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!
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.
Summer 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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:
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.
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 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
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
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. 
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. 
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. 
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. 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. 
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.”  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.
One thing I learned while being in NYC last week was that the cold is NOT friendly, So I made a daily regimen of using a serum as soon as I got out the shower followed by one of the butters. It kept my skin from feeling dry and itchy and helped with the freezing weather my skin was experiencing for the first time.
I figured that once back home my skin would “fall back in line”. No such thing. The extreme change in weather and temperature actually caused my skin to behave badly. This was the first time I had experienced wind that actually burned my skin 😥 and now I have wind-burned skin. So now my next step in taking care of my skin is incorporating an exfoliant in the mix. So what I did first of all was reach for my coffee polish and that became part of a quick four day regimen to get my skin back in line and fast! So for two days I used the coffee polish just before the shower. Bathed as I normally do and started with using the serum on still wet skin. Pat dry or air dry and then followed with a lotion (it is just too hot right now to use butter on my skin). Then on the third day I switched to one of my cornmeal polishes; still continued with the serum and lotion application after the shower. I am so relieved to say that my skin has finally decided to “fall back in line” and the burned portions of my skin have gone.
It is so important to make sure that a regular routine of exfoliating is part of your daily skin care regime. Whether during the summer or during the winter. You need to make sure your skin has all that it needs to stay healthy and beautiful even when the worst weather comes…or you have to go to it 😉
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
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!
That is the question 🙂 I recently responded to a piece about exfoliation and thought “Everything is about the latest abrasive or peel or something. What about a simple brushing?” I do Dry Brushing as often as I can and I love how my skin feels afterwards. It is simple and a nice alternative to using the butters or oils with an abrasive. I am not saying those aren’t great ways to exfoliate but sometimes you just don’t feel like having oil on you.
Everyone is talking about the latest, greatest fad in beauty or the latest greatest technology, but sometimes it is the very simple thing that can make a big difference in the appearance of your skin and ultimately in how you feel. Dry Brushing is a simple technique that anyone can use to help with exfoliation of the skin and to make your skin glow and feel smooth. It also invigorates the body and helps with blood circulation to the skin. The best thing about it is that it can be done, of course, without oils and with the right brush, even on the face. You can do this every day if you wish or as little as once a week!
The best type of brush to use is a natural bristle brush. One made with boar’s hair or even agave fibers is ideal in doing a great dry brushing. The best time to do one is right before you take your shower or bath. This way, all the dead skin cells that you have released on your body will easily be washed away in the shower. It is very simple to dry brush. First, you get your brush. You can find these in most holistic, health stores, natural skin care stores. You begin dry brushing from the extremities inwards towards the chest/heart. This way it follows the natural flow of blood and also helps with lymph circulation. Starting from the left finger tip, you take the brush and with brisk, circular motions, begin brushing until you reach your shoulder and onwards towards your chest. Repeat for the right arm. Do the same with your feet. With brisk, circular motions, work your way up from your left foot up towards your waist. Repeat with the right foot. Now start at your stomach and again with brisk, circular motions, work your way upwards toward your chest. With a long handled brush you should be able to do your back. A good and effective Dry Brush will take about 15 minutes to complete. When you are finished, step into your waiting bath (best to relax with a nice warm bath filled with your favorite salt, tea, milk or oil) or shower. When Dry Brushing your face, you still want to do circular motions, but not with as much force as you did your body. The skin on the face is much more delicate.
This is the best way to exfoliate without using oils, salts or other abrasive particles. Your skin is exfoliated, your skin glows and you feel rejuvenated and refreshed right after.
Summer has arrived! School is out, the sun is shining and the wonderful azure blue waters of the Caribbean Sea are glistening and inviting you to just come and sit for a while. The laughter of the children can be heard and the fragrant essences of the FrangiPani, Roses and Jasmine ignites wonderful memories of easier times in your mind. But the one thing that has been on your mind for more than seven months now is the mangoes that you see ripening on the tree! That sweet, succulent fruit that you know is the true nectar of the gods!
Yellow, gold, juicy, sweet, dripping with heavenly goodness and making you feel like you were a child again, climbing the trees to get the largest, sweetest mango on the tree before your friends could get to it. Or waiting and watching and plotting how you will pick that red orange fruit before the birds or iguanas got to it. Getting your crocus bag and making your way either on foot or with a bike to the Rain Forest to climb the multitude of trees just waiting for you to get its sweet, goodness with the true Caribbean delicacy…Mango!
There are so many varieties and flavors of mango and they each differ from island to island. I remember as a child going to Jamaica with my mother. As a little girl I would eat and eat and eat mangoes until I couldn’t any more. And I thought that St. Croix had the juiciest and sweetest and largest mangoes…but I was so very wrong. Jamaica. What an island. I think I was there about four days already and we had gone by a relatives home (this was many moons ago). But I remember saying to myself I want to go home. And then…I saw it…a mango that to this little eight year old child was the size of my head! Mind you, I had already been eating mangoes straight from the previous day and I was on a mango high! My mother warned me not to eat any more or else I would loose the taste for mangoes forever. But I didn’t listen. Me! Loose the taste for mangoes forever!? Surely she must be joking. I KNOW she could not have been talking to me because there was not a mango around that I did not eat and did not love and swear my undying fealty towards!
And so…mesmerized by the vastness of this great fruit…I took a bite! And it was heaven! I ate and ate and ate. I think I ate about three of them. And then…the unthinkable happened! I became sick! Inside I just knew my mother had done something to me or tricked me to make me now feel sick. It was her fault after all…she was the one who said that I would get sick if I ate too many mangoes! She had blighted me! So there I lay for a whole day with the worse stomach cramps I had ever had…all from eating too many mangoes. No problem I thought. I will get better! And sure enough I did. But it was at a severe cost…I had lost my taste for mangoes!
The memory of the pain was enough to scare me for 20 years from eating another mango ever again. Until one day, now with my own children and watching them enjoying climbing the trees as I did as a child and waiting for the first mangoes to drop from the tree…I decided to try one. And it was like rediscovering an old friend! I was instantly and immediately transported back to my childhood and the sweet, sugary goodness of the mango made everything seem right again! But I was wiser this time. I only ate a few each day and I only ate a certain type (I am biased with the grafted variety). But being a Caribbean child, I could not in all honesty say that mangoes would forever be out of my life! That is sacrilege! How could I? So how do I honor this wonderful friend that I have found anew? I share it with the world.
For the summer months each year, I offer this special and prized fruit in a line of body care products. The fruit of this amazingly sweet, succulent, sugary fruit is available exclusively in the soaps. You may wonder why, but once you try it then you will know! The fruit adds a silkiness and softness to the soap that is felt immediately on the skin. The butter is used to make the Body Butter, Body Lotion and Body Polish. And the fragrance is carried throughout the entire line of itiba’s skincare line! Come…enjoy a little piece of MY Caribbean with Mango products from itiba, LLC!