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Causes of Acne

Saturday, February 3, 2018 5:12:32 PM Asia/Singapore

THE ACNE ATTACK

Acne TriangleAlthough pimples or ACNE are a symbol of youthfulness, it’s something we could do well without. They are triggered by changing hormones and improper skin care resulting in plugged pores. Once the pores are plugged, bacteria begins to flourish and inflamation occurs due to the dead skin, bacterial waste and gunk.

Emotional stress tends to modify hormonal levels, triggering the production of a sticky substance (sebum) which, clogs the pores. Unfortunately, try telling a hormone raging teenager to stay calm. But, it is a good approach to acne control. Recent findings have affirmed that a diet high in refined sugar increase a person’s chance of developing acne.

Treating acne is a slow-ish process. It takes about 6 to 8 weeks to see results. So, no immediate results. Benzol Peroxide is a common treatment. It doesn’t usually have serious side effects. Some people may develop a reaction against it. So, start off using it sparingly at first. Better safe than sorry. Both oral and topical antibiotics work. Topical antibiotics have fewer side effects but oral ones work better usually. Your doctor will decide the best form of treatment. There is a third treatment which uses vitamin A derivatives. These carry significant health risks if used improperly and will not discuss here. Only qualified dermatologists and specialists would prescribe these in special circumstances

So, the main thing here is to keep the skin clean. An effective deep cleansing soap and a good quality gentle scrub that does not contain harsh chemicals will help. The less “bad stuff” you put on your skin, the better.

So, our project began. shea has lots of soap which are gentle and safe to use, but we needed a special soap. There are plenty of soap out there that claim to do magic. But, the elusive special soap eluded us. Then, by chance, our shea butter supplier mentioned Black Soap used in Ghana. Black Soap? They told us that Black Soap was especially good for oily scalps and skin. AHAH! So I asked her to send some black soap to us. When shea received it... it WAS NOT BLACK! It looked like fruit cake? It was not black like the other stuff we had seen on the market. Many a time, the "black soap" in the market was just soap that had a black dye.

So, what so special about this fruit cake soap? Firstly, it's made by hand over a coal fire, in a village. So, super traditional. Secondly, it was made with simple, true to nature ingredients like shea butter and cocoa butter. What blew us away was that the soap was saponified using the ashes of cocoa pod shells and plantain skins. So, no Lye. This was really pure soap. and traditional. with no "modern" ingredients. You may find pieces of ash in your soap. So, you know this is the real thing.

I tried it. Oh WOW! Absolutely brilliant on my super oily skin. I now only use this for my face and scalp. My two teenage daughters also use this for their face and i must say, their acne is well under control. Only an occasional "popper" once in a while.

Now, we understood that the dirt in the air definitely causes a problem, and the air in Singapore is oily due to all the petrochemical industries surrounding us. Just check out the blades on your fats, the dust is not "dusty", it's oily. We also needed a gentle scrub to clean the face. Now, my teen daughter became a source of help. Her Turkish friend living in the UK uses an American face scrub (talk of an international mix) that she said was the “best in the world”. She had a massive problem with acne and this scrub did not have a negative effect. So, good teen daughter sends her some black soap and, to make a short story longer, my daughters friend saw some positive results after a few weeks of use. She in turn sent a really nice scrub to daughter. I must say, it was good. Very very good. So, this happy story ends with shea being able to offer this combo to those suffering with acne. We liked the scrub so much that we also decided to bring in their argan face wash. You can read about it in the website under the ARGAN menu.

So, it short (sort of…) The soap should be able to remove all the built-up gunk to help unclog pores without damaging the skin. The scrub should not be sugar/salt/oil based as these have sharp edges that might scratch your already sensitive skin, causing more inflammation, causing more problems.

Remember that all particulate matter, such as foundation and powder add to the problem as these fine particles mix with the thick sticky sebum to block pores. Pregnant women, ladies during their periods and teens all have wild hormonal fluctuations. Skip the make up. It aggravates the problem. Just keep your skin clean, eat healthy and lay off the sugary stuff (by the way, laying off sugary stuff is important for everyone, our biggest problem nowadays is sugar, not oil, but that’s another story) and keep calm.

Be nice. Share this info with your family and friends who need acne help. It won't cost you a thing but you will definitely make someones life better.

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LINK TO – SHEA KNOWLEDGE BASE

LINK TO - TRADTIONAL BLACK SOAP

LINK TO - ARGAN SCRUB

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The Mechanism of Eczema

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 10:46:38 AM Asia/Singapore

atopictriad

ECZEMA is part of the “atopic triad”. Nasal Allergy and Asthma make up the other two. These three are closely related.  Although eczema is an allergic reaction, most cases are not due to food allergies. In kids, the most common trigger is DRY SKIN.

