March 23, 2014

10 Tips for Dry Skin and Eczema

During the winter months, the indoor heat and outside cold air can dry out your skin. Although spring is officially here, many of us suffer with dry skin and eczema all year long.  I have suffered with eczema and dry skin for over 20 years and have learned some tips along the way. Some of these may help you.

10 Tips for Dry Skin and Eczema from TheThriftyMommy.com @thriftymommy

1.  Moisturize frequently. It’s best to moisturize your skin within a few minutes of taking a shower or bath. This is because your pores are open and absorb the lotion. Moisturize troubled places throughout the day.

2.  Use a humidifier. Heating systems blow hot dry air throughout our homes and work. Humidifiers help replace some of the moisture in the air, which will prevent your skin from drying out. Remember to clean your humidifier each week with vinegar.

3. Use fragrance free laundry detergent and fabric softener. This includes for your clothes, sheets, towels, or anything that touches your skin. Fragrances and chemicals can irritate sensitive skin and cause eczema to flare. Many times I will use vinegar for my fabric softener.

4. Carefully choose hand soaps. Many soaps today are antibacterial and harsh on sensitive skin. Dial, Softsoap, and many others cause my hands to crack and bleed. I do not use antibacterial hand soaps and I have not seen a difference in how often I get sick. The key is to wash your hands properly. Many times I will buy Ivory, Dove, Softsoap Cashmere, or something mild and dilute it into a foaming hand wash container. Undiluted soaps are thick and difficult to remove from your hands, which will dry them out further.

5.  Do not hand wash dishes. I put as many dishes in the dishwasher as possible and the other items I wash by hand. Try to use a mild dish detergent for dishes that you must wash by hand. I like to use Ivory or Dawn with Olay. I have tried two bottles of Seventh Generation and both bottles caused a bad break out on my hands. Green products are not always better for skin.

6.  Avoid super hot showers and baths. I’ve always enjoyed a really hot shower. The intense heat breaks down the lipid barriers in the skin. Instead, try a warm shower and try to limit time in the water. This one is the most difficult for me to follow.

7.  Use mild cleaners. When I had children, I decided to let go of the harsh cleaning chemicals in my home. I couldn’t bear the thought of my little ones crawling around on floors cleaned in chemicals that could be harmful to them. I decided that for most of my cleaning I would use vinegar and water. After making the switch I noticed that my skin started to look better. The chemicals I was using to clean my home were causing eczema flare ups.

8. Consider herbal or natural remedies. Several years ago, I have a terrible break out on my hands. I had blisters on my hands and couldn’t figure out what was causing it. (I later found out that my husband had refilled the bathroom soap and it was a soap that I was allergic to.) I went to the health and herb store and the owner recommended that I take sulfur tablets. After just a few doses of sulfur, I noticed a dramatic difference in my skin. I don’t take it everyday, but it is something that I use whenever my skin gets out of control. Some folks like to take Vitamin E or Cod Liver Oil for their skin. Consult your doctor or local health store.

9.  Know your triggers. For some people, it is chemicals. For others, it is animal hair. As you live with dry skin and eczema, you will learn the things that aggravate your skin. Do your best to avoid those triggers.

10.  Seek professional help. For the most part, I have learned to keep my eczema under control. There have been times when I needed extra help from my doctor. Sometimes a prescription is necessary to keep skin calm. I keep prescription medication at home for bad flare ups.

These are just a few ways to help severe dry skin and eczema. Stay tuned for a list of my favorite products.

How do you deal with dry skin and eczema?

image (c) Karen Weideman


Karen

July 28, 2013

Bugs in My Yogurt?!

While talking to my mom tonight she told me to check my yogurt. She said she was watching Dr. Oz recently and he said that yogurt companies have been using bugs to color their yogurt red.  WHAT? Say that again. It’s called carmine.

