skin and hair, both preventing water loss and replacing lipids that deplete with aging, it’s a double winner. Science says it also accelerates wound healing, can help treat eczema, and has shown to be therapeutic in the treatment of acne and gives your hair some extra treatment when applied as oil.
- Green tea: We should all be drinking it, but topical application of green tea has lots of science on its side, too. Several studies have shown it toreduce the effects of UV damage, enhance wound healing, and treat acne. Green tea is also anti-inflammatory and can help reduce the redness associated with rosacea.
- Honey: Before we had antibiotics we had honey, which was frequently used in wound dressing to accelerate healing. It’s no surprise then that science says it does, in fact, do just that. Its topical application also demonstrates antibacterial action, and helps prevent scarring. (It’s good on toast, too.)
- Olive oil: Just when you thought you’d heard everything there is to know about the powers of olive oil: A 2000 study done on mice indicated that topical application of olive oil after UVB exposure effectively reduced the rodents’ chances of developing skin tumors. Already proven to be a powerful antioxidant in food, olive oil may play an exciting role in reducing DNA damage in skin, too.
- Propolis: Bees use propolis, an antimicrobial resin, to sterilize their hives, and a variety of studies have shown its properties to benefit human health—from reducing the duration of common colds to slowing the proliferation of cancer cells. Topically, propolis functions as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory proven to protect skin against photodamage, it’s more antibacterial than honey, and is even effective against cold sores.
- Shea butter: West African women (and grandmas 😉 ) have been using this stuff forever. Not only does its application exhibit powerful anti-inflammatory properties but recent studies are indicating that cinnamic acid (found in shea) reduces the effects of UV damage. Just make sure to choose a brand that’s sourced fairly, like Alaffia.
Soap nuts are the berries of the Sapindus Mukorossi (soap nut tree) that grow in the region of the Himalayan Mountains of India and Nepal. Their pulp and outer shell contain natural saponin, which is also a 100% natural surfactant. This saponin is a healthy, safe, and free-of-synthetic-chemicals substance that is a great green alternative to commonly used commercial detergents and cleaners like handy andy, sunlight, you name it.
The whole process of their “production” is sustainable and earth-friendly. The fruits are harvested between September and February, then dried in a natural way using just the sun. No additional chemicals or fossil fuels are used to produce them.
They remain harmless to the water system and the environment in general.
On top of that Soap Nuts are:
* 100% biodegradable
* Work on all fabrics, even silk and wool
* Hypoallergenic – can even be used on baby clothes or those with sensitive skin / skin conditions (no need for mommies to worry)
* Brightens colours and does not fade
* Natural fabric softener- forget Sta-Soft, Comfort & co.
* Versatile: Exist as natural pet shampoo, windows and general household cleaner, natural pesticide/mosquito repellent and even toothpaste
* Cost Economical
Sounds great doesn’t it? Unfortunately no supplier in Namibia- who would have guessed and there aren’t many suppliers of soap nuts in South Africa, but I discovered one site that sells them, reasonably inexpensively. Visit ‘nature soap.’ On their site you can find out more as well as order them for R85 per 500g. Not sure how we’ll get them to Namibia but maybe they have got an idea.
A new liquid laundry additive called ‘CatClo’ which, after only one wash, will allow your clothes to start purifying the air of pollution as you wander around Maerua Mall, Wernhill, in your garden or wherever you desire.
Items of clothing need only be washed once in ‘CatClo’ before they can start depolluting the air around them. The nanoparticles of titanium dioxide grip on to fabrics very tightly, and when these particles come into contact with nitrogen oxides in the air, they react and oxidise them in the fabric.
By wearing clothing treated with ‘CatClo’ everyone of us would be capable of removing approximately 5 grams of nitrogen oxides from the air. Yes, I know that might not sound like a lot, but it adds up to roughly the equivalent of the amount of nitrogen oxides produced by the average family car in a day.
It’s a unique and fascinating idea. Created by the partnership of artist Helen Story and scientist Tony Ryan, the idea behind this innovative concept is to create a movement that will allow everyday folks like you and me to make a positive difference for our environment by helping to create cleaner air.
Namibians here’s hoping this product makes it to market soon- would be a big step forward. Then no lame excuses for not being able to make a change. This one would be for everyone.
Eat your fruits and vegetables!- is what our parents used to say when we were little.The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Try to reduce your exposures as much as possible,but eating conventionally-grown produce is far better than not eating fruits and vegetables at all. You can lower your pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce and research has also proven a vast nutritional difference between organic food and chemically grown food.
Greenspot Organics, an organic farm of 4,6 hectares outside Okahandja is one of a few farms that can provide Namibian CItizens with organic foods.
Buy These Organic if available to avoid pesticides:
- Sweet bell peppers
As a guideline when we speak of natural foods, because it can be confusing sometimes.
Natural foods don’t contain:
- artificial colours or flavours
- artificial preservatives
- irradiated products/ingredients
They are grown WITHOUT toxic and persistent pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilisers.
We tend to think of food when we hear the words “natural” or “organic“, but there are more products that can help reduce our chemical impact on the planet. The solution is avoid and try using:
*Natural Cleaners – all natural dish soap, all-purpose cleaner, and detergent work just as well as their toxic cleaner counterparts but without harm to you or the planet.
*Pet Products – Buy high-quality natural pet food made from pure protein sources raised without growth hormones or antibiotics, and that does not contain any animal by-products or rendered meat or chicken meals.
*Clothing and Fabric – Organic & Natural fibers, such as organic cotton and wool, are available many places these days. -Difficult in Namibia, but not impossible.
*Shampoo and Skin Care Products – The demand for Organic & Natural shampoos and skin care products has encouraged the development of many different varieties and brands. – try the Body Shop
*Personal Care Items – Using Organic & Natural cotton balls, feminie hygiene products, diapers, and toothpaste can make a huge difference in our impact on the planet.
*Paper Products – there are many companies that offer office paper, tissues, toilet paper, and paper towels made with post consumer recyled materials. Switching to recycled paper products is a small step that can create a huge impact. Try to avoid white paper, it’s bleached and has a negative impact as well. Rather go for brown.