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Antibacterial Agents and Microbeads are OUT! Natural and Healthier are IN!!

Earlier this year President Obama issued a ban on all microbeads (tiny plastics that are used as an exfoliant in cosmetics products) in cosmetic formulations. The US ban is to begin taking effect between the beginning to middle of 2017. Earlier this week, the UK followed suit and issued a similar ban on all microbeads in cosmetics formulas.These little plastic beads were banned in the US and then the UK because of their propensity to end up in marine life and pollute our waters as well as endanger our marine life. Score one for a more natural, healthier way to better skincare! There are more natural, healthier and safer for our environment ingredients that can help to exfoliate our skin and keep it looking healthy! One such product is cornmeal and you will find that in our body polishes. Other great, natural exfoliants are sugar and yes, even coffee!

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Our natural body polish uses cornmeal instead of microbeads for that spa-like feel right in your own home! Our Carib Lime Body Polish was even featured in Essence’s 2016 August issue!

Then earlier this week, the US FDA announced that all companies were to remove antibacterial agents like triclosan, triclocarbon, and 17 other chemicals out of their soaps. There was no science to show that having these agents in the soaps did anything for keeping us safe and “cleaner” than just using plain soap and water. The marketing ploy that many of the larger skincare companies has been under review since 2013 and this week the US FDA finally issued the ban on these chemicals. Some of the science may even show that the prolonged use of these chemical agents may cause detrimental harm to the human body over time. Most harmful bacteria can be simply handled with plain soap and water and the mere nature of how handmade, cold processed soaps, and other similarly made soaps makes it very difficult for most of the bacteria to survive once they come into contact with a natural, handmade bar of soap and water. At itiba, we manufacture and create a healthier, safer, more natural soap that does NOT contain any of the 19 dangerous chemicals that the US FDA has recently banned.

danish soaps itiba

Our cold processed, naturally handmade soaps uses only the best natural and unrefined vegetable oils and butters to provide you with a clean, antibacterial agent free soap which is perfect for both face and body, and even hair!

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Summer Time Fine with itiba Beauty

0131_073A0383Summer time is finally here and itiba has everything you need to maintain flawless, glowing skin in the season’s heat and be summer time fine! One of the biggest concerns for many during this steamy season is the appearance of dry skin. Being outside in the blazing sun for hours on end at the beach, in the park or doing other outdoor activities exposes the skin to the harsh elements of the sun. This can cause the skin to develop fine lines and wrinkles while appearing dehydrated, peeled, irritated and inflamed. Couple that with harsh soaps plus extra long baths & showers and you’ve got yourself a recipe for dull, dry skin. How can you avoid the appearance and annoyance that comes along with dry skin? Here are itiba’s four ways to protect and care for your skin from head to toe this summer and keep you summer time fine!

 

  1. Water Does The Body Good

When the summertime heat turns up, our bodies can become dehydrated very quickly. Who can remember to drink water throughout the day when we’re busy lounging on the beach drinking boozy beverages and sugary drinks? However, it’s important to drink plenty of water when the weather is a scorcher to ensure your skin remains hydrated and your energy levels stay high. Give your recommended 64 ounces a fun twist by infusing it with fruits and herbs like strawberries, lemon, mint, lime and cucumbers.

 

  1. Twice is Nice

Washing your face too often is another common cause for dry skin. During the summer, our bodies produce more sweat due to the increase in temperature, causing many to take more showers and wash our faces to rid ourselves of that sticky, yucky feeling that comes with 90+ degree temperatures. Wash your face only twice a day to prevent excessive drying of the skin. itiba’s Midnite Rain Body Soap is the ideal product for facial cleansing due to its detoxification capabilities. For oily and acne-prone skin, our Carib Lime Body Soap will cleanse and clear the skin without stripping it of oils.

 

  1. Cool as a Cucumber

Change up your long, hot shower routine this summer and take a 5-10 minute cool (not cold) shower instead. Hot water strips oils from the skin and the longer the shower, there’s a greater chance that your skin will lose its moisture, becoming dried out and dehydrated. Sooth and nourish dry skin with our Papaya Body Polish! Made with smoothly blended cornmeal, unrefined Shea Butter and natural oils, the luscious scent of papaya nectar will whisk your senses away to a tropical paradise while it gently exfoliates and moisturizes without drying your skin like many sugar and salt scrubs do.