For most people dry skin is not an issue, but for eczema sufferers, dry skin results in intense itch. Usually, due to micro cracks on the skin. This is made worse when the salt in sweat comes in contact with these micro cracks. When salt hits a wound, it hurts. This is exactly the same thing. But, on a different scale. Due to the cracks being so tiny, our brain interprets the “pain” as a large collection of tiny irritations, ie, an itch.

Once the itching starts, the eczema sufferer begins to scratch and the skin surface is damaged. This leads to redness and rawness, sometimes accompanies by bleeding. This could get infected. We have discovered that the key is the itch. If this can be controlled, the sufferer won’t scratch, and the skin will not be damaged. We needed to find a way to break this cycle.

Eczema usually (not always) has an age relationship. For infants, it’s the face, ears and neck. School age children usually have it behind the knees, armpits, inside of the elbows and wrists. Adolescents and adults tend to have it on the hands and feet. Eczema is also, seasonal. It hits hardest in the dry months (not hot humid months but dry months)

Understanding this, shea® started our research. Our goal was to locate a substance that would not irritate the skin when applied, would keep the eczema afflicted area moisturized and promote healing. We identified a particular grade of 100% pure unrefined SHEA butter that has all these properties. It was high in vitamin E that promoted healing, it did not irritate the skin and it kept the skin moisturized without blocking the pores or leaving a sticky after feel. Yes, it took us a very long time to find the perfect type. But we did it.

We did not stop there. We did more research. And we realized that Argan Oil had similar properties. It was logical. Both Shea and Argan come from the same family of trees. We went about searching for a good Argan Oil and we got into talks with Saadia Organics who had 100% pure Argan Oil that was absolutely superb. Also, argan oil had other benefits, amongst them being able to help reduce wrinkles, fine lines and reducing fibrillation of hair, (resulting is smoother, glossier hair).

Now armed with two of the best natural products, shea® is able to help eczema sufferers. We usually recommend argan oil for the face and neck areas and shea butter for other parts of the body. Explore our site and learn more in our knowledge base. Talk to us if you need help. It won't cost you a thing (except for the phone call), and, don’t keep this info to yourself, refer other eczema sufferers to read this, you will be doing them a great service.

www.shea.com.sg

ps. Eczema sufferers, please do not bathe in very hot water. Your water shoudl be just "not cold" . Also, apply the shea butter or argan oil immediately after you've towelled dry after your shower. it helps trap moisture even better. And, please, use the right soap. Your soap should not contain any of the nasty stuff. Our soaps do not contain sulphates, phthalates, EDTA, parabens, or any stuff that would irritate your skin.If you are not sure, speak to us.

link to shea butter :  SHEA BUTTER

link to : ARGAN OIL

link to non irritating soaps : SOAPS

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Types of Sun Block & SPF Values

Thursday, June 8, 2017 2:42:52 PM Asia/Singapore

Types of Sun Block and SPF Values

SPF Values

Holiday time. Out comes the sunscreen. But which to choose from? SPF Values and Sun Block Type

We like to buy the best. But is it necessary? Is an SPF rating of 65 necessary? 
Look at the graph.

SPF 15 filters about 93% of UV-B rays; 
SPF 30 filters about 97% of UV-B rays; and 
SPF 50 filters about 98% of UV-B rays. 
The difference between SPF 30 and SPF 50 is only a 1% filtering improvement

SPF is a rating of protection against UVB rays!
Yes, UVB is the one that causes skin cancers etc. But UVA causes deep damage (aging, spots etc)
What one MUST look out for is the words BROAD SPECTRUM protection. This protest from both UVA and UVB.
So, an SPF rating of 30 is really, quite good, for a broad spectrum sun block.

 

Types of Sun Block

There are 2 ways of protecting from the sun. Use a mechanical mechanism like reflecting the UV rays away, or chemically, where the chemicals absorb the UV rays and convert them to heat energy. Skip the chemical version, go for the ones that use the reflective mechanism.

Here again, we have to look out for the use of nano-particles. We do not want nano -particles.

Nano particles can penetrate the skin and get into the body. 
TiO2 (titanium dioxide) penetration is considerably more problematic than ZnO (Zinc Oxide) because ZnO breaks down into zinc and oxygen, which the body can handle. We do not have the same ability to break down titanium dioxide. One disturbing study linking titanium dioxide nanoparticles with brain damage in fish is perhaps the first of more to come that will shed new light on the various toxic effects of titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide is toxic.

