Helpful Resources

Mar 12

Reduce Chemicals to Increase Fertility

by Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff, Executive Director, Healthy Child Healthy World

On Valentine’s Day, the last thing you want to think about is whether toxic chemicals will prevent you from starting a family. But with rates of infertility on the rise and testosterone levels in decline, we may need to factor in chemical exposures to the future of our love lives. Infertility affects one in eight couples in the United States—that’s 7.3 million people who have trouble with pregnancy, according to the CDC. And although it was once thought that infertility was a “female problem,” medical evidence shows that infertility is an equal opportunity problem: One-third of infertility is attributed to the female, one-third to the male and one-third to combined factors from both male and female.

Read more: Healthy Child

Dec 11

Is That Air Freshener Really Safe?

Air fresheners have become a staple in many American homes and offices, marketed with the promise of creating a clean, healthy and sweet-smelling indoor atmosphere. But studies show that many of these products contain phthalates (pronounced thal-ates) — hazardous chemicals known to cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects and reproductive problems. To protect consumers, government action to conduct more thorough tests and enact basic measures to limit exposure to phthalates is urgently needed. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, the high and often unmentioned phthalate content found in most manufactured air fresheners is dangerous to human health, especially to children and pregnant women. Other disconcerting ingredients commonly found in air fresheners include formaldehyde and phenol.

Formaldehyde is a highly toxic carcinogen, as well as a neurotoxicant and immunotoxicant. It is also in the top 10 percent of hazardous chemicals for humans. Low levels of exposure cause eye irritation, and burning in the nose, throat, and skin. Additional symptoms include nausea, headaches, memory loss, breathing problems, and menstrual disorders. Higher levels of exposure have been linked to cancer in the nose and throat. Internal consumption of formaldehyde can cause coma, convulsions, severe vomiting, stupor, and death. Direct eye contact with formaldehyde can cause blindness.
Xylene is a neurotoxin that can cause liver and kidney damage; it also poses health risks to unborn children. Long-term exposure can cause memory loss. Inhaled xylene causes symptoms like headache, dizziness, and vomiting. High intakes of xylene can also cause a loss of consciousness, pulmonary edema, and death. Pockets of fluid or air in the cornea area of the eye have also occurred.

According to the National Institutes of Health, phenol is toxic and hypersensitive individuals can die or suffer from very serious effects from minimal exposure. Skin contact with phenol can cause severe swelling, burning, peeling, and hives. This toxin is absorbed quickly and can additionally cause convulsions, circulatory collapse, delirium, and coma. Death and high toxicity levels often correlate directly with central nervous system depression, and poisoning of the heart, liver, eyes, lungs and kidneys. Phenol has also caused problems with animal fetuses and reproduction. The toxin additionally causes changes in the liver’s enzymes that regulate the absorption of various medications introduced into the body.

Want a Safe and Far More Useful Alternative?
YesterYear Soap Company produces all natural soaps which contain no harsh chemical additives. These bars of soap emit a fragrance that can make any kitchen or bathroom smell fresh and clean. Not only is the aroma pleasant, the soap can be used as a healthy alternative to chemical laden commercial soaps. Protect yourself and your family with this alternative to air fresheners next time.

Dec 11

Is Your Soap Really Soap?

What Is Soap?

Soap is the oldest cleanser around. It is created by a chemical reaction between oils, water and lye. Although lye is used to make soap there is no lye left after saponification (the chemical reaction that makes soap) is complete. There is no such thing as a bar of soap that was made without the use of lye. Different kinds of soap are made using a variety of different oils. Both animal & plant oils can be used in the soap making process, each adding different qualities to the soap.

Conventional Bar Soaps

Much of the soap available in the store today is not really soap at all, but a detergent. Detergents are a petroleum based product, like gasoline and kerosene. Have you ever noticed how regular soap leaves your skin feeling dry, itchy and tight? Alkali, the most common irritant in soap is often the culprit. Others ingredients in mass-marketed soap have been proven harmful to human health and can cause severe skin irritations in some people. These include ingredients such as DEA, Isopropyl Alcohol, BHT and Triclosan (commonly found in anti-bacterial soap). The most common ingredient in conventional bar soaps is sodium tallowate. It is the natural product of combining tallow, or beef fat, with lye. The attractiveness for tallow for mass producing soap is that it processes quickly, produces a hard bar of soap and is cheap and plentiful.

The New Bar On The Block

While there is nothing new about handmade soap, its popularity is growing rapidly. The sales of handmade soap continue to grow as part of society’s movement toward buying products that are healthy and good for the environment. With the ever increasing use of synthetic chemicals and studies about their dangerous effects, consumers are on the lookout for more “green” alternatives.

