Tag Archives: health and wellness

The Benefits Of Charcoal Facial Soap

How Incorporating Activated Charcoal Soap Into Your Daily Skin Cleansing Routine Can Help Fight Acne, Wrinkles And Blemishes

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I’ve always been a huge fan of activated charcoal powder, and I happen to take it in capsule form several times a week for digestive health.

Activated charcoal is created by burning carbon-rich materials such as coconut shells, bamboo, wood, coal or even olive pits—resulting in a very porous version of carbon that can bind to many other elements.

When taken in capsule form, activated charcoal absorbs and traps toxins, gas, and chemicals in your intestines—preventing your body from absorbing them, and instead, eliminating them out of your body when you go to the bathroom. This results in less stinky farts and less bloat. Activated charcoal is truly wonderful!

It’s even been used as a poison antidote since the early 1800s. According to Healthline.com, “studies show that when a single dose of 50–100 grams of activated charcoal is taken within five minutes of drug ingestion, it may reduce drug absorption in adults by up to 74%”.

If activated charcoal can do all that within your body, can you imagine the awesome benefits of applying it to the outside of your body?

Activated Charcoal In Facial Soap

With that said, activated charcoal is an excellent ingredient in facial soap. Similar to its miracle work in your gut, activated charcoal pulls toxins and impurities out of your skin, resulting in cleaner, smaller pores and tighter skin. It has even been known to clear up psoriasis and eczema.

Treats Acne And Blackheads

Activated Charcoal is amazing for acne treatment. In addition to drawing out toxins and impurities that clog pores, activated charcoal calms inflammation, allowing acne to dry up and heal.

Controls Oily Skin

Activated charcoal is great for oily skin and can help keep it under control. Oil clogs pores, resulting in blackheads and other skin issues like acne, so by cleansing your skin with activated charcoal in the morning and evening, you’re helping to maintain healthy pores.

Results In Firmer Skin

Whenever I wash my skin with activated charcoal soap, it feels a lot firmer without feeling dry. That’s because activated charcoal shrinks your pores, resulting in tighter skin. It’s a great addition to your anti-aging regimen.

Treats Beard Dandruff

Activated charcoal soap can be used to treat beard dandruff. Dandruff is often brought on by oily skin and fungal overgrowth, hence, activated charcoal absorbs both of those impurities, resulting in flake-free skin. It’s a great addition to one’s beard grooming routine.

Charcoal Detox Face And Body Bar By Apple Valley Natural Soap

Apple Valley Natural Soap

I get my charcoal facial soap from Apple Valley Natural Soap—a family-owned online store that specializes in handmade soap and shampoo bars. All of their cleansing products are made with natural and organic ingredients, and are always shipped in compostable shipping material. So, I may be a little biased, but I love this particular activated charcoal facial soap and how it leaves my skin feeling cleaner and firmer and each night.

“You’ll love the herbal, minty, licorice scent – and the midnight black coloring is gorgeous” -AVNS

Activated Charcoal And Cracked Black Pepper Exfoliant Bar

Jungle Culture

This unique cold-pressed bar by Jungle Culture is hand made in Vietnam and has an interesting combination of all-natural ingredients. Combined with activated charcoal, black pepper is used to exfoliate dead skin and stimulate blood circulation. This in turn drives more oxygen to your face and leaves you with a healthy, glowing complexion.

“In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, each and every soap bar is handmade using a cold process. The dry ingredients, and then the wet ingredients, are all mixed together over several hours until the blend reaches the perfect consistency. The soap makers pour the mixture into aluminium moulds and line them up on a rack, letting them dry naturally. Even at this stage, where extra heat could speed things along, we prefer to keep it natural. Around six weeks later, the bars are finally ready. They’re hand cut and carefully wrapped in recycled paper” – Jungle Culture

Activated Charcoal Soap For Men By Viking Revolution

Viking Revolution

This activated charcoal soap by Viking Revolution is another awesome activated charcoal soap bar made with all natural and organic ingredients. It’s a masculine looking hockey puck that smells like peppermint and eucalyptus—a clean smell that isn’t too overpowering. It cleans your pores, eliminates beard dandruff and leaves you smelling fresh.