 

  1. Minutes to Moisturize

Time is of the essence when it comes to moisturizing your skin. Be sure to moisturize within 3-5 minutes of taking a shower or washing your face and hands to lock in the skin’s moisture. Always pat your skin dry with a towel after washing your body, face or hands to ensure skin remains damp prior to moisturizer application. For instant relief of dry, patchy and irritated skin, get your hands on our Tranquil Sea Body Butter. Like all of our body butters, its non-greasy formula absorbs quickly into the skin while deeply conditioning and moisturizing.

 

Get your summertime fine by implementing these small changes in your routine. They will make all the difference in the quality and texture of your skin this summer, even all year round! For products rooted in Mother Earth from the teachings of our Caribbean ancestors, use itiba’s skincare line of lotions, soaps, body butters, polishes and more. Made with the natural ingredients of plant oils and butters plus no synthetic detergents or harsh chemicals, each itiba product is carefully and thoughtfully handcrafted in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Discover a new skin care with itiba, a natural skin care company, at www.itibabeauty.com!

Summer is coming…exfoliation made simple.

As part of a project that I have been working on for some months now, where I have experts in their respective fields speak to you about skin care, we are continuing our discussion on exfoliation and today I am so honored to have weighing on the subject one of our own family members, Aisha Massac, owner of Mankind Grooming For Men. She is also a Licensed Estheticians & Professional Makeup Artist based in Washington, DC. So sit back and enjoy the read on exfoliation 🙂 and Thank you Aisha Massac!

Exfoliation made simple

 

What is exfoliation? Exfoliation is the removal of surface dead skin cells, with the ultimate goal being to clear debris and free the retired cells to allow for better absorption, circulation, and brighten dull skin by promoting skin renewal. 

 

These dead skin cells, left on the surface, slow down healthy cell renewal, increase the depth of wrinkles and create a dull, sluggish appearance. The more you effectively exfoliate, the younger the skin looks and the better your skin care products can penetrate the skin.

 

However, too much exfoliation can cause redness and skin sensitivity. You should exfoliate no more than three days per week, as to not cause irritation or sensitive skin. If you already have sensitive skin as well as skin that easily hyperpigments, I would not recommend exfoliating since it can make your skin more sensitive and hurt your skin barrier. If you just HAVE to exfoliate (even outside of my recommendation), use an emollient based exfoliant and ONLY once a week; a light AHA would be a great option being that it’s moisturizing. A great option would be Dr. Perricone’s Advanced Face Firming Activator.

There are two types of exfoliation methods:

PHYSICAL

The most common form of exfoliation is physical exfoliation, which is mechanically removing superficial layers of the skin. This can be done with a face loofah, brush, washcloth, or with exfoliating cleansers. Mechanical exfoliators that utilize abrasive agents with sharp edges actually scrape and cut the skin. Abrasive agents such as apricot seeds (St. Ives being the most popular), granulated peach kernels, corn cob, silica, walnut shells and sugar instituted a major following in the ‘80s, followed by brushes, sponges, and loofahs. These all resulted in pulled, torn, stretched, abraded and traumatized skin that was covered with microlesions. Microlesions can lead to bacterial invasion, further leading to acne and/or wrinkles. Better options for physical or mechanical exfoliation are the Clarisonic skin brush and/or home microdermabrasion device (using aluminum oxide crystals). The Clarisonic has different skin brushes for different types of skin (Acne, Sensitive, Normal), and it allows you to adjust intensity for light or deep cleansing, and to avoid irritation. Other than the clarisonic, a mild exfoliating scrub is a great way to go to get a refreshed and clean look to the skin. An option for a more mild mechanical exfoliant would be almond meal, corn meal, or even baking soda, which can be added to your cleanser.

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A gentle and mild exfoliant, like corn meal, can be found in itiba’s body polishes. Great for getting your skin ready for summer!

  A professional mechanical exfoliant favorite of mine is the Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant, which uses a rice-based enzyme powder, that when mixed with water, activates the papain and salicylic acid. 

