How to Strengthen Sensitive Skin through Exfoliation

If you see any cosmetic ad you’ll see the word “exfoliation”. Exfoliation remove the dead skin cells on the surface to give way for new skin. Few topics have such far ranging opinions as exfoliation – some say it causes micro tears while others use the science as an excuse to throw (literal) acids on their face. We’d like to think both are wrong.

Before I explain why a moderate exfoliate is so great, let’s take a look at the skin at the microscopic level. New cells are created at the dermis level. As the cells reach the outer epidermis level, they die. As the body ages so does the process of skin growth. Parts of the skin grow unevenly and you experience dryness and irritation. Exfoliation helps the process of removing this outermost layer. Dead cells can no longer block new ones from surfacing. Pores become unclogged and the skin becomes cleaner overall.

This is where two “schools of thought” form:

Exfoliation causes microscopic tears on the skin and should be avoided – This argument hypothesizes that exfoliation with any sort of roughness should be avoided. They especially bring up the point that crushed nuts or seeds cause microscopic tears as well as any exfoliant using a wash cloth. The problem with this theory is that the skin needs a certain level of roughness to remove the dead skin cells. Softly rubbing fine synthetic grains will exfoliate little. Your skin may even become irritated from these synthetic abrasives.

Effective exfoliation should be done with expensive chemical peels or dermabrasions – “No pain, no gain” is what dermatologists say about this procedure. By pain they mean putting acids on your skin so strong that your skin scabs and can takes weeks even months to recover from. The procedure puts patients at risk from everything from scarring to severe infections. All for supposedly slightly tighter skin with fewer blemishes. Yeah, and popping a pimple has a 100% of getting rid of said pimple. Doesn’t mean we’d recommend it. We don’t believe completely destroying your skin in order to rebuild it better is the answer and especially not if it involves killing most of your skin’s good bacteria.

Choosing between these two “schools of thought” is like choosing between a fitness program that doesn’t allow you to sweat and a program so tough you can’t move for weeks after the first day. Insanity!

We think there’s a reason why people with delicate skin tend to develop the most wrinkles. Their skin is very thin and grows slowly. As their skin scratches it bleeds easily. Extra layers of skin called scars form more easily in these areas. Skin is thin and less adapt to change. You can call this the natural aging process of skin but we think it can be reversed.

What did we learn from exercising about the skin?

During a hard session at the gym, microscopic muscle fibers are being torn. Once that soreness heals your muscles become stronger.. It’s the natural process called hypertrophy. Not only are they stronger but more durable. Our bodies are all about adaptations and repairing.

Exfoliation is no different. You have very sensitive skin? Exfoliate gently and build up. Your skin won’t grow into a dry, calloused mess anymore than you’d turn into a giant bodybuilder by consistently going to the gym. What you will see is the skin becoming stronger. Your body will be healthier and more adapt to change as the lifecycle of your skin is faster. Cuts will health faster.

The facial muscles are important to!

Don’t grow a beard? Try exfoliating your face daily to activate those muscles – freedigitalphotos.net

Another benefit of exfoliating is the massaging action you do to your skin. This invigorates the facial muscles. One of the reasons men’s facial skin ages slower than women is the act of shaving. Shaving forces men to use these facial muscles to get every part of the face to elimate the hair. Exfoliation helps but it is a good idea to work these facial muscles daily.
To summarize the consequences of not exfoliating I’ll quote my favorite movie The 40 Year Old Virgin: “Is it true if you don’t use it… You’ll lose it?” I think so.

Free Soap if you Like us on Facebook Plus More!

Facebook Promotion:

We love when people try the soap. We want to give an extra bar out on your next order. All you have to do is “Like Us” on Facebook.

Bars come included in almost every order already but we’ll send you an extra bar (two total) of the natural soap on your next order. Here’s how:

  1. Like us on Facebook
  2. Order something
  3. Email us about this Facebook Promotion
  4. You’ll receive an extra bar of soap goodness in the mail along with your purchase
  5. Follow us on Twitter for more promotions!

Note: If you already Like us on Facebook you can still participate. We’ve had customers “Un-Liking us” and then “Liking us” again just to participate. There’s no need!

YouTube Promotion:
An extra bar on your next order is nice… But you want more, right? We’ll throw you a FREE product, any product, of your choice if you record a short video about the products.

