Skin Care Sunday: What’s the Deal with Skin?

I hope everyone had a stellar week. Philadelphia is finally thawing out (dare I even say it was warm?! I dare, I dare!). My Pandora station even had the perfect line up of jam music… ALL WEEK! Guys, guys! ALL. WEEK!!! That never, EVER happens! Needless to say, I had a fabulous week, screaming along to Manson and belting out Matt Dusk lyrics!  The neighbors may never forgive me… I’m a little tone deaf.

Since we’re finally transitioning out of winter, and into the first glimpses of spring, I thought I’d take a minute to talk about skin. We all have it. And yet somehow, taking care of our skinseems so much more complicated than keeping your heart healthy (Easy. Eat Cheerios. The TV told me so.).

Your skin is one of the largest organs of the body, serving as the first line of defense from external threats (like infections), as a purging system for things your body can’t metabolize (like that time you got trashed in college and woke up smelling like ketone. Give your skin and your liver a round of applause!). That’s not all! It insulates you from the cold, regulates your temperature (especially useful in the death throes of August and the arctic freeze of December!), and aids in the production of Vitamin D folates. It’s pretty important!

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There’s alot going on under the surface of your skin!! Image by Madhero88 and M.Komorniczak, via www.wikimedia.com

Your skin is also more complex than you would think! It’s not just the hair and outer epidermis that you see when you look in the mirror. Hidden from sight are sweat glands, sebaceous glands (to produce oil for the skin), the dermis with it’s connective tissue, nerves and blood vessels.

The skin on your body varies in type and thickness depending on where it’s found. The skin on the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands are the thickest, and are lacking the hair follicles and sebaceous glands found almost everywhere else!The skin on your eyelids, however, is the thinnest, and most delicate. See? There’s a real reason not to neurotically rub at your delicate eyeballs!

When it comes to having healthy, glowing skin, the most important thing to remember is that, like most things related to health, you have to have a good diet to support your skin! You can have all the awesomest skincare products in the world, but they are only going to be so effective, if you aren’t feeding you your skin!

What does that mean?

It means that if you are already on your eighth cup of coffee today, it’s time to put down the mug and start chugging water.  While your skin works to keep water in the body, it’s not going to be able to do an awesome job if you aren’t filling up on water in the first place. And boy oh boy, does your body need a lot of water!

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Eating for healthy happy skin doesn’t have to be boring- in fact, it’s down right delicious!! Image via https://www.candyindustry.com

Foods that are naturally high in folates and vitamins A, B, C, and E are also great to include in your diet. Veggies like kale, tomatoes, and beets help your skin (enter poorly imitated Russian accent) be strong like bull. Oily fish including salmon, mackerel and sardines are loaded with vitamin E to keep your skin happy. And healthy fatty snacks like olives, walnuts and dark chocolate can work to boosting your skin’s overall health by making sure it gets the nutrients it craves.

But most importantly, drink lots of water.

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Seriously. Pretend you are a tree and drink up!!

What is your favorite way to keep your skin healthy?

 

 

 

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WTF is…Oats?! (Version 2.0)

We decided it was time to update our oats post, because as we have a grown, so too has our research… and it turns out that oats are way more awesome than we thought they were!! Oats are great for helping your skin fight off the harsh conditions of winter (or cooked with milk and a heaping pile of brown sugar dumped on top!). So grab your grains and hunker down. It’s time to talk oats… again!

Mmmm-mmm! Good inside and out! Photo via freefoodphotos.com

Before the simple oat (Avena sativa) was recognized as the grain we all know and love (with brown sugar), it was considered a weed. In fact the term ‘sewing wild oats’ is a reference to the rampant and widespread growth that oats were once known for. However after it was domesticated, oats became a staple in many peoples diet, even to this day! In Scotland oats are still held in high esteem and are a mainstay of the national diet. In Britain oats are sometimes used for brewing beer. Even here in America, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who’s never heard of good old fashioned oatmeal (with brown sugar- ALL the brown sugar).

