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The issue of antibiotic resistance.

Hello readers,

This month of love, I decided to show some love in a different form – information, vital information. This topic was borne out of an Instagram live session, held on my page on the ‘Dangers of DIY Cosmetics'(I invited you o). You can stay tuned to my Instagram for future sessions like that.

One of the issues with DIY cosmetics stems from poor preservation and consequent contamination and infection. Another one is the mixing of tube ointments into cream bases, shea butter and any other carrier in use today. In case you did not know this, many steroidal tube creams are topical antibiotics. Most people use these tube creams to lighten their skin and not even for treatment of skin infections.

What is antibiotic resistance? According to the Center for Disease Control, Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria change in a way that reduces the effectiveness of drugs, chemicals, or other agents designed to cure or prevent infections. The bacteria survive and continue to multiply, causing more harm.

Antibiotic resistance
Image from WHO website 

The only thing worse than DIY cosmetics is DIY prescriptions, which is the indiscriminate ingestion or topical application of antibiotics. In some cases of acne caused by infections, certain antibiotics can be prescribed for treatment. This has led many people, especially Nigerians who are already known for self medicating, to start taking antibiotics internally for aesthetic purposes, without directed by their physician.

I don’t do this, so it’s none of my business.

Think again. We live on earth with the rest of humanity. We interact with so many different people on a daily basis. We move from place to place, carrying different microbes with us. That is why communicable diseases,especially those that can be spread through air or touch, can humble any one regardless of class, age, gender, etc. So imagine if and when you come in contact with someone who is a carrier of a resistant strain of microorganism(s).

Do you still think it doesn’t affect you?

Think again! According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today. It occurs naturally, but misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process. A growing number of infections are becoming harder to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them now have poor activity, leading prolonged illnesses and increased mortality.

It is particularly dangerous in health cases that may require surgery, in which the site of incision becomes infected and no antibiotics will work (think septic shock😱).

How do our actions worsen the situation?

When we take antibiotics carelessly (through oral or topical routes), do not finish our course of treatment, take the wrong dose of medication or even take the wrong treatment for the ailment, we allow microbes to evolve genetically to tolerate the antibiotics. With time, organisms that are now able to withstand antibiotics can infect and in some cases, kill.

So please, spread the word, even if you do not do these. As cliche as this sounds, being your brother’s keeper is highly required in this case.

What is being done about this?

Quite a lot actually! A lot of research goes into discovering new synthetic and phytochemicals that show antibiotic properties.

Trivia: Did you know that some of the antibiotic products on the market were derived from plants and marine organisms? This was actually my thesis during my MSc. at the University College, London. I worked with about 5 plants, establishing their antimicrobial activities against some resistant microbial strains, isolated from patients at the University College Hospital. I also investigated the resistance modification and inhibition of the transfer of resistance gene to other microbes.

But the process is painfully slow!

And rightly so. It can take over five years to approve a pharmaceutical product. There are so many stages of in vitro and in vivo analysis, as well as clinical trials in different phases. Of course, they need to ascertain the safety and efficacy, and this requires a lot of data and time to collate the data.

In the meantime,

Look out for yourself and those around you by only using antibiotic products when you need to; at the right dose and for appropriate duration. That means, no more using or prescribing them to others with no basis or medical clearance.

Please!

References

  • WHO website
  • CDC website
  • Antibiotic Resistance notes and articles by my MSc. supervisor, Dr. Paul Stapleton (School of Pharmacy, University College London).

 

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The Dangers of DIY Cosmetics – An interactive Instagram Live session.

Dangers of DIY cosmetics, the naija formulator, Sommiesworld

I would be honest with you about this. I started out with DIY recipes found online. As a newbie natural, I had limited choices of hair products, I was also a cheap skate, fresh out of secondary school. I used to follow natural blogs from way back and copy everything they did.

Blogs like Curly Chronicles on Youtube (her name is Autumn I think), Black girl long hair (Leila, I think); I was even the first Nigerian to be featured on there after the first natural hair meet up was held (Omozo of O’naturals house). I went on to Naturally Leslie and Keeping in the Kinks (run by Akwaeke Emezi and her friend), Curly Nikki (Henna queen), a The Natural Haven (she has a scientific approach), and so many others. I owe my knowledge of natural hair care to them.

These recipes were all I had at the time, and they served me in some cases, with only a few mild disasters. I also started to try my hands at following skincare recipes, but it didn’t take long before I started to see more discrepancies within the system.
I went on to learn how to formulate properly, for many reasons that will be discussed in the Instagram live session coming up next week.