  1. Record a webcam/phone video to Youtube
  2. Send us the link
  3. Receive a product of your choice for FREE!
  4. Subscribe to our Youtube channel
Here’s a sample from one of our more enthusiastic customers:

You don’t need to record a an 18 minute video like this (awesome) customer did. A short video just explaining which products you love, which you don’t, how to use it is great. We LOVE these Youtube videos and we want our customers actively participating with us.

One person per promotion, please. Shipping is free.

While we’re on the topic of promotions:
Store – Buy two get 10% off / Buy three get 15% off / Buy four or more and get 25% off
eBay – Buy three and get one free

Look out for more in the future.

The Before and After Deception

It’s easy to photoshop a “before” shot into an “after” – Right is before and left is after

Anyone with experience in marketing will tell you that you need a sensitive “BS meter” to survive in today’s consumer driven world. Cheap promotions, infomercials, too-good-to-be-true models, “miracle cures” all trigger this alarm. One of the most deceptive forms of advertising is the “Before and After Picture”. No industry does it better than cosmetics.

There is no better story than a dramatic transformation in pictures. Think about it: You’re looking for a product that can cure your acne and compare two different products. The “before” pictures are always the same. The “after” pictures? Also the same. From rough, acne scarred faces to clear as day skin. There is NOTHING that differentiates them (other than the paid models)!

This video of an “amazing transformation” was nothing out of the ordinary. All it took was switching the order of the pictures. The “before” picture – ironically done “after” was a result of vegetation and a vast amount of dairy and sodium. If an entire fitness program can deceive customers through five hours of amateur deception, what chance do you have believing a cosmetic company’s claims?

Customers have sent their own pictures to us but there are too many variables to honestly advertise their improvement

The skin industry uses this form of advertising even more deceptively than that video showed. Models are often paid to star in these infomercials and promotional adverts. Photos are taken without any make-up and the same facial expression in each – frowning. The “after” pictures are often no more than a savvy combination of smiles, professional makeup and Photoshop. Plastic surgeon Joseph Niamtu , DMD warns consumers to look for the differences in flash in these pictures. You can often spot major differences in pictures simply through the method of photography. When taken with a flash, the skin usually looks much better – and worse without the flash. The opposite effect may occur if the model has noticeably oily skin. Lighting, moods, day chosen, facial expression, make-up, diet and even Photoshop. Photoshopping has also become such a problem in cosmetic advertising that lawmakers are seeking to ban the practice. Tips for spotting deceptive cosmetic advertisements:

  • The subjects chosen are models – This might be hard to spot but real subjects are almost always described as such
  • Look out for the flash and lighting differences
  • Notice if the skin has an other-worldly smoothness – This screams professional Photoshop
  • The “before” picture is frowning and the “after” is smiling – Advertisers now seem to use the same facial expressions since it’s so easy to spot
  • The words “miracle cure” show up anywhere

I hope I made your “BS Meter” that much more wary. We don’t want to be negative and tell you that our product – or any product out there – can’t cure you. It can. What we want to tell you is that this form of promotion has been used to death. We don’t want to give anyone false expectations. Everyone clears up differently at different intervals. This is why we will never use this dreaded form of promotion.

Showering with Acne: It’s More Important than You Think

Why do you suggest using the acne scrub in a bath or shower?

Most who ask this question want to use our scrub to take off make up in the evening. A natural soap is perfect for that. Keeping your skin meticulously clean is one key to controlling acne. The air is full of tiny dirt particles that embed themselves on your skin. If you aren’t taking a daily shower, you need to. Some need to take two a day.

The key for success is 30 seconds of scrubbing a day. This will completely remove remnants of the scrub. The nutritional part is absorbed into the skin, just like you’d rub a moisturizer. If microscopic amounts of the benzoyl peroxide stay on the skin you will not see long term results. Possibly no results. The powerful flow of the shower or submersion in a bathtub, as well as the natural soap with wash cloth effectively removes the Benzoyl Peroxide. Those embedded dirt particles (where bacteria hide) will also be removed.

BP will dye the necks of your shirt if not washed thoroughly out

Using over the sink, doesn’t effectively do this. Your towels, clothes and even your hair will stain. This is also why those stay-on-the-skin ointments work at first, but not long term once the skin adapts to the high exposure of BP.