“cleans pores, removes blackheads and tackles acne while cleansing the facial skin, but with no waiting. Just wash your face in the shower and you’re done” -Viking Revolution

Best DIY Mosquito Repellants

Natural DIY Recipes And Hacks To Repel Mosquitos And Take Your Yard Back!

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When you live in the south, you’re plagued with some of the meanest mosquitoes in the country. And these little demons can be extremely active well into the month of December—which is no fun if you’re trying to enjoy the crisp outdoor air with some hot cocoa in the evening.

Aside from being a nuisance, mosquitoes can carry deadly viruses like West Nile, Zika, Malaria and Dengue. Mosquito bites can also spark allergic reactions in both children and adults called Skeeter Syndrome, which is similar in appearance to cellulitis. The bitten area can swell to a concerning size and cause intense itching.

With that said, it’s very important to protect yourself from mosquitoes—whether you’re outside or in your home. I can’t tell you how many times my children have woken up with mosquito bites in the past, because these pesky bugs have somehow made their way into our house. Needless to say, I did a lot of research to find preventable solutions.

Fortunately, there are several ways to deter mosquitoes naturally without having to resort to store bought products (like sprays), which may be effective in repelling these bugs, but aren’t so great for your health because they contain harmful chemicals like DEET, which has unfortunately been linked to neurotoxicity.

Hence, in this article, I’m going to share some natural tips, tricks and DIY recipes with you that will help repel mosquitoes safely, and allow you to enjoy the outdoors—because you shouldn’t have to be bullied by a bug.

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Homemade Mosquito Repellants And Hacks!

Mosquito Repellant #1

Catnip

Catnip—yes, catnip! Catnip happens to be 10 times more powerful than any store bought mosquito solution because it contains nepetalactone, an essential oil that’s more effective than DEET! In short, catnip triggers a pain receptor in mosquitoes and they flee.

Simply place several catnip sachets around your home (especially near entryways and windows) to deter them from entering your home. You can also make catnip tea, pour it into a spray bottle, and unleash this powerful solution anywhere in your home or even on your clothing and camping tent. I spritz catnip tea on my outdoor patio furniture and indoor curtains.

Mosquito Repellant #2

DIY Mosquito Sprays

Catnip Essential Oil For Mosquito Sprays

You can create your own homemade mosquito sprays using Witch Hazel, alcohol, vinegar and essential oils that mosquitoes absolutely hate. I find that even flies steer clear of my patio after I spray a good amount onto myself. Here are a couple of different recipes that you can try out:

Combo #1

1 Cup of witch hazel, 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and 20 drops of lemongrass, tea tree, or cat nip essential oil.

Combo #2

1 cup of isopropyl alcohol, 1 cup of water, 1/2 tsp of catnip essential oil or any other essential oil such as lemongrass, lavender, or tea tree.

Mosquito Repellant #3

Bounce Dryer Sheets

Bounce dryer sheets are a staple mosquito repellant here in Florida. Wether you’re outdoors working on your garden, or out in the woods camping, stick a Bounce dryer sheet or two into your pockets (exposing them a little) and watch how mosquitoes steer clear.

Mosquito Repellant #4

Burn Some Sage & Rosemary

The next time you’re out on the patio BBQing, remember to throw some fresh sage or rosemary onto the coals (or metal grill if using a gas grill) and watch the mosquitoes steer clear of the area.

