Castor Oil and its many benefits

Castor oil has been used for thousands of years and has a long list of medicinal and industrial uses. Incredibly, Castor beans have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs dating back to 4000 b.c. and although this may go way back even further, Egyptian doctors are recorded to have used castor oil to protect and soothe irritated eyes, as well as helping people ‘cleanse’ and as a laxative. It was even given to pregnant women to stimulate child birth!

I find castor oil fascinating as a natural, topical application for so many aspects of beauty. It works beautifully as a skin soother, easing irritation and helping with wound healing. It also makes a fabulous cleanser for skin, removing all traces of grub and makeup. Hair benefits greatly from a nourishing castor oil mask and can help improve condition and regrowth. Let me tell you a little more about it…..

 

Where does Castor Oil originate from?
The castor bean, also known as the castor ‘seed’ is extracted from the Ricinus Communis plant which is native to Africa and Asia. It is classed as a vegetable oil and can be used both internally and externally, however for internal use you need to look for the ‘food grade’ castor oil.

How has Castor Oil been used through the years?

Picture yourself back in Ancient Egypt. Arid, humid and dusty landscapes crowded with people of all ages, bustling busy communities trading their goods, donkeys laden with baskets, kegs of water being towed through the dusty streets. The lamps providing light at dawn and dusk would have been fuelled by castor oil, and it was used as an early mechanical lubricant in tool making. The wealthy would use castor oil to bathe, cleanse and moisturise the skin, and in massage, there are also some recorded uses of it being used during colonic irrigation. The doctors of the time would suggest taking it internally as a laxative, and there were some that used it as a punishment for those who had too much time off work – a large dose of castor oil would have humiliating result, with sometimes fatal consequences due to the oil-induced diarrhoea.

Fortunately nowadays – in our shop anyway – we talk mainly about the uses of castor oil and its popularity in the world of beauty and skincare. 

 

As a natural skin moisturiser...Castor oil is rich in ricinoleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. These types of fats act as humectants and can be used to moisturise the skin. These humectants retain moisture by preventing water loss through the outer layer of the skin.

To encourage skin healing castor oil can be applied to wounds and skin ailments to prevent the skin drying out, it also stimulates tissue growth so that a barrier can be formed between the wound and the environment, decreasing the risk of infection. It also reduces dryness and cornification, the buildup of dead skin cells that can delay wound healing.

Skin conditions such as acne, blackheads, pimples and spots under the skin can all benefit from the anti-inflammatory effects of castor oil. If there is an imbalance of bacteria found on the skin, castor oil can soothe and rebalance the bacteria which can support clearer skin.

As a natural hair moisturiser which is particularly good for us on very dry, or overtreated hair (such as coloured or chemically treated). The castor oil helps to lubricate the hair shaft, increasing flexibility which may help to reduce the chance of breakage and ‘fraying’ of the hair follicles.

Dandruff can be caused by a very dry scalp or seborrheic dermatitis, the anti-inflammatory effects of castor oil, and the moisturising properties can help soothe and reduce the flakiness.

I once had a hairdresser who recommended a castor oil scalp massage to clients wanting to grow their hair quicker. She would warm a little castor oil in her hands and firmly massage the scalp for around 5 minutes. Now, I never had the patience to do this on a regular basis but have spoken to a few people over the years who swear by it!

Long luscious lashes, and thick full eyebrows are commonly associated with the use of castor oil too. Simply apply the castor oil to the lashes with an old mascara brush, or with an oil soaked cotton pad a couple of times a day. Run in the direction that they grow in. It is said to encourage fuller existing hair, as well as new growth.

Castor Oil really is a fantastic item for your beauty kit. Apply lavishly over face and body and allow it to absorb before coming in contact with any fabrics (as it will leave a grease mark!).

When using on your hair, make sure it is thoroughly rinsed out before heat drying or straightening.

We stock two Castor Oils in our range. 

Pukka’s Organic Castor Oil, 250ml £9.99 (external use only)

Fushi’s Organic Castor Oil, 250ml £10 (suitable for both internal and external use).

