Blog Archives

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!

Advertisements

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.

073A5908

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

Fight Oily Skin With…Oil?

jojoba-oil-for-skin stock photo

Yes…that is correct. The best way to treat your oily skin is to use…oil!

What?! Are you crazy? I am trying to get RID of the oil. NOT add more oil to my already oily skin! I won’t do it!

Ahhh…but  you should. And here is why!

Your skin produces oil to protect and moisturize as well as clean itself. With out the sebum that is produced by the sebaceous glands, our largest organ would not function properly. What we have traditionally done throughout the years, especially those of us with oily skin, is use harsh cleansers and astringents to strip away the oils. So when we go and use these harsh detergents and soaps and strip away our naturally occuring sebum, the skin goes into overdrive and produces even MORE oil to replace and compensate the oil that has been removed.

But my skin feels so icky and tacky and I have dirt all on my skin. How is putting more oil on top of the oil that is there make it any better? Basic chemistry lesson…like dissolves like. Meaning, oil will dissolve oil. It will also clean and replace. So instead of taking that harsh astringent or detergent to remove dirt from your face, take a cotton ball, dipped in oil, and clean your skin. The fresh, clean oil will dissolve the dirty, old oil and replace it with clean oil. Castor oil, which is very antibacterial, is the best oil to use for cleaning your skin. But Castor oil can be overly cleansing and may actually cause your skin to dry out, so you want to dilute it with another oil. An oil that is lighter in weight and not as strong in cleansing as Castor oil. Here comes Jojoba oil (my personal choice). This oil is the BEST oil to use. Jojoba is actually a liquid wax. Much like the sebum that our own skin produces. When it comes to cleaning and replacing the oil on your skin, Jojoba is the best oil to use as it is the only vegetable oil that closely matches human sebum. The following is a list of oils that can be used with Castor oil to help with the cleaning and moisturizing regimen for your skin. You will also see which oils are good for the type of skin your have.

  • Jojoba (all skin types, but very desirable for acne-prone skin)
  • Sweet almond (all skin types, especially oily)
  • Grapeseed (all skin types, especially oily)
  • Avocado (dry and aging skin)
  • Sunflower Seed (all skin types)
  • Olive (all skin types)
  • Apricot Kernel (dry, aging, and normal skin)
  • Argan (all skin types, especially aging skin … very pricey)
  • Tamanu (all skin types … very pricey)

Depending on your skin type, you are going to want to blend one or two of these oils with Castor oil to do your oil cleansing routine. Use the following ratios as guidelines, but keep mixing until you get the right combination for you. So I would recommend that you start with very small amounts at first until you get that perfect ratio!

For Oily Skin, you want to use MORE Castor oil than the other oil. So your ratio may be something like 3:1. Meaning 3 parts Castor Oil to 1 part carrier oil (any of the above oil)

For Normal Skin equal parts Castor oil to any of the carrier oil.

For Dry Skin you will do the reverse of Oily Skin and do 1 part Castor oil to 3 parts carrier oil.

Now keep mixing until you get a comfortable ration. This is on the diluted end but you will know your own skin best and you can mix it up how you like. Just remember, the oilier the skin, the more Castor Oil you want in your formulation. The drier the skin, the less Castor Oil you want in your formulation. A quick note about using this method to cleanse the face. With the first several applications, you will see your face actually look a bit…worse. Meaning more breakouts and the sort. Do Not Worry! This is normal. I remember when I did this years ago…I used only Jojoba Oil. My face broke out and I was freaking out! But after a couple of days it cleared up. Why did this happen? Remember the cleansing action of the oils? What the oils do, especially Castor Oil, is break up the dirt and draw out the impurities in the skin. So while you are starting this method of treatment, you will notice a change in how your skin looks and how it feels as the oils pull out the dirt and impurities. But be strong! The clear, even balanced skin will shine through.

How to use this method to clean the face!

OF course you have now found your favorite blend and ration. CONGRATULATIONS! Now you will begin putting it to you on your skin. The best time of course to do this is at bedtime.

1. You have your dirty face!

2. Rinse lightly with warm water.

3. Take your oil blend and pouring some in the palm of your hand and gently massage into your face and skin in an upwards movement. Do this massage for about two minutes. You can let the oil sit on the skin for an extra 30 seconds to let the oil combination to penetrate your skin and remove the dirt and impurities.

4. Rinse with very warm water. Take your clean wash cloth and soak it in the warm to hot water. Make sure the water is not so hot that it burns the skin.

5. Wipe clean with the washcloth.

You are finished! Remember, when you are first using this method of cleansing, your skin will react funny. It will take some time to get accustomed to and you may find that this is not the method for you. But if you do choose to use this method to clean your skin, you will notice a difference within a couple of weeks. Your skin will begin to balance out and you will see your problems slowly disappear.

Now you can fight or clean your oily skin with…OIL!