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This is what oats look like before they go into your oatmeal! Photo via commons.wikimedia.org

Not only are oats a great source of energy, but they’re also good for your skin too (but leave out the brown sugar if your going to be smacking oats on your face… apparently brown sugar doesn’t go with EVERYTHING.) Oats are great for gentle exfoliation, as they soften with water, but they are more than just an killer scrub for sensitive skin!

Cleopatra Salt Bar

The Cleopatra Salt Bar is a gentle soap for dry and sensitive skin, loaded to the gills with finely milled oats and local honey… try not to eat it!

Oats also contain a whole host of phytochemicals that make them absolute rock stars for skin, including saponins, which help to gently remove dirt and oil from your pores; polysaccharides, which become gelatinous in water and leave a protective residue on the skin preventing further damage; flavonoids and silicic acid to intensely soothe skin irritation, agitation and redness; Vitamin A to rejuvenate your skin; and Vitamin B to help hydrate your skin while also making it feel softer and smoother! Calming, moisturizing, exfoliating. What else can we say but: Bring on the oats!

Morganics Oats

It doesn’t get any fresher than local farms! We adore our oats supplier, Moraganics Family Farms! Photo via www.morganicsfamilyfarm.com

When it comes to our oats, we’re pretty proud to say that our oats come from a local farm, Morganics Family Farm (you can find out more about them on their website ). Located in Hillsborough, New Jersey, this family run operation grows the best oats ever. Seriously. THE BEST. Plus we think it’s pretty cool to be able to so drastically reduce our carbon foot print with such a ubiquitous ingredient. You can grab Morganics oats in Philly at the Headhouse Farmers Markets on Sundays (If Mack doesn’t beat you to it and buy them all…).

Cleopatra Bath Cupcake

We always seem to have issues convincing people that this oat-packed Cleopatra Bath Cupcake goes in your tub, not your stomach!

We use oats in all their many forms, from the rich oat milk that we swirl into Skin Parfaits, and the milky oat tops that we infuse into Skin Tonics, to the ground oats the we pack into our shower bars and bath confections! if you’re rocking some seriously dry skin, you’ll be happy to know that oats reign supreme in the Cleopatra line up, which you can find here: https://www.therawspa.net/jewel-of-the-nile

Cleopatra Skin Parfait

It’s creamy, it’s dreamy and it’s packed with fresh oat milk, made with local Morganics Oats and a little patience! The Cleopatra Skin Parfait is a boon for those wrestling with dry or sensitive skin!

If you’re wondering how you can start rocking the oats right now, we’ll have a post up later this week with one of Mack’s super special house specialties, the Milk & Honey Face Wash! Don’t let the name fool you- oats are the star of the show! 🙂

So, what do you think? They’re a little more awesome than you thought, right?

 

 

WTF is…Sugar?!

Oh man, here it is. The big one. The greatest thing or the greatest evil depending on who you ask. Love it or hate it, the fact is we can’t live without sugar in some way, shape or form. There’s a lot of ground to cover here but don’t worry. For you we’ll keep it short and sweet.

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Every modern child’s dream. Every modern adult’s nightmare. Image via en.wikipedia.org.

So let us start with origins. Sugar has been produced in India since ancient times, and we’re talking REALLY ancient. Like 8th century Chinese manuscripts BC ancient. For a while sugar wasn’t really a big deal. People chewed raw sugarcane to get their sweet fix. It wasn’t until the Indian people discovered methods of turning sugarcane juice into granulated crystals that it really took off. Fun fact: in the local Indian language the crystals were called khanda, which is the source of the word candy.

Now when it comes to sugar in terms of health things get a bit…complicated. To summarize just about everything from both sides of the fence: sugar is kind of good for you and kind of bad for you. Unfortunately modern science is unable to determine sugars effect on the human body since they don’t have a large enough population to run the appropriate tests. Essentially since EVERYONE eats sugar in some way, shape or form we can’t get a definite measure of how it effects the human body when ingested.