CHEMICAL

Chemical exfoliation, in essence, dissolves the “glue” that binds the dead skin cells together. Chemical exfoliation involves applying products containing a form of alpha hydroxy acid and/or beta hydroxy acid that dissolve this “glue” around the skin cells, hastening the shedding of several layers of the epidermis. Estheticians throughout the world have long preferred enzymes for exfoliation such as pineapple, papaya and pumpkin, typically found in a mask form, to exfoliate the skin. These enzymes are natural forms of AHAs. My favorite type of chemical exfoliation is enzyme exfoliating products over the AHA’s and BHA’s. I absolutely love June Jacobs Perfect Pumpkin Peeling Enzyme Masque. I also love Jan Marini’s SkinZyme Papaya Mask. Other popular chemical exfoliation methods, found in the skincare world are retinoids. Retinoids are in the same family of Vitamin A and is used to treat some forms of acne, aging, and even psoriasis. Although retinoids can cause flaking, they don’t typically cause dryness – this flaking is the sloughing off of dead cells. Retinoids are also known to cause irritation or sensitivity and must at all times be used with caution in sunlight. *Note: look for retinoids that are encapsulated.Regular use of alpha- or beta- hydroxy products or clay-based masks is of utmost importance to help reduce breakouts and remove dead skin buildup that could clog pores. These are among the most effective exfoliating ingredients. Because AHAs are water-soluble, they can penetrate deeper into the skin’s surface to lift the dead cells. However, caution must be given as they may irritate sensitive skin if used in too high a concentration. On the other hand, BHA (or salicylic acid) is fat-soluble, and doesn’t penetrate below the epidermis. 

**Note: If you have sensitive skin or a skin condition, such as rosacea, eczema, seborrhea, or dermatitis, you may want to consult your doctor or dermatologist to find the most effective exfoliating method for your skin type.

**Note: Do NOT use products that contain more than one of the above in one product

To exfoliate: 

1. Wash your face

2. Take medium to large amount of exfoliant (about the size of a dime to a nickel) and gently apply to damp skin. 

3. Massage the exfoliant over your skin. Never press into your skin – you are not sanding wood! Avoid your eye area, as this is a delicate area.

4. Use a washcloth or damp cloth to wipe clean with warm water

5. Apply your moisturizers and serums. 

 

Written By: Aisha Massac, Licensed Esthetician & Professional Makeup Artist based in Washington, DC

Summer. Zika. Skin. pt. 2

 

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The Carib Lime line of products contain Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil as well as Geranium, Lemongrass, Lime and other citruses and essential oils that have been shown to be effective natural insect deterrents.

Is there ONE essential oil that will keep away the sting of the dreaded mosquito? The short answer is no. But using a combination of essential oils that have been shown historically through time to be effective deterrents will definitely help in keeping you safe from the bite and possible exposure to harmful mosquito born illnesses like Zika, Dengue and others.

While DEET is the best known synthetic applicant for mosquito repellents and one which is still recommended by the CDC for use in protecting from mosquito bites, the prolonged use of it can be dangerous as it accumulates in the body. The jury is still out on its long term use and safety to the human body, but there are other natural deterrents that if used correctly, can be as effective at being a deterrent for the dreaded mosquito. Recent studies have shown where the oil of Lemon Eucalyptus has been extremely effective in keeping the mosquitoes at bay. Will it outright prevent a mosquito bite, not alone, but combined with other essential oils that have historical uses for deterring mosquito bites, Lemon Eucalyptus essential oil becomes extremely effective.

“One of the earliest studies on eucalyptus essential oil as an insect repellant was in 1996. The study was conducted in Bolivia and showed that a eucalyptus-based insect repellant was able to protect the skin from Anopheles mosquito bites from 6 to 7.75 hours. The females of the genus Anopheles is responsible transmitting malaria. [2]

A study published in 2012 focused on Aedes egypti, the kind of mosquito that is responsible for dengue fever. Dengue fever is characterized by sudden onset of fever, joint pain, and in worst cases, massive bleeding. Essential oils from a variety of eucalyptus plants were found to have fumigant and adulticidal and larvicidal characteristics. [3]

The primary ingredient in most commercial insect repellants is DEET, which stands for diethlytoluamide.
DEET remains the standard by which all other repellents are judged and products range in strength from 10% to 100%, though over 50% concentration should not be used on skin. [4]