This post was put together with information gathered through research, personal use and online research via medical blogs and health and beauty blogs (Crunchy Betty and WebMD)

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.

My Day of Experimentation :-)

Decided to take some ME time today. Always a good thing to just let the world function without you for a minute. All the problems and chaos will still be there tomorrow. Anyway, I saw on FB with this group I am on, Texture Me Natural, a post about Rhassoul Clay and Hair Mask. I read with interest and thought, this is something I should try! Let me warn you though, doing a hair mask is messy…but so much FUN!

Ok. So I decided from the night before that I would make the time to do the hair mask today. I wear my hair in locs and I have been contemplating creating a hair care line for years now. I did with my previous company and I have been tinkering around with it with itiba. (I currently do a private label for a local natural hair salon hair) so I figured, why not try this out. No worries, I can fashion something else quite quickly. What did I have on hand…let’s see…I have Moroccan Red Clay (which by the way is the same as Rhassoul Clay fancy that), Kaolin Clay, Activated Charcoal, my supply of lovely essential oils and carrier oils. OK, I can begin to formulate! I mixed my special brew of esesntial oils and carrier oils: Baobob oil, Turmeric Essential oil (YES, there is an essential oil distilled from the root), Lavandin essential oil, Peppermint essential oil (I think EVERY hair care product should have this in some quantity, it sure wakens the scalp!), Lemongrass Essential Oil and Clove Essential Oil. Then I mixed my Moroccan Red Clay, the Kaolin Clay and Activated Charcoal in a separate bowl. Then I mixed in some ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) the Baobob oil mixture, olive squalene and enough water to hydrate and make it thick like batter. Of course it took a while cause I wanted to make sure that all the clays and charcoal were thoroughly mixed. Covered with Saran Wrap and left it in the oven for 20 minutes (only to warm the mixture – my oven has a pilot light so that was heat enough). Then I applied to my hair and left on for about 20 minutes to a half hour. It was messy but fun!

Next came the interesting part…rinsing this mask out of my hair, especially with locs. It took a while and about 4 shampoos, but I finally got it all out! Conditioned, rinsed and that was it! When I looked at my head of hair in the mirror I wondered if the greys that were making a guest appearance would still be there. They were, but they were not as shiny as they were before. And my hair was BRILLIANT! It looked so shiny and healthy! I was amazed and now TOTALLY SOLD on the idea of hair masks. Of course my shower wasn’t, but that is another story, LOL! One thing I want to make sure I emphasize (especially since my daughter is a cosmetologist and would KILL me if I did not make mention) make sure you have warm water to rinse the mask out of the hair. Try doing an alternate between warm and cold water, especially when rinsing the hair. The warm water helps to open the pores while the cold closes them and the hair cuticle as well. It also helps with stimulating the scalp (of course the Peppermint Essential Oil will also aid in that just fine as well, LOL!).

I am sorry there are no pics this time, but the next time I do the mixture, I will be sure to do a video so that you can see the process from beginning to end. So, are you going to try a hair mask also?

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

Seven Steps To Healthy, Glowing, Vibrant Skin…Naturally!

Our skin is the LARGEST organ of the human body! The primary function of the skin is to eliminate wastes. If treated properly, the skin can eliminate upwards of TWO POUNDS of waste daily! Everyday our skin sheds the dead skin cells and makes new skin cells. Within 24 hours, our body has made new skin! Keeping our skin looking healthy, all depends on how we help our skin in its daily routine of sloughing away dead skin cells and allowing the new skin cells to come through. There are several ways that we can help our body and skin remain at peak performance. They are:

Gentle, Caribbean Cleansing

Cleansing – This is done with a simple soap and water. Before you can move onto the toning and moisturizing you MUST get rid of all the extra dirt you have accumulated throughout the day AND night. itiba has many soaps that can be used to aid in the cleansing of your skin. I recommend Carib Lime if you have oily skin. The Lemongrass Essential Oil contained in the soap helps the skin to regulate the sebum produced. That combined with the French Green Clay works to break up the excess oil and leave your skin feeling lighter and brighter! For normal skin, Island Rose or even Papaya will work wonderfully. For combination skin, MidNite Rain, Crucian Spice or Sea Lavender are all wonderful choices.

Toner/Astringents – these are the same thing but a different name applies to your skin type. Astringents and Toners help to take away excess oils from the skin, in particular the neck and face. Toner is the term used for products for skin that is in the normal to dry range. Astringent is the term used for skin that is in the normal to oily and oil skin range. The astringent is stronger than the toner because it has to break away more oils from the skin than the toner.

Crucian Spice Body Lotion.

