I’ve been on the prowl again for something to treat a persistent case of atopic dermatitis (eczema) on my legs, since for other health reasons (and because it’s just not good for long-term use) I won’t use corticosteroids. I’ve had this eczema on my legs for 18 years, no kidding, so I’ve pretty much tried everything to get rid of it. Recently, a friend asked if I’d tried honey.
Honey? Like, get all sticky? Umm, nope, haven’t tried it. Intrigued, I decided to see if there was any merit to the idea of putting honey on my skin to try to at least reduce the dermatitis. (It’s bad. Itching, scaling, oozing, and bad scarring are my daily companions.) I found a study that looked at using a mixture of beeswax, olive oil, and raw honey, applied three times a day, to treat atopic dermatitis. The results look promising!
The study looked at patients who were not currently using a treatment, as well as patients using a steroid cream to treat their dermatitis. (I fall into the first category.) According to the study, 80% of the participants who had used no prior treatment had a significant improvement using the honey mixture, with a profound improvement in scaling, itching, and oozing. Whoa!
Admittedly, the sample size is small. Of the 21 participants with eczema, 10 of them had used no prior treatment, which means that 8 people saw improvement.
The study author had this to say about honey, beeswax, and olive oil:
Honey has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that help to decrease pain and the appearance of scars, and that lead to faster wound healing. Olive oil also has antibacterial properties and the ability to inhibit substances that lead to inflammation. Olive oil and honey both contain flavonoids that help protect cells and inhibit histamine (a substance involved in allergic reactions). Beeswax has anti-inflammatory properties and is often included in formulas to treat burns and other skin conditions.
Because there really aren’t any potential side effects from such a simple remedy, I’m giving it a go. The mixture is made by combining equal parts beeswax, raw honey, and extra virgin olive oil. Because I used to formulate cosmetics, I mistakenly formulated this by weight, and not volume. Doh! Yeah, doing it by weight means there is way too much beeswax in the formula. If you make this yourself, measure by volume. You’ll have to melt the beeswax first, so it’s liquid and measurable. Adding twice as much oil and honey as beeswax by weight has given me a balm that’s probably still heavy on the beeswax but is workable on the skin. If you’re going to try it, please buy local raw honey – read this article to find out why. I’m going to give it a try, and I’ll report back!
So far in the history of Claire’s Beauty, I haven’t mentioned personal grooming “down there.” There isn’t a particular reason for this, I’m not prudish at all, I just haven’t been interested enough in any of the products I’ve come across targeted towards that particular region to write about them. Why? I am, ahem, quite lazy. Yep, I’m one of those scary women who lets it all be natural…
Then along comes a pitch about the Peeka Bu, a new mirror especially designed to help solve your intimate grooming problems. I think this is pretty cool, and not just because of its uses for grooming (I’m still lazy).
The mirror is designed with a flexible gooseneck and a super-suction cup to attach to any bathroom surface – like your shower, wall mirror, or toilet seat – and there is also an available spray to make the mirror surface fog-free. While the possibilities as an “intimate grooming aid” are obvious, I also see some less obvious benefits to this product as well, namely in the area of women’s health.
If you happen to be one of those unfortunate souls who get infected hair follicles “down there” you can instantly see this product’s potential to help treat the nasty suckers. Few things are more embarrassing than having to get someone else to check out the spot near your hooha, lemme tell you. Yeah, you can use a hand mirror, but you really need two hands to deal with these little “issues” so the Peeka Bu would be super-useful. (Neosporin on the spot, btw, takes care of it.)
Then there is also the usefulness of being able to check out the funny moles on your back (or anywhere else, for that matter). I have a few, and it’d be nice to keep an eye on them myself, rather than relying on someone else. Also, how about being able to style the hair on the back of your head? Very handy.
It’s a pretty cool product, whatever you want to use it for. It definitely gets two thumbs up for innovation and design from me! Who knows, it could be just the thing to inspire me towards a more “trimmed” direction!
I realize skin cancer isn’t just a concern for women, but since summer is coming I wanted to write a post about it because May is Skin Cancer Awareness month.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than one million skin cancers are diagnosed annually. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, and contrary to popular belief, 80 percent of a person’s lifetime sun exposure is not acquired before age 18. Only about 23 percent of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18. (Source: Skin Cancer Facts)
There’s more. Seventy one percent of tanning salon patrons are girls and women aged 16-29. Frequent tanners using new high-pressure sunlamps may receive as much as 12 times the annual UVA dose compared to the dose they receive from sun exposure. People who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma. (Source: Skin Cancer Facts) Furthermore, based on 7 worldwide studies, people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent. Are you seeing a trend here? I am.
So what’s the solution? It’s very simple. UV radiation can cause skin cancer. Decrease your exposure to UV radiation and you decrease your risk of developing skin cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation offers these tips:
Seek the shade, especially between 10 A.M. and 4 P.M.
Do not burn.
Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.
Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours.
Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
There is no such thing as a healthy tan. If you have to have bronzed skin, try a self-tanner instead. The Skin Cancer Foundation also has some good information on sunscreens, and facts about the different kinds of skin cancer. I recommend you check it out!
I’ve decided to start a new category for posts about women’s health. While this is a beauty blog, it’s also a woman-focused blog so talking about women’s health is still topical. I hope my readers will enjoy and appreciate this new content!
Kicking it off is some good info about a subject many of us wish we hadn’t experienced: the UTI, or Urinary Tract Infection. Cystex, makers of an over-the-counter urinary pain relief medication, have put together some informational videos with board-certified urologist Dr. Elizabeth Kavaler. The Cystex site also features a UTI FAQ with answers to your burning (ha! ha!) questions about UTIs.