Mosquito Repellant #5

DIY Anti-Mosquito Lotion

You can create your own mosquito repelling lotion with one simple pantry ingredient and an essential oil. Simply mix the ingredients together in a small bowl and rub onto exposed body parts. This mosquito repellant is an all-natural recipe and can be used on children, but please do a small test area first to make sure that no irritation occurs. For this recipe, you will need:

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 15 drops peppermint, eucalyptus, lavendar, lemongrass or tea tree essential oil

Mosquito Repellant #6

Hang Some Herbs

Hang some herbs around your home and patio in cheese cloths or muslin bags. Flying insects (especially mosquitoes) absolutely hate the smell of basil and will avoid the area. You can hang either fresh basil leaves, or crush some dried ones which will also emit a strong scent. Roaches cannot stand basil as well!

More Interesting Mosquito Prevention Hacks

Avoid Leaving Out Water

Avoid having water sitting around anywhere on your property (pet bowls, birdbaths, etc). Mosquitoes need water in order to reproduce, and even as little as 1 pint is sufficient to nurture as many as five-hundred larvae.

Break Open Some Egg Yolks


If you happen to have a small pond in your yard, you can break open a few egg yolks and let them spread over the surface of the water. This solution suffocates the mosquito larvae and can be repeated every few days.



Stock Your Pond With Mosquito Eating Fish!

You can even stock your pond with mosquito-eating fish called Gambusia Affinis! These mosquito eating fish love to feast on mosquito larvae and are an excellent mosquito prevention source. If you can’t find them in your local fish store, you can surprisingly find a few retailers selling them on Amazon for a reasonable price!

Citronella Plants

Grow some citronella plants in your garden, or in plant pots around your front porch and patio. Mosquitoes despise citronella plants, and will stay away from the area. You can purchase citronella plants at your local nursery, or grow your own from seeds.

Dragonflies

Attract some dragonflies to your property by growing bamboo plants. Dragonflies love to live among bamboo and enjoy feasting on mosquitoes! In fact, they can eat around 100 mosquitoes in as little as 30 minutes!

Septoplasty Recovery Tips

My Septoplasty Experience With Latera Implants


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I have recently undergone Septoplasty surgery to correct a deviated septum. Due to trauma, it had basically shifted into my right nostril at age 13 and obstructed my breathing ever since. Needless to say I was tired of getting adult ear infections and having a difficult time breathing during exercise—particularly running. So I decided to finally correct it.

My primary care doctor referred me to an ENT specialist (ear nose and throat) and when the ENT doc examined me, he noticed a couple more things besides a crooked septum that needed to be taken care of.

In addition to enlarged turbinates that needed to be shrunk, my nasal valve was collapsing every time I sniffed or took a breath through my nose—so I needed an implant on both sides called a Latera implant.

Image source: Latera.com

Latera implants are polymers and get injected on each side of your nose and keep your nose stabilized when you breathe in—allowing you to get a full breath of air. And the cool thing about these implants is that after a year, they get absorbed by your body and create scar tissue that acts on behalf of the implant.

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Day Of Surgery

I arrive at the surgery center a week after my Septoplasty consult and I was pretty nervous. I’ve had quite a few surgeries before but never on my face—especially a delicate part like my nose. I was so nervous that I asked the nurse for a vomit bin and they ended up putting Zofran into my IV to keep me from throwing up.

Basically I had two huge fears while I was waiting on my hospital bed: the first was that I would wake up extremely stuffed up due to blood and the splints that they put up your nose to stabilize it, and therefore choke or suffocate, and the second fear had to do with pain—because let’s face it—even plucking one nose hair makes your eyes water, and in this case, they’d be taking out small chunks of cartilage.

POST SURGERY (Day 1)

After my Septoplasty surgery, I woke up actually being able to breathe through my nose—silicone tubes and all. And I wasn’t in any pain because of the local anesthetic that the doctor injected all throughout my nose—in addition to whatever was going through my IV line. So no worries, you won’t be in any pain at all.