A 2002 study compared eucalyptus with DEET and the Eucalyptus scored 96.89 percent effectiveness, compared to DEET’s 84.81 percent against Anopheles (Malaria carrying) mosquitoes.[5] Similarly, a more recent 2014 study revealed how lemon eucalyptus oil is as effective as DEET, greater than with a 32% solution of Lemon Eucalyptus Oil scoring 95 percent effectiveness – compared to a 40% solution of DEET’s 100 percent. [6]

Another mosquito-borne disease is Filariasis, which is caused by Culex mosquitoes. Filariasis causes blockages in the body’s lymphatic system, leading to the enlargement of different body parts. The results of a June 2014 study concluded that the nanoemulsification of eucalyptus oil has larvicidal activity against the Culex genus.” [7] http://www.herbs-info.com/blog/study-finds-lemon-eucalyptus-essential-oil-is-better-mosquito-repellent-than-deet/

My suggestion in searching or even in creating a natural, safer alternative to the synthetics out there to deter mosquito bites are to look for products that contain most of, if not all of the following essential oils you will find in this link from American College of Healthcare Sciences. Creating your own natural insect deterrent can be fun and have wonderful results. And you can feel confident in knowing that you are protecting yourself and loved ones by using something that is good for you and the environment.

 

How To Use Essential Oils To Keep Mosquitoes Away

http://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/cdc-confirms-lemon-eucalyptus-oil-as-effective-as-deet.html

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2016/the-pre-travel-consultation/protection-against-mosquitoes-ticks-other-arthropods

 

Green Papaya and you ;-)

Did you know that Papaya, green Papaya that is, is great for the skin?

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Organically grown papaya just picked

Papaya (carica papaya) is a wonderful fruit that is great when ripe as a sweet treat or green to be used in stews. But the papaya is a wonderful fruit that has many beneficial properties. The papain in papaya is found in its highest concentrations when the fruit is green. Here is where the wonders of the fruit abound! The papain found in papaya has many attributes for skin care such as a treatment for ringworms, psoriasis, used as a poultice to help aid with wounds, burns and stings. The papain is also a great at helping to exfoliate the skin.

So it is with this in mind that I often go back to nature to find other ways of creating great skin care products. I decided to revive a very popular product, Island Cream and do a 2016 version. Of course, the main ingredient in this particular product is the green papaya juice. This product is great for helping to exfoliate the skin and smoothing rough, dry patches found on the elbows and heels.

What is papain? “Papain is an enzyme that is found in green papaya (papaya that is not quite ripe). It has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years because of its many health benefits which include treating wounds and cuts, stings and burns and internal illnesses.” Read More Papaya is not one of my favorite fruits to eat, but for skincare, it is a powerhouse. I respect it as much as I respect Turmeric for skincare and overall holistic care. So it was with that that I began using the juice from the Green Papaya in rich, decadent butters and creams for myself and my customers. A few days ago I decided to take another look at a recipe I had created and made many, many years ago. You can see how I juiced the papaya on my Instagram (@itibabeauty) page by clicking here.

At the end of the pictorial tutorial on “How to Juice a Green Papaya” you see the end result was the whipped body butter. This product, or any product made with Papaya enzymes, is a great way to slough away hard to remove, dry skin. And it leaves you feeling so smooth! I am still refining the recipe and considering a re-launch of a new and improved version of this cream.

Hair, ACV and Mud! A New start for 2012.

I have been on a natural hair care journey for the better part of 15 years. And funny, I always wondered why my hair always seemed to be suffering so much. I tortured it for years with harsh chemicals trying to tame it and make it easier to control and then decided, one day after some real neglect, that I would wear my natural hair. Well, after doing that, I think I have finally gotten my hair to at least feel something close to healthy. And I am enjoying it now! 🙂 Late last year I discovered hair masks. That is not to say I have not heard of them before, but I frequently wore my hair in locs and just never thought I could use one. Last year, while my hair was still in the locs I tried my first hair mask and LOVED IT!  Now, one thing I will have to say before i go on is that I LOVE to change things up and will frequently cut my hair to suit a mood. I have worn my hair in cornrows, an afro and locs over the past 15 years. And for 2012 I decided to go back to an afro. We will see how long this lasts, but so long as my hair continues to feel this silky soft, I guess the natural afro will be the style for a while 🙂 Anyway, back to the mask. I tried the mask with locs (something I recommend if  you want to start to revitalize your locs) and I LOVED how my hair looked afterwards. Of course, it being locs there was more detail to washing to make sure that I got out all of the product I had just made, but still, my hair actually LOOKED ALIVE!