Supplements to support and nourish skin

Nutrition, hydration, climate, hygiene and hormones are just a few of the many factors that impact on your skin. Although genetics play a large part in skin tone and texture, along with hereditary skin conditions (thanks for the eczema mum!) you can make big gains with the right diet, nutrients and cleansing regime.

As your largest organ, your skin plays a vital role regulating your body temperature, keeping all your organs, muscles and good stuff inside and safe, and keeping keeping water, disease and bad stuff out.

Whenever we talk skin and body care, what shows on the outside really is a reflection of what we have on the inside. A diet high in sugar, processed ‘fake’ food, salt, caffeine and alcohol will struggle to provide the right nutrients your skin needs so make sure that you include lots of ‘real’ food such as those in their natural form; lovely fresh brightly coloured vegetables and fruit…. ‘eating a rainbow’ will provide a lots of antioxidants and help to support a radiant glow. Also include sustainable oily fish, lean organic meats and plenty of leafy greens. Hydration is key to a healthy clear skin, so drink water or herbal drinks through the day.

To support your diet you can also include nutritional supplements which contain key ingredients that have been used for many years to support skin health.

Here are some supplements which are packed full of skin boosting goodness. These products have been designed specifically to improve, enhance and maintain skin condition, some also contain ingredients well known to enhance hair and nail condition too.

Beauty Complex by Terranova

The award-winning Beauty Complex is one of Terranova’s most popular specialised health support formulations, considered as one of the most complete Skin-Hair-Nails products in Europe. Containing horsetail, nettle leaf, sea buckthorn berry, bilberry, raw cacao and pumpkin seed other in its it is packed full of zinc, biotin, vitamin C and natural beta carotene.
Good to know: The Terra Nova range is completely soy free, gluten free, yeast free, no binders or fillers are used and they are vegan.
How to take: You can take 1-2 capsules per day.

Clear Skin Complex by Viridian

A specifically formulated blend of targeted minerals, botanicals and fat-soluble carotenoids in a base of probiotics, Clear Skin Complex Veg Caps offers hope to those looking for a clear, fresh-looking skin. Zinc contributes to the maintenance of normal skin. Inspired by the 'Clear Skin Cookbook' written by The Medicinal Chef, Dale Pinnock. Good to know: Kosher, vegan
How to take: Take 2 capsules per day.

Skin, Nails and Hair by Solgar

The natural partner to your daily beauty regime. Solgar’s premium, unique complex designed to help build collagen, a major component of skin, to support skin structure and elasticity. It contains essential beauty nutrients including zinc, copper and vitamin C and protects against free radical damage. Good to know: Vegan, Vegetarian, Kosher, Halal How to take: Take 2 tablets per day.

Silicea Hair, Skin and Nails by Hubner

Filled with 100% natural silica – the perfect vitamin for your skin and hair. Hubner claim that Silicea helps with hair loss, replenishing weak, brittle or thinning hair, combating signs of ageing, including wrinkles, lines and dryness and reversing the effects of weak/brittle nails, keeping them stronger for longer Good to now: Silica is derived from quartz crystal and found in both plants and animals.
How to take: Take one capsule daily.

Aeterna Gold Collagen Beauty Drink by Higher Nature

Formulated specially to support firmer, more youthful looking skin, this glow-getting collagen drink contains carefully balanced vitamins, botanicals, hyaluronic acid and pure marine (non-shark) collagen. It comes in a highly absorbable form that can be added to your juices and works to maintain skin's moisture, aid tissue renewal and support collagen production for skin that looks and feels great. Good to now: Silica is derived from quartz crystal and found in both plants and animals. How to take: Take one capsule daily.

Omega Ultra 3s by Lamberts

The benefits of omega 3s are well documented, and research has shown that they play a vitally important part in maintaining our wellbeing. They greatly benefit skin by regulating oil production to boost hydration and prevent acne, and by delaying the skins aging process to stave off wrinkles. Good to know: Suitable for use in pregnancy and while breastfeeding. How to take: For those eating 2 portions of oily fish a week, take 1 capsule daily. For those eating little or no oily fish, take 2 to 3 capsules daily with a meal.