However, when I stood up to get ready to go home, my nose began to drain blood and I instantly felt congested. I definitely had to go full mouth-breather. The nurse showed me how to tape gauze underneath my nose to catch the blood, and told me to begin using saline the next day to keep all the blood from crusting over—which also makes nasal splint removal more difficult later on (they removed mine 4 days later).

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At home I laid down and drifted in and out of sleep from the anesthesia. I used a reusable compress mask that went around my nose and not directly on it—trust me, any pressure on your nose is painful. And the ones that they give you at the hospital are awful because they leak, so I’m glad I preordered my own after reading about this in a facebook Septoplasty Recovery group.

I tried to eat, but my front teeth were sore, so I stuck to liquids and yogurt. I definitely used the pain meds that were prescribed to me when the local anesthetic wore off. I also took a capsule of turmeric/curcumin which is an anti inflammatory supplement known to reduce swelling.

That night was pretty rough. Not due to pain because the medication kept it under control, but because of the congestion. I had to sleep propped up, which wasn’t comfortable, and I kept waking due to dry mouth and a dry throat. I’m also pretty sure I stopped breathing a couple of times while I slept because I would jerk awake gasping for air. I’m pretty sure many people have experienced the same thing while recovering from Septoplasty surgery.

Day 2

I woke up tired and was pretty frustrated throughout the entire day. I wanted my nose to clear out, but that’s not possible. I used my saline nasal spray (very gently), but all that seemed to do was make my nose stuffier (I did that about 3-4 times that day). My nose still bled so I had to continue wearing gauze underneath my nose.

I also caved today and got a humidifier to help me sleep better at night and to keep my mouth and throat less dry. Prior to bed I took my first hot shower since the night prior to my surgery with the shower head turned away and it felt great! I had to have the shower head turned slightly away though.

Day 3

I’m having panick attacks from time to time because i can barely get air in through my tubes and it’s making me feel claustrophobic. Saline solution clears it out for a little while but then it begins to dry and crust over all over again. I tell myself to hang in there as I’m getting my splints out tomorrow.

I also went out today and absolutely had to wear sunglasses because it’s so bright out but, they hurt my nose due to the Latera implants which have become swollen and are poking out through my skin. Luckily, someone online told me about a headband that lifts the glasses off of your nasal bridge and I ordered a pair because I really need to wear my sunglasses when I drive.

Day 4

I went to get my splints removed today and it REALLY hurt. There’s really no subtle way to yank splints out, so having them taken out with force is pretty painful. I can honestly say that I was in more pain having splints taken out than the day I had surgery. The doctor also told me that I will have dissolvable stitches in there for a while, and to not tug on them.

Below are my before and after photos. You can definitely see how bad the septum was and how great of a difference Septoplasty made. It even changed the shape of my nose tip—making it more symmetrical.

Before & After

Even though Septoplasty splint removal was super painful, I was able to take in a huge whiff of fresh air, and it was wonderful.

The only concern were the Latera implants, which were looking too superficial, but the ENT doctor told me to wait it out and see if the swelling goes down. If it doesn’t, and the implants are still poking through, then I will have to go back and have them removed in-office. The removal might create a tiny scar, but makeup does wonders these days.

Day 5

Last night I slept great! My nose still feels tender and slightly congested, but nothing compared to the previous days. I barely have to use my saline solution, and there is only a tiny amount of blood tinged mucus when I blow my nose. It still kind of hurts to blow, but it’s getting much better.

Moving Forward

The next two weeks of Septoplasty recovery, I noticed my nose going back to a normal slim shape. The nostrils aren’t perfectly symmetrical, but it’s a huge improvement aesthetically. My nose also isn’t tender anymore. If my child accidently bumps it with their head I’m not crying in pain—I barely feel it.

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Overall, having Septoplasty surgery was a great decision. I am able to breathe freely without any obstruction and my sense of smell has improved also.