So, we have actively prevent harm when evidence indicates that something may be harmful. It would be wise to assume that non-nano zinc oxide is safer than nano zinc oxide, and that any form of zinc oxide is safer than titanium dioxide.

Until more studies fill in the information gaps, it is safest to conclude that sunscreens made with non-nano zinc oxide are the best alternative. There are still many manufacturers out there who will say that there is not enough scientific evidence to prove that the above ingredients are toxic. I agree with them! I am simply not willing to jeopardize my health or the health of my family with exposure to ingredients that are toxic or even potentially toxic — especially when better alternatives exist.

In Summary - for a good sun screen
SPF 30 to 35 is good enough
Broad spectrum.
Zinc Oxide based
No nano-particles
No titanium dioxide
No unnecessary chemicals.

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Types of UV Rays

Thursday, June 8, 2017 2:28:42 PM Asia/Singapore

Different Kinds of UV

I bet you all have heard about UV-A, UV-B and UV-C.Types of UV

So, what is it?

UV = ultra violet light. White light is a combination of different colours. Amongst them, violet. The ultra- violet rays (invisible) are the ones that damage your furniture, fades your curtains and...damages your skin the most. UV rays are split into three types, depending on their wavelength. UVA have the longest wavelength and penetrates the skin the deepest, causing aging, dark spots etc. UVB are shorter and don't penetrate as deep, but, damage the skin surface, which could cause skin cancers. UVC, the shortest wavelength of the three, is usually filtered off by the ozone layer. But in places like Australia, where there is a huge gap in the ozone layer, the UVC rays do get through. These are the most damaging to the skin, causing skin cancer too. In Singapore, and most places, we just need protection from from UVA & UVB.

Your sunblock MUST say Broad Spectrum

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Mole vs Skin Cancer

Thursday, June 8, 2017 2:16:28 PM Asia/Singapore

Mole vs Skin Cancer

It is important to protect one's skin from the harmful effects of UV rays.Identifying skin cancer

Here's some skin related infoimation on moles vs cancer. REMEMBER,

if you are not sure, ask your physician.

The ABCDE of moles vs cancer
A - Asymmetry
B - Border
C - Colour
D - Diameter
E - Elevation, Evolving

Basically, any mole or growth that is CHANGING needs to be checked by a physician.

There is a lot more to this, but seeing this, I am sure you will do your own research. 

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Shaving

Thursday, December 17, 2015 9:27:17 AM Asia/Singapore

SHAVING

By SHEA, located at Orchard Central, #B2-47/48, www.shea.com.sg )

Shaving

Most of us guys shave our face at least 3 times a week. What if I told you that you could get a lot more BENEFIT out of this routine, with almost NO additional effort?

Guys are lucky, sort of. When we shave, we exfoliate. For those who only have to shave their moustache (not everyone has a fully beard) do also “shave” and clean the cheeks and sides as if you did have a beard. There we go. Easy no? This removal of old dead cells gives your face a glow, and cleans at the same time. 

It is important to soften your facial hair before shaving. Thus, it is most beneficial to shower before shaving. And it is very beneficial to use a facial scrub to clean your whole face AND NECK. Don’t forget the neck.  Why do we need to use a scrub if we are going to shave? There are parts of the face that will not be shaved, like your forehead, but this needs to be exfoliated too. Using a scrub also softens the facial hair, making shaving easier.

Always use a lubricant like a good soap, and a badger hair brush to foam up to ensure the lubricant gets deep down. This creates a protective film to protect the skin and to allow for a smooth glide. It is best to shave WITH the grain. Shaving against the grain does give a closer shave, but, you will experience more razor burn. What is razor burn? It’s those little bumps and pimples that pop up after shaving when you forget to apply some form of soothing balm or oil.  

Now that your face is nice and clean after shaving, don’t let this opportunity go to waste. After shaving, the skin is much more receptive to anything you put on it. My system (was) is to apply a serum and a thin film of moisturizer. I NEVER use any alcohol based aftershave. It severely dehydrates your skin.

About a year ago, I started using Saadia Organics 100% Pure Argan Oil after shaving. Holy sh**! This stuff was brilliant! I did not have to use a serum and moisturizer. I only needed this. It left my face feeling really nice with absolutely no oiliness. Hand-squeezed Argan Oil is nutrient rich, very fine, and remains liquid at body temperature. It is absorbed by the skin very fast and does not block your pores, allowing your skin to breathe naturally.