So now 2012 has rolled around, the locs are gone and I am nurturing an afro 😉 My hair was feeling neglected again so I continued with the monthly ritual of deep cleansing my hair and daily moisturizing and sealing. But for the purposes of this blog, I will focus on my deep cleansing routine. I had read up on ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) and Rhassoul or Moroccan Red Clay and their great benefits for the hair. Since I know was daily moisturizing my hair, build up would begin to occur and I needed to make sure that I did not begin to stress my hair so a monthly detox and cleanse for my hair and scalp is needed. So, to help my scalp along, I am doing a little detox! But first to remove the monthly residual and assist with the natural pH of the hair. One part ACV to three parts water. This is great and you can see immediately all the residual on the hair as it will turn milky white. Prepare this in a plastic bottle with a spout tip, easier to work into the hair this way. I applied directly to my hair and scalp, making sure that I massaged the scalp with the ACV/Water mix. I left this mix on for about 5-10 minutes to let it really help with clarifying my hair.  That will help to start the clarifying process and remove any and all build up on the hair. I should have rinsed out from my hair, but decided to leave on and added the hair mask. (If you are doing this I do recommend rinsing out before following with the hair mask).

This particular blend consists of Activated Charcoal, Henna, and Moroccan Red Clay. Mixed in the mask are Lavender Essential Oil, Rosemary Essetial Oil, Peppermint Essential Oil, Clary Sage Essential Oil, and Clove Essential Oil. I combined all and mixed with warm water and Baobab Oil. Olive oil is a good hair oil, VCO (Virgin Coconut Oil) is also another one I recommend. Use enough of the oil and water combination until it is a thick paste. Cover and let sit for about 10 minutes. After all this I put the mixture in my hair and cover with a plastic cap and left on for about 20 minutes. Rinsing this particular blend out is very important. And it is very important that you use a good clarifying shampoo. Or, any shampoo with SLS or that is sulfate based to make sure that  you get out ALL of the particles that will be there as a result of the henna. Usually I don’t use henna, but since I wanted to cover some greys and henna is a GREAT conditioning agent for the hair, I added it to the mask.  I shampooed until all the mud and particles are out of my hair. Until the water runs clean. My hair feels EXTREMELY clean at this point. Literally squeaky clean…and dry. This will happen once you have done the ACV/Water mix AND the clay mixture. That is why this next step is so important in taking care of the hair…CONDITION AND MOISTURIZE!

This next step is very important, you MUST deep condition your hair. So after a thorough shampoo and rinse, I condition my hair. Rinse this out and use a deep conditioner. I cover my hair with a clean plastic shower cap and left on for about 20-30 minutes. If you want to speed up this process you can sit under a hair dryer for about 10 minutes. Again, rinse until water runs clean. I make sure I dry out my hair and then I add a light moisturizer to my hair. This is important because the hair will be dry and the only way for the hair to feel and look lustrous is to make sure the hair is always moisturized. I moisturize my scalp and hair and then use a nice light oil to help seal in the hydration I just did. I made my own hair oil, a simple one of coconut and avocado oil with a touch of lavender essential oil. You can use whatever oil you want, preferably one containing coconut oil (VCO if possible) olive, essential oil Rosemary, essential oil of Lavender, or essential oil of Clove.

Lavender Flowers and oil.

I can honestly say that I have noticed a HUGE difference in the feel and even appearance of my hair since I started to treat it differently now. My hair is softer and more manageable. Definitely less stressed! Of course, drinking water helps with keeping the softness of my hair there, but also moisturizing and sealing my hair helps also. I chose the following essential oils because of their wonderful properties for hair, and I love the fragrance they leave. Lavender and Rosemary essential oils make great hair tonics. Also, both Lavender and Rosemary essential oils combined make great headaches relievers. Lavender essential oil aids in the stimulation of the hair follicles which aids in growth. Rosemary essential oil helps also with stimulation and circulation of the scalp and overall hair growth. A mix of Rosemary essential oil along with Tea Tree oil and Basil helps with most scalp problems and dandruff.