I opened my refrigerator. I checked my cherry yogurt.  No carmine. I checked my blueberry yogurt.  No carmine. Whew! I told my mom I didn’t have any carmine. I got off of the phone with her and kept looking in my refrigerator.  I found a strawberry banana yogurt. Oh goodness . . . colored with carmine! 

yoplait yogurt 1

After this discovery, I did a little reading online. According to the Huffington Post, Dannon is under fire for using carmine. What about Yoplait? That’s where I found the carmine in my fridge.

yoplait yogurt 2

I’ve heard of people eating bugs. They’re low in fat and high in protein. But shouldn’t I know if I’m eating bugs? Instead of saying “colored with carmine” it should state “colored with insects”. Did they not think this would come out? It seems like they are really hurting their integrity here.

I know I should spend more time reading labels. I am a busy working wife and mother. I just figured if I were buying a popular name brand like Yoplait or Dannon I would be getting something trustworthy.  And why would yogurt with fruit in it need to have some sort of food coloring anyway?

Cracked.com reports that if you’ve eaten anything red recently then there’s a strong chance it was made with carmine, which by the way, is ground up insects.  It’s also important to know that these insects may not labeled as carmine.

“Carmine can also be identified on food labels as Crimson Lake, Cochineal,  Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470 or E120. We mention that because we’re guessing you’ll  want to check for it in the future after reading this.”

If any of this interests you then check out this article from Cracked.com, 5 Horrifying Food Additives You’ve Probably Eaten Today.


Karen

July 14, 2013

Inexpensive Tips for Treating Sunburn

Although I am an avid sunscreen wearer, some how each year I end up with a sunburn.  Whether it is due to an unexpected outing or underestimating exposure to the sun, sometimes sunburns happen.  Although home remedies will not undo sun damage, they will help to relieve some of the pain and help the skin to heal more quickly. 

Here are some inexpensive methods to try at home. 

 sunburn

 

Take a bath 

Take a bath in oatmeal.  Put some oatmeal in a cheesecloth or sock and tie it shut.  While in the bath, squeeze the oatmeal milk on your skin.  (I also use this remedy during the winter months with my eczema.) Or instead of using oatmeal, try a bath with baking soda. Add a few heaping tablespoons to the bath water. Be sure to use warm or cool (not cold) water so that you don’t send your body into shock.  Also, try to air dry so that you don’t wipe off the oatmeal or baking soda. 

While a cool bath may feel great to your skin, avoid soaking for too long which can further dry out your skin. 

Apply a cool compress

Apply apple cider vinegar to the burn with a cottonball, or make a cool compress.  Keep the skin moistened.  This remedy will help prevent blistering and peeling. Or soak a washcloth in baking soda and water or oatmeal and water and apply as a compress.

If you don’t have vinegar, oatmeal, or baking soda, use cool water to help relieve discomfort.

Moisturize

Your skin is already dry from the sunburn and the baths and compresses are causing it to dry out more.  Help prevent dryness by applying moisturizer after baths and compresses.  You might even try cooling the lotion in the refrigerator.  You might want to wait a day or two to stay applying moisturizer so that the lotion doesn’t trap the heat against the skin.

Apply aloe vera

Aloe is effective in relieving pain and inflammation. Cut open the leaves and apply the gel directly to the skin. Check your local grocery store or nursery for aloe plants. Apply the aloe several times per day.

Drink water

Drink water to replenish fluids and help skin heal. 

Take an over the counter pain medicine 

Try ibuprofen or aspirin to help with the pain. Be sure to take it with food so that you don’t get an upset stomach. 

Apply milk

Some people find that applying milk or yogurt to a sunburn helps ease the pain.  You could apply it with gauze or a cloth.  I have never tried this method but am curious to know if it works. The tannin in strawberries is also helpful so perhaps you could try using strawberry yogurt.

Brew black or green tea

Brew some tea and let it cool.  Put it in a spray bottle and spray on the sunburn, apply it as a cool compress, or apply wet tea bags.  You can also take a bath in brewed tea once it has cooled.  The tannic acid in the tea helps relieve the burn. 

Apply Vitamin E

Break open Vitamin E capsules and squeeze onto your skin to promote healing.

Apply potato slices

Apply sliced or grated potatoes directly to the skin. The starch helps draw the heat out of your skin.

I’m sure there are many other home remedies. Which methods have you tried? Which are your favorite?

This post is for informational purposes only and should not be substituted for a doctor’s care. If your sunburn is accompanied by fever or chills, you may need to see a medical professional.

image sxc.hu/zulema011


Karen

October 23, 2010

BeeWell for Life: Free Resources for a Healthy Life

Bumble Bee Foods has introduced BeeWell for Life, a site that provides resources and tools to help consumers achieve a healthy lifestyle and make a difference in the lives of those touched by breast cancer.

BeeWell for Life features blogs written by Coach Jenny Hadfield as well as nutritionists Willow Jarosh and Stephanie Clark. Online tools are available to measure energy balance. Members can access and manage the impact of their daily activities to make the most of their healthy lifestyle.

My favorite part of the BeeWell for Life website is that we can make a difference in others’ lives. For every mile members walk, run, or bike, Bumble Bee donates $.15/mile to Breast Cancer Network of Strength. Up to $200,000 will be donated. Every mile makes a difference. This is going until October 31, 2010 so hurry and become a free member so that you can make an impact!

Bumble Bee has also made healthy living a bit easier for those of us on the go.  You cand download the mobile app and track your miles from your mobile device.

I am member of the Bumble Bee Foods Bee Squad.  I also attended the Bumble Bee Foods BlogHer Party, but I am not obligated to write about their products.


Karen

September 6, 2010

A Thrifty Home Remedy for Sinus Infections

October 2013:  I have been using this remedy for about six years and have had great results.

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It never fails.  Each year I get one or two sinus infections.  They usually come with the onset of allergies from the season changes.

About three years ago I decided to do some research for a natural remedy for sinus infections.  It just seemed ridiculous to me to see the doctor for each infection and to take overly prescribed antibiotics.  Through my online reading, I found out about apple cider vinegar from Earth Clinic.

At the time of the article, there were about 80 people who said the apple cider vinegar worked and only about two people that said it did not work for them.  With such positive feedback, I decided to give the vinegar a try.  If it didn’t work, then I would just be seeing the doctor anyway.

Thankfully, I was able to find apple cider vinegar tablets at the health food store.  At the time, I could not bear the thought of drinking the vinegar.  I took a high dosage of the vinegar tablets and within hours my sinuses were opened and everything was loosened.  (Sorry to be so graphic but I think it’s necessary to tell you how the product worked.)

Since this time, my husband and I have been using apple cider vinegar during each cold and during bad allergy upsets.  As a matter of fact, I have been taking it this past week while I have been sick.

Although I have not read of apple cider vinegar being used for this purpose, I use the liquid form whenever I have been exposed to strep throat.  I gargle with it.  It is believed that apple cider vinegar kills bacteria so I have found it to be effective for that as well.

There is a bunch of information out there on the many health uses for apple cider vinegar.  Perhaps some day we can discuss its uses.

Are there any home remedies that you find effective?

Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor and these tips should not in any way be a substitute for a doctor’s care and advice. Use apple cider vinegar at your own risk.


Karen

September 6, 2010

A Few Health Home Remedies

Dr. Oz was discussing some home remedies today on The Dr. Oz Show.  Home remedies are sometimes very effective and can save money on health care.  Here are a few of the home remedies discussed on the show.

Acid Reflux: Drink a mixture of baking soda and water.  True.  The baking soda neutralizes the acid.

Splinter: Dab a little glue over the area and let it dry.  True.  Peel the dried glue off and many times the glue will pull the spliter out. 

Burn: For a burn, apply mayonnaise.  FALSE.  Run the burn under cold water. Later apply aloe.

Ear infections:  Put a few drops of hydrogen peroxide inside the ear canal.  True.  If there is an ear infection, the peroxide will bubble.  I was confused about whether or not he said the peroxide could be used to treat an infection or if it was only for detection purposes.  However, this has never been confirmed in a trial.

Stay tuned. I am working on a blog post with a natural home remedy for sinus infections.

Image from nkzs on sxc.hu.  I am not a doctor and these tips should not be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment.


Karen