I will be there with the lovely Sommie of Sommie’s World. Those who attend the session will be getting something special (extending past that session), towards learning how to formulate simple effective natural cosmetics that will serve you and your family perfectly.

Dangers of DIY cosmetics, the naija formulator, Sommiesworld
The Dangers of DIY Cosmetics
So come through, we would love to have you.

To join us, you can follow my Instagram page www.instagram.com/thenaijaformulator. Turn on post notifications to know exactly when we are up!

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AfroRoots Naturals Hair Products review.

I know this is coming so late but it just clicked that I never posted any news of the reviews on AfroRoots Naturals Hair Products on here. You can still find them on all social media though! So the first AfroRoots Naturals Hair Products review is by Lipglossmaffia.

Naija formulator, Lipglossmaffia, AfroRoots Naturals, AfroRoots, natural hair, AfroRoots Naturals Hair Products review
Review by Lipglossmaffia

 

She has got relaxed hair which received much nature love from AfroRoots Naturals. Read the post here.

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How stress affects us – Part 2 – stress affects skin biochemistry

Hello readers, so as promised, this post is about how stress can affect the appearance of the skin. As outlined in a previous post, stress helps us to handle pressing situations and is not bad or harmful in itself. The detrimental effects of stress comes from the prolonged exposure to stressful conditions.

The effect of stress hormones on the skin
Image from Chen and Lyga, 2014

 

Image from Chen and Lyga, 2014
The effect of stress hormones on the skin

The diagram above, shows the biochemical pathway within the body in response to stress. The pituitary and hypothalamus (structures within the brain), release hormones that exert their effects on the skin cells (amongst cells of other organs and tissues).

Prolonged stress can manifest in the appearance of the skin in ways listed below:

Wrinkles: When cortisol is released, sugar levels in the blood can increase, which, in a continual flow, can cause such things as diabetes. On the skin, it encourages a process called glycation, a stress effect on the skin that damages collagen, hardening it, increasing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Stress can also induce overeating, which can cause similar effects due to the elevation of blood sugar levels. This can be seen in cases of acanthosis nigricans, in which areas of thickened skin with hyperpigmentation are prominent. Acanthosis nigricans are often seen in the neck, groin, knees, elbows, knuckles, etc.

Dryness: Another stress effect on the skin is dry skin, which has to do with cortisol yet again. In this case, cortisol decreases the skin’s natural production of compounds like hyaluronic acid, a natural moisturizer found in young,  healthy skin tissue. It can also damage the skin’s protective qualities that allow it to keep hydration levels up. When these things are compromised, the skin, as an effect of stress, becomes dry, damaged and susceptible to the elements.

Dullness: Another major way that stress effects the skin is by affecting the complexion. When stressed, our bodies also produce adrenaline, which is helpful if you’re out in the woods running from a predator, but, in daily life, it only can hurt. When adrenaline is present, blood flow to the skin is decreased, taking important nutrients (most importantly, oxygen) away from the skin. This allows for toxins to build up, a step that leads many types of skin to develop cellulite as well. Reduced vascular perfusion can lead to poor proliferation of skin cells and reduced production of intrinsic skin moisturising factors.

Acne: Stress hormones can upregulate sebum production in the skin, which can lead to clogged pores and acne. Although it was mentioned earlier that stress can cause dry skin; you would probably doubt this, but oily skin can also be dry. Dryness is as a result of reduced moisture levels and not oil. Trapped dirt and excess oils can turn to those pesky raised bumps full of the nasties!

Inflammation: Stress hormones can exacerbate and prolong inflammatory diseases like eczema, psoriasis, rashes, itching, etc.

In the next post in the series, I will outline a few ways to handle stress. So stay tuned!

How does stress show up on your skin?

References
1. Inflamm Allergy Drug Targets. 2014 Jun; 13(3): 177–190. Published online 2014 Jun.
2. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071109194053.htm
3. WebMD

 

 

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AfroRoots Naturals Independence day giveaway!

AfroRoots Naturals independence day giveaway is happening right now on Instagram! To celebrate Nigeria’s 57th anniversary, we decided to collaborate with 8 other businesses to run an Instagram giveaway. To participate, just head on over to our Instagram page and follow the instructions on the post. View post here.  Winners will be announced on October 8, 2017.

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AfroRoots Naturals line of hair products!

Before we proceed, please head on to this post to read a full review by AB of the Kinkandi. The post also comes with a coupon for a whooping 10% off till the 10th day of October, 2017. The AfroRoots Naturals line of hair product has received many more positive feedback. Follow @thenaijaformulator and @afro_roots_naturals on Instagram to see more.