A Green Treatment for Acne

There are few ingredients, tropical at least, that work wonders for the skin and keeping the face clear as Lime (citrus aurantifolia) and Lemongrass (cymbopogon citratus). If you are from the Caribbean, then you already know about the wonderful, healing properties of both of these magnificent plants. Both are used when treating colds, coughs and the flu. In the Caribbean, limes are combined with honey and taken when you have a phlegmy cough. Lemongrass is taken as a tea and drank when one is suffering from fever (hence being locally called Fever Grass) or as a refreshing hot beverage in the morning. But also, for those in the know, both Lemongrass and Limes are also used as astringents and facial rinses to help regulate and control the oil production on the face and to keep acne and pimples at bay.

 

Limes contain as much as 13 mg of vitamin C per 1.5 ounce of juice. That is 22% of the US FDA RV(Recommended Values). This highly concentrated form of Vitamin C is an important nutrient that is needed for the formation of collagen. Collagen is necessary in the repair and formation of skin tissue. Vitamin C also protects our cells from oxidative tissue damage that is caused by the free radicals and environmental toxins that we encounter daily. Limes contain both flavonoids and Vitamin C, which are both antioxidants, as well as exfoliating and detoxification agents that work together to slough the dead skin cells, rid impurities from the pores and assists in promoting new growth of the skin. Like Lemongrass, Lime is recommended for its astringent qualities which aids in the removal of excess oil from the skin. One component of Lime juice, citric acid, is what helps this very juicy fruit to act as a natural exfoliant peel for the skin. This is what makes Lime juice an excellent ingredient in the fight with acne.

 

Lemongrass is a wonderful medicinal herbal that is anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and fungicidal. It is also a great astringent. Lemongrass helps to shrink the pores of the skin as firm the skin. When used in combination with lime juice, lemongrass is very effective as a natural topical application for acne. Lemongrass contains small amounts of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Both vitamins are also antioxidants and great for skin care, especially for the face. Lemongrass also contains essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5), pyridoxine (Vitamin B6) and thiamin (Vitamin B1).

 

 

 

 

Here is a refreshing mix for you to use as part of your facial daily care.

 

1 small lime

8 oz of lemongrass tisane

 

It is that simple. Simply squeeze the juice from one whole small lime into 8 oz of Lemongrass tisane and use this as a rinse for your skin. The Lemongrass tisane can be made by simply placing the herb in a container with 8 oz of hot water. The amount of herb you choose is up to you. Strain after 15 minutes and let cool before you use. Can be used in the morning after waking and again at the end of the day to help clean and refresh the face.

Another option is to take a small lime, squeeze it into a cup of tepid water, and use that juice to wash the face. Again, this is a very great astringent for the face. Use it in the morning after waking and you can use it at the end of the day to help remove the dead skin cells and help in the removal of dirt and grease that has accumulated over the course of the day. And as always, remember to lightly moisturize when you are finished to help maintain the elasticity of the skin. Follow up with avocado oil (which helps to maintain and improve skin elasticity), rice bran oil or even olive or coconut oil. Your favorite facial moisturizer will be great also.

 

For more information and interesting tips, please join our FaceBook community at http://www.facebook.com/itibabeauty and become a part of the family. Please post your comments and questions either here or on the FaceBook page.

 

The information contained in this blog is purely for informational purposes and not meant to treat, diagnose or correct any medical condition. The FDA has not evaluated the information contained herein. Please make sure that if there are any problems, that  you consult a licensed medical physician or naturopath for your medical needs.

What is an itiba woman?

The itiba woman is a natural woman, a caring woman. Not necessarily a mother in the literal sense, but nurturing to herself and to others. Her beauty is apparent not because of her features, but because she just radiates beauty with her smile, her actions. She is sexy and sensual.  An itiba woman is a strong, intelligent woman. An itiba woman is confident in her skin, yet versatile to wear any skin she finds ;-).

An itiba woman is A NATURAL BEAUTY (as we all are, thank you Etta-Lee)! An itiba woman is each and every one of us who welcomes the joys of being a woman and welcomes the challenges because we know we can turn them into triumphs! An itiba woman is

Strong

Graceful

Beauty

Fierce

Loyal

Intelligent

Loving

Sensual

Nurturing

Versatile

Powerful

She radiates

Light

Love

Peace

Beauty

Strength

An itiba woman is in each and everyone of us. When we look in the mirror she smiles back at us and tells us we can do it. She loves being a woman and enjoys her strengths and weaknesses. She knows how to turn those weaknesses into strengths!