When I grew my hair out I  didn’t wash the scrub out. My shirts not only dyed in the neck holes but my hair slowly turned an orange hue! Don’t do this.

When you take your daily shower/bath, make that your treatment time. It really doesn’t matter when as long as it’s once every 24 hours. Wash at least one more time a day with the natural soap over the sink if you’d like.

What about an Aquasana carbon filter shower?

Carbon filters like Aquasana are worthless when trying to clean heated water. Carbon filters only remove chlorine. Sante for Health makes a filter that actually takes out the hardness plus other chemicals in the water.

Some water companies are adding ammonia to save money on chlorine. Ammonia is terrible for the skin! Sante for Health makes a special filter that takes out ammonia.

Why Freshness Matters (with Cosmetics)

In this day and age, being a budget conscious consumer has never been easier. Not only can you purchase products for dirt cheap prices at the supermarket but Frankenstein ingredients keep them “fresh” for years.

With a year past expiration these products often work just as “well” as when you purchased them. What does it say about a product that is as effective from Day 1 as it is in Year 2 or even 3?

The “fresh” label is thrown around a lot. Products made fresh create a fresh feel, freshy smell and makes your skin feel fresh! The problem? Most products on store shelves can’t be made fresh. The product turnover (rate they sit on the shelf) isn’t high enough. Even if the big companies could, they wouldn’t due to fear of margins.

Since skin care products are derived from plants and animals (though Carley’s avoids animal products) – their has to be a point where these ingredients lose effectiveness. This is where products that would otherwise go stale are pumped with ingredients to prolong lifespan. This is where that term “Frankenstein products” comes into play. Or if your a little more modern – think of the villain Bain that needed toxic chemicals to keep his powers.

The benefit of selling online is that product turnover is high. What is made in a lab one day can be packaged up the same day and ready to be shipped by the morning. Compared to products sitting on store shelves – that’s like comparing a fresh doughnut to a Twinkie!

What happens to ingredients when they go stale?
They become less effective. Most skin care products today are made in a pH acidic formula to take advantage of the long term preservatives (parabens). This is how big manufacturers get away with making millions of products at one time. Even if it takes years for them to be sold.

How long do you have before a product goes stale?
A typical retail product will have a shelf life of several years. It’s hard to know because there are no manufacture dates. Retail requires a long shelf life. We make everything in small bactches and ship fresh. We recommend you use within one year.

How can you prolong freshness?
Refrigerate – Products containing delicate ingredients such as the Eczema Cream, Eye Cream, Virgin Coconut Moisturizer, Lip Balm, Foot Balm, Tamanu Cream, Regeneration Cream and Rose Hip Cream are all stored in refrigeration. When not in use for a prolonged period, keep these products refrigerated. Don’t freeze them!

Keeping the products out of direct sunlight helps – FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sun – Just like your own skin, the sun can damage products. Try and keep any product out direct sunlight. This means keeping your shower window sill clear.

Preservatives – The more preservatives, the longer a product lasts. More importantly, the more preservatives the higher likelihood of skin irritation. To last any time on your bathroom counter a product needs some preservatives. This is why we carefully choose which preservatives are used – usually just a trace amount (less than 0.4%) of Germall Plus. No “natural” preservative can really ward off any significant bacteria or staleness.

As a general rule of thumb, use products within a year. We date ours as such. If you aren’t finishing these in a year, you aren’t using them enough.

Products Mentioned:

The Short History of Skin Care

It’s funny how history repeats itself. What is good for you one day is ineffective the next. There’s always something that is the next best thing”. We usually know little about this “next big thing” until it’s been here for years. Until we’ve actually seen the effects. This message someone made, as a knock against modern medicine, perfectly demonstrates this:

History of Medicine:

1000 AD: “Here, eat this herb.”
1700: “That herb is an old wives’ tale; take this elixir.”
1900: “That elixir is quackery; take this pill.”
1960: “That pill doesn’t do any good; take this antibiotic.”
2000: “That antibiotic isn’t safe; take this herb.”

This is obviously to be taken tongue in cheek. A knock against medicine – holistic and modern – in general. But it reminds an awful lot of the skin care industry! Here’s my take:

History of Skin Care:

2000 BC: “Here, put these essential oils on your skin.”
1000 BC: “Still have skin problems? Try sulfur.”
1920: “Sulfur irritating/drying your skin out too much? Try benzoyl peroxide.”
1960: “I combined all of those ingredients to make a cure! Try this ointment.”
1980: “Overused the ointments – now you have adult acne? Take this Accutane.”
2010: “Complications from Accutane? Try something a little more natural.”