To get the most put of your hair products, it is important to follow a healthy routine and use the right products correctly. Full AfroRoots Naturals line of Hair Products directions are given below.

Step 1: AfroRoots Naturals African black soap shampoo. Wash with this to remove dirt and excess oil. Softens and moisturises your hair. Prevents tangles arising from dryness and debris.

Step 2: AfroRoots Naturals rinse out conditioner. Apply this to hair and detangle gently. Gives great slip. Contains moisturising and strengthening oils, butters and extracts to give structure to your hair strands, preventing breakage. Rinse out completely.

Step 3: AfroRoots Naturals Leave in conditioner. Perfect for conditioning and moisturisation. A synergistic blend of phytocosmetic extracts to nourish and support your strands.

Step 4: AfroRoots Naturals Hair styling custard. If you want to go a step (or two!) further with conditioning, moisturisation and styling, then this is for you. Achieve beautiful, soft and defined twist outs, Bantu knot outs braid outs with this. The best part about this product is that many customers have found many more ways to use this. It has surpassed my expectations.

Step 5: AfroRoots Conditioning Hair Butter is made of a selection of hair growth oils and butters to condition and seal in moisture while also nourishing the hair. One of the essential steps in the LOC / LCO methods for adequate moisture retention for textured hair. Use this to seal in the AfroRoots Naturals Leave in conditioner, AfroRoots Naturals Hair Styling custard. It can also be used alone right after rinsing out the AfroRoots Naturals Rinse out conditioner.

Feel free to add to the steps listed. I have come across quite a few people that have used these products in unique ways! Let me know one (or two) new ways to use any of the AfroRoots Naturals line of products. To purchase, click here.

 

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When emotions can cause physical pain – my journey with pain.

Hello my readers, I thought I should write this post and bare my thoughts to you all. This isn’t my typical natural or herbal cosmetics blog. You can say it fits into the wellness category. From the title, you can guess I am about to talk about my journey with pain.
Those who know me offline know this about me. I have been friends with pain for most of my life. I’m always shifting, adjusting, stretching and what not (so restless sometimes). I started physiotherapy from around age 14. Name it, I have tried it. Infrared, physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, hydrotherapy, hypnotherapy, massage (every possible kind). The pain always returns maybe because the root cause has not been addressed. At age 16 I was prescribed some strong pain killers and became dependent on them, so I had to stop. I have also had a podiatrist, acupuncturist (this was just one session and I had to move back to Nigeria shortly after) and many many massage therapists. I have had X-rays and visited many medical professionals about this (especially) and they have done what they can. I currently manage the pain with yoga, daily stretching, massages – self and otherwise.
Let me just state here that I live a normal life but I cannot remember when I have not felt this pain/discomfort. I am not bedridden or disabled or anything like that. It’s more like the background music to my life but I usually do not let it affect much. I just look forward to a day that I would go about my day and not be in pain. It has been over a decade and I am tired of it! Some days I wonder if this is how my life will be forever but other days I am hopeful.
I joined a biomedical research team so I could learn more about the role of ion channels in pain (my area of research was Sodium channels Nav 1.7) and how to inhibit these channels. The research is probably still ongoing but I needed something immediate as it takes years to develop and approve pharmaceuticals. Around that time, I began a journey (this has not been a straightforward one) to understand myself and many other things about life, emotions, etc.
In this research, I learned that most pain comes as a result of stress and tension which can be brought on by unresolved emotions. I started to notice situations that aggravate pain and do my best to stay away from them but this is life and sometimes I just deal. Sadly this is something I have not yet found a ‘cure’ for but I will keep searching until I do so.
So I’ll just post this photo that summarizes everything and hope you get the picture. It supports a more holistic approach to pain resolution and is good to have this in mind while undergoing any physical pain therapies.
Naija formulator, physical pain, emotional blockage, physical therapy
How different negative emotion and emotional                         blockage cause pain.
It is also worth it to be consistent with whichever therapy you choose while making sure that it addresses all aspects and facilitates release (emotional and physical). I would admit that I have only been consistent with self massages, yoga and stretching. So far I have only one massage therapist that did the job well enough and absolutely understood the condition (he also had some pain which helped him understand the principles of pressure points and realignment). I always left therapy in a state of freedom (for a few days too). Sadly I can’t always run to 18, Widegate Street, Aldgate, near Spitafields market and opposite Liverpool tube station in East London. His outfit is called Brock Body Balance but I’m not sure if he still operates there (it has been over two years). I am currently on a search for a Nigerian therapist that can understand the condition and not just massage on whatever way they have been taught in beauty school (so hook me up if you know someone I could try!). On the bright side, because of this, I have become quite good at self massage and giving massages to other people (those who know me know this and take advantage of it lol).
Do you have persistent pain? What about random aches and discomfort? What do you do to take care of yourself? Until next time, try to take care of your emotional body.
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How stress affects us – Part I

I don’t think I can avoid stress, it is a part of life and in itself is not the enemy. Stress keeps us on our toes, our fight-or-flight response serves us when we have to avoid or escape from dangerous situations and achieve goals. It polishes and sharpens us mentally, physically and emotionally. I find that some of my best work were done under stress and can even go as far as likening it to exercise.