Benefits Of Handmade Soap

Evidence abounds of the healing properties of a handmade bar of soap. Those who suffer from skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, as well as people that have sensitive skin or are hypoallergenic often find immediate relief by switching to handmade soap. Compared to store bought soap, handmade soap is very mild. They are often made from vegetable-based oils, such as olive, coconut, and palm and do not contain the potentially harmful chemicals found in conventional bar soap. One of the biggest differences between commercial soap and handmade soap is glycerine. Glycerine is a clear liquid that absorbs water from the air and is a key factor in keeping skin soft and healthy. Glycerin soap is especially good for sensitive and delicate skin, and for children. Because it is a high quality by-product in the soap making process, many mass commercial soap manufacturers often extract the glycerine and sell it as a by-product to be used in higher priced products like lotions and skin creams.

Handmade Soap Is Good For Your Body

For adults, the skin covers approximately 20 square feet of the human body. It is the largest human organ and is the bodies first line of defense against dehydration, temperature, infection and harmful substances. Handmade soaps from the YesterYear Soap Company gives your skin the care it deserves and make bathing a gentle, soothing experience.

Handmade Soap Is Good For Your Mind

For many of us today, life seems to move at an often hectic pace. While the stress of everyday life increases, personal time is at minimum. A fragrant, handmade bar of soap is a simple indulgence that fosters a feeling of relaxation and being pampered. Treat yourself or someone you love to the benefits of handmade soap!

Dec 11

How to Prevent Skin ‘Winter Itch’

By Cynthia Bailey MD, Dermatologist

Your skin needs help staying hydrated during the winter months. Exposure to windy and cold outdoor weather followed by hot and dry indoor air pulls moisture from your skin. In the winter I see dry skin on most of my patients. In fact, my own skin will become dry, chapped, itchy and red if I am not diligent with good hydrating skin care practices. This seasonal phenomenon of dry skin has been called ‘winter itch’.

There are simple steps you can take to prevent or treat ‘winter itch’. In general, you first need to cleanse without harsh soaps. Second, you need to apply an effective moisturizer immediately after washing. Third, you should protect your skin from environmental damage.

The good news is that if you give your skin a little extra attention in the winter, it will be as soft and hydrated as it is during warmer and more humid weather of summer. Simple Tips for winter skin care:

1. Cleansing: The big point here is the sparing use of mild cleansers that are rinsed well after use! Harsh soaps strip the natural oils from the outer protective layer of your skin. As you lose these precious natural oils, your skin becomes even more sensitive to the harsh soaps. With continued soap exposure, you end up with dry and sensitive skin that is even more vulnerable than normal to absorbing other harsh chemicals like house cleaners, solvents, acidic foods etc. Contact with these items further chaps and irritates your skin, making it more vulnerable to soaps and harsh chemicals, and on and on it goes. The end result is dry, chapped, itchy or stinging skin.

The trick is to use only mild soaps such as the glycerin and oil soaps available at specialty boutiques or natural food stores, or soapless cleansers without sodium laurel sulfate such as Toleriane Cleanser. (Sodium laurel sulfate is the foaming agent in most cleansers. There are many names for sodium laurel sulfate like ingredients and they can all be irritating. I recommend avoiding any ingredient that sounds like sodium laurel sulfate such as sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate etc.) In addition, all soaps and cleansers need to be rinsed completely from the skin, preferably using warm water and avoid using hot water to bathe or rinse your skin which will result in further stripping oils during the bathing process.

In the bath or shower, only apply soap to areas of your skin that need to be cleaned really well. These areas are usually the places where we produce body odor or excessive oil. The sites for body odor include: the armpits, groin, buttocks and feet. Oil production is greatest on the face, ears, upper chest and back.

To summarize, winter skin cleansing should include the sparing use of mild cleansers that are rinsed well after use.

2. Moisturizing: This is an essential step to perform in the winter. Your skin can’t compete with the climate. With bathing, even if you follow my cleansing recommendations to the letter, there will be an elimination of some of those precious natural skin oils. This means adding some oil in the form of moisturizers.

There are two important points to moisturizing: timing and product quality. With timing, moisturizers applied after bathing capture the water that soaked into your skin during the bathing process. This means that for moisturizers to work best, apply them within three minutes after stepping out of the bath or shower. For dry hands, apply moisturizer immediately after washing and drying and as many times as possible during the day.