Fortunately for us, and you, we DO know it’s effects when applied topically! Sugar is primarily used on our skin as an exfoliant. The nature of the sugar granules make it ideal for scrubbing off layers of dead skin. It is also a humectant and draws moisture into the skin from the air.

We here at The Raw Spa  offer a unique alternative to conventional sugar scrubs that come in jars. For our sugar scrubs come in bars! Namely our Spice Merchant exfoliating sugar bars not only smell great but can be applied with a little water to provide a gentle but deeply exfoliating experience.

Speaking of merchants, if you’d like to try some of our products, come visit us on our store page here!

We’ve also got a patreon! If you become a patron not only will you get monthly product, but you’ll also sleep easy knowing that you’re helping two young adults maintain their coffee induced insomnia. Check it out here!

 

 

 

 

 

WTF is…Goats Milk?!

On the big long list of things we rub on our skin to make it happy, goats milk is one of the more straightforward ones. I mean, just because it’s sharp doesn’t mean we have to use it as an exfoliant. Oh I’m sorry was that too cheesy for your liking? Alright I’ll stop kidding around. Let’s talk about why goat’s milk is so *bleat*ing good for you.

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Could this goat get any glassier? Eh? Okay I’m done. Photo via sammysmilk.com

Question: How does traditional bar soap clean the body?

Answer: Without getting too technical, the chemicals that are typically used in bars of soap induce an extremely mild chemical burn to cleanse away all the dirt and grime (this is why soap stings when you get it in your eyes). In terms of cleanliness it is great! In terms of hygiene, it is absolute overkill. It’s like mowing your lawn with a flame thrower. Sure you’ll get the job done but in the end you’re left with a dry, barren and damaged surface.

Enter goats milk, the hypothetical lawn mower. Instead of burning off the top layer of skin, goats milk uses it’s alpha hydroxy acid to remove only the dead skin cells when applied topically. It also uses it’s vitamin A content to help repair damaged skin tissue. We could go on about the other bazillion ways goats milk is good for you, like how it is anti inflammatory,  a great source of essential minerals for your skin, yadda yadda yadda but let’s skip to the part where I show you where you can get some!

You’ll find goats milk all through our Cleopatra products from the Jewel of the Nile line! The bars and bath confections are all packed with goats milk, to leave your skin happy and healthy!

If that sounds like something you’d like to have, check out our store page here!

We’ve also got a Patreon! Help keep us happy and healthy (and caffeinated) by becoming a Patron here!

 

 

 

 

WTF is…Coffee?!

Look, let’s just lay it out on the table. The Raw Spa consists of two twenty-somethings who work hard everyday. We. Freaking. Love. Coffee. Look at the first goal of our Patreon and you’ll see just how much we love coffee. But in addition to downing a good old cup of joe, we like putting it in our products. No, we’re not THAT coffee crazy, but you may find the health benefits of coffee to be rather stimulating.

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What coffee is like to people who don’t drink it. Image via wikipedia.org

But first some fun facts. Just under half of the worlds supply of coffee comes from Brazil alone. Now those who REALLY know their coffee know that while Brazil’s coffee is tasty, it doesn’t have quite the punch that African coffee has. That’s because the strain of coffee plant that is exported from Africa has about 40-50% more of that special little chemical we know and love. That’s right! Caffeine!

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What coffee is like to people who DO drink it. Image via Sylvan Migdal.

Anyone who’s ever drank coffee, a coke, or any of the hundreds of energy drinks out there can attest to how caffeine affects the body when ingested. But what about topical application? You might ask if your skin will jump off and run away in a fit of frenzied over exuberance. To which we would reply: No, that’s just silly.

But products that have caffeine do serve as a stimulant and when applied to skin can increase blood circulation as well as reduce swelling and inflammation. Coffee grounds are also rough enough that they can be used as an ingredient in your daily exfoliant.

Now remember when I said we love coffee here at The Raw Spa? Well we love you more, and to prove it we sacrifice our beloved coffee to be added to products like Charlie Tango and Libertine from the Erotica Sensualis line so that your skin can have the stimulation and care it deserves! You can find all of our caffeinated products HERE!