She is you and she is me.

She is…Nature. She is…Earth. She is…Beauty!

Honey…have some honey :-)

honey stock photo

“Honey is made up from fructose, glucose, water and other sugars. It also contains many enzymes, vitamins, minerals and amino acids that your body needs. Honey contains many antioxidants that are used by the body to eliminate free radicals – molecules which zip around in healthy cells and have the potential to damage them. Honey therefore makes a good alternative to sugar in food and drink. Care must be taken though, as honey does contain lots of sugars and it must be eaten in moderation. Sugars should not generally represent more than 10 percent of your total calorie intake.” (www.bupa.co.uk)

We are lucky to have here on island (St. Croix, US Virgin Islands) a rich and abundant supply of honey made from our local flowers, fruit trees and plants. Honey has been used since ancient times for everything from food to healing. And the best type of honey to consume or use is the honey that is harvested from where you live around your community. There have been stories of honey being used to heal wounds and infections that modern antibiotics could not heal. For the most part, if there is a moist wound, or a malodorous wound that is not healing, then chances are applying some unfiltered, un-heated honey will help to heal that wound.

When honey comes into contact with the skin it makes hydrogen peroxide. Glucose oxidase, introduced by the bees, is the enzyme that helps to produce this reaction of honey and the skin. This is the main antibacterial agent within honey that helps with its miraculous wound healing property. Because it is high in sugars and very acidic, as well as being low in proteins, it does not allow for contaminants to grow within the honey and also helps with its antibacterial properties.

“It is a common observation in medical journal reports that numerous benefits result from using honey to dress wounds:

* The viscosity of honey provides a protective barrier to prevent wounds becoming infected.
* Honey creates a moist healing environment that allows skin cells to regrow across a healing wound flush with the surface of the wound, preventing deformity of the skin. (If a dry scab forms on a wound, the skin cells can only grow across the wound deeper down where it is moist.)
* Honey causes scabs and dead cells to lift off the surface of the wound, leaving a clean healthy wound bed in which regrowth of tissue can occur.
* Honey stimulates the regrowth of tissue involved in the healing process. It stimulates the formation of new blood capillaries and the growth of fibroblasts that replace the connective tissue of the deeper layer of the skin and produce the collagen fibers that give strength to the repair. In addition, honey stimulates the growth of epithelial cells that form the new skin cover over a healed wound. Honey thus prevents scarring and keloid formation, and removes the need for skin grafting even with quite large wounds.
* Honey does not stick to the underlying wound tissues, so there is no tearing away of newly formed tissue, and no pain, when dressings are changed.
* Honey has an anti-inflammatory action, which reduces the swelling around a wound. This improves circulation and thus hastens the healing process. It also reduces pain. The amount of fluid exuding from wounds is also decreased by the anti-inflammatory action.
* The high sugar content of honey draws lymph out of a wound, which lifts dirt out of the wound bed.
* Honey prevents the odor that is commonly associated with serious wounds and skin ulcers, by clearing bacterial infection, and more immediately, by providing sugar to any bacteria present. In this environment, lactic acid is produced instead of the smelly byproducts of the degradation of protein.
* Honey rapidly clears infection from wounds. It is fully effective even with antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Unlike antiseptics and antibiotics, there is no impairment of the healing process through adverse effects on wound tissues. ” (www.sdearthtimes.com)

Locally, we have used honey when we have sore throats or a cough that is irritating, or even when we have a bit of a chest congestion. Your mother would have told you to go get a lime from the tree and mix it with some honey. The Vitamin C in the lime blended with the soothing, coating honey made us all feel a little better, plus it tasted good so we didn’t mind taking our medicine so much 🙂

There are so many wonderful uses for honey both internally and externally and this is one topic that we will be visiting more than once as we explore honey.

Resources:
http://www.honeyo.com/honeyhealing.shtml
http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/minerals/health-benefits-of-minerals.html
http://www.honeyassociation.com/healthbe.htm
http://www.bupa.co.uk/health_information/asp/healthy_living/lifestyle/diet/honey/
http://www.sdearthtimes.com/et0100/et0100s17.html

Scent soothes the savage beast…

They say that music soothes the savage beast. Well…I beg to differ. I think it is scent! Fragrance. Our nose! I mean, of course music helps, but I think scent does a way better job at it than music.