Product quality is much more complex to understand. In order to choose a good moisturizer, it’s helpful to understand how moisturizers work. Moisturizing products add oil to the skin, trap water and smooth and polish the skin in a way that improves barrier function, making it less likely to dry out or become irritated.

The important ingredients in moisturizers are: the oils, the water binders and the barrier enhancers:

The most common oil ingredients are petrolatum and mineral oil. There are also many natural oil ingredients such as shea butter, sesame seed oil, and other food based oils.
Water binding ingredients include glycerin (as in Glycolyx Elite Facial Cream and Intensive Hand Cream), lanolin from wool, hyaluronic acid (as in Replenix CF Cream) and alpha hydroxy acids (AHA’s) such as lactic and glycolic acids. The AHA’s also enhance the barrier strength of the skin by compacting and tightening the outermost skin layer called the stratum cornium. In doing this, they also give the skin a smooth and polished look. The AHA’s can however be irritating if the skin is chapped.
If your skin is chapped, start with a gentle non-AHA moisturizer such as Glycolyx Elite Facial Cream, Nivea Cream or Nivea Rich Caring Milk, Vanicream or Dr. Hauschka’s Rose Body Moisturizer or Rose Day Cream . Once the chapping has resolved you can advance to AHA’s. For the body this would include Glytone Body Lotion in our Body Rejuvenation Kit, or AmLactin Cream. For the face, products such as Glycolyx Elite Facial Cream with 15% glycolic acid, or Glytone Facial Cream #2.

3. Environmental Protection: Protecting your skin from damaging environmental stressors such as sun light, harsh climates and chemicals is as important in the winter as it is in the summer. The key points here are:

Continue wearing sunscreen every day
Apply products with effective antioxidants for skin protection and repair, and
Use barrier products to provide a protective coating on the skin surface.
Remember, UVA rays are equally intense all year round and they permanently damage your skin. UVA is what I call the ‘wrinkle ray’. It penetrates the skin more deeply than the summer sunburn ray UVB, and that’s how wrinkles occur.

To keep UVA from penetrating your skin, apply a broad spectrum sunscreen all year round. In my opinion, micro sized zinc oxide is the best broad spectrum sun protection ingredient available. I recommend that my patients apply a product containing at least 5 % microsized zinc oxide to sun exposed skin every day of the year (Citrix Sun Screen, Glycolyx Elite Sunscreen or Solbar Zinc provide this protection).

In addition to sun protection, good antioxidant skin care products are also important; they do make a difference to skin health. Replenix CF Cream is my favorite antioxidant protection for facial skin. CRS Cell Rejuvenation Serum is another very powerful antioxidant product. It contains vitamin C, which helps build collagen.

Lastly, products with dimethicone or simethicone (such as Intensive Hand Cream and CRS Cell Rejuvenation Serum) will temporarily leave a protective film on the skin to help slow water loss, chapping or irritation during contact with harsh climates, soaps or chemicals.

With carefully selected skin care products, used consistently throughout the winter, healthy, soft, hydrated skin is as possible to achieve in winter as it is during the warm summer months.

For more information visit Senior Women Web

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Dec 11

Book Suggestion- The Green Beauty Guide: Your Essential Resource to Organic and Natural Skin Care, Hair Care, Makeup, and Fragrances

by: Julie Gabriel

Go green and get gorgeous.

The promise of beauty is as close as the drugstore aisle—shampoo that gives your hair more body, lotions that smooth away wrinkles, makeup that makes your skin look flawless, and potions that take it all off again. But while conventional products say they’ll make you more beautiful, they contain toxins and preservatives that are both bad for the environment and bad for your body—including synthetic fragrances, petrochemicals, and even formaldehyde. In the end, they damage your natural vitality and good looks.

Fortunately, fashion writer, nutritionist, and beauty maven Julie Gabriel helps you find the true path to natural, healthy, green beauty. She helps you decipher labels on every cosmetic product you pick up and avoid toxic and damaging chemicals with her detailed Toxic Ingredients List. You’ll learn valuable tips on what your skin really needs to be healthy, glowing, and youthful.

Julie goes one-step further—and shows you how to make your own beauty products that feed your skin, save your bank account, and are healthy for your body and the environment, such as:

• Cleansing creams and oils • toners • facials • under eye circle remedies • anti-aging serums • lip balms • scrubs • exfoliators • clay and cleansing masks
• moisturizers • acne treatments • makeup remover • teeth whiteners • shampoos, conditioners • fragrances • sun protection • bug repellants • baby products • and much more!

With her friendly, thorough, and helpful advice; fabulous beauty recipes; product recommendations and ratings; Toxic Ingredients List; and a complete appendix of online resources, Julie Gabriel gives you all the information you need to go green without going broke and become a more natural, healthy, and beautiful you.