With all these said, I can bet you are wondering if the doctors were wrong about it this whole time. Of course not! In my opinion, what happens after our stressful times is what we should be more concerned about. Do we allow our bodies to return to equilibrium or do we just jump on the next task that requires our attention?

Physiologically, prolonged stress tasks and depletes the body. Our muscles stay tense, our minds stay racing, and we lose touch of our emotions. This can be more appropriately termed distress. At this stage, it has become harmful to health and painful to the body and mind. Physical symptoms like headaches, muscle cramps, insomnia, increased blood pressure, anxiety and digestive issues may arise.
It can be argued that the starting point of all ailments is uncontrolled stress on the body and mind. On the emotional level, feelings of being overwhelmed, anxious and low self esteem are experienced. In fact, depression may even tag along.  The physical manifestation of stress can be seen in all organs like the skin and heart. While the heart works harder and faster, in times of stress, the skin can get reduced blood supply. A high and prolonged level of stress hormones in the blood can also cause increased blood sugar which can contribute to the production of acne.
For the sake of brevity, I will continue this topic in the next post. This post was about the effects of stress on the body in general. In the next posts, I will list out the effects of stress on the skin and ways to alleviate stress the effects.
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AfroRoots Naturals Hair Products Launch and Instagram/Facebook Giveaway!

This has been in the works for quite sometime. I am so happy to finally be able to do a little show and tell. These products are made from the finest oils, butters, and herbs. I can only tell you to see for yourself. They are currently available on this site. Stay tuned for vendor information. On this note if you would like to be a vendor, you can contact me, let’s talk.

AfroRoots Naturals are not just for people with natural or kinky hair; all hair types benefit greatly from this, although your technique may vary. If you will like us to go on a hair growth challenge, let me know. I also want long hair.

AfroRoots Naturals, the best Natural hair products brand. Made from the best indigenous Nigerian and exotic herbs, pamper your AfroRoots and strands with these high quality and natural products for maximum hair growth and retention.

P. S. Nothing can replace the value of good food and healthy lifestyle when it comes to beauty and hair goals. Great products like AfroRoots Naturals will take you to new heights as the third leg of this beauty life though.

To shop AfroRoots,  click here

To join the current giveaway, go to @thenaijaformulator or @afro_roots_naturals on Instagram.

For the Facebook giveaway, go to www.facebook.com/thenaijaformulator or www.facebook.com/AfroRootsNaturals

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Lip balm formulation challenge: create your own natural lip balm with two ingredients!

Hello my readers, how are you getting on with your previous formulations? Have you made any others since then? Do you have challenges or victories? If so, let me know about them. You can also post your photos and I will try to advice you (if you need it). The last emulsion workshop was so much fun (and informative), it was so great having you.
A student made this beautiful body cream at the recent workshop.

To those that haven’t taken a class with me, what in the world are you waiting for? If you cannot attend due to distance, you can always take the online version.

Anyhoos….
Image from whatsupmoms.
I am back this fine afternoon with another formulation challenge. You will learn to formulate your very own lip balm with just two ingredients!! I am sure your friends will thank me for keeping you away from theirs.  Plus, I don’t want you walking around with dull, chapped lips LOL. I cannot stress enough that keeping all parts of the body, lips included can improve and maintain their suppleness and glow. Before we go on, you can subscribe to my blog and social media pages to stay updated on new formulae.
For your lip balm formulation, you will need:
  • Scales (if you want accurate and reproducible results)
  • Glass, ceramic or good grade plastic bowl
  • Spatula or stirring spoon/rod
  • Lip balm container
  • Cocoa butter
  • Essential oil
To make 25 g of lip balm, measure out:
  • 24 g Cocoa butter
  • 1 g essential oil
Melt your butter in a double boiler and add in your oils. Pour into your container and leave to cool. I should mention at this point that I would stay away from citrus essential oils for facial products to avoid photosensitivity. I like peppermint essential oils for the tingle and sweet scent.
I like to drink a little water before application /reapplication to soften my lips and increase moisturisation. How do you use your lip balm? Do you prefer your balm in a roll up tube, pot or jar?