If you’re having Septoplasty surgery, or considering having a Septoplasty, just remember that the first 3 days are the worst, but after the splints are removed, it’s smooth sailing, and you’ll have a life changing new nose.

Below are the items I’ve used to help aid my recovery and to be more comfortable during the healing process—I call it my “recovery tool kit”. Hopefully, these items will help you as well!

My Septoplasty Recovery Toolkit

Reusable Heating/Cooling Pad

MyCare Cooling Pad

Pro-Optics Nose Guard

Pro-Optics

Cool Mist Humidifier

AquaOasis

How To Avoid Shopping Cart Germs With Baby

Do You Know What’s Really Lurking On Your Shopping Cart Handle?

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Let’s have a serious conversation about germs. Not only because of COVID-19, but because even prior to the outbreak, people still got sick from being in contact with unsanitary shopping carts.

When you think about it, we latch onto a shopping cart with a death grip for a good length of time. Sometimes we’re in that grocery store for a good 30-45 minutes—and the entire time, we’re clutching that shopping cart handle like it’s a safety bar on a crazy amusement park ride.

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Meanwhile, our exposed skin is coming into contact with some really nasty stuff. And if you have kids, it becomes even more problematic because kids like to rub their eyes, stick fingers in their mouth and noses, and sometimes even gnaw on the cart handle. It’s enough to give any parent anxiety.

A study conducted by the University of Arizona showed the following bacteria lurking on shopping cart handles:

Courtesy of Foodprotection.org

Why Are Shopping Carts So Dirty?

In a nutshell–they never get cleaned! If you think about it, aside from the handles being swiped with an anti-bacterial wipe from time to time, the rest of the shopping cart frame remains dirtier than a toilet seat. This is due to:

  1. Being used by multiple people throughout the day, everyday for 365 days a year.
  2. Being filled up with groceries consisting of packaged meat that ooze blood.
  3. Being sneezed on.
  4. Transfer of fecal matter from improper hand-washing.
  5. Children drooling and gnawing on the handles

How To Avoid Shopping Cart Germs

Use A Shopping Cart Cover

When I was pregnant with my first-born, one of my baby-shower gifts consisted of a shopping cart cover. I still have that little cover and use it with my second-born child. My daughter is 3 and I still use it. When I return home, I simply throw it into the washing machine and wash it in hot water. Simple.

Lumiere

Sanitize The Handles

This is a no brainer. Whenever I enter the grocery store, I grab a couple of sanitizing wipes (complimentary of the store) and wipe the handle. You should also bring your own supply of anti-bacterial wipes and sanitizer just in case the store runs out.

You can even buy a shopping cart handle cover that can also be used on shopping baskets, like the one below by Shopexzone. It’s incredibly convenient and can be stored in your car or tote bag when not in use.

Clip’N Shop

Don’t Let Your Kids Sit In The Back Of Shopping Carts

I often see a lot of parents allow their children to ride in the back of the shopping cart. And I didn’t think much of it until I read an article about all the bacteria that lurks in that part of the cart.

Packaged meat like pork and poultry products, are often placed into that area, sometimes leaking blood. This exposure leads to Salmonella and Campylobacter infections.

What does all this mean? It means that parents are literally pushing their kids around in a metal biohazard on wheels. To avoid contamination, it’s best to seat your child in the front and have the older ones walk beside you.

Fussy Toddler? Bring A Toy From Home

If you have a child who isn’t a very patient shopper and wants to tug at your shopping cart cover or reach for products in the back of the cart, give her something clean to hold; like a toy or object from home that they have great interest in.

My daughter enjoys holding a pair of my sunglasses or those silicone poppits. Knowing that she’s distracted allows me to concentrate on the items that I need to get. This makes our shopping trip quick and easy.

Wash Hands When You Get Home

When we return home, I have both my children get up on their little step stool and wash their hands with soap and water—myself included. They quite enjoy it. They love lathering and squishing the soap bubbles and it’s become a fun activity.

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