Available in paperback at

About the author

Julie Gabriel is a holistic nutritionist, the author, and the founder of Petite Marie Organics ( natural skincare range for acne-prone, problem and sensitive skin. Julie lives in Switzerland with her daughter Marie.

Julie’s fascination with beauty began nearly twenty years ago. As a beauty writer and editor she worked at such amazing publications as Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel de la Mode et de la Couture, Atmospheres, WWD, and many more – including Style with Elsa Klensch (CNN) in the early 1990s.

When Julie’s daughter was born, Gabriel has trained as a holistic nutritionist at Canadian School for Natural Nutrition. “I believe that cosmetic products are food for our skin, and if you take great care to eat healthy, wholesome foods, you must treat your skin and hair with the same respect,” says Julie.

This biography was provided by the author or their representative.

Dec 11

What are some simple tips for fighting germs?

There are many several simple yet effective ways to battle germs. One thing you can do is to periodically spot clean the areas of your home that are known germ factories. A study conducted by the Hygiene Council found that the handles of bathroom and kitchen faucets are especially susceptible to microbes. There’s no need to go overboard with the cleaning, however. Regularly cleaning of just those household items that get frequently used, such as computer keyboards, remote controls, doorknobs and light switches, will go a long way toward making your home a less welcoming place for pesky germs.

Another gathering point for germs tends to be the kitchen sponge. Since it’s used to clean up all types of messes, the average kitchen sponge is a germ haven. One tip is to simply replace your kitchen sponge on a weekly basis. Or, you can microwave your sponge for a couple of minutes. According to a study conducted at the University of Florida, virtually all bacteria on a kitchen sponge will be killed after being nuked in a microwave. Another effective way to fight germs is to stay hydrated. Whenever you drink water or some other beverage, the mucous membranes become moist. Germs have a more difficult time invading the body if they have to travel through moist mucous membranes. However, you shouldn’t drink soda, coffee or alcohol if your goal is to keep the germs away. These particular beverages may actually have the opposite effect, since they’re known to dehydrate.

The most powerful tool we have against germs is the simple act of washing our hands with soap. Although not a substitute for soap and water, another way to keep your hands from becoming infested with microbes is by using an alcohol-based sanitizer.

Dec 11

Most soap is rich in harmful synthetic ingredients and is in no way useful or good for skin.

One of the mistakes that a person makes taking care of health is ignores his or her skin condition. Skin plays a great role in the defense of our organism from the attacks of diseases and any other harmful influences in general. But we tend to underestimate its impact in our well-being. Moreover we are prone to harm it with all the potentially destructive stuff that is broadly advertised and presented as wholly natural and beneficial.

We are talking about soap. Most soap we buy is rich in harmful synthetic ingredients and is in no way useful or good for skin. They have chemicals as ingredients and are able to damage skin and not help it. Contrariwise, organic, natural, handmade soap is a different thing. This kind of soap has only natural oils and substances as ingredients and therefore it guarantees that no intolerance response or undesired skin reaction will proceed. Moreover, they are much nicer to use than these beauty soaps we can see everywhere on the shop shelves.

What are the benefits of the natural soap? They are numerous, actually:

First of all, the main material they are made of is coconut, also olive or palm oil – so all the ingredients are absolutely natural and skin-friendly. Such soap is much recommended for sensitive skin, and also such problems as like acne, psoriasis, eczema, and etc.

Secondly, using natural soap will ensure that you will never experience any skin dryness or stretched feeling like the one you can get after using ordinary beauty soap.

Moreover, natural soap is usually produced in limited batches, which means that the product is always fresh.

Also, organic soap contains glycerin that is very nice and beneficial for skin. It possesses moisturizing effect and prevents dryness of skin.

Jojoba oil is another frequent natural soap ingredient and it is responsible for the maintenance of skin complexion balance.

Handmade soap contains only natural fragrances and it makes it very effective aromatherapy tool. The relaxing effect it produces is really quite nice. Moreover, the essential oils are great antibacterials and therefore they clean the body like nothing else.

Then, natural soap has always a natural colour due to the ingredient they contain. Lime tree soap will be of a pleasantly light-brown colour, while lavender soap will have some shade of blue.

What is more? Handmade soap is also noted for its lather as it is absolutely not harmful for the environment; while commercial soap is.

After reading this, think about the benefits of natural handmade soaps and the drawbacks of commercial soaps. The latter is also reported to be able to evoke skin cancer in the long run not to mention the way its usage affects nature. In any way, it’s up to everyone to decide what to use. But if you are in the least concerned about your health and your skin condition, you will meditate upon the subject and make conclusions.