Moisturizing – is done after we clean our skin. This step is done after we have applied either our toner or astringent to our skin. Even if you have oily skin, you will still want to moisturize it. When moisturizing the skin, stay away from products that will clog the pores such as mineral oil, petroleum jelly, and yes even cocoa butter for some people. If you suffer from oily skin, it is recommended NOT to use cocoa butter on the face and neck. However, a wonderful oil to use, yes…I did say oil…is Jojoba Oil. In fact, Jojoba Oil is really a liquid wax and pound for pound, can be called the Fountain of Youth for our skin. Jojoba Oil is the only vegetable oil that very closely resembles the sebum that our skin produces. I like to call it a second skin that helps our own skin do its job better.  I am not a fan of mineral oil as I do not see the long term benefits of this oil. In some cases, it has been stated that mineral oil can cause clogged pores and dermatitis. There is the cosmetic grade mineral oil that is used in skin care, but there are other wonderful oils like Castor Oil that can do the same and offer better benefits to the skin. Any of itiba’s six lovely fragrance body lotions will make a wonderful moiturizer.

Hydration – very simple! Our bodies are made up of about 75% water. We need to keep our skin hydrated from the INSIDE as well as the OUTSIDE. Our skin looses upwards of 2 PINTS of water daily. We need to drink upwards of one gallon of water daily in order to maintain optimal hydration for our bodies.Water does a body good!

Exfoliation – In order for our skin to shed the dead skin cells easier, some type of exfoliation should be done. There are several ways this can be done and depending on the part of body different materials should be used. Using a salt or brown sugar scrub is a great way to exfoliate the body. Ground oatmeal, almond meal, even ground avocado seeds can be used to exfoliate the skin. Ground oatmeal, almond meal, and sugar can be used on the face and neck. But beware, the skin on these areas is delicate, do not use too much force or friction. Slow and gentle is all you need when exfoliating your face and neck. Another method is DRY BRUSHING. This offers more than exfoliation; it also offers increased circulation to the skin and in certain instances a healthier lymphatic system. itiba’s Body Polish all made with Caribbean Sea Salt, unrefined Shea butter and scented with itiba’s unique blends, to include the latest Kaya Body Polish – made with brown sugar, local island honey and decadent Shea butter, are all great exfoliators. AND you get the extra added benefit of moisturizing with the Shea butter!

REST! – I think this is self-explanatory. Get your 8 – 9  hours of sleep each night. Nothing less. Your skin (and every one else) will thank you for it! Come to St. Croix and relax on any of the wonderful sandy beaches and enjoy the cool Tradewinds as it wafts off the azure blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. String up your hammock and simply…rest!

I would be remiss if I did not talk about DRY BRUSHING. What is Dry Brushing and what are the benefits? How should it be done? First Dry Brushing is a form of exfoliation. It helps the skin remove the dead skin cells so that the new ones may shine through. Dry Brushing, if done properly and consistently will also help to keep the skin properly eliminating the waste. There are many different ways to do the actual dry brushing, but a few things are constant and NEVER change. ALWAYS and ONLY use NATURAL bristle brushes. What are natural bristle brushes? These are made from either plant or animals. Depending on the type or bristle, you will use it on different areas of the body. Some examples of natural bristle brushes are boar’s hair, ayate – which is made from a large cactus called agave whose leaves are dried and made into fibers – sisal, and even coconut.  NEVER SCRUB when doing a dry brush. That can be considered overkill and both are forms of exfoliation. Either you dry brush or you use a scrub. You must use some pressure, but never scrub the skin.

Here are some of the benefits of Dry Brushing:

• Brushing activates the pores in the skin to remove more waste materials like uric acid crystals, catarrh, and other acids and impurities more efficiently than soap and water.

• Brushing increases and stimulates blood circulation in all the underlying organs, connective tissues and lymphatic system.

• Brushing revitalizes and increases the capacity of the skin to eliminate toxins from the system.

• Brushing stimulates hormone function – especially the oil producing glands. By keeping the pores open, the skin is better able to retain its natural oils and to breathe!

• Brushing has a powerful rejuvenating influence on the nervous system as it stimulates the nerve endings in the skin.

• Brushing contributes to better muscle tone and better distribution of fat deposits within the tissues.

And it just makes you feel good! 🙂

When I Dry Brush, which should be done at least three times a week, I start from my hands and work in slow, deliberate circular motions toward my heart. I am trying to follow the pathways of the Lymph System. I do the same with my feet. I start from teh soles of my feet and slowly work up in a slow, deliberate, circular motion (circular to the left) towards my heart. I keep doing this until I am doing with a fair amount of pressure. When finished, my skin is glowing and I am feeling so alive and refreshed!  ALWAYS do your Dry Brushing BEFORE your shower or bath. Remember, this is a form of exfoliation and you have just released a lot of dead skin cells that you now want to get rid of and cleansing the skin afterwards is the best way to do so. Dry Brushing is ONLY effective when done on DRY skin.

You now know my seven steps and secret weapon to having healthy, glowing skin.

Nature. Earth. Beauty.

Mango Madness

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!