So, for me, I exfoliate my face with a scrub (I experimented with various brands but I like the Exfoliating Scrub and Polishing Peel from Nu Skin) at least once a day in the shower, and ALWAYS apply the Argan Oil after shaving or peeling.

Please do note that there is a big difference between Pure Argan Oil and the blended rubbish being sold out there. Don’t get cheated. You get what you pay for. There is NO substitute for the real thing.

There is a difference between hand-squeezed argan oil and machine pressed argan oil. Sadia Organics Argan Oil is HAND SQUEEZED by Madam Saadia and her team in Morocco. No heat is applied, and all the precious nutrients remain intact. Machine pressing applies heat (damages nutrients) and crushes the pulp so much that even stuff you don't want comes out of the pulp.

When you buy something, look for the value it brings to you, not the price (by the way, our hand squeezed Argan Oil costs the same as the big name brand, but you get a much higher quality and effective Argan Oil from ours, as we don't have to pay the long supply chain. We get ours direct).  Always look for the EFFECTIVE VALUE you get from what you buy.

SHEA (Orchard Central, #B2-47/48, www.shea.com.sg) offers pure hand squeezed Argan Oil from Saadia Organics, which we believe is probably the best Argan Oil in the world. We also offer the Nu Skin Exfoliating Scrub and Polishing Peel.

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Cellulite, And what to do about it.

Monday, November 9, 2015 3:36:48 PM Asia/Singapore

CELLULITE,
and what to do about it

This is a problem many people face, especially ladies. So what is this nasty bumpy stuff? It’s a combinations of swollen fat cells, water and waste fluids. So how is it formed? It’s a combination of diet, hormonal balance, diet change, aging and exercise.

It happens in 5 steps.

  • Fat metabolism is disturbed
  • Fat cells increase in size
  • Fat cells squeeze capillaries and disrupt micro circulation
  • Skins collagen & elastin support structure breaks down
  • Fluid retention increases

The image explains this quite clearly

Cellulite Formation

Simple enough, the formation of cellulite is known. But, getting rid of it is a whole other story. So, to decrease cellulite, choose products with ingredients that can concentrate cellular energy to help do the following

  • Break down fat
  • Reduce fat storage
  • Increase circulation to remove toxins
  • Increase the firmness of the skin
  • Even out affected areas

This is best done by eating correctly, exercise and massaging the affected areas with the right topical creams & related products

Our Seaweed Batch Anti-Cellulite products do just this. The soap helps massage the affected areas and the cream penetrates the skin and helps drain the retained fluids. For more detail on their active ingredients and how they work, click here. More Info

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Posted in Body and Skin Care By Jag

Why Skin Wrinkles

Friday, July 17, 2015 11:47:35 AM Asia/Singapore

WHY SKIN WRINKLES

Young and Old SkinHealthy young skin maintains and appropriate moisture levels through the sealing and protective properties of the moisture barrier. The moisture barrier is made up of keratinocytes (keratin filled skin cells) surrounded and sealed by ceramides, lipids and fatty acids. As we age, the skin produces fewer ceramides, lipids and fatty acids. This weakened moisture barrier results in water loss and dryness.

Loss of smoothness and suppleness is due to the break-down of collogen and elastin. Collagen is a structural protein found in the dermis provides a mesh like framework of support and strength for the skin. As we age, collagen production decreases and collagen fibres degrade at a faster rate than earlier years. The result is an overall decrease in the amount of collagen in the dermis. Areas with less support cave in and wrinkles form. Another skin structural protein found in the dermis is elastin. This coil like protein has the ability to snap back into place after stretching, giving skin its elastic quality.

Vitamin E provides protection against free radicals and premature aging caused by sun damage and pollutants. It also works with Vitamin C to help reconstruct collagen, help retain moisture and skin firmness.  Vitamin thus, helps scars fade faster, helps repair from UV damage, improves elasticity, reduce itchiness due to eczema and psoriasis.

One of the best sources of vitamin E is Saadia Organics Hand extracted Argan Oil. Where the full benefits of the nutrients can be experienced as it is not subjected to heat. Grab a Bottle and see the difference.

 

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Fragrances for the Home

Wednesday, May 20, 2015 12:18:51 PM Asia/Singapore

THE RIGHT FRAGRANCE TRANSFORMS YOUR HOME

CandlesWhether you are looking to mask other odours or you just want to make your space feel more welcoming,
a subtle yet high quality fragrances can make a massive difference to how you feel in your home or office.Our home fragrances help create the right atmosphere in any room. We have candles, reed diffusors, essential oils, infused cards and fragrance melts.