You can even make homemade soap by yourself. There are a lot of recipes to your help; they require just a little time and wish. Try using homemade natural soaps and you will feel the difference.

YesterYear Soap is all natural and available online with FREE shipping from Abe’s Market.

Sep 11

Is Natural Soap Actually Good for You?

Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it protects you from many injuries and illnesses that would otherwise endanger your health. Once you place such importance on your skin, you should know that the type of soaps that you use to bathe can affect your skin significantly. This is why the best solution to keeping your skin healthy is by using pure natural soap.

Here lies the challenge because when you are shopping for soaps and bathing products, you are presented with such a variety of brands, scents and prices such that you may simply buy whatever appeals to your preferences. However, you must look at the packaging on the soaps you select to see whether they are natural or not. It is possible to identify natural from commercially manufactured soaps if you take some time to look at the particular products.

First, check that the ingredients of the soap are all natural and organic, with minimal content of chemicals used in manufacturing. Some of these ingredients should include natural herbs and oils extracted from plants, and these ingredients should be present in the soap whether it is a shampoo bar, bathing soap, or any other type of soap that you need.

Secondly, you could opt to buy handmade pure natural soap which may be a bit more expensive than your regular soap but it skips the commercial manufacturing soap making process. This usually uses bentonite clay, which makes the handmade soap retain its natural composition and allow your skin to benefit from its detoxifying qualities.

Keep in mind that your skin is naturally absorbent and will take up most of the materials present in soaps. Using organic soaps will ensure that your skin only absorbs and retains qualities that make it more supple, clean and healthy. The way you store your natural soaps also plays a role in how your skin will benefit from it because you should always keep your soaps in cool dry places to retain their ingredients.

Aug 11

What Are Essentail And Fragrance Oils?

When it comes to scents, essential oils and fragrance oil are both extremely popular. Although both offer a variety of scents to be enjoyed and are commonly used in products such as candles, soap and other air freshening sources, their main difference is that essential oils are natural and fragrance oil is a synthetic scent that is commercially created. In this article, we will strive to highlight the pros of both fragrance and essential oils. Both are equally valuable in today’s marketplace as each has it’s own distinct properties that combine to form a pleasing aroma.

When you first walk into someone’s home, you often notice the smell. A home that incorporates either essential or fragrance oil will be both inviting and pleasing. Whether you notice the scent through candles in the family room, perfumes or soap found in the bathroom or just sense a fragrance in the air, you are likely to be experiencing essential and/or fragrance oils. Beginning with fragrance oils, these are available in a much larger selection and are sometimes derived or inspired from essential oils.

Because fragrance oils are strongly scented, they are commonly used as odor eliminators. Several examples include tobacco smoke, pet odors and cooking or stale scents. In addition, fragrance oils are environmentally safe and friendly. Their popular uses include handmade soap, potpourri, candles, sachets and incense. Essential oils, which are commonly found in natural products, are easy to smell and are often used to freshen either a single room or an entire household. In some situations, essential oils are even used as a bug repellent. They are also used to enhance a bathing experience or during a message after having been diluted to avoid skin sensitivity.

Essential oils are used in handmade soap, lotions, facial toners, perfumes, shampoos, shower gels and other natural products. The information in this article is designed to be used for reference purposes only. It should not be used as, in place of or in conjunction with expert advice or opinions regarding the use of essential oils and/or fragrance oils. If you are a soapmaker, be certain that you understand all of the safety precautions by reading the oil’s label for additional information. If you plan to use these in your home, you will find that purchasing already made products, such as handmade soap, will be the most convenient way for you to enjoy the benefits of these oils without having to create them yourself.

Aug 11

African Black Soap. Is It Good For Acne?

African Black soap also known as Ose Dudu is a natural African product traditional made in West Africa typically Ghana. It has been made in Africa for centuries and the recipe has been handed down from generation to generation of African women, people say it’s the contributing factor that gives African women that trade mark beautiful strong skin that they are renowned for.
Black soap is reputation and value is such that it’s not only used by the people in their beauty régime but is used in African spiritual purifications. It seems the west is only cottoning on now and the demand is growing due to the results people are getting from smoother more supple skin to acne and dermatitis cures.

The soap is use by the young and the old alike as is used to wash body, face and hair its natural moisturizing properties keeps the hair and the skin smooth, soft and smelling delicious.
The soap will leave your skin refreshed and is strong enough to have an effect on acne as it consists of natural anti bacterial agents.