Hey you! Do you like our blogs? If so you’ll love our Patreon! Check us out, we’ve got lots of stretch goals and fantastic rewards for contributers!

Feel free to check out our store here for all the products we mentioned and so much more!

 

WTF is…Coconut Oil?!

Let’s face facts: coconuts are useful. The meat inside the shell is tasty and nutritious, its husk and shells when burned and activated are extremely effective as a carbon filter, and in a pinch it can make an exotic fashion item. The oil derived from its meat is also super good for your skin in just about every way.

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Edible, drinkable, wearable, topical? Perfection. Image via dailynexus.com

 

Just to give you a little background, the origin of coconuts is a subject of much debate but nowadays most of them come from Philippines. Coconuts are woven deep into their economy and culture, with just about every part of the coconut and even parts of the tree being used in some capacity. They even have the Coconut Palace in Manila, a building made almost entirely of coconut as well as some other local materials. Talk about being coo coo for coconuts!

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So many! It’s coconuts! Image via wikipedia.org.

Now when it comes to coconut oil it’s just about as useful as the coconut itself. It’s been used in cooking, as biodiesel, as a repellent for sand fleas and, of course, skin care. As a skin care agent, it’s a great moisturizer for all types of skin. It can even help reduce protein loss when used in hair!

We here in The Raw Spa use coconut oil in our lotions and cream soaps for it’s skin soothing properties. It works well with cucumber in the Egyptian Cucumber Hydration Creme and with cocoa butter in the Oasis Body Butter to give you a powerful and most importantly, natural moisturization. Good news! You can check out our selection of coconut containing products HERE!

Check out our store here for all our other stuff! Exfoliation, moisturization, we’ve got it all!

You can also check out our Patreon here where we have some awesome rewards for our contributers and even better rewards for the planet when we hit certain stretch goals! We’re aiming to be the greenest company in the planet so what are you waiting for?     Drop on by and support us on Patreon!

WTF is…Pearl?!

In keeping with the theme of small shiny things that people go nuts over, this week we’ll be taking a peek at pearls! Pearls are synonymous with purity and radiance but did you know that it’s also good for your skin? Now before you go and break out grandma’s jewelry, there are a few things you should know. So let’s dive in!

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The most familiar usage of pearls. Image via wikipedia.org

 

Naturally occurring pearls are extremely rare. No two ways about it. But the majority of pearls found on the market are either imitation, cultured or farmed from pearl oysters. Cultured pearls are made by implanting a tiny spherical bead into the shell of an oyster, forcing it to coat the irritant in nacre and make a pearl.

What is narce you ask? Take any clam shell souvenir and look at the inside. If in addition to being smooth it is also iridescent then you are looking at narce. Also called mother of pearl, narce is a calcium carbonate coating that mollusks produce to protect themselves from irritants. On the inside of the shell the narce protects the soft interior from the roughness of the shell. And as we’ve discussed, if a bit of sand or anything gets in there…jackpot!

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Imagine opening hundreds of clams and finally finding THIS. Image via ice-epilepsy.org

Now cosmetically pearl powder has been in play for hundreds of years, and still is today. Usually made from pearls that are below jewelry grade, pearl powder is used in traditional Chinese medicine to improve the appearance of skin, as an anti-inflammatory and a detoxification agent. Ancient Chinese empress Wu Ze Tian used pearl powder on her skin AND internally, and was famed for her beauty and childlike skin.

We here at The Raw Spa have taken a leaf out of the book of traditional Chinese medicine and use pearl powder in Whips&Kisses from the Erotica Sensualis line to utilize it’s famed skin softening properties. You can find all of our radiant, pearl-packed products HERE!

Hey gang if you like out blogs you should consider supporting us on Patreon! We’ve got all sorts of great rewards for our contributers plus environmentally friendly stretch goals!

Check out our store here for all the products we’ve mentioned and more!