Candles
Nothing beath the dancing flames of a candle at night. Our candles are scented using pure essential oils blended by scent masters in England to create lovely fragrances that create a wonderful ambience in a room. They are made with a very high quality low melting point wax and a special wick to ensure the candles last a long time. Our candles can be made to release their wonderful fragrances in two ways, either by lighting the wick or by using our special candle warming lamp. We offer the second option for situations when an open flame is not a viable option.

Reed Diffusors
Reed diffusors are a simple and elegant way of fragrancing a space continuously throughout the day with a fairly strong scent. They are ideal for washrooms and small spaces. Our reed diffusors come from Grasse in France. Grasse is where all the scent experts sit, and create classic fragrances. Our reed diffusors use pure essntial oils in an organic oil base and last for months. The rate of fragrance diffusion can be adjusted by increasing or redusing the number of reeds used. A gentle air movement in the room they are placed helps fill the room with their magnificent aroma. Our Reed Diffusors keep on scenting long after the oils have finished. Ours have lasted for more than 6 month!

Essential Oils
Essential oils come from all over the world. Ours come from all over the world and beautifully bottled in different coloured coded bottles. Our essential oils are of a slightly higher grade than most. These are suitable for both ambience scenting as well as topical use when blended with a massage oil.  Essential oils for ambience fragrancing are most often used by adding a few drops into water in a tea light heated vessel. Essential oils have wonderful properties and often used as a single scent. However, they can be blended to suit personal preferences. 

Infused Card Diffusors
Created in England, our infused cards are ideal for very small confined areas like car interiors and cupboards. There is a trick to using them to make them last a very long time. Ours have been known to last for more than 3 months when used correctly. Such infused Card Diffusors use a masterfully blended essnetial oils to eliminate odours and made cupboards, drawers and car interiors smell great.

Fragrance Melts
This is one of the cleverest things we have from England. We callthem little Hotties. These are little wax pellets with a high amount of essential oils infused into them. They are sold in a box of 100g (any mix of the more than 20 fregarances we have) and the idea is here is to give you the power to be creative and to create your own personal blend of fragrance. Pop 3 to 5 pieces into the bown of a essental oil burner, light the tealight below and VOILA! Your own custom fragrance. They last for a long time.

So, if you want to switch fragrances after a while. Simply let it cool, and pop out the pellet and keep it. When you want to use it again, put it back into the burner and it metls again and fills your room with the wonderful scent you created.

Ideas
Use lemon, lemongrass, grapefruit or green tea or a combination of these to create freshness,  Rosemary and Thyme as a brain freshner to improve alertness, Lavender, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang for calmness, Vanilla, Spicy Citrus, Cinnamon for a cozy atmosphere, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Peppermint for easy breathing etc. There are just somany combinations. Try SHEA’s Home Scenting, it will blow your mind! As all our products use pure essential oils, they are safe for the family and environment .

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Perilous Parabens

Monday, May 11, 2015 11:52:56 AM Asia/Singapore

PERILLOUS PARABENSBottles

In recent years, more and more consumers and retailers are turning to natural beauty products that are paraben free. Parabens, which are the most widely used preservatives in beauty and personal care products, have become a concern due to their possible link to cancer and other health issues.The most common parabens are methylparaben, ethylparaben, proplyparaben and butylparaben. Parabens are used in products to extend their shelf life and prevent the growth of fungi and bacteria in the products.

Parabens are absorbed through the skin and may adversely affect the function of the endocrine system (laymans terms…skin system). While the research on parabens remains inconclusive, parabens have been linked to breast cancer, early puberty and infertility because they mimic estrogen and therefore can interfere with the body’s normal hormones. Nonetheless, the FDA has officially stated that it “believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of cosmetics containing parabens.” Ahem! Thank you Mr. FDA. Oh yes, you are the same guys who say that Aspartime was ‘A-OK’.  Say bye bye to your credibility.

Parabens should not be applied to cracked or inflamed skin because they can increase irritation, especially in those suffering from various skin conditions.

While there may not be conclusive evidence that parabens can cause long-term health problems, it is best to avoid them whenever possible. Why take a risk if you don’t have to. Always check labels and ingredient lists before buying new products and look for brands that are specifically paraben free. You can also look for certain seals on labels that indicate that a product is paraben free.

Bottom line, read the lables. Shea carries product that are paraben free. 

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Posted in Soaps Interesting Reading By Jag

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