These are just a few of the supplements that can help support healthy skin. To find out what would suit you, or to book your FREE Beauty Chat skin consultation contact us on info@inside-out-health.com or pop in and see us!

Feed Your Skin

We talk most often about how good nutrient rich food can affect how we feel on the inside, how it can regulate our digestive systems and help keep our organs tip top but a good healthy plate is also reflected in the condition of our skin.

The same way in which you can’t exercise yourself out of a bad diet, a good skincare regime will not give you optimum results unless you feed it good stuff from the inside too. Here, we are going to look at health from the inside out and see which foods and supplements can truly nourish and nurture your biggest organ, your skin.

 

Omega Oils

Oily Fish (salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, sardines, pilchards, sprats) are all rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are all necessary to help keep skin thick, supple, and hydrated. Dry skin can occur when there is little in the way of healthy fats in a diet. These same Omega 3 fats are known for reducing inflammation, which can show on the skin as breakouts, blemishes and redness. To supplement oily fish in your diet, we hold a range of omega fish oil products, including the very popular Lamberts and Eskimo fish oils. For vegans and vegetarians we have omega sourced from algae, including Biocare’s Vegan Omega, Lamberts’ Vegan DHA and Together’s Omega 3. 

Zinc is a mineral vital for overall skin health, helping to support the production of new skin cells and aids wound healing. You can find zinc in meat, fish, legumes (chickpeas, lentils and beans), nuts, eggs, seeds and wholegrains amongst other foods.

Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that helps protect your skin from oxidative damage. It is a really lovely oil to apply to the skin topically, and you can get a good source of vitamin E from avocadoes, seeds (especially sunflower seeds), nuts and green leafy vegetables. Walnuts are a great source of vitamin E and they also provide essential fatty acids, which are fats that your body cannot make itself.

Vitamin C is essential for healthy skin; your skin needs it to create collagen, which is the main structural protein that keeps your skin strong and healthy. Foods rich in vitamin C include tomatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, peppers, spinach, leafy greens, sweet potatoes and white potatoes.

Isoflavones, found in soy, may benefit your skin by improving  skin dryness and increasing collagen, which helps keep your skin stay supple, smooth and strong. 

Antioxidants may protect your cells against free radicals, which could play a part in keeping your skin radiant and supple. Dark chocolate or raw cacao is rich in antioxidants which can help improve wrinkles, skin thickness, hydration, blood flow, and skin texture.

Green tea is also a great source of antioxidants, helping to protect your skin against sun damage and reduce redness, as well as improve hydration, thickness and elasticity.

Beta carotene, found in sweet potatoes and peppers, acts as a natural sunblock and may protect your skin from sun damage. With sun damage being one of the top causes of ageing sin (wrinkles and fine lines) it is well worth eating yummy sweet potato and bell peppers alongside using a good sun protection cream.

Which natural skin care suits my skin?

With over 20 brands of natural skincare available in store, and many more in the ever growing natural and organic bodycare industry how do you choose what to go for?

Here are some pointers for you dependent on skin type, but there are many other factors including budget, availability, and sensitivities to consider.

You can book a FREE beauty and skincare consultation in store or over the phone with Lucia and our other skin experts from our incredible brands. Get in touch via our contact page.

How should I look after my skin?

How should I look after my skin?

A good face care regime will reap benefits all through life, but there is no reason to over-complicate it. A simple cleanser and moisturiser can work wonders at all ages. Here we identify some skin types that will benefit the most from each step of a morning and night time routine.

A good cleansing routine is essential for healthy glowing skin. Take a little time to consider what products and methods will suit your skin type, as how you cleanse your skin will effect how responsive it is to your other face care products.

Your cleanser does two jobs, it will remove  the ‘grub’ such as make-up, dead skin cells, oil, dirt, and other types of pollutants. It also prepares the skin for your next products such as moisturiser, serum or oil. If you only use a cleanser, you want your cleanser to offer hydrating or nourishing properties too.