I am sitting here listening to Luther Vandross croon away, but what has really gotten my attention and beginning to help me unwind and not go completely crazy as I hear my young ones beginning another argument in the background, is…a scent. I sit here and I am trying to identify the sharp, somewhat woodsy fragrance that my nose has sniffed out. I can make the out the cool, calming aroma of Lavandin. The heady fragrance of Ylang Ylang transporting me to Carambola and then reminding me of a walk where I smelled this sultry fragrance on the wind. That memory experience coupled with the soothe, sweet voice of Donnell Jones is quickly making me forget the fact that I have to quiet another argument between a seven year old and a ten year old. They will work it out. It was a discussion over a television show that is quickly forgotten.

My mind drifts back to the fragrance that I am struggling to identify, and as the R&B plays in the background, another memory experience overcomes my senses and I am transported back to a rough and winding road in the Rain Forest. The trees are so green, it is late afternoon and the cool breeze is gently caressing my face. I look to my right and I am enjoying a quiet excursion with my late husband. He is showing me bird pepper and is quickly telling me in Spanish to stop the car so he can go and pick some!

“Mai! I going to make a pepper sauce with this!” He says his eyes bright with discovery and already tasting the heat the pepper is promising him. “Why you like to go and damage yourself like that for?” I question, because I know he is just going to be crying when he tastes the pepper and it does just that, burn his mouth so badly that he swears NEVER “NUNCA” to eat the pepper sauce again! Of course that lasts all of five minutes and he is back at the bottle again! Wonderful memories that fragrance has forever trapped in the deepest recesses of my mind. All it will take is just a slight whiff of a certain fragrance and all the memories come flooding back.

Good times. Another aroma has just crossed my path. And now there is a new scent I am trying to identify. One was definitely a floral fragrance of some sort. This one smells like a mix of fruit and green. Another flash of memory. I am nine and running in the yard playing with my younger sisters. The gooseberry tree is calling to us and we clamor and race to be the first ones to the top of that very shaky tree! It is amazing the risks you take as a child. Thinking back now I wonder how I never fell from the top of that tree! At least 12 feet high and the higher you went the thinner and more fragile the tree was. But that didn’t stop me nor my sisters from racing, climbing, scraping our knees as we raced to the top to eat the ripe gooseberries. The most sour…tart…DELICIOUS fruit you have ever tasted. We are already arguing who is going to make the gooseberry stew. “Me!” I yell, “No, I going to make it!” yells my younger sister. And my other sister says “I have ALL the big ones so I will make it!” That wonderful fragrance of tree sap and gooseberry juice. Memories of a time when life was truly good and you had not one care in the world.

Sitting here listening to the music helps to calm the body and begin to put me in a relaxing state, but it is the fragrance that transports my mind to another time. Vetiver! That is what I am smelling. And immediately another fragrance memory comes to the forefront. Again, to a more personal, private time with my husband. Remembering his face, his voice, his strength. His love was what so amazed me. And now it is what helps to give me strength to carry on while he watches from the heavens. The Haitian Vetiver is such a seductive, alluring, almost mystical scent. Peaceful. Strong. Beautiful. Full of life, promise…love. The fragrance memories move closer to the present as the pain of loosing him emerges. Reminding me of the dark time, but there was still the presence of him there…although never to be touched again by him…there all the same. The Haitian Vetiver always reminds me that though we are strong creatures meant to do many unbelievable things…we are also very fragile and we must remember to always hold close and treasure the moments that bring us joy.

Ylang Ylang. That exotic fragrance always reminds me of adventure. Of a promise of something just around the corner. It reminds me of life! Of love! Of my children, who are my strength. Of the promise of new love…which I have now. Lavender. Calming. Relaxing. The smells of Mango always brings back the memories of youth, of adventure, of mystery and daring. Each fragrance forever locked in its own special place deep within me. Sometimes…when I least expect it…a scent will just transport me to a time gone by and I can see all that was and what will be. The music helps, I will give it that. But for me…it is scent that soothes the savage beast.