Natural Shea butter being pounded – FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You can’t fool nature. Powerful ointments may fool us into thinking “if I can just find a bit stronger one I will be clear.” Little do we know that makes things worse. As much as you may disdain the big companies and want to “go natural”, modern technology enables us to combine new methods with old. Here’s how a product can be made using the best of both worlds:

  • New methods – Ability to ship anywhere in the world freshly made products.
  • Old methods – Made fresh locally.
  • New methods – Accurate, precise measurements and an artisan approach.
  • Old methods – Long lost secrets of skin care ‘sorcerers’ to making moisturizers and products.
  • New methods – Ability to import any high quality ingredient from anywhere in the world.
  • Old methods – Use of oils and butters and herbs, that were only found locally in season.
  • New methods – Absence of toxic ingredients that used to be used such as lead and mercury.
  • Old methods – Absence of harsh ingredients currently used such as sulfur, heavy preservatives, acidic products, silicone/dimethicone and artificial fragrances.
The rise in processed foods consumption

This perfectly reflects the state of the food industry People of old ate a healthier and far simpler diet. The rise in processed food coincides with a series of complications. Even with all of the vast knowledge we have to know that it is bad for you! Who’s to say the skin industry doesn’t face the same problem?

Moisturizers and creams made the right way can look almost indistinguishable from home-made creams of old. They work better too. By combining the simplified methods of the past with modern technology, we really can get the best of both worlds!

An Oasis in the Desert: Morocco’s Argan Oil

When Moroccans think of liquid gold they aren’t thinking about petroleum oil. In the small region of Morocco, the thorny Argania Spinosa tree produces a fruit bearing one of the most lucrative oils in the world – Argan oil. This oil has been known to treat everything from discolored skin to improved elasticity and suppleness in skin.

A Berber village typically depends on this rare oil – FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Argan oil contains Vitamin E, Carotenes, Squalene and essentially fatty acids. These components heal scar tissue (especially acne scars), treat psoriasis, eczema and even helps undo UV damage to the skin. This oil is even used to improve conditioning in the hair.

As this recent article spotlights, the number of cosmetics that advertise the use of Argan oil has skyrocketed. Two in 2007 to 111 in 2011. The reason why I bold that? The amount this rare, exotic oil is used is usually nil. What’s more appealing than claiming to use a rare, expensive oil from an exotic location? Especially when they only need to (technically) put a few drops in. This is unlikely to demonstrate any of the real benefits of that Argan oil provides.

If a few drops are unlikely to do the trick pure Argan oil must be best, right? Wrong. The oils need a carrier to penetrate deep in the skin. That is what a proper moisturizer does (a silicone-based moisturizer will block most absorption). Choosing between a pure oil and a moisturizer with only a tiny amount is choosing between the lesser of evils. Carley’s Tamanu Cream uses about 5% Argan Oil. And we don’t even advertise the oil!

I first heard about Argan oil from a Mroccan friend that happened to import this oil. It took nothing but a quick pitch for me to have product ideas swirling through my head. Moroccans have used the oil for centuries to treat in particular damaged skin – How about a discoloration cream? An acne scarring cream? Maybe a hair product in the future?

In it’s purest form, the oil is semi-solid while refrigerated. Many oil importers dilute it with cheaper oils. We don’t touch these cheap variations. The Argania Spinosa tree is extracted by native Moroccan women by hand. By peeling the outer layer of the fruit and pounding the the center with a rock, the oil can be extracted from kernels. This is a major source of income for the Berber tribe in Southern Morocco where the income is redistributed – mostly among women. It is estimated that over three million people receive income from Argan oil extraction!

One of the most interesting things about this wonder oil is the tree that bears it’s fruit. Grown in the desert, goats are known to “climb” these trees to reach the precious fruit it bears. Don’t worry about the environmental footprint of this tree. This tree is farmed locally by villages and constantly regrown. No goats were harmed in the making of this post!

Is Dimethicone (Silicone) in your Store Bought Moisturizers?