Let’s take a look at the different types of cleansers available.

A cream cleanser is applied to your face when dry, gently massaged in circular motions around the face. You can then remove it with a cotton pad or rinse off with splashes of water. Cream cleansers are one of the least drying to the skin, and particularly suit dry skin however there are many offerings from across our natural brands that suit different skin types. A’Kin offer a combined Cleanser & Toner which is very nourishing and gentle on the skin. Dr Hauschka’s Cleansing Milk is non-drying and suits all skin types, it works particularly well in combination with their cosmetic sponge and organic muslin cloth. Sukin’s original Cream Cleanser is good for all skin types and contains hydrating rosehip oil for some extra care.

An oil cleanser suits dry skin too, but combination and normal skin can also benefit from the extra radiance you get from homemade or branded cleansing oils. Coconut oil has been used for many years as a nourishing skin cleanser and works very well when applied as a liquid at body temperature and massaged around your dry face then removed with a muslin cloth. Sukin have created a beautiful cleansing oil combining chia and jojoba oils for ultra hydration to particularly dry skin.

Gel cleansers offer a squeaky clean feel after you wash, and are applied to damp skin. There are may types all geared to suit different skin types, and are a popular choice for both men and women of all ages. Generally a gel cleanser will need to be used with a moisturiser, simply because they can leave the skin feeling quite tight after use.

Micellar water is a liquid cleanser applied with a cotton pad. It is a water solution which holds tiny bobbles of oil which feels silky soft to the touch. You wipe the micellar water soaked cotton pad gently over the skin and it removes the grub on the skin. Some people like to use micellar water as part of a two step cleansing regime, following either their gel or cream cleanser with a second cleanse using the micellar water but it can be used alone too. A’Kin’s Micellar Water is made using organic coconut water, green tea and cucumber making it very refreshing on the  skin, and does not need rinsing off. Suitable for all skin types.

Toners are designed to be used after a cleanser and before you apply a moisturiser. The toner can help to remove any excess oil and any leftover grub that your cleanser has not removed. 

Whilst toners can be an effective way of removing excess dirt, this can be also be achieved through using a good cleanser, such as Green People Gentle Cleanse & Make-Up Remover, which is moisture-binding and made with anti-inflammatory actives.

On occasions when you need to remove stubborn make-up, double cleansing can help to remove all traces of make-up without exposing your skin to an astringent toner.

Toners are still popular, but there has been a shift in consumer buying to serums have entered the skincare market. Serums are kinder to skin and do not contain alcohol and are being recommended by beauty experts as a good way to rebalance the skin’s pH balance. 

 Although a toner or serum is not essential, it may be beneficial for blemish-prone skin and also skin that needs a little extra attention.

Regularly using a moisturiser should be a part of any good skin care routine, and all skin types can benefit from a little extra hydration.

The most important times to use moisturise are after a bath or a hot shower as the warmth can dry the skin, also when you have shaved or removed hair, and when you have used an exfoliator. Twice a day works for most skin types, but everyone is different and some may find it suits their skin to just apply once a day, or more frequently. 

The skin on your face, ears, neck and chest are very sensitive to environmental changes and these areas of skin shed cells more rapidly than other parts of the body. A good moisturiser helps the skin to repair itself and allows for younger cells to rise to the surface. Using a gentle massaging motion to apply your moisturiser also helps stimulate blood circulation and new cell generation.

Very dry skin types, or those with eczema or dermatitis can benefit from a rich cream, maybe slightly thicker or even a salve. Balmonds, Hope’s Relief and Salcura are three brands we love who have ranges specifically targeted at relieving dry skin problems offering face and body products.

Dry and mature skin can benefit from very hydrating oils such as jojoba, vitamin E, argan, prickly pear and rose amongst many others. Shea butter, avocado and coconut are also used just remember to keep your products as natural as possible. 

The ‘anti-aging’ skincare market is worth billions so don’t be fooled by clever marketing, you want to choose products as close to their natural form as possible, avoiding alcohol and synthetic ingredients, and look instead for organic ingredients, ethical brands and stick with the mantra ‘if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin!’

