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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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Why your cosmetic products may not work. 

You are doing  everything possible as regards to your cosmetic regime and you still wonder what’s up. As a formulator, one would expect me to have perfect skin but the truth is, I don’t always. I wish I did but…. I took some time out to think about why my skin acts up from time to time and after some research, studying and all, I found out a few things that need to be changed. I know this may not apply to just me so I decided to share. 

  1. Eat right: I love junk food as much as the next person, even though I try from time to time to eat healthy. How can I say no to ice cream, bread (it bloats me up), cakes, chips with ketchup and suya? The best way to reduce the intake of these things is to replace with healthy options. Ingesting more vegetables and herbs will definitely work wonders for health and beauty. 
  2. Drink enough water: I try to keep up with my eight glasses but in Lagos, I sweat so much that eight really should be eighteen! I started taking cool lemon water because it’s delicious and will replace soft drinks. 
  3. Reduce stress and sleep better: I am a major culprit especially because I work so hard to bring you the best. Sometimes I remember things in my sleep and once I wake up to do them, that’s the end oo. I’ll be up till morning. I’m working on this though because how can I share so much when I’m in poor health? 
  4. Wash your pillows every couple of days: I change my sheets every week (or two). Gross I know, especially in Nigeria that sweating during sleep is not new to many people. Our sheets can breed microbes that feed on our dead skin, moisture and other things. If you can’t wash everything, just wash the pillowcase till the next laundry day! 
  5. Check your bath water: Is it clean, are there irritants included? Run a test, use boiled water, or bottled water to wash your face. The skin on the body is a bit more resilient compared to the face so you can used purified water for just your face. 
  6. Get regular treatments: At home treatments are very good but once in a while, go to a professional. You’ll see the difference and it’s fun and relaxing to be pampered. Just talk to your therapist about their ingredients to be sure that they are all natural. 
  7. Stick to a routine but listen to your body: Although I’m not a pro at this, I found out that I don’t need to exfoliate my face everyday and after washing my face with a mild cleanser, I may not need to put on a facial moisturiser if I’ve used my facial oil the night before. 
  8. Get regular medical check ups: Getting spots on specific parts of the face can be an indication of issues within the internal organs, so please get regular medical checks done. 
  9. Stop doing the most: This relates to point 7 above. Sometimes it’s best to let the skin breathe. Avoid heavy makeup and abrasive treatments. 
  10. Detox and exercise: This point ties with all the others listed. Exercise helps to cleanse the body through sweating so endeavour to drink a lot of water when working out. It can also lead to vasodilation and hence, vascular persuasion of the skin and hair. In plain English, more nutrient-rich blood can reach and nourish your skin and hair. There are other detox options available to you as well e. g. Detox teas and herbs but you don’t need to over do it. My best forms of exercise are yoga and dance while I love spearmint and moringa teas when I can. 
  11. Wear sweat bands when working out: Especially if you use a lot of hair styling products and comedogenic oils. Using sweat bands will stop sweat from your scalp from transporting these products to your face. 

    I hope I follow through all these and hope you do too. I’ll be challenging myself (and you!). Let me know how you get on! 

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    Just another body scrub recipe! 

    So people, I got a complaint (two actually) about the previous body scrub challenge. One of the challenges of the challenge (LOL) is that people need to buy a scale for their formulations and not everyone has the time or feels the need to get so serious. Another is that they want a non fat/oil based scrub recipe that can be rinsed off easy. I threw in a third issue because I started out with this and forgot that many of you just want to use simple and widely available ingredients from the kitchen or fridge or pantry (in Nigeria na store we dey call am). 

    To be honest, I feel a little uncomfortable with this method of measurement but I understand that it has its place in DIY formulations so to make your own honey lemon scrub, you’ll need:

    • A tablespoon of lemon juice – I prefer freshly squeezed but you can use whatever you have
    • Two tablespoons of real honey 🍯 
    • Half a cup of sugar

    Mix thoroughly until you get an even consistency and enjoy! 

    Lemon is great for exfoliation as it contains citric acid. It also contains a potent antioxidant, vitamin C. Honey is soothing, moisturising and antibacterial while sugar is a great moisturising exfoliant. This formula (more like a recipe) is best used within a week since there is no preservative system. 

    Note : although honey and sugar are self preserving, it is easy for water to get into them since they usually sit in the bathroom.

    Until next time, enjoy your exfoliating bath and let your skin thank you! 

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    Penetration enhancers

    The skin is evidently the largest organ of the body. Amongst other functions, it prevents transepidermal water loss (TEWL). As good as the skin is at preventing dehydration through TEWL, it is even better at keeping things out. Things like water too. This sounds a little strange but imagine you absorb water everytime you take a bath or got rained on, think about the myriad of substances that get on the skin by accident or on purpose, what about bacteria and other grimy things that touch us from time to time. Our skin is highly resilient and resistant to external forces.

    With this said, the skin does allow some compounds through based on:

    Continue reading Penetration enhancers

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    Anhydrous body butter formulation challenge

    Image from Google images.

    Hello my lovely readers,

    In order to encourage you to try making your own products, I’m challenging you to a formulation task. This will also get you used to my formulation method. I’m not really a fan of following recipes to the letter so feel free to Continue reading Anhydrous body butter formulation challenge

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    For your pleasure…

    So the other day I found myself in the midst of some crazy friends. They came around as I was in the end stages of formulating a body butter (another post) and they started teasing me about formulating bombs and other random entities. The conversation somehow jumped to formulation of lubricants and before I knew it I got an order from one of them for some

    Continue reading For your pleasure…