“I am allergic to dimethicone and unfortunately it is in everything. I have oily skin that is prone to acne. However, sometimes I think it’s because I’m having a allergic reaction to my shampoo or conditioner or toothpaste. Like I said dimethicone is in everything. Do you have make up, moisturizers, sun screens, hair products and or toothpaste without dimethicone? Desperately seeking a great product without silicone in it, but I live in Hawaii. Is it still free shipping? Thank you in advance for responding to me.” -Debra N.

You along with many others, including me, are allergic to dimethicone, or silicone. it has many other names and is not even required to be listed on the label. it is  a menace. manufacturers (even small ones)use it because it makes filling bottles easy. no bubbles or foam. and in hair care it is used to make the hair ‘silky’ but seals the hair shaft and causes the hair to die. we do not use any silicones or dimethicones or anything associated with those chemicals.

Take a look at your store brand moisturizer and glance at the ingredients. Out of all of the unpronounceable names, look for Dimethicone. Also referred to as silicone, Dimethicone has a place in this world. Is that place in your moisturizer?

In order for a moisturizer to restore moisture to the skin it needs to enable the absorption of materials into the skin. Otherwise it’s just something that sits on the skin. Silicone smothers the skin and makes the moisturizer sit on the skin. The greasy feeling you get when you put on that moisturizer with silicone is actually the silicone particles sitting on your skin. If a silicone-based moisturizer is such a walking contradiction, why do companies use silicone?

A major ingredient of Gas-X is Dimethicone

Silicone is used for one reason – to treat bubbles and foam. Bubbles become a major problem when manufacturing in large quantities. Without silicone, that product of yours will come in the mail half full after all of the air bubbles popped. Now it makes sense why Gas-X would use this ingredient (it fights gas). A silicone-based moisturizer may also contain a more consistent feel. Some may experience side effects such as irritated skin including rash and stinging.

By appearance these store brand moisturizers look great. They may feel great at first. But they do little. Those precious oils you hear about on the labels don’t even go in the skin. We will never put silicone in our products for this very reason. That means hand topping off every product for getting rid of air bubbles. This also means more care is put into the manufacture. Only a few hundred bottles are made a time for this reason. Next time you put one of our moisturizers on your skin, notice how fast it absorbs into your skin. You’ll stay moisturized longer without it sitting on your skin. That’s a real moisturizer!

When the wash gets hard to pump – Just add water!

Quick tip for all of you body wash users: Adding water will return the wash to consistency .

We’re happy to finally made a body wash that didn’t have to be a chemical stew. The trade off is that the consistency can be uneven over time. Especially when the bottle gets low. Just add about 1/2” of water, shake… Voila, the consistency returns to normal!

Happy Memorial Day

Our men and women in uniform go through a lot. They may be tough but their skin can be just as sensitive as anyone else’s – if not more. The locales they are deployed to – such as Afghanistan and Iraq – are often disastrous for their skin.

I am deployed in Iraq right now and had my year supply of Industrial Strength Clear and Smooth and a bunch of people bought the 8 bottles off of me cause everyone’s skin is either dry or broken out from this place. Clear and Smooth is the new crack over here. If u sent extra samples and i throw them in a box for people in the Tactical Operations Center you could be getting a ton of customers soon. I just want to say thanks for keeping my skin looking good for almost 4 years.” – Carla

Reading these really brings a smile to our faces. Not the “crack” comment (though that’s hilarious!). The sheer joy that so many brave men and women are getting out of this stuff. Check out this video from Ray, a military Captain who has been with us since the beginning.

Happy Memorial Day! Thank you for everything you men and women do.

Straight from the Amazon Rainforest

One of our customers recently told us, that she would never buy anything from the Amazon Rainforest. She, of course, was afraid we were contributing to the deforestation. The opposite is true. The natives derive valuable income collecting fruit from these ancient Cupuaçu trees. Cupuaçu grows wild in the Amazon Rainforest. I repeat: No clear cut farming, these trees grow wild. Your purchase helps to support these indigenous people.

Same is true for most of the ingredients we use. We pay top price for the best ingredients. Whenever possible our ingredients are of the “raw” variety. This is much closer to the way nature intended it. Most companies turn seemingly exotic ingredients such as Shea butter into industrial paste using chemicals such as hexane. We purchase this same butter directly by indigenous tribes of Africa. You will notice each tribe provides their own signature color and method of extraction. The difference in quality in these types of seemingly common ingredients is striking. This is where environmental responsibility and a better product go hand-in-hand!