We really love the Dr Hauschka Regeneration range, along with their Rose Day Cream. Green People offer a certified organic range and is especially good for sensitive skin. Sukin’s Purely Ageless range is our most popular for mature skin types and offers a rich day cream and luxurious night cream. A’kin’s hydrating rosehip oil and creams are especially popular with all ages, men and women alike.

Those with oily skin may be reluctant to use a moisturiser, but I always recommend a little hydration in the form of the Facial Serum by Sukin, or the Rose Day Cream Light from Dr Hauschka. When you strip the oils from the skin, it will encourage the production of more oil, you can cleanse gently without stripping all the lovely natural oils and add a little hydration to keep your face feeling soft and supple. It is worth noting too that dry skin can also present as oily. I treated my blemish prone skin with products for oily skin for many years, but as soon as I had expert advice and moved over to using products for dryness my skin improved hugely.

If your complexion is clear and your skin tone even, a simple moisturiser will keep it well hydrated and clear. If your skin is generally OK, but you have the occasional blemish or hormonal changes you may benefit from the beautiful sensitive range by Sukin which is light and gentle, but still offers great hydration for when needed. 

Combination skin, which can have both dry and oily patches, and may change day by day may need a combination of products to help keep it fresh and radiant. Try a light moisturiser and keep a serum to hand for times when skin needs a little more attention.

Your skin really benefits from the occasional treat to keep it feeling radiant and supple. There are many products designed for use every so often and here are some of our favourite ones to ensure your skin feels at its very best.

 

A facial is a multi-step treatment which incorporates a deep cleanse, exfoliation and massage to hydrate and reinvigorate the skin. Whether your facial is carried out by a professional beauty therapist or if you create your own treatment at home, it can be a lovely pampering experience to enjoy and promote healthy skin.

 

Steaming the face can help soften the skin, opening the pores and making it easier to loosen debris held within, this allows for a deeper cleanse. It is a good way to promote circulation too and the combination of steam and perspiration helps increase blood circulation. Once you have steamed the face, ensure that you apply a light moisturiser to ensure the skin is nourished and doesn’t dry in the heat.

 

Exfoliation can come in handy to keep the complexion bright. The use of a facial scrub or an exfoliating tool (such as a Konjac sponge) removes the build-up of dead skin cells and leaves your complexion looking feeling smoother. There is no need to exfoliate the skin more than two-three times each week and a gentle exfoliation is kinder to the skin, so don’t scrub too hard.

 

Face masks are a lovely treat for when you want to relax and have time to switch off. Masks are a wonderful way to increase hydration and refine the top layer of skin, which in turn may improve the appearance of pores and fine lines. Masks benefit different skin types; whether you want to reduce wrinkles and even plump out the skin, improve blemishes or make the skin feel more radiant but nearly all of them will leave the skin feeling tighter and more supple.

Top 5 winter skincare products

One of the things that nearly always affects my skin is the change in weather over this time of year. I find that as soon as the colder weather starts to kick in, my skin tends to become a lot dryer. We all know that the food that we put into our body can have a huge impact on our health and how we’re feeling, but what about what we put onto our skin? Things that you put onto your skin can also be absorbed into the body, so it’s also important to consider the products that you’re using as well! We recently had the lovely ladies from A’kin in store to tell us a bit more about their wonderful skincare products and also use a skin assessment machine to show things like skin damage from UV rays and dehydration. Different parts of your skin show up in different colours depending on the health of your skin, so it’s a really interesting experience! Don’t worry if you didn’t manage to pop in this time, we will be having events with them in the future, so keep your eyes on the newsletter so you don’t miss out on anything!

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Coconut oil- the natural beauty staple

Coconut oil is probably something that the vast majority of us now have sat on the kitchen counter or in our kitchen cupboards right now.. as for me, I have about six jars of the stuff stashed away in my kitchen! Coconut oil has been around for quite some time now and to be honest, I think there is still just as much hype surrounding it as there was a year or so ago. It really is an incredible product and something that has become incredibly popular in